Federigo Tozzi and Pari

How do you get an interdisciplinary book…

Bach and Hans-Eberhard Dentler

When Carl Sagan was asked which music he thought should be sent in the Voyager I space probe to regions where it might reach extraterrestrial intelligence he responded: ‘I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable to put on the best possible face at the beginning of such an acquaintance. Any species capable of producing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach cannot be all bad.’

A friend and neighbor of the Pari Center is Hans-Eberhard Dentler, a renowned cellist who was one of Pierre Fournier’s most outstanding pupils. Maestro Dentler has performed internationally and was several times invited to the Vatican to play the Bach cello suites for Pope Benedict XVI. When he accepted the invitation to become a member of the World Academy of Art and Science the ceremony took place in Pari followed by a concert of Bach’s music.

Dentler has also written two works on Bach. His Bach’s ‘The Art of Fugue, a Pythagorean Mystery Unveiled’ (available in German and Italian but not in English) is an explanation of the origin of Bach’s last composition. At his death, Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel discovered an unfinished manuscript of contrapuntal pieces but with no indication of how they were to be performed. Some believed them to be keyboard pieces, others that they were for private study and the ‘inner ear.’

Lorenz Christoph Mizler who was a student of Bach created the Societät der musikalischen Wissenschaften devoted to the study of Pythagorean philosophy and the union of music, philosophy, mathematics and science. Bach, Handel and Telemann were all members. Dentler’s patient detective work, musicianship and scholarship have finally enabled him to solve the mystery of this great work. For Mastro Dentler ‘The Art of Fugue’ is very clearly based on Pythagorean philosophical principles and for that reason, as befitted the Pythagoreans, it is deliberately presented as an enigma.

For those who would like to read Dentler’s arguments in more detail see www.paricenter.com/library/papers/dentler01.php.

More recently Dentler has written on Bach’s ‘Musical Offering’ arguing that it is an attempt to represent ‘the music of the spheres.’

Hans-Eberhard Dentler can be seen on YouTube playing at the World Bach-Fest in 2012