Berliner Philharmoniker

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Chamber Music

Leonidas Kavakos Violine

Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Petteri Pitko Harpsichord

Enrico Pace Piano

Johann Sebastian Bach

Trio Sonata for flute, violin and continuo from The Musical Offering BWV 1079

Sofia Gubaidulina

Meditation on Johann Sebastian Bach's chorale »Vor Deinen Thron tret ich hiermit« for harpsichord and string quintet

Olivier Messiaen

Quatuor pour la fin du temps


Mon, 03 Dec 2012 8 p.m.



It is not clear until the present day why Johann Sebastian Bach travelled to Potsdam with his son Friedemann to present himself to Friedrich II on 7 May 1747. One thing is certain: the king played a theme on the piano on which was to be improvised. Upon returning home, Bach began to “more fully elaborate on the rather royal theme”. The result was the Musical Offering, an anthology of skilful canons and fugues and a trio sonata on the “thema regium” that Bach submitted to the Prussian king – “not a cyclical work with a binding order of movements,” as the Bach expert Christoph Wolff has asserted, “but rather a collection of various solo and ensemble pieces, whereby each individual movement is based on the royal theme.”

Besides Bach’s artful variation work, Leonidas Kavakos will dedicate himself – together with musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker – to Sofia Gubaidulina’s meditation on the Bach chorale “Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit”. The main work of the evening is Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, a dream-like web of sounds, colours, and religious visions that developed during the composer’s captivity as a prisoner of war. Its premiere took place on 15 January 1941 in front of 5,000 prisoners in the washrooms of the camp Stalag VIII A near Görlitz in Silesia. “Never,” Messiaen said later, “was I listened to with such rapt attention and such comprehension.”

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25 Years of the Chamber Music Hall

The 2012/2013 season is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chamber Music Hall. Discover its history, music and more.

25 Years of the Chamber Music Hall

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