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Bach, Johann Sebastianfree

  • Christoph Wolff
  •  and Walter Emery

Member of Bach family

(24) (b Eisenach, March 21, 1685; d Leipzig, July 28, 1750). Composer and organist. The most important member of the family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control are perfectly balanced. While it was in the former capacity, as a keyboard virtuoso, that in his lifetime he acquired an almost legendary fame, it is the latter virtues and accomplishments, as a composer, that by the end of the 18th century earned him a unique historical position. His musical language was distinctive and extraordinarily varied, drawing together and surmounting the techniques, the styles and the general achievements of his own and earlier generations and leading on to new perspectives which later ages have received and understood in a great variety of ways.

The first authentic posthumous account of his life, with a summary catalogue of his works, was put together by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel and his pupil J.F. Agricola soon after his death and certainly before March 1751 (published as Nekrolog, 1754). J.N. Forkel planned a detailed Bach biography in the early 1770s and carefully collected first-hand information on Bach, chiefly from his two eldest sons; the book appeared in 1802, by when the Bach Revival had begun and various projected collected editions of Bach’s works were under way; it continues to serve, together with the 1754 obituary and the other 18th-century documents, as the foundation of Bach biography.

1. Childhood.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

The parents of Johann Sebastian were Johann Ambrosius Bach (11) and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt (1644–94), daughter of a furrier and town councillor in Erfurt, Valentin Lämmerhirt (d 1665). Another Lämmerhirt daughter became the mother of Bach’s cousin J.G. Walther, suggesting that Lämmerhirt blood was perhaps not unimportant for the musical talents of the Bach family’s greatest son. Elisabeth’s elder half-sister Hedwig Lämmerhirt was the second wife of Ambrosius Bach’s uncle, Johann Bach (4), organist of the Predigerkirche in Erfurt. Elisabeth and Ambrosius, who had worked in Eisenach since 1671 as Hausmann and also as a musician at the ducal court of Saxe-Eisenach, were married on 8 April 1668, and had eight children, five of whom survived infancy; as well as Johann Sebastian, the last, these were three sons (nos. 22, 71 and 23) and a daughter, Maria Salome. The date of Johann Sebastian’s birth, 21 March 1685, was carefully recorded by Walther in his Lexicon, by Sebastian himself in the family genealogy, and by his son as the co-author of the obituary. It is supported by the date of baptism (23 March; these dates are old-style) in the register of St Georg. His godfathers were Johann Georg Koch, a forestry official, and Sebastian Nagel, a Gotha Stadtpfeifer. The house of his birth no longer stands; it is not the handsome old structure (Frauenplan 21) acquired by the Neue Bachgesellschaft in 1907 as the ‘Bachhaus’ and established as a Bach Museum. He would have been born in the house in the Fleischgasse (now the Lutherstrasse) that Ambrosius Bach bought in 1674 after gaining Eisenach citizenship.

After the time of the Reformation all children in Eisenach were obliged to go to school between the ages of five and 12, and (although there is no documentary evidence of it) Sebastian must have entered one of the town’s German schools in 1690. From 1692 he attended the Lateinschule (as had Luther, also an Eisenach boy); this offered a sound humanistic and theological education. At Easter 1693 he was 47th in the fifth class, having been absent 96 half-days; in 1694 he lost 59 half-days, but rose to 14th and was promoted; at Easter 1695 he was 23rd in the fourth class, in spite of having lost 103 half-days (perhaps owing to illness, but probably also to the deaths of his parents). He stood one or two places above his brother Jacob, who was three years older and less frequently absent. Nothing more is known about his Eisenach career; but he is said to have been an unusually good treble and probably sang under Kantor A.C. Dedekind at St Georg, where his father made instrumental music before and after the sermon and where his relation (2) Johann Christoph Bach (13) was organist. His musical education is matter for conjecture; presumably his father taught him the rudiments of string playing, but (according to Emanuel) he had no formal tuition on keyboard instruments until he went to Ohrdruf. He later described Johann Christoph as ‘a profound composer’; no doubt he was impressed by the latter’s organ playing as well as by his compositions.

Elisabeth Bach was buried on 3 May 1694, and on 27 November Ambrosius married Barbara Margaretha, née Keul, the daughter of a former mayor of Arnstadt. Aged 35, she had already been twice widowed. Her first husband had been a musician, Johann Günther Bach (15), and her second a theologian, Jacobus Bartholomaei (both marriages had taken place in Arnstadt), and she brought to her third marriage two little daughters, Catharina Margareta and Christina Maria, one by each of her earlier husbands. A month before Ambrosius's own second marriage, on 23 October 1694, he and his family had celebrated the wedding of the eldest son, Johann Christoph (22) in Ohrdruf. The music on that occasion was by Ambrosius Bach, Johann Pachelbel from nearby Gotha and other friends and family members. This was probably the only occasion on which the then nine-year-old Sebastian met Pachelbel, his brother’s teacher. Barely three months after re-marrying, on 20 February 1695, Ambrosius Bach died after a long and serious illness. On 4 March the widow appealed to the town council for help; but she received only her legal due, and the household broke up. Sebastian and Jacob were taken in by their elder brother Johann Christoph, organist at Ohrdruf.

Both were sent to the Lyceum. Jacob left at the age of 14 to be apprenticed to his father’s successor at Eisenach; Sebastian stayed on until 1700, when he was nearly 15, and thus came under the influence of an exceptionally enlightened curriculum. Inspired by the educationist Comenius, it embraced religion, reading, writing, arithmetic, singing, history and natural science. Sebastian entered the fourth class probably about March 1695, and was promoted to the third in July: on 20 July 1696 he was first among the seven new boys and fourth in the class; on 19 July 1697 he was first, and was promoted to the second class; on 13 July 1698 he was fifth; on 24 July 1699 second, and promoted to the first class, in which he was fourth when he left the school on 15 March 1700 and went to Lüneburg.

In the obituary Emanuel stated that his father had his first keyboard lessons from Christoph, at Ohrdruf; in 1775, replying to Forkel, he said that Christoph might have trained him simply as an organist, and that Sebastian became ‘a pure and strong fuguist’ through his own efforts. That is likely enough; Christoph is not known to have been a composer. Several early biographers told the story of how Christoph would not allow his brother to use a certain manuscript; how Sebastian copied it by moonlight; how Christoph took the copy away from him; and how he did not recover it until Christoph died. Emanuel and Forkel assumed that Christoph died in 1700, and that Sebastian, left homeless, went to Lüneburg in desperation. Later authors, knowing that Christoph lived on until 1721, and that the brothers had been on good terms, have tended to reject the story – perhaps unnecessarily, for it may illustrate contemporary attitudes to discipline and restraint. In fact, the story fits in well with the little that is known of the Ohrdruf years, and with the idea that Sebastian taught himself composition by copying. Most probably he recovered his copy when he went to Lüneburg. As for its contents, Forkel implied that it contained works by seven famous composers, three of them northerners. He probably misunderstood Emanuel’s reply to another of his questions; according to the obituary, the manuscript was mainly southern (Froberger, Kerll, Pachelbel) – as one would expect, since Johann Christoph had been a Pachelbel pupil. (A good idea of its contents can be obtained from a manuscript collection compiled in 1692 by another of Pachelbel’s pupils, J.V. Eckelt.) The larger of the two organs at Ohrdruf was in almost unplayable condition in 1697, and Sebastian no doubt picked up some of his expert knowledge of organ building while helping his brother with repairs.

No documentary evidence exists to establish when Bach started to compose, but it is reasonable to suppose that it was while he lived in Ohrdruf – not least because other contemporaries, and his own sons in due course, began composing original music before reaching the age of 15. The earliest organ chorales in the Neumeister manuscript, as well as such works as bwv749, 750 and 756, provide plausible examples of pieces composed before and around 1700. They are characterized by sound craftsmanship, observance of models provided by Pachelbel (his teacher’s teacher) and everywhere the sense of an endeavour to break away from musical conventions and find independent answers.

2. Lüneburg.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

According to the school register, Sebastian left Ohrdruf ‘ob defectum hospitiorum’ (‘for lack of board and lodging’); clearly Christoph no longer had room for his brother. Since the latter’s arrival he had had two children; by March 1700 a third was expected; and (if local tradition can be trusted) his house, now destroyed, was a mere cottage. The brothers’ problem seems to have been solved by Elias Herda, Kantor and a master at the Lyceum. He had been educated at Lüneburg, and no doubt it was he who arranged for Sebastian to go north; probably he similarly helped Georg Erdmann, a fellow pupil of Sebastian’s, three years older, who left the school just before Bach (for the same reason). According to the obituary they travelled together. They must have reached Lüneburg before the end of March for both were entered in the register of the Mettenchor (Matins choir) by 3 April 1700 and probably sang in it within a matter of days for Holy Week and Easter.

The Michaeliskirche, Lüneburg, had two schools associated with it: a Ritteracademie for young noblemen, and the Michaelisschule for commoners. There were also two choirs: the ‘chorus symphoniacus’ of about 25 voices was led by the Mettenchor, which numbered about 15, and was limited to poor boys. Members of the Mettenchor received free schooling at the Michaelisschule, up to 1 thaler per month according to seniority, their keep, and a share in fees for weddings and other occasions (Bach’s share in 1700 has been put at 14 marks). From the arrangement of the pay-sheets it has been deduced that they were both trebles. Bach was welcomed for his unusually fine voice; but it soon broke, and for eight days he spoke and sang in octaves. After that he may or may not have sung, but no doubt he made himself useful as an accompanist or string player. As the last extant pay-sheet is that for 29 May 1700, no details are known; but it is clear that the school was short of instrumentalists at just this time.

At school, Bach’s studies embraced orthodox Lutheranism, logic, rhetoric, Latin and Greek, arithmetic, history, geography and German poetry. The Kantor was August Braun, whose compositions have disappeared; the organist, F.C. Morhard, was a nonentity. The organ was repaired in 1701 by J.B. Held, who had worked at Hamburg and Lübeck; he lodged in the school, and may have taught Bach something about organ building. There was a fine music library, which had been carefully kept up to date; but whether choirboys were allowed to consult it is uncertain. If Braun made good use of it, Bach must have learnt a good deal from the music he had to perform; but his chief interests probably lay outside the school. At the Nikolaikirche was J.J. Löwe (1629–1703), distinguished but elderly. The Johanniskirche was another matter, for there the organist was Georg Böhm (1661–1733), who is generally agreed to have influenced Bach. It has been argued that the organist of the Johanniskirche would not have been accessible to a scholar of the Michaelisschule, since the two choirs were not on good terms, and that Bach’s knowledge of Böhm’s music must have come later, through J.G. Walther. But Emanuel Bach stated in writing that his father had studied Böhm’s music; and a correction in a note to Forkel shows that his first thought was to say that Böhm had been his father’s teacher. This hint is supported by the fact that in 1727 Bach named Böhm as his northern agent for the sale of Partitas nos.2 and 3. That seems to imply that the two were on friendly terms; it is likelier that they became so between 1700 and 1702 than at any later date.

