By James Gaines
Abridged By Miranda Davies
Bill Paterson reads from this vivid portrait of a tumultuous age.
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'.