By James Gaines
Abridged By Miranda Davies
Bill Paterson reads from this vivid portrait of a tumultuous age.To the 'Enlightened despot' Frederick the Great of Prussia, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach embodies everything that is outmoded and Baroque.
One spring evening he summons 'old Bach' to his court and challenges him to a musical duel.
The young Johann Sebastian Bach learns the alchemy of musical composition.
For the future King of Prussia, however, music is a forbidden pleasure.
The future King of Prussia is imprisoned by his own father and forced to watch the execution of his best friend.
In contrast, the composer J S Bach spends his twenties devouring all the latest music from Italy and writing the revolutionary Brandenburg Concertos.
JS Bach marries a gifted soprano called Anna Magdalena Wilcke and produces some of his greatest work.
Frederick ascends to the throne of Prussia and assembles around him a court of wits, intellectuals and musicians.
'Old Bach' takes on the musical challenge offered to him by Frederick the Great of Prussia, and produces the dazzling 'Musical Offering'.