Bach went more than once to Hamburg, some 50 km away; probably he visited his cousin Johann Ernst (25), who was evidently studying there about this time. The suggestion that he went to hear Vincent Lübeck cannot be taken seriously, for Lübeck did not go to Hamburg until August 1702, by which time Bach had almost certainly left the area. He may have visited the Hamburg Opera, then directed by Reinhard Keiser, whose St Mark Passion he performed during the early Weimar years and again in 1726; but there is no solid evidence that he was interested in anything but the organ and in particular the organist of St Katharinen, J.A. Reincken, whose influence on the young Bach as both theorist and practitioner it would be difficult to overestimate. Marpurg’s familiar anecdote makes the point neatly: how Bach, returning almost penniless to Lüneburg, once rested outside an inn; how someone threw two herring heads out on the rubbish heap; how Bach – a Thuringian, to whom fish were a delicacy – picked them up to see if any portion were edible; how he found that they contained two Danish ducats, and was thus able not only to have a meal, but also ‘to undertake another and a more comfortable pilgrimage to Herr Reincken’.

J.A. Reincken (?1623–1722), a pupil of Sweelinck and organist of St Katharinen since 1663, was a father figure of the north German school. Böhm may have advised Bach to hear him; and his showy playing, exploiting all the resources of the organ, must have been a revelation to one brought up in the reticent tradition of the south. As for the organ itself, Bach never forgot it; in later years he described it as excellent in every way, said that the 32′ Principal was the best he had ever heard, and never tired of praising the 16′ reeds. Whether he actually met Reincken before 1720 is uncertain. If he did, Reincken might have given him a copy of his sonatas; Bach’s reworkings of them (the keyboard pieces bwv954, 965 and 966) are more likely to have been made soon after 1700 than 20 years later, when Bach no longer needed to teach himself composition.

The market-place in Lüneburg had been graced since the end of the 17th century by a palace used for the visits of the Duke of Celle-Lüneburg and his court; the principal ducal residence and seat of government lay in Celle, some 80 km to the south. The duke, married to Eléonore d’Olbreuse, a Huguenot of noble birth, was a pronounced francophile and maintained an orchestra consisting largely of Frenchmen, which played in both Celle and Lüneburg. Thomas de la Selle, dancing-master at the Ritteracademie next door to Bach’s school in Lüneburg, was also a member of the Celle orchestra. Emanuel Bach knew that his father was often able to hear this ‘famous orchestra’ and thus to become acquainted with French taste. It cannot be ruled out that Bach occasionally helped out as an instrumentalist when the court orchestra played in the ducal residence in Lüneburg.

The date of Bach’s departure from Lüneburg is not known, but we may suppose that he completed his final school year after two years and left school at Easter 1702. It seems unlikely that he remained in Lüneburg for any length of time after that, for he left without hearing Buxtehude and took extraordinary pains to do so in winter 1705–6. He probably visited relatives in Thuringia after Easter 1702. All that is definitely known is that he competed successfully for the vacant post of organist at St Jacobi in Sangerhausen (the organist was buried on 9 July), but the Duke of Weissenfels intervened and had J.A. Kobelius, a somewhat older man, appointed in November. Bach is next heard of at Weimar, where he was employed at the court as a musician for the first two quarters of 1703; the court accounts have him down as a lackey, but he described himself as a ‘Hofmusikant’ (court musician) in the Ursprung. This was at the minor Weimar court, that of Duke Johann Ernst, younger brother of the Duke Wilhelm Ernst whom Bach served from 1708 to 1717. Possibly the Duke of Weissenfels, having refused to accept Bach at Sangerhausen, found work for him at Weimar; another possibility is that Bach owed his appointment to a distant relation of his, David Hoffmann, another lackey-musician.

Of the musicians with whom Bach now became associated, three are worth mentioning. G.C. Strattner (c1644–1704), a tenor, became vice-Kapellmeister in 1695, and composed in a post-Schütz style. J.P. von Westhoff (1656–1705) was a fine violinist and had travelled widely, apparently as a diplomat, and is said to have been the first to compose a suite for unaccompanied violin (1683). Johann Effler (c1640–1711) was the court organist: he had held posts at Gehren and Erfurt (where Pachelbel was his successor) before coming in 1678 to Weimar, where about 1690 he moved to the court. He may have been willing to hand over some of his duties to Bach, and probably did something of the kind, for a document of 13 July 1703 at Arnstadt, where Bach next moved, describes Bach as court organist at Weimar – a post that was not officially his until 1708.

3. Arnstadt.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

The Bonifaciuskirche at Arnstadt had burnt down in 1581, and was subsequently rebuilt in 1676–83; it then became known as the Neue Kirche, and so remained until 1935, when it was renamed after Bach. In 1699 J.F. Wender contracted to build an organ, which by the end of 1701 had become usable; on 1 January 1702 Andreas Börner was formally appointed organist. The organ was complete by June 1703, and was examined before 3 July; there were more examiners than one, but only Bach was named and paid, and it was he who ‘played the organ for the first time’. The result was that on 9 August Bach was offered the post over Börner’s head; at the same time, ‘to prevent any such “collisions” as are to be feared’, Börner was given other work. Bach accepted the post ‘by handshake’ on 14 August 1703. The exact date of his removal to Arnstadt is not known, nor is his address. As his last board and lodging allowance was paid to Feldhaus, he probably spent at least that year in either the Golden Crown or the Steinhaus, both of which belonged to Feldhaus. Considering his age, and local standards, he was well paid; and his duties, as specified in his contract, were light. Normally, he was required at the church only for two hours on Sunday morning, for a service on Monday, and for two hours on Thursday morning; and he had only to accompany hymns. He thus had plenty of time for composition and organ playing, and he took as his models Bruhns, Reincken, Buxtehude (all northerners) and certain good French organists. There is no evidence as to whether he took part in the theatrical and musical entertainments of the court or the town.

Bach was in no position to put on elaborate music at Arnstadt. The Neue Kirche, like the other churches, drew performers from two groups of schoolboys and senior students. Only one of these groups was capable of singing cantatas; it was supposed to go to the Neue Kirche monthly in the summer, but there does not appear to have been a duty roster. The performers naturally tended to go to the churches that had an established tradition and friendly organists; and Bach had no authority to prevent this, for he was not a schoolmaster and was younger than many of the students. Further, he never had much patience with the semi-competent, and was apt to alienate them by making offensive remarks. One result was his scuffle with J.H. Geyersbach (b 1682). On 4 August 1705 he and his cousin Barbara, elder sister (aged 26) to his future wife, fell in with six students who had been to a christening feast; one of these was Geyersbach, who asked why Bach had insulted him (or his bassoon), and struck him in the face with a stick. Bach drew his sword, but another student separated them. Bach complained to the consistory that it would be unsafe for him to go about the streets if Geyersbach were not punished, and an inquiry was held. The consistory told Bach that he ought not to have insulted Geyersbach and should try to live peaceably with the students; further, he was not (as he claimed) responsible only for the chorales but was expected to help with all kinds of music. Bach replied that if a musical director were appointed, he would be willing enough.

Bach, unimpressed, asked for four weeks’ leave, and set off for Lübeck – ‘what is more, on foot’, says the obituary, adding that he had an overwhelming desire to hear Buxtehude. Dates and distance cast some doubts on his straightforwardness. He left Arnstadt about 18 October, and was therefore due to be back, or well on his way back, by about 15 November; he would thus have been unable to hear even the first of Buxtehude’s special services, which were given on various dates from 15 November to 20 December. Perhaps, like Mattheson and Handel before him, he went primarily to see if there was any chance of succeeding Buxtehude, and was put off by the prospect of marrying Buxtehude’s daughter, aged 30; in any case, by 1705 there was a rival in the field. However that may be, he stayed almost three months at Lübeck, and was absent altogether for about 16 weeks, not returning to Arnstadt until shortly before 7 February 1706, when he communicated.

On 21 February the consistory asked Bach why he had been away for so long; his replies were unsatisfactory and barely civil. They next complained that his accompaniments to chorales were too elaborate for congregational singing, and that he still refused to collaborate with the students in producing cantatas; further, they could not provide a Kapellmeister for him, and if he continued to refuse they would have to find someone more amenable. Bach repeated his demand for a musical director, and was ordered to apologize within eight days. From the next case that the consistory heard that day it seems that there had been actual ‘disordres’ in the church between Bach and the students. There is no evidence that Bach apologized, and the consistory dropped the matter for eight months. They brought it up again on 11 November, and Bach undertook to answer them in writing. They also accused him of inviting a ‘stranger maiden’ to make music in the church, but for this he had obtained the parson’s permission. The girl in question cannot have been his cousin and future wife, for she had long been resident in Arnstadt and therefore would be unlikely to be described as a stranger.

Neither Bach nor the consistory took further action; no doubt they saw that the problem would soon solve itself. Probably Bach had come back from Lübeck with exalted ideas about church music, requiring facilities that Arnstadt could not provide. His ability was becoming known; on 28 November he helped to examine an organ at Langewiesen. Forkel said that various posts were offered to him; and with the death of J.G. Ahle, on 2 December, a sufficiently attractive vacancy seemed to have arisen.

4. Mühlhausen.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

Ahle had been a city councillor of Mühlhausen, organist of St Blasius and a composer of minor rank. Musical standards had fallen during his tenure of office, but the post was a respectable one and various candidates gave trial performances. One was to have been J.G. Walther, the future lexicographer; he sent in two compositions for 27 February 1707 (Sexagesima), but withdrew after being told privately that he had no hope. Bach played at Easter (24 April) and may have performed Cantata no.4. At the city council meeting on 24 May no other name was considered, and on 14 June Bach was interviewed. He asked for the same salary that he was receiving at Arnstadt (some 20 gulden more than Ahle’s); the councillors agreed, and an agreement was signed on 15 June. At Arnstadt his success became known; his cousin Johann Ernst (25) and his predecessor Börner applied for the Neue Kirche on 22 and 23 June. He resigned formally on 29 June, and presumably moved to Mühlhausen within a few days. It was perhaps in July that he wrote Cantata no.131; this was clearly intended for a penitential service, perhaps connected with a disastrous fire of 30 May. It was not Bach’s own Pastor Frohne who commissioned this cantata, but Pastor Eilmar of the Marienkirche – a fact whose possible significance will be seen later. Bach’s responsibilities in Mühlhausen included also the convent of Augustinian nuns where there was an organ by Wender without pedals; his principal duty there was to play for special services.

On 10 August 1707 Tobias Lämmerhirt, Bach’s maternal uncle, died at Erfurt. He left Bach 50 gulden, more than half his salary, and thus facilitated his marriage to Maria Barbara (b 20 Oct 1684), daughter of (3) Johann Michael Bach (14) and Catharina Wedemann. The wedding took place on 17 October at Dornheim, a village near Arnstadt; the pastor, J.L. Stauber (1660–1723), was a friend of the family and himself married Regina Wedemann on 5 June 1708. Pupils began to come to Bach at about this time, or perhaps even earlier. J.M. Schubart (1690–1721) is said to have been with him from 1707 to 1717, and J.C. Vogler (1696–1763) to have arrived at the age of ten (at Arnstadt), to have left for a time, and to have returned from about 1710 until 1715. These two were his immediate successors at Weimar; from their time onwards he was never without pupils.

On 4 February 1708 the annual change of council took place, and Cantata no.71 was performed. It must have made an impression, for the council printed not only the libretto, as was usual, but also the music. Bach next drew up a plan for repairing and enlarging the St Blasius organ; the council considered this on 21 February, and decided to act on it. Cantata no.196 may have been written for Stauber’s wedding on 5 June. At about this time Bach played before the reigning Duke of Weimar, Wilhelm Ernst, who offered him a post at his court. On 25 June Bach wrote to the council asking them to accept his resignation.

