|Above left: Friedrich the Great on the Flute performing with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach on the
Harpsichord and Frantisek Benda on the Violin; Right: Quantz
|Johann Joachim Quantz, 1697 - 1773, prodigious composer of flute music, came to the Prussian
court to instruct the young Crown Prince Friedrich in 1728, and he remained there the rest of his life,
composing over 200 flute sonatas and 300 flute concertos, plus trio sonatas and vocal music; Quantz
is best known for his exhaustive manual on flute playing. He and Friedrich worked on music together
and played together ceaselessly. Quantz was also a master flute maker. There was a magnificent
collection of his flutes in the Hohenzollern Museum until it was looted by the Red Army at the end of
World War Two. The flutes ended up in Russia damaged, fragmented and without cases. Only two
flutes were returned to Germany, in 1958.
|In 1747, 62 years old Johann Sebastion Bach visited the Prussian court of 35 year old Friedrich.
Bach had to travel twenty hours from Leipzig to attend at the Royal Palace in Potsdam. When Bach
arrived, Friedrich was about to begin his regular evening concert in which he played the flute. Upon
hearing of Bach's arrival, he laid down his flute and said, 'Gentlemen, old Bach is here' and invited
Bach directly in to try his newest Gottfried Silbermann fortepiano, one of seven which were located
in different rooms. During the visit, the King played a short tune intended for Bach to improvise. On
his return to Leipzig, Bach developed the theme and entitled it 'A Musical Offering' which he sent to
the Court with a thank you and a dedication. Bach's son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, was Friedrich's
harpsichordist during his last years as Crown Prince and he remained with him for nearly thirty years
in the stimulating environment of Berlin and Potsdam, where he composed more than 300 works.
|A Musical Monarch