Among the proposals of the 16th edition of Emilia Romagna Festival, Bach Sanssouci, a project inspired by one of the most memorable meetings in the history of music.

Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, built to fulfill King Frederick’s need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the court. The palace’s name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as “without concerns”, meaning “without worries”, symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.

On May 7, 1747, Johann Sebastian Bach met Frederick II at the King’s Palace in Potsdam because Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, was employed there as court musician.

During his visit, Bach, who was well known for his skill at improvising, received from Frederick a long and complex musical theme on which to improvise a three-voice fugue. He did so, but Frederick then challenged him to improvise a six-voice fugue on the same theme. Two months later, Bach published a set of pieces based on this theme which we now know as The Musical Offering.

This story is now legend, and the idea of this program is to mix works by Bach father and son, also written for four hands, some rarely performed. Bach Sanssouci is an original Emilia Romagna Festival production with Ramin Bahrami (piano) and Massimo Mercelli (flute).

Before arriving at the summer festival, the concert will take place on March 12 (time 21) at the Laura Betti Theatre in Casalecchio di Reno (Bo), on March 13 (time 21) at the Ermanno Fabbri Theatre in Vignola (Mo) and on March 20 at the Asioli Theatre in Correggio (Re).