No doubt the larger salary at Weimar was an attraction, particularly as Bach’s wife was pregnant. But it is clear, even from his tactful letter to these councillors who had treated him well, that there were other reasons for leaving. He said that he had encouraged ‘well-regulated church music’ not only in his own church, but also in the surrounding villages, where the harmony was often ‘better than that cultivated here’ (Spitta found a fragment, bwv223, at nearby Langula). He had also gone to some expense to collect ‘the choicest sacred music’. But in all this members of his own congregation had opposed him, and were not likely to stop. Some people no doubt disliked the type of music that he was trying to introduce. Further, Pastor Frohne may have distrusted his organist; an active Pietist, he was at daggers drawn with the orthodox Pastor Eilmar of the Marienkirche – Bach had begun his Mühlhausen career by working with Eilmar, and they had become intimate enough for Eilmar and his daughter to be godparents to Bach’s first two children.

The council considered his letter on 26 June and reluctantly let him go, asking him only to supervise the organ building at St Blasius. However badly Bach may have got on with his congregation, he was evidently on good terms with the council. They paid him to come and perform a cantata at the council service in 1709, and possibly also in 1710 (all trace of these works is lost). In 1735 he negotiated on friendly terms with the new council on behalf of his son Johann Gottfried Bernhard (47). He is not known to have been paid for supervising or opening the St Blasius organ, but he may have done so.

5. Weimar.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

When he announced his resignation from Mühlhausen, Bach said that he had been appointed to the Duke of Weimar’s ‘Capelle und Kammermusik’, and it was long thought that he did not become organist at once. In fact, Weimar documents show that on 14 July 1708, when his ‘reception money’ was paid over, he was called ‘the newly appointed court organist’, and that he was almost always so called until March 1714, when he became Konzertmeister as well. Effler, it seems, was pensioned off on full salary (130 florins); on 24 December 1709 he received a small gift as ‘an old sick servant’, and he died at Jena on 4 April 1711.

It is said that Bach wrote most of his organ works at Weimar, and that the duke took pleasure in his playing. His salary was from the outset larger than Effler’s (150 florins, plus some allowances); it was increased to 200 from Michaelmas 1711, 215 from June 1713, and 250 on his promotion in 1714. On 20 March 1715 it was ordered that his share of casual fees was to be the same as the Kapellmeister’s. Moreover, he seems to have had a fair amount of spare time, in which, for instance, to cultivate the acquaintance of Telemann while the latter was at Eisenach (1708–12). Together with the violinist Pisendel he copied a concerto in G of Telemann’s (D-Dl), probably during Pisendel’s visit to Weimar in 1709.

Six of Bach’s children were born at Weimar: Catharina (bap. 29 Dec 1708; d 14 Jan 1774); (8) Wilhelm Friedemann (45) (b 22 Nov 1710); twins (b 23 Feb 1713; both died in a few days); (9) Carl Philipp Emanuel (46) (b 8 March 1714); and Johann Gottfried Bernhard (47) (b 11 May 1715). The various godparents show that Bach and his wife kept in touch with relations and friends from Ohrdruf, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen, besides making fresh contacts at Weimar; it is noteworthy that Telemann was godfather to Emanuel.

On 13 March 1709 Bach, his wife, and one of her sisters (probably the eldest, Friedelena, who died at Leipzig in 1729) were living with Adam Immanuel Weldig, a falsettist and Master of the Pages. They probably stayed there until August 1713, when Weldig gave up his house, having secured a similar post at Weissenfels. Weldig was godfather to Emanuel; Bach (by proxy) to a son of Weldig’s in 1714. Weldig’s house was destroyed in 1944; where Bach lived before and after the given dates is not known.

Since 29 July 1707, J.G. Walther (the lexicographer) had been organist of the Stadtkirche; he was related to Bach through his mother, a Lämmerhirt, and the two became friendly. On 27 September 1712 Bach stood godfather to Walther’s son. Forkel told a story of how Walther played a trick on Bach, to cure him of boasting that there was nothing he could not read at sight. Their relations did not deteriorate, as Spitta supposed; in 1735 Bach negotiated on Walther’s behalf with the Leipzig publisher J.G. Krügner, and Walther’s references to Bach in his letters to Bokemeyer carry no suggestion of any coolness. From one such letter it seems that during his nine years at Weimar Bach gave Walther some 200 pieces of music, some by Buxtehude, others compositions of his own.

Of Bach’s pupils, Schubart and Vogler have already been mentioned. The pupil for whom Bach was paid by Ernst August’s account in 1711–12 was not Duke Ernst August himself but a page called Jagemann. J.G. Ziegler (1688–1747) matriculated at the University of Halle on 12 October 1712, but before that he had studied with Bach for a year or so, and had been taught to play chorales ‘not just superficially, but according to the sense of the words’; Bach’s wife stood godmother to his daughter in 1718, and in 1727 Bach employed him as agent, in Halle, for Partitas nos.2 and 3. P.D. Krauter of Augsburg (1690–1741) set out for Weimar in March 1712, and stayed until about September 1713. Johann Lorenz Bach (38) probably arrived in autumn 1713; he may have left Weimar by July 1717. Johann Tobias Krebs (1690–1762) studied with Walther from 1710, with Bach from about 1714 until 1717. Johann Bernhard Bach (41) worked with his uncle from about 1715 until March 1719, alongside Samuel Gmelin (1695–1752), who appears to have left in 1717. C.H. Dretzel of Nuremberg (1697–1775) may have been briefly with Bach. In 1731, when applying for a post, T.C. Gerlach (1694–1768) implied that Bach had been teaching him by correspondence for 14 years, but his confused phraseology should not be taken literally.

The specification of the organ in the castle chapel, published in 1737, has not always been reprinted correctly; in any case, it does not represent the organ that Bach left in 1717. Extensive alterations were made in 1719–30. Still less does the specification represent the organ that Bach was faced with in 1708, for he himself made even more extensive alterations in 1713–14. The organ is said to have been built by Compenius in 1657–8. It was overhauled in 1707–8, and a Sub-Bass added, by J.C. Weishaupt, who carried out further maintenance work in 1712. A contract for alterations had however been signed on 29 June 1712 with H.N. Trebs (1678–1748), who had moved from Mühlhausen to Weimar in 1709. Bach and he had worked together on a new organ at Taubach in 1709–10, opened by Bach on 26 October 1710; in 1711 he gave Trebs a handsome testimonial, and in 1713 he and Walther became godfathers to Trebs’s son. Bach and Trebs collaborated again about 1742, over an organ at Bad Berka. Trebs’s new organ was usable during 1714; he had done 14 days’ tuning by 19 May, and was paid off on 15 September. Of this rebuild nothing is known, except that either Bach or the duke was determined that the instrument include a Glockenspiel; great trouble was taken over obtaining bells from dealers in Nuremberg and Leipzig, and it seems that the original set of 29 (a number hard to account for) had to be replaced because of difficulties over blend and pitch. In 1737 the organ had a Glockenspiel on the Oberwerk, but alterations had been made in 1719–20 and it does not follow that the Glockenspiel of 1714 was on a manual.

In December 1709 and February 1710 Bach was paid for repairing harpsichords in the household of the junior duke, Ernst August and Prince Johann Ernst. On 17 January 1711 he was godfather to a daughter of J.C. Becker, a local burgher. In February 1711 Prince Johann Ernst went to the University of Utrecht. From 21 February 1713 Bach was lodged in the castle at Weissenfels. Duke Christian’s birthday fell on 23 February, and it is now known that Cantata no.208 was performed in this year, not in 1716. The earlier date is stylistically suitable; moreover, it is compatible both with the watermark of the autograph score and with the fact that in this score Bach contradicted sharps by flats rather than by naturals – an old-fashioned habit that he gave up progressively during 1714.

About May 1713 the young prince returned from Utrecht, apparently with a good deal of music, for in the year from 1 June there were bills for binding, copying and shelving (some of the music came from Halle). In February 1713 he had been in Amsterdam, and may have met the blind organist J.J. de Graff who was in the habit of playing recent Italian concertos as keyboard solos. This may have given rise to the numerous concerto arrangements made by Walther and Bach.

On 7 September 1713 Bach was probably at Ohrdruf, standing godfather to a nephew; and on 6 November he took part in the dedication of the new Jakobskirche at Weimar (there is no evidence that he composed any of the music). On 27 November he was at Weimar, as godfather to Trebs’s son. At about this time he seems to have gone to Halle, perhaps to buy music, and to have become accidentally involved with the authorities of the Liebfrauenkirche. The organist there (Zachow, Handel’s teacher) had died in 1712, and the organ was being enlarged to a three-manual of 65 stops. The story has to be pieced together from hints in an incomplete correspondence; but it looks as if the pastor, J.M. Heineccius, pressed Bach to apply for the vacant post. Bach may have been involved in planning the enlargement of the organ, when Zachow became incapacitated; at all events, he stayed in Halle from 28 November to 15 December at the church authorities’ expense. He also composed and performed a cantata (lost), attended a meeting on 13 December 1713, was offered the post, and let the committee suppose that he had accepted it, although he had not had time to find out what his casual fees would amount to. On 14 December they sent him a formal contract. Bach replied on 14 January 1714, saying cautiously that he had not been released from Weimar, was uneasy about his salary and duties, and would write again within the week. Whether he did so is not known; but on February the committee resolved to tell him that his salary was not likely to be increased. Thus at Halle he could expect a slightly smaller salary than he was already getting; the attraction was the organ, more than twice as large. Bach must then have approached the duke, for on 2 March, ‘at his most humble request’, he became Konzertmeister (ranking after the vice-Kapellmeister), with a basic salary of 250 florins from 25 February. In finally refusing the Halle post, he probably mentioned that figure, for the committee accused him of having used their offer as a lever to extract more money from the duke. This he denied on 19 March, in a letter so reasonable and so obviously honest that he remained on good terms with Halle and was employed there as an organ examiner in 1716. Gottfried Kirchhoff had meanwhile been appointed organist on 30 July 1714.

Few cantatas (apart from the secular no.208) can be ascribed to these early Weimar years. Nos.18, 54 and 199 appear to date from 1713 and clearly have no specific connection with the cantatas composed with an eye to the church calendar from March 1714 onwards. The work performed at Halle in December 1713 was formerly thought to be no.21 (see F. Chrysander: G.F. Händel(Leipzig, 1858–67/R)). The idea that it was no.63 no longer stands up, although the forces required for that work make it extremely unlikely that it was written for the Weimar court; a performance in Halle at Christmas 1715 is conceivable.

On 23 March 1714 it was ordered that cantatas should in future be rehearsed in the chapel, not at home or in lodgings; and on Palm Sunday, 25 March, Bach performed no.182. This was the fourth Sunday after his appointment as Konzertmeister, when he had become responsible for writing a cantata every four weeks. As he evidently hoped to complete an annual cycle in four years, he did not keep strictly to this rule; having written a cantata for Advent Sunday in 1714, he wrote for the last Sunday after Trinity in 1715, and for the second Sunday in Advent in 1716 (in 1717 he was in prison). Apart from such intentional irregularities, there are gaps in the series, and the strange thing is that these gaps became suddenly more numerous after the end of 1715. One of the gaps is accounted for by the death at Frankfurt on 1 August 1715 of the musically gifted Prince Johann Ernst, plunging the duchy into mourning from 11 August to 9 November 1715, when not a note of music might be played. From 1717 there are no cantatas at all. A tentative explanation will be suggested for this; but it is hard to see why Bach’s usual allowance of paper was paid for on 16 May 1716 when he is not known to have performed any church cantatas between 19 January and 6 December.

