J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Musical Offering

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Davitt Moroney
Soloists:Davitt Moroney, harpsichord
Janet See, flute
John Holloway
Jaap ter Linden, cello
Martha Cook, second harpsichord
Individual Works:Musical Offering, BWV1079
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Harmonia Mundi France
Catalog Number:HMC 901260
Year Released/Recorded:1987
Total Playing Time:51'07
Comments:Patrick Gillespie said:

Mr. Moroney's offering, while of the highest quality in terms of musicianship, offers a polite and correct performance but lacks an imaginative approach. There is little risk taking in terms of unravelling the canons which were meant, by Bach, to be musical crossword puzzles. They are, in fact, entirely traditional in this respect. Also, except for the famous Trio for flute, violin and continuo, Bach did not indicate what forces should be used to perform the Musical Offering. Moroney opts to play the majority of the work on one or two harpsichords. While the results are accomplished, they hardly add anything new to a repertiore of recordings that have traditionally opted for the harpsichord. Given these reservations, if one is looking for the Musical Offering as performed on the harpsichord, then this recording offers a fine rendition.

For a more imaginative performance, once which fully explores the complexity and breadth of which this masterpiece is capable, I would recommend the Ensemble Sonnerie. Another option, which is more traditional that Ensemble Sonnerie but neverthelss shows a more imaginative approach than Moroney, will be found on the Denon label -- a performance by the Accademia Bizantina, directed by Carlo Chiarappa.

Jan Hanford said:

A fine but not exceptional performance. I don't know if this is Bach's most boring work (I find it difficult to classify any Bach as boring) or this performance is what is boring. I usually love Moroney's playing but it just doesn't work for me here. The trio sonata is best, but that appears on many other recordings so it's not enough to redeem this somewhat dull cd.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Antony Danikas
  • Patrick Gillespie
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:09/14/1995