On 4 April 1716 Bach, like the librettist Salomo Franck and ‘the book-printer’, was paid for ‘Carmina’, bound in green taffeta, that had been ‘presented’ on some unspecified occasion – perhaps on 24 January when Duke Ernst August had married Eleonore, sister of the Prince of Cöthen. Ernst’s birthday was celebrated in April; two horn players from Weissenfels came to Weimar, possibly brought over for a repeat performance of Cantata no.208. Meanwhile, the new organ at Halle had been making progress, and on 17 April the council resolved that Bach, Kuhnau of Leipzig and Rolle of Quedlinburg should be invited to examine it on 29 April. They all accepted; each was to receive 16 thaler, plus food and travelling expenses. The examination began at 7 a.m., and lasted three days – until some time on 1 May, when the experts wrote their report, a sermon was preached and fine music was performed. On 2 May the organist and the three examiners met the builder to discuss details. The council, who behaved liberally, gave a tremendous banquet, whose date is usually given as 3 May (1 May seems more likely).

On 31 July 1716 Bach and an Arnstadt organ builder signed a testimonial for J.G. Schröter, who had built an organ at Erfurt. In 1717 Bach was mentioned in print for the first time: in the preface to Mattheson’s Das beschützte Orchestre, dated 21 February, Mattheson referred to Bach as ‘the famous Weimar organist’ saying that his works, both for the church and for keyboard, led one to rate him highly, and asked for biographical information.

It is against this background that Bach’s departure from Weimar has to be considered. In 1703 he had been employed by Duke Johann Ernst; since his return in 1708, by Duke Wilhelm, Johann’s elder brother. The brothers had been on bad terms, and when Johann Ernst died in 1707 and his son Ernst came of age in 1709, things became no better. For some time the ducal disagreements do not seem to have affected Bach; perhaps they were kept within bounds by Superintendent Lairitz, and Ernst’s younger half-brother (Johann, the composer) may have had some influence. But the latter died in 1715, Lairitz on 4 April 1716, and the new superintendent certainly failed to cope with the ‘court difficulties’; like the rest of Wilhelm’s household, he was forbidden to associate with Ernst. The musicians, though paid by both households, were threatened with fines of 10 thaler if they served Ernst in any way.

No extant Bach cantata can be securely dated between 19 January and 6 December 1716; it may seem unlikely that this long, continuous gap was due to casual losses. It is tempting to suppose that Bach found his position embarrassing (owing to his early connection with the junior court) and expressed disapproval of Duke Wilhelm’s behaviour by evading his own responsibilities. In fact, Bach does not seem to have disapproved of the duke’s behaviour until he discovered that a new Kapellmeister was being sought elsewhere. Drese senior died on 1 December 1716; his son, the vice-Kapellmeister, was by all accounts a nonentity. Bach produced Cantatas nos.70a, 186a and 147a for 6, 13 and 20 December (three successive weeks, not months), but there were no more, as far as is known. By Christmas, Bach may have found out that the duke was angling for Telemann. Negotiations with Telemann came to nothing; but apparently Bach now set about looking for a post as Kapellmeister. He was offered one by Prince Leopold of Cöthen, brother-in-law to Duke Ernst (Bach and the prince had probably met at Ernst’s wedding in January 1716) and the appointment was confirmed on 5 August 1717. No doubt Bach then asked Duke Wilhelm’s permission to leave, and no doubt he was refused – the duke being annoyed because his nephew had obviously had a hand in finding Bach a job that carried more prestige and, at 400 thaler, was better paid.

The duke and Bach must nevertheless have remained on speaking terms for the time being, for at some date hardly earlier than the end of September Bach was in Dresden and free to challenge the French keyboard virtuoso Louis Marchand. Versions of this affair differ, but according to Birnbaum (who wrote in 1739, probably under Bach’s supervision), Bach ‘found himself’ at Dresden, and was not sent for by ‘special coach’. Once there, some court official persuaded him to challenge Marchand to a contest at the harpsichord; the idea that they were to compete at the organ seems to have crept in later. Whatever may be the truth about these and other details, it is universally agreed that Marchand ran away.

On his birthday, 30 October 1717, Duke Wilhelm set up an endowment for his court musicians; and the second centenary of the Reformation was celebrated from 31 October to 2 November. Presumably Bach took part in these ceremonies, though there is no evidence that he set any of the librettos that Franck had provided. Emboldened, perhaps, by the Marchand affair, he then demanded his release in such terms that the duke had him imprisoned from 6 November until his dismissal in disgrace on 2 December. The Cöthen court had paid Bach 50 thaler on 7 August. Some have supposed that this was for travelling expenses, and that Bach had his wife and family moved to Cöthen soon after; but it seems unlikely that the duke would have allowed them to move until he had agreed to let Bach go. The younger Drese became Kapellmeister in his father’s place and Bach’s pupil J.M. Schubart became court organist. The post of Konzertmeister disappeared.

6. Cöthen.

  • Walter Emery
  • , revised by Christoph Wolff

Except during the few last months of his Weimar period, Bach had been on good terms with Duke Wilhelm; but his relations with that martinet must always have been official. At Cöthen, until the end of 1721, things were different; Prince Leopold was a young man who, as Bach himself said, loved and understood music. He was born in 1694, of a Calvinist father and a Lutheran mother. The father died in 1704, the mother ruled until Leopold came of age on 10 December 1715. There was no court orchestra until October 1707, when Leopold persuaded his mother to take on three musicians. While studying in Berlin in 1708, he met A.R. Stricker; from the end of 1710 to 1713 he was on the usual grand tour, during which he studied with J.D. Heinichen at Rome. He returned capable of singing bass, and of playing the violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord. The Berlin court orchestra had broken up in 1713, and from July 1714 he employed Stricker as Kapellmeister and his wife as soprano and lutenist; by 1716 he had 18 musicians. In August 1717 Stricker and his wife seem to have resigned, leaving the prince free to appoint Bach.

At Cöthen the St Jakob organ was in poor condition. The court chapel was Calvinist; it had an organist, but no elaborate music was performed there, and the two-manual organ had only 13 or 14 stops, though it may have had a complete chromatic compass to pedal e′ and manual e‴. The Lutheran St Agnus had a two-manual organ of 27 stops, again with an exceptional pedal compass. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that Bach wrote any particular work to exploit these pedal compasses, but no doubt he used one or both of the organs for teaching and private practice. He communicated at St Agnus, and took part in the baptisms at the court chapel, but had no official duties in either. He may, however, have been involved in the affair of May 1719, when a cantata was put on for the dedication festival of St Agnus, and 150 copies of (presumably) the libretto were printed. The printer’s bill for one thaler and eight groschen was endorsed by the pastor: ‘The churchwardens can give him 16 groschen; if he wants more, he must go to those who gave the order’.

Bach’s basic salary, 400 thaler, was twice Stricker’s, and extra allowances made it up to about 450. Only one court official was paid more, and there is other evidence that Bach was held in high esteem. On 17 November 1718 the last of his children by his first wife (a short-lived son) was named after the prince, who himself was a godfather. Bach’s residence in Cöthen is not definitely known, but it seems likely that he began as a tenant in Stiftstrasse 11; in 1721, when that house was bought by the prince’s mother for the use of the Lutheran pastor, he moved to Holzmarkt 10. The orchestra needed a room for their weekly rehearsals; the prince supplied it by paying rent to Bach (12 thaler a year from 10 December 1717 to 1722). Presumably there was a suitable room in Bach’s first house. Whether he continued to use that room after his move in 1721, and why he was not paid rent after 1722, is not clear.

The date of the first rent payment suggests that Bach and his household moved to Cöthen a day or two after he was released from prison (2 December); and that, after hasty rehearsals, he helped to celebrate the prince’s birthday on 10 December. That would normally have been his duty. The court accounts suggest that something connected with the birthday was either printed or bound in 1717, as also in 1719 and 1720 (Anh.7); Bach certainly wrote a cantata in 1722, and Cantatas nos.66a and Anh.5 in 1718. In 1721 there may have been no birthday celebrations, for the prince was married, at Bernburg, the next day. Cantata no.173a was undoubtedly a birthday work, but Bach probably wrote it after he had left Cöthen; 36a, an arrangement of 36c (1725), was performed at Cöthen on 30 November 1726, for the birthday of the prince’s second wife.

New Year cantatas also were expected. No.134a dates from 1719, Anh.6 from 1720, Anh.8 from 1723. There is no evidence for 1718, 1721 or 1722; printers’ and binders’ bills paid on 5 January 1722 may have been for music performed in December 1721. Bach may well have been unable to put on a wedding cantata, but there seems no reason why he should not have offered something for the prince’s birthday. Nos.184 and 194 (Leipzig, 1724, and Störmthal, 1723) seem to be arrangements of Cöthen works, and so perhaps are parts of no.120. Whether or not Bach performed a cantata at Cöthen on 10 December 1717, he was at Leipzig on 16 December examining the organ at the university church (the Paulinerkirche). The work had been done by Johann Scheibe, with whose son Bach was later in dispute. Bach is not known to have done any other work of this kind while at Cöthen.

On 9 May 1718 the prince went to drink the waters at Carlsbad for about five weeks, taking with him his harpsichord, Bach and five other musicians. Early in 1719 Bach was in Berlin, negotiating for a new harpsichord. About this time he seems to have been busy composing or buying music, for between July 1719 and May 1720 some 26 thaler were spent on binding. During 1719 Handel visited his mother at Halle, only some 30 km away; it is said that Bach tried, but failed, to make contact with him. Bach also disregarded a renewed request from Mattheson for biographical material.

W.F. Bach was nine in 1719; the title-page of his Clavier-Büchlein is dated 22 January 1720. In May Bach again went to Carlsbad with the prince. The date of their return does not seem to have been recorded; but apparently it was after 7 July, for that was the date of Maria Barbara’s funeral, and there is no reason to doubt Emanuel’s story that his father returned to find her dead and already buried. His wife had been nearly 36. Her death may well have unsettled Bach, and even led him to think of returning to the service of the church; but there was a more practical reason for his taking an interest in St Jacobi at Hamburg. The organist there, Heinrich Friese, died on 12 September 1720; Bach had known Hamburg in his youth, and must have been attracted by the organ, a four-manual Schnitger with 60 stops. There is no evidence that Bach was actually invited to apply for the post; but he may well have made inquiries of his own.

At all events, his name was one of eight being considered on 21 November, and he was in Hamburg at about that time. A competition was arranged for 28 November, but Bach had had to leave for Cöthen five days before. Three candidates did not appear, and the judges were not satisfied with the other four. An approach was made to Bach, and the committee met on 12 December; as Bach’s reply had not arrived, they met again a week later, when they found that Bach had refused. Perhaps he was unable, or unwilling, to contribute 4000 marks to the church funds, as the successful candidate actually did.

From the way in which the committee kept the post open for Bach, one may suppose that they had heard his recital at St Katharinen. Exactly how this performance was arranged, no-one knows; but in the obituary Emanuel stated that Bach played before the aged Reincken, the magistracy and other notables; that he played for more than two hours in all; and that he extemporized in different styles on the chorale An Wasserflüssen Babylon for almost half an hour, just as the better Hamburg organists had been accustomed to doing at Saturday Vespers. As a fantasia on this chorale was one of Reincken’s major works, this may seem a tactless choice; but the obituary makes it clear that the chorale was chosen by ‘those present’ and not by Bach himself. Reincken is reported to have said, ‘I thought this art was dead, but I see it still lives in you’, and showed Bach much courtesy. A later remark of Mattheson’s has been taken to imply that Bach also played the G minor Fugue bwv542, but there are good reasons to doubt it.

During 1720 Bach made fair copies of the works for unaccompanied violin, and must have been preparing the Brandenburg Concertos, whose autograph full score was dedicated on 24 March 1721 to the Margrave Christian Ludwig, before whom Bach had played in Berlin while negotiating for the new Cöthen harpsichord, between June 1718 and March 1719. What he played is not known; but he was invited to send in some compositions. As he himself said, he took ‘a couple of years’ over this commission, and then submitted six works written to exploit the resources of Cöthen. Such resources do not seem to have been available to the Margrave of Brandenburg, and it is not really surprising that he did not thank Bach, send a fee or use the score.

One of Bach’s friends at Cöthen was the goldsmith C.H. Bähr; Bach stood godfather to one of Bähr’s sons in 1721, and deputized for a godfather to another in 1723. About the beginning of August 1721 he gave a performance of some unspecified kind for Count Heinrich XI Reuss of Schleiz; this may have been arranged by J.S. Koch, the Kantor there, who had held a post at Mühlhausen, though possibly not in Bach’s time there. On 15 June 1721 Bach was the 65th communicant at St Agnus; one ‘Mar. Magd. Wilken’ was the 14th. This may well have been Bach’s future wife – the mistake in the first name is an easy one – but Anna Magdalena makes no formal appearance until 25 September, when Bach and she were the first two among the five godparents of a child called Hahn. This baptism is recorded in three registers. In two of them Anna is described as ‘court singer’, in the third, simply as ‘chamber musician’ (Musicantin). In September Anna was again a godmother, to a child called Palmarius; again the registers differ in describing her occupation. Her name does not appear in court accounts until summer 1722, when she is referred to as the Kapellmeister’s wife; her salary (half Bach’s) is noted as paid for May and June 1722.

Practically nothing is known of her early years. She was born on 22 September 1701 at Zeitz. Her father, Johann Caspar Wilcke, was a court trumpeter; he worked at Zeitz until about February 1718, when he moved to Weissenfels where he died on 30 November 1731. The surname was variously spelt. Anna’s mother (Margaretha Elisabeth Liebe, d 7 March 1746) was daughter of an organist and sister of J.S. Liebe who, besides being a trumpeter, was organist of two churches at Zeitz from 1694 until his death in 1742. As a trumpeter’s daughter, Anna may well have met the Bachs socially. The stories that she was a public figure, having sung at Cöthen and the other local courts since the age of 15, have been discredited; they are said to have arisen through confusion with her elder brother, a trumpeter. However, she was paid for singing, with her father, in the chapel at Zerbst on some occasion between Easter and midsummer 1721. By September 1721, aged just 20, she was at Cöthen, well acquainted with Bach (aged 36), and ready to marry him on 3 December. The prince saved Bach 10 thaler by giving him permission to be married in his own lodgings. At about this time Bach paid two visits to the city cellars, where he bought first one firkin of Rhine wine, and later two firkins, all at a cut price, 27 instead of 32 groschen per gallon.

On 11 December 1721 the prince married his cousin Friderica, Princess of Anhalt-Bernburg. The marriage was followed by five weeks of illuminations and other entertainments at Cöthen. This was not however an auspicious event for Bach: he was to leave Cöthen partly because the princess was ‘eine Amusa’ (someone not interested in the Muses) and broke up the happy relationship between Bach and her husband. Perhaps her unfortunate influence had made itself felt even before she was married.

A legacy from Tobias Lämmerhirt (Bach’s maternal uncle) had facilitated Bach’s first marriage; Tobias’s widow was buried at Erfurt on 12 September 1721, and Bach received something under her will too, though not in time for his second marriage. On 24 January 1722 Bach’s sister Maria, together with one of the Lämmerhirts, challenged the will, saying that Bach and his brothers Jacob (in Sweden) and Christoph (at Ohrdruf) agreed with them (Christoph had died in 1721). Bach heard of this only by accident; and on 15 March he wrote to the Erfurt council on behalf of Jacob as well as himself. He objected to his sister’s action, and said that he and his absent brother desired no more than was due to them under the will. On 16 April Jacob died; and the matter seems to have been settled on these lines towards the end of the year. Bach’s legacy must have amounted to rather more than a year’s pay.

In summer 1722 there was no Kapellmeister at the court of Anhalt-Zerbst, and Bach was commissioned to write a birthday cantata for the prince; for this he was paid 10 thaler in April and May. The birthday was in August, and payments made during that month presumably refer to the performance. If so, the work, which seems to have disappeared, was scored for two oboes d’amore and ‘other instruments’.

Several didactic works for keyboard belong to the Cöthen period. One is the Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena Bach. 25 leaves are extant, about a third of the original manuscript; there is a kind of title-page, on which Anna Magdalena (probably) wrote the title and the date and Bach (certainly) noted the titles of three theological books. Despite the sceptics, it remains reasonable to suppose that Bach gave the book to his wife early in 1722. It seems to have been filled by 1725. The autograph of Das wohltemperirte Clavier (book 1 of the ‘48’) is dated 1722 on the title-page but 1732 at the end. The writing is uniform in style, and for various reasons it is incredible that he did not finish the manuscript until 1732. This handsome fair copy was preceded by drafts, like those in W.F. Bach’s Clavier-Büchlein(begun in 1720); and some of the movements look earlier than that. Presumably Bach brought them together for convenience, partly to serve as the last step in his keyboard course, partly to exhibit the advantages of equal temperament. As in book 2, no doubt Bach transposed some of the pieces to fill gaps in his key scheme; the odd pairing of the prelude in six flats with the fugue in six sharps suggests that the former was originally in E minor, the latter in D minor.

Autograph MS of Bach’s organ chorale ‘Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich’ bwv605 (completed in new German organ tablature) from the ‘Orgel-Büchlein’, composed mostly c1713–15 (D-Bsb P 283, f.9r)

Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin
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The title-page was almost certainly the only part of the Orgel-Büchlein that Bach wrote while at Cöthen, but as another educational work it is best mentioned here. It was meant to be a collection of chorale preludes, not only for the ordinary church seasons but also for occasions when such subjects as the Lord’s Prayer, or Penitence, were being emphasized. The paper is of a kind that Bach used, as far as is known, only in 1714. A few items date from about 1740; in the rest, the writing resembles that of the cantatas of 1715–16. Of the 164 preludes Bach allowed for, he completed fewer than 50. Last in this group of works come the Inventions and Sinfonias, whose autograph fair copy is dated ‘Cöthen, 1723’. Its contents had already appeared, in earlier versions and under different titles, in W.F. Bach’s Clavier-Büchlein of 1720.

The story of Bach’s move to Leipzig begins with the death of Kuhnau, Kantor of the Thomasschule there, on 5 June 1722. Six men applied for the post, among them Telemann, who was still remembered for the good work he had done at Leipzig 20 years before. He had been doing a similar job at Hamburg for about a year, and was probably the most famous of German musicians actually living in Germany. One of the Kantor’s duties was to teach Latin. Telemann refused to do that; nevertheless, he was appointed on 13 August. But the Hamburg authorities would not release him, and offered to increase his pay; in November he declined the Leipzig post. At a meeting on 23 November Councillor Platz said that Telemann was no loss; what they needed was a Kantor to teach other subjects besides music. Of the remaining five candidates, three were invited to give trial performances; two dropped out, one because he would not teach Latin. By 21 December two Kapellmeisters had applied, Bach and Graupner. The other candidates were Kauffmann of Merseburg, Schott of the Leipzig Neukirche, and Rolle of Magdeburg. Of the five candidates, Graupner was preferred; he was a reputable musician, and had studied at the Thomasschule. He successfully performed his test (two cantatas) on 17 January 1723. But on 23 March he too withdrew, having been offered more pay at Darmstadt. Meanwhile, Bach had performed his test pieces (Cantatas nos.22 and 23) on 7 February 1723. Rolle and Schott had also been heard, and possibly Kauffmann too. The Princess of Cöthen died on 4 April, too late to affect Bach’s decision. On 9 April the council considered Bach, Kauffmann and Schott. Like Telemann, none of them wished to teach Latin. Councillor Platz said that as the best men could not be got, they must make do with the mediocre. The council evidently resolved to approach Bach, for on 13 April he obtained written permission to leave Cöthen. On 19 April he signed a curious document that reads as if he were not yet free from Cöthen, but could be free within a month; he also said he was willing to pay a deputy to teach Latin. On 22 April the council agreed on Bach, one of them hoping that his music would not be theatrical. On 5 May he came in person to sign an agreement; on 8 and 13 May he was interviewed and sworn in by the ecclesiastical authority; on 15 May the first instalment of his salary was paid; and on 16 May he ‘took up his duties’ at the university church, possibly with Cantata no.59. With family and furniture, he moved in on 22 May, and performed Cantata no.75 at the Nikolaikirche on 30 May. On 1 June, at 8.30 a.m., he was formally presented to the school.

This story has been told in some detail, because it throws light on the circumstances in which Bach worked at Leipzig. To him, the Kantorate was a step downwards in the social scale, and he had little respect for his employers. To the council, Bach was a third-rater, a mediocrity, who would not do what they expected a Kantor to do – teach Latin, as well as organize the city church music. The stage was set for trouble, and in due course trouble came. Councillor Platz on Telemann is curiously echoed by Councillor Stieglitz, ten days after Bach’s death: ‘The school needs a Kantor, not a Kapellmeister; though certainly he ought to understand music’.

7. Leipzig, 1723–9.

  • Christoph Wolff

The position of Kantor at the Thomasschule, held conjointly with that of civic director of music, had been associated with a wealth of tradition since the 16th century. It was one of the most notable positions in German musical life both in this and in the esteem it commanded; and there can be little doubt that the general attractiveness of the position in itself played a part – very likely the decisive part – in Bach’s decision to move from Cöthen to Leipzig. His subsequent remark about the social step down from Kapellmeister to Kantor must be seen in the context of his later disagreements with the Leipzig authorities, as indeed the letter in question (to Erdmann, a friend of his youth, on 28 October 1730) makes unequivocally clear. In any event, Bach was not the only Kapellmeister to apply for the post. The duties were incomparably more varied and demanding than those in Cöthen or Weimar (to say nothing of Mühlhausen or Arnstadt) and more or less corresponded to those undertaken by Telemann in Hamburg. It cannot have been mere chance that Bach wanted to tackle a range of duties comparable with those of his friend. Above all he must have preferred the greater economic and political stability of a commercial metropolis governed democratically to the uncertainties of the court of an absolute prince, where personal whim often held sway. The university – the foremost in the German-speaking world at the time – must have been another special attraction in the eyes of a father of growing-up sons.

The ‘Cantor zu St. Thomae et Director Musices Lipsiensis’ was the most important musician in the town; as such, he was primarily responsible for the music of the four principal Leipzig churches – the Thomaskirche, the Nikolaikirche, the Matthäeikirche (or Neukirche) and the Petrikirche – as well as for any other aspects of the town’s musical life controlled by the town council. In carrying out his tasks he could call above all on the pupils of the Thomasschule, the boarding-school attached to the Thomaskirche, whose musical training was his responsibility, as well as the town’s professional musicians. Normally the pupils, about 50 to 60 in number, were split up into four choir classes (Kantoreien) for the four churches. The requirements would vary from class to class: polyphonic music was required for the Thomaskirche, Nikolaikirche (the civic church) and Matthäeikirche, with figural music only in the first two; at the Petrikirche only monodic chants were sung. The first choir class, with the best 12 to 16 singers, was directed by the Kantor himself, and sang alternately in the two principal churches, the Nikolaikirche and Thomaskirche; the other classes were in the charge of prefects, appointed by Bach, who would be older and therefore more experienced pupils of the Thomasschule.

Musical aptitude was a decisive factor in the selection of pupils for the Thomasschule, and it was the Kantor’s responsibility to assess and train them. This was furthered by the daily singing lessons, mostly given by the Kantor. There was also instrumental instruction for the ablest pupils, which Bach had to provide free of charge but was thus enabled to make good any shortage of instrumentalists for his performances. Indeed, the number of professional musicians employed by the town (four Stadtpfeifer, three fiddlers and one apprentice) was held throughout his period of office at the same level as had obtained during the 17th century. For further instrumentalists Bach drew on the university students. In general the age of the Thomasschule pupils ranged between 12 and 23. Remembering that voices then broke at the age of 17 or 18, it is clear that Bach could count on solo trebles and altos who already had some ten years’ practical experience – an ideal situation, impossible in boys’ choirs today.

As far as church music was concerned, Bach’s duties centred on the principal services on Sundays and church feasts, as well as some of the more important subsidiary services, especially Vespers. In addition, he could be asked for music for weddings and funerals, for which he would receive a special fee. Such additional income was important to Bach, as his salary as Kantor of the Thomaskirche and director of music came to only 87 thaler and 12 groschen (besides allowances for wood and candles, and payments in kind, such as corn and wine). In fact, including payments from endowments and bequests as well as additional income, Bach received annually more than 700 thaler. Further, he had the use of a spacious official residence in the south wing of the Thomasschule, which had been renovated at a cost of more than 100 thaler before he moved in in 1723. Inside the Kantor’s residence was the so-called ‘Komponirstube’ (‘composing room’), his professional office containing his personal music library and the school’s. The buildings of the old Thomasschule were, scandalously, demolished in 1903 to make room for what is now the senior minister’s quarters; it was also then that the west façade of the Thomaskirche was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style.

During his early Leipzig years, Bach involved himself in church music with particular thoroughness and extreme energy. This activity centred on the ‘Hauptmusic’ composed for Sundays and church feasts. The performance of a polyphonic cantata, with a text related as a rule to the Gospel for the day, was a tradition inherited from previous Kantors. Even so, Bach engaged on a musical enterprise without parallel in Leipzig’s musical history: in a relatively short time he composed five complete (or nearly complete) cycles of cantatas for the Church year, with about 60 cantatas in each, making a repertory of roughly 300 sacred cantatas. The first two cycles were prepared immediately, for 1723–4 and 1724–5; the third took rather longer, being composed between 1725 and 1727. The fourth, to texts by Picander, appears to date from 1728–9, while the fifth once again must have occupied a longer period, possibly extending into the 1740s. The established chronology of Bach’s vocal works makes it clear that the main body of the cantatas was in existence by 1729, and that Bach’s development of the cantata was effectively complete by 1735. The existence of the fourth and fifth cycles has been questioned, because of their fragmentary survival compared with the almost complete survival of the first, second and third; but until a positive argument for their non-existence can be put forward the number of five cycles, laid down in the obituary of 1754, must stand. Compared with the high proportion of Bach’s works of other kinds that are lost (orchestral and chamber music, for instance), the disappearance of about 100 cantatas would not be exceptional. (The preservation of Bach’s works is discussed below, §11; see §III, (7), 15 for the correspondence of excess chorales in the Breitkopf collection of 1784–7 to the number of lost cantatas.)

The first cycle begins on the first Sunday after Trinity 1723 with Cantata no.75, which was performed ‘mit gutem applausu’ at the Nikolaikirche, followed by no.76, for the second Sunday after Trinity, performed at the Thomaskirche. The two largest churches in Leipzig are both Gothic in style, and in Bach’s time they contained stone and wooden galleries. The choir lofts were on the west wall of the nave above the council gallery. The organs too were in the choir lofts (the ‘Schüler-Chor’): the Nikolaikirche and the Thomaskirche each had a three-manual organ with 36 and 35 stops respectively (Oberwerk, Brustwerk, Rückpositiv, Pedal). The Thomaskirche had a second organ, fitted to the east wall as a ‘swallow’s nest’, with 21 stops (Oberwerk, Brustwerk, Rückpositiv, Pedal); this fell into dilapidation and was demolished in 1740. The organs were always played before cantata performances, during which they would provide continuo accompaniment; they were played by the respective organists at each church; during Bach’s term of office these were Christian Heinrich Gräbner (at the Thomaskirche until 1729), J.G. Görner (at the Nikolaikirche until 1729, then at the Thomaskirche) and Johann Schneider (at the Nikolaikirche from 1729). Bach himself, who had not held a regular appointment as an organist since his time in Weimar, directed the choir and the orchestra, and would not normally be playing the organ. However, he frequently must have directed his church ensemble from the harpsichord, as is documented for the performance of bwv198 in 1727. At any rate, the harpsichord was often, if not regularly, employed as a continuo instrument in addition to the organ.

The cantata was an integral part of the Leipzig Lutheran liturgy. It followed immediately on the reading from the Gospel, preceding the Creed and the sermon (the second part of a two-part cantata would follow the sermon, ‘sub communione’). Apart from organ playing and the congregational singing of hymns, selected by the Kantor, the other musical constituent of the liturgy was the introit motet, which would be taken from the Florilegium Portense(1618) by Erhard Bodenschatz, a collection mainly drawn from the 16th century (Lassus, Handl etc.), and was performed a cappella with harpsichord continuo. Services began at 7 a.m. and lasted three hours; this allowed a mere half-hour for the cantata, and Bach rarely overstepped this duration. The normal performing forces consisted of some 16 singers and 18 instrumentalists; the precise number varied according to the work, but it was rare for the total number of singers and players to fall below 25 or to exceed 40 (the figure required on exceptional occasions, like the St Matthew Passion, which demanded two Kantoreien and double the normal number of instrumentalists). Ordinarily the performing forces consisted of four groups: pupils from the Thomasschule (the first Kantorei); the eight salaried town musicians, until 1734 headed by J.G. Reiche and thereafter by J.C. Gentzmer; University students (principally Bach’s private pupils); and additional assistants (probably regularly including one or two paid soloists) and guests.

Bach took up his additional duties as musical director to the university, a post traditionally held by the Thomaskantor, in summer 1723, perhaps as early as 16 May, with the performance of Cantata no.59 in the university church, the Paulinerkirche, but in any event by 9 August, when he performed the Latin Ode bwv Anh.20 (now lost) at the university’s festivities marking the birthday of Duke Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha. The major part of his duties for the university comprised the musical provisions for the so-called quarter-day orations and the ‘old’ services in the Paulinerkirche, employing pupils from the Thomasschule and town musicians on the four major festivals of Christmas Day, Easter Day, Whit Sunday and Reformation Day; Bach was paid 2 thaler and 6 groschen on each occasion. He carried out the most important of his civic duties for the first time on 30 August 1723, when he introduced Cantata no.119 as part of the annual celebration of the change of town council. The enormous scope of Bach’s new responsibilities, as well as his vast workload, may be gauged from the fact that the day before (14th Sunday after Trinity) Cantata no.25 was heard for the first time, and the first performance of no.138 (for the 15th Sunday) was soon to follow.

September 1723 saw the start of Bach’s protracted wrangle with the university. In a written request for payment, he laid claim to the traditional right of the Thomaskantor to be responsible for the ‘old’ services and the quarter-day orations. The university, however, wanted to combine these duties with responsibility for the ‘new’ services (normal Sundays and holy days), which it had in April 1723 entrusted to J.G. Görner, organist of the Nikolaikirche, together with the title of ‘Musikdirektor’. On 28 September Bach’s request was turned down, and he was paid only half the fee. He would not give in, and turned to the Elector of Saxony in Dresden with three petitions. Following the intervention of the Dresden court, the university decided to put Görner in charge of the ‘new’ services only, and awarded Bach his traditional rights with payment as before. Thereafter, as the regular fee payments prove, Bach retained responsibility for the ‘old’ services and quarter-day orations until 1750.

About 2 November 1723 Bach inaugurated a new organ (which he had previously appraised) in Störmthal, outside Leipzig, with Cantata no.194. Then, from the second Sunday in Advent to the fourth, came his first break in the weekly routine of composing and performing cantatas; in Leipzig, unlike Weimar, this period was a ‘tempus clausum’, as was Lent up to and including Palm Sunday. On Christmas Day figural music returned, in a particularly splendid manner, with Cantata no.63 and the D major Sanctus bwv238 at the main service and the Magnificat bwv243a at Vespers; these were Bach’s first large-scale compositions on Latin texts such as were customary in Leipzig on major feast days. At this point in the calendar his duties were unimaginably heavy, yet he carried them out with incomparable creative vigour, producing Cantatas nos.40 and 64 for the feasts of St Stephen and St John the Evangelist, no.190 for New Year, no.153 for the Sunday after New Year (2 January 1724), no.65 for Epiphany (6 January) and no.154 for the following Sunday (9 January); after that, normal weekly services were resumed.

During the next ‘tempus clausum’ Bach composed his first large-scale choral work for Leipzig, the St John Passion, first performed at Vespers in the Nikolaikirche on Good Friday (7 April). This Vespers service had been introduced specially for the performance of a Passion only in 1721; in that year Kuhnau’s St Mark Passion (now lost) had been performed. Performances alternated annually between the Thomaskirche and the Nikolaikirche, an arrangement to which Bach strictly adhered. There is no documentary evidence of a Passion performance under Bach’s direction on Good Friday 1723, from which the older dating of the St John Passion derives. The work had several further performances, each time in a greatly altered version (see §III, (7), 14): on 30 March 1725 (in a second version adapted to the annual cycle of cantatas), probably on 11 April 1732 (in a third version) and on 4 April 1749 (fourth version); in about 1739 Bach undertook a revision of the work which remained unfinished.

With the first Sunday after Trinity 1724 (11 June) Bach began his second cycle; these were chorale cantatas. Not least because it included works composed at Weimar, the first cycle had been thoroughly heterogeneous in character, both musically and textually, but Bach gave the new cycle a unifying concept, with all the works based on texts, and their melodies, from the hymnbook. Unfortunately this series of chorale cantatas, beginning with no.20, O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, and its programmatic overture, was interrupted early in 1725 and Bach did not complete the cycle. On 25 June he was in Gera for the dedication of the organ at the Salvatorkirche. In July he went to Cöthen with Anna Magdalena for a guest appearance as a performer; he had retained the title of Court Kapellmeister there, and it lapsed only on the death of Prince Leopold in 1728. There is evidence of further visits to Cöthen, with Bach performing alongside his wife (who sang as a soprano), in December 1725 and January 1728. During 1725 Bach started to prepare a second Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena. On 23 February 1725 he performed Cantata no.249a at the Weissenfels court for the birthday of Duke Christian; this was the original version of the Easter Oratorio bwv249, first given at Leipzig the following 1 April. No.249a represents the beginning of a long-standing collaboration with the fluent Leipzig poet Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), the chief supplier of texts for Bach’s later Leipzig vocal works.

Bach produced congratulatory cantatas for two Leipzig University professors in May and August (nos.36c and 205). On 19–20 September he played on the Silbermann organ at the Dresden Sophienkirche before the local court musicians, thus continuing his practice of giving virtuoso organ performances on concert tours – and undoubtedly in Leipzig, too, although he no longer held a post as organist. His favourite instrument in Leipzig was evidently the great organ of the Paulinerkirche built by Johann Scheibe in 1716, with 53 stops, three manuals (Hauptwerk, Seitenwerk and Brustwerk) and pedals; Bach had been one of its examiners in 1717. Early in 1726 – during the third cycle, which had started in June 1725 – there was an interruption of Bach’s production of cantatas, for reasons that remain obscure: between February and September 1726 he performed 18 cantatas by his cousin (6) Johann Ludwig Bach (3/72). In particular, between Purification and the fourth Sunday after Easter, he performed none of his own music at the main Sunday services; even on Good Friday he used a work by another composer, Reinhard Keiser’s St Mark Passion, which he had performed once before, in Weimar. Difficulties with performers may have been partly responsible; the instrumental forces required in J.L. Bach’s cantatas are more modest than those Bach himself normally used. Even apart from this, however, the pattern of Bach’s cantata production – as far as can be judged from the available material – changed during the third cycle; there are considerable gaps as early as the period after Trinity Sunday 1725, and it seems that the third cycle, unlike the first two, extended over two years. In the gaps, cantatas by other composers and further performances of Bach’s own works were given.

Michaelmas 1726 saw the appearance in print of Partita no.1, under the general title of Clavier-Übung: with this Bach began his activity, later to increase in scope, as a publisher of keyboard music. Partita no.1, published singly, was followed by nos.2 and 3 (1727), no.4 (1728), no.5 (1730) and no.6 (1730 or 1731; no copy is known). Evidently the series was originally planned to comprise seven partitas. There are early versions of nos.3 and 6 in the second book for Anna Magdalena of 1725. Bach sent no.1, with a dedicatory poem, to the Cöthen court as a form of congratulation on the birth of an heir, Prince Emanuel Ludwig (born 12 September 1726). In December 1726, on the installation of Dr Gottlieb Kortte as university professor, Bach produced a more sizable occasional work, the dramma per musica, Cantata no.207.

In 1727 Bach composed two extremely important works. The St Matthew Passion, for double choir to a libretto by Picander, was performed on Good Friday (11 April; there is evidence that it was repeated in the Thomaskirche in 1729, 1736 and 1742; see §III, (7), 14). The other work was the Trauer Ode(Cantata no.198), performed in October at a memorial ceremony, planned by the university, on the death of the Electress Christiane Eberhardine, who had remained a Protestant when her husband, August the Strong of Saxony, converted to Roman Catholicism. For this Bach was commissioned to set a text by the Leipzig professor of poetry, Johann Christoph Gottsched. This became a somewhat controversial affair, as the university director of music, Görner, felt he had been slighted. Bach however retained the commission and performed the two parts of his work, ‘composed in the Italian manner’, directing it from the harpsichord, in the university church, on 17 October. Between 7 September 1727 and 6 January 1728 there was a period of national mourning, with no other musical performances.

In September 1728 a brief dispute with the church authorities flared up. The sub-deacon, Gaudlitz, demanded that he himself should choose the hymns to be sung before and after the sermon at Vespers; as it was usual for the Kantor to select these hymns, Bach felt that his rights had been encroached upon. The dispute was settled in the sub-deacon’s favour. Bach must have seen this as a setback, for once again his grievances had not been met; but his relations with the ecclesiastical authorities were on the whole good throughout his time at Leipzig. His relations with the town council and the head teachers of the Thomasschule went less smoothly, and were to become even more difficult in the 1730s. Documents dealing with the various disputes show Bach to have been a stubborn defender of the prerogatives of his office who frequently reacted with excessive violence and was often to blame if there was a negative outcome. It would be wrong, however, to draw hasty inferences about Bach’s personality and his relations with the world about him. It is unfortunate that about a half of Bach’s surviving correspondence is concerned with generally trivial but often protracted disputes over rights. This material is extant in public archives, while utterances of kinds not appropriate to archival preservation, which might have complemented this rather austere view of his personality, have survived in only small quantity. From Bach’s behaviour during these disputes it can be seen that, under pressure, he would defy bureaucratic regulations in order to preserve his independence and to clear himself an artistic breathing-space. His taking over of the collegium musicum in 1729, to be directed under his own management, must be seen in this context, as it represents something more than an incidental biographical fact.

Early in 1729 Bach spent some time at the Weissenfels court in connection with the birthday celebrations in February of Duke Christian, with whom he had long been associated. On this occasion the title of court Kapellmeister of Saxe-Weissenfels was conferred on him (his Cöthen title had lately expired); he retained the title until 1736. At the end of March he went to Cöthen to perform the funeral music for his former employer; only the text survives of this large-scale work in four parts (bwv244a), but much of its music can be reconstructed as it consists of parodies of bwv198 and 244. On 15 April (Good Friday) the St Matthew Passion was performed again at the Thomaskirche. On the second day of Whit week (6 June), what was probably the last cantata of the Picander cycle was performed, no.174. The manuscript, uniquely for Bach, is dated (‘1729’); perhaps this represents some sort of final gesture after a heavy, six-year involvement in cantata composition.

Beside the production of cantatas, Passions and other vocal occasional works, both sacred and secular, instrumental music retreated to the background during Bach’s first years in Leipzig. Apart from some keyboard and chamber works (including the sonatas for harpsichord and violin bwv1014–19) there appear to have been only a relatively small number of organ works (preludes and fugues, trio sonatas) which are hard to date individually but will have been primarily connected with Bach’s activities as a recitalist.

In June 1729 an invitation to visit Leipzig was delivered to Handel, then in Halle, by Wilhelm Friedemann, in place of his father who was ill at the time; but nothing came of it. Thus Bach’s second and last attempt to establish contact with his highly esteemed London colleague met with failure. Significantly, in both cases the initiative was taken by Bach.

8. Leipzig, 1729–39.

  • Christoph Wolff

On his appointment as director of the collegium musicum, decisive changes came about in Bach’s activities in Leipzig; and at the same time new possibilities were opened up. The collegium had been founded by Telemann in 1702 and had most recently been directed by G.B. Schott (who left to become Kantor at Gotha in March 1729); it was a voluntary association of professional musicians and university students that gave regular weekly (and during the fair season even more frequent) public concerts. Such societies played an important part in the flowering of bourgeois musical culture in the 18th century, and with his highly reputed ensemble, in such an important commercial centre as Leipzig, Bach made his own contribution to this. He took over the direction before the third Sunday after Easter – in other words, by April 1729 – and retained it in the first place until 1737; he resumed it for a few more years in 1739. He must have had strong reasons for wanting to take on this fresh area of work in addition to his other duties. To some extent it is possible to guess those reasons. For six years he had immersed himself in the production of sacred music, and he had created a stock of works sufficient to supply the requirements of his remaining time in office. In his efforts to provide sacred music that was at once fastidious and comprehensive he had met with little appreciation from the authorities, and no additional facilities (for example, much needed professional instrumentalists) had been placed at his disposal: it would be understandable if he now felt resigned to the situation. Further, as a former Kapellmeister, he must have been attracted by the prospect of working with a good instrumental ensemble, and another important incentive must have been the thought that, as director of the collegium, he would be able to establish a wholly independent musical praxis, in accordance with his own ideas. It is not known whether the new position brought him some additional income.

Nothing, unfortunately, is known about the programmes of the ‘ordinaire’ weekly concerts. But the surviving performing parts for such works as the orchestral suites bwv1066–8, the violin concertos bwv1041–3 and the flute sonatas bwv1030 and 1039 demonstrate that Bach performed many of his Cöthen instrumental works (some in revised form) as well as new compositions. The seven harpsichord concertos bwv1052–8, collected together in a Leipzig manuscript, also belong in this context. Bach often performed works by other composers as well, including five orchestral suites by his cousin Johann Ludwig, secular cantatas by Handel and Porpora and the flute quartets that Telemann wrote for Paris. Further, Bach’s many musical acquaintances from other places must have made frequent appearances, including his colleagues in the Dresden court orchestra (there is evidence of visits from J.A. Hasse, Georg Benda, S.L. Weiss, C.H. Graun and J.D. Zelenka). C.P.E. Bach’s remark that ‘it was seldom that a musical master passed through [Leipzig] without getting to know my father and playing for him’ must refer to performances of the collegium musicum, which took place on Wednesdays between 4 and 6 p.m. in the coffee-garden ‘before the Grimmisches Thor’ in the summer and on Fridays between 8 and 10 p.m. in Zimmermann’s coffee-house in the winter. In addition, there were ‘extraordinaire’ concerts, to mark special events; on these occasions, during the 1730s, Bach performed his large-scale secular cantatas. His activities with the collegium must have made heavy demands on him, and the reduction in his production of sacred music is easy to understand.

This does not, however, mean that his interest in sacred music was diminished (as Blume, G1963, claimed, with undue emphasis in the light of the revised dating of his works). Such a view is contradicted not only by the major ecclesiastical works written after 1730 but also by the simple fact that, throughout his period of office, Bach provided performances of his cantatas, a repertory largely completed before 1729, every Sunday at the two main Leipzig churches. His reference to the ‘onus’ of such undertakings, in connection with the performance of a Passion planned for 1739, might just as well have been made in the 1720s. Admittedly, his difficulties became particularly acute around 1730, as his important memorandum of 23 August 1730, dealing with the state of church music in Leipzig and outlining his remedies, testifies. His letter of 28 October that year, to his old friend Erdmann in Danzig, may be read in the same sense; sheer frustration that the memorandum had proved ineffectual drove him to consider leaving Leipzig. It would seem that his work with the collegium musicum had not yet brought about the intended equilibrium in his activities.

The situation had been aggravated by other, external factors. The old headmaster Johann Heinrich Ernesti had died in 1729 (Bach had performed a motet bwv226 at his funeral in October). During the subsequent interim in the Thomasschule’s direction the organization of school life was disturbed. Problems of space appear to have arisen too. It was in this context that complaints were made about Bach’s neglect of his school duties (the dropping of singing lessons, absence on journeys without leave); in August 1730 there was even a question of reducing his salary ‘because the Kantor is incorrigible’. It would appear that things were put right by J.M. Gesner, who took over the headship of the school in the summer, and who seems soon to have established friendly and familiar relations with Bach.

On Good Friday 1730 Bach apparently performed a St Luke Passion, not of his own composition. From 25 to 27 June the bicentenary of the Augsburg Confession was celebrated across Lutheran Germany, and Bach wrote three cantatas for the event (nos.190a, 120b, Anh.4a: all were parody cantatas). They are not untypical of his church compositions of this period, most of which were put together as parodies; and that is true also of the major vocal works like the St Mark Passion, the B minor Mass, the small masses and the Christmas Oratorio. The only sacred cantatas that Bach composed as entirely new works after 1729 are nos.117 (1728–31), 192 (1730), 112 and 140 (1731), 177 (1732), 97 (1734), 9 and 100 (1732–5) and 14 (1735).

In 1731 a collected edition of the six partitas appeared as op.1, under the title I.Teil der Clavier-Übung. From this form of words it is clear that Bach planned further ‘parts’ in a series of ‘keyboard exercises’, and these he now proceeded to produce. His new and continuing interest in publishing his own compositions is a clear sign of a new determination with regard to independent and freely creative activity. The first performance of the St Mark Passion, predominantly a parody work, took place on Good Friday of that year. At the end of June 1731 Bach and his family had to move to temporary quarters while rebuilding and extension work were being carried out on the Thomasschule. His residence must have become increasingly cramped, for his family was growing. In the early years in Leipzig Anna Magdalena had borne a child almost every year, but few of them survived infancy: Christiana Sophia Henrietta (b spring 1723; d 29 June 1726) Gottfried Heinrich (48)Christian Gottlieb (bap. 14 April 1725; d 21 Sept 1728)Elisabeth Juliane Friederica (bap. 5 April 1726; d Leipzig, 24 Aug 1781)Ernestus Andreas (bap. 30 Oct 1727; d 1 Nov 1727)Regina Johanna (bap. 10 Oct 1728; d 25 April 1733)Christiana Benedicta (bap. 1 Jan 1730; d 4 Jan 1730)Christiana Dorothea (bap. 18 March 1731; d 31 Aug 1732)Johann Christoph Friedrich (49)Johann August Abraham (bap. 5 Nov 1733; d 6 Nov 1733)Johann Christian (50)Johanna Carolina (bap. 30 Oct 1737; d Leipzig, 18 Aug 1781)Regina Susanna (bap. 22 Feb 1742; d Leipzig, 14 Dec 1809)

Joy and sorrow were everyday matters. But Bach’s family life must have been harmonious in more than one sense; in 1730 he reported, as a proud paterfamilias, that with his family he could form a vocal and instrumental concert ensemble. The family moved back into their refurbished apartment the next April. The school was reconsecrated on 5 June 1732 with a cantata, bwvAnh.18. In September 1731 Bach had been to Dresden for the first performance of Hasse’s opera Cleofide and to give concerts at the Sophienkirche and at court (there were enthusiastic reports in the newspapers). In September 1732 he went with his wife to Kassel for the examination and inauguration of the organ of the Martinskirche, where he probably played the ‘Dorian’ Toccata and Fugue in D minor bwv538.

With the death of Elector Friedrich August I of Saxony on 1 February 1733 a five-month period of national mourning began. However, the collegium musicum obtained permission to restart its performances in the middle of June, when a new harpsichord was introduced (possibly in the harpsichord concertos bwv1052–8). During the mourning period Bach composed the D major version of the Magnificat bwv243, which was probably first heard in Leipzig when the mourning was ended on 2 July (Visitation). Above all he worked on the Kyrie and the Gloria of the B minor Mass, which, in the hope of obtaining a title at the court Kapelle, he presented to the new Elector Friedrich August II in Dresden, with a note dated 27 July 1733, as a Missa in a set of parts. There is evidence to suggest that the Missa was performed at this time, perhaps at the Sophienkirche in Dresden, where W.F. Bach had been working as an organist since June 1733. Not until November 1736, however, was the title ‘Hofkomponist’ conferred on Bach, and even then only through the intervention of his patron Count Keyserlingk after a further letter of application. As a gesture of thanks, Bach paid his respects to the Dresden royal household and an enthusiastic public with a two-hour organ recital on the new Silbermann instrument at the Frauenkirche on 1 December 1736.

After the dedication of the Missa in July 1733, Bach kept the Saxon royal family’s interests in mind with his ‘extraordinaire’ concerts of the collegium musicum. On 3 August, the name day of the new elector, Bach began his remarkable series of secular cantatas of congratulation and homage with bwv Anh.12 (music lost), followed by Cantata no.213 (5 September, for the heir to the electorate), no.214 (8 December, for the electress), no.205a (19 February 1734, for the coronation of the elector as King of Poland; music lost), an unknown work (3 August, again for the elector), and no.215 (5 October, also for the elector, who was at the performance). Much of the festive music was performed in the open air with splendid illuminations, and according to newspaper reports the music benefited from a resounding echo. (On the day after the performance of no.215 Bach’s virtuoso trumpeter and the leader of the Leipzig Stadtpfeifer, Gottfried Reiche, died as a result of the exertions of his office.) During the following Christmas season Bach gave the people of Leipzig a chance to hear much of the music from his secular festive cantatas in modified form, as the Christmas Oratorio, which was heard in six sections between Christmas Day 1734 and Epiphany 1735 (and consisted predominantly of parodies of Cantatas nos.213–15).

On 21 November 1734 the new headmaster of the Thomasschule, Johann August Ernesti, was greeted with a cantata, bwv Anh.19 (Gesner had moved to the newly founded University of Göttingen as its first dean). Bach’s dealings with the directors of the school had been untroubled for four years, thanks to his friendly relations with Gesner; but with Ernesti he experienced the most violent controversies of his entire period as Thomaskantor. A dispute flared up in August 1736 over the authority to nominate the choral prefect, in which the interests of the Kantor and the headmaster were diametrically opposed. With his neo-humanist educational ideals, which placed priority on high academic standards, Ernesti showed little appreciation of the musical traditions. The tendency at the Thomasschule, at least from the start of Bach’s period of office, had been to restrict musical activities, or at any rate to reduce their proportions; Bach, on the other hand, demanded the best-qualified pupils to assist him, and certainly he must often have overburdened them (with music copying, rehearsals and so on). Against what were to some extent unfair arguments on the headmaster’s part, his struggles were doomed to failure. The grievances arising from the nomination of the choir prefect were taken before the courts in Dresden; the affair, which led to Bach’s having disciplinary difficulties with his pupils, was settled early in 1738 (the precise outcome is not recorded). The prefect in question, Johann Gottlob Krause, whom Bach refused to acknowledge, had already left the Thomasschule in 1737.

Bach’s autograph letter of recommendation for his pupil Johann Ludwig Krebs, 24 August 1735 (D-Zsa III Z.40.7, f.36r)

Stadtarchiv, Zwickau
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Among the more important events of 1735 was the appearance of the second part of the Clavier-Übung at Easter. In the context of Bach’s activities as a publisher it should also be mentioned that by 1729 he was also involved in the distribution of musical publications by other authors and kept a stock, including Heinichen’s book on figured bass, Walther’s Lexicon and keyboard works by Hurlebusch, Krebs and his own sons. On 19 May the Ascension Oratorio (Cantata no.11) was first performed; probably the Easter Oratorio (a revision of Cantata no.249a) was heard on the preceding Easter Sunday. In June he travelled to Mühlhausen, where he had spent part of his early career, to appraise the rebuilt organ in the Marienkirche, where his son Johann Gottfried Bernhard (47) had just been appointed organist. During Advent 1735, when no music was performed, and Lent 1736 Bach was probably engaged on the revision of the St Matthew Passion and in making a carefully laid-out fair copy of the new version. In this form, characterized by its writing for double chorus (with two continuo parts), the work was performed in the Thomaskirche on 30 March 1736, with the cantus firmus parts in the opening and closing choruses of part 1 played on the ‘swallow’s nest’ organ. Also at Easter the Schemelli Hymnbook, on whose tunes and figured basses Bach had collaborated, was published.

In summer 1737 Bach temporarily resigned the direction of the collegium musicum. For the last ‘extraordinaire’ concert on 7 October 1736 he had written the congratulatory Cantata no.206 on the birthday of the elector. Only two further works of homage are known from 1737–8 (bwv30a and Anh.13), which indicates that Bach was occupied primarily with the other things for which he had time after his release from the work associated with the collegium. He now turned to keyboard music, working on the second part of Das wohltemperirte Clavier, and on the third part of the Clavier-Übung, the largest of his keyboard works. This collection of organ pieces, some freely composed, some based on chorales, with large-scale works for a church organ and small-scale ones for a domestic instrument, appeared at Michaelmas 1739.

Bach obviously also devoted himself more than previously to private teaching in the late 1730s. Between 1738 and 1741, for example, J.P. Kirnberger and J.F. Agricola were studying with him in Leipzig – probably the most important and influential of all his pupils except for his own sons. Over the years Bach had something like 80 private pupils; among them were C.F. Abel (c1743), J.C. Altnickol (1744–8), J.F. Doles (1739–44), G.F. Einicke (1732–7), H.N. Gerber (1724–7), J.C.G. Gerlach (1723–9), J.G. Goldberg (c1740), G.A. Homilius (1735–42), J.C. Kittel (1748–50), J.G. Müthel (1750), J.C. Nichelmann (1730–33), J.G. Schübler (after 1740), G.G. Wagner (1723–6) and C.G. Wecker (1723–8).

In October 1737 Bach’s nephew Johann Elias (39) came to live with the family, as private secretary and tutor for the younger children; he remained until 1742. The surviving drafts of letters he prepared give a lively picture of Bach’s correspondence in these few years – and cause for regret that no other period is similarly documented. At this period Bach gave especially close attention to the study of works by other composers. He was a subscriber to Telemann’s Parisian flute quartets of May 1738; but more typical is his preoccupation with Latin polyphonic liturgical compositions. Thestile antico tradition seems to have held a particular fascination for him. In the first place he owed his knowledge of this repertory, to which he marginally contributed by making transcriptions (works by Palestrina, Caldara, Bassani and others), to his connections at Dresden. His knowledge of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater of 1736, which he reworked during the 1740s as a setting of Psalm li, Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden bwv1083 is also surprising; the earliest trace of Pergolesi’s work north of the Alps thus leads to Bach – a sign of the latter’s remarkable knowledge of the repertory. His interest in Latin liturgical music also relates closely to the composition of the short masses (Kyrie and Gloria) bwv233–6. These may have been written for the Protestant court services in Dresden, but that would not exclude performances in Leipzig.

On 14 May 1737 J.A. Scheibe, in his journal Der critische Musikus, published a weighty criticism of Bach’s manner of composition. This seems to have come as a severe blow to Bach. Evidently at his urging, the Leipzig lecturer in rhetoric Johann Abraham Birnbaum responded with a defence, printed in January 1738, which Bach distributed among his friends and acquaintances. The affair developed into a public controversy, the literary conduct of which, at least, was suspended only in 1739 after further polemical writings by Scheibe and Birnbaum. Scheibe acknowledged Bach’s extraordinary skill as a performer on the organ and the harpsichord, but sharply criticized his compositions, claiming that Bach ‘by his bombastic and intricate procedures deprived them of naturalness and obscured their beauty by an excess of art’. Birnbaum’s not particularly skilful replies fail to recognize the true problem, which lies in a clash of irreconcilable stylistic ideals. Nevertheless, his discussion of naturalness and artificiality in Bach’s style, and his definition of harmony as an accumulation of counterpoint, make some important statements about the premisses and unique character of Bach’s compositional art, and Bach himself must have been involved in their formulation. This is clear above all in the way in which ‘the nature of music’ is represented, with references to biographical details (such as the challenge to Marchand) and express mention of composers and works in Bach’s library (Palestrina, Lotti and Grigny). The controversy smouldered on for several more years. Mizler, too, shook a lance, pointing to ‘the latest taste’ in Bach’s cantata style (‘so well does our Kapellmeister know how to suit himself to his listeners’). In the end Scheibe climbed down, with a conciliatory review (1745) of the Italian Concerto in which he apologized handsomely (‘I did this great man an injustice’).

9. Leipzig, 1739–50.

  • Christoph Wolff

In October 1739 Bach resumed the direction of the collegium musicum, which had in the meantime been in the charge of C.G. Gerlach (organist at the Neukirche and a pupil of Bach). A composition for the birthday of the elector (7 October; the music is lost) dates from this time, but it would seem that Bach’s ambitions and activities in connection with the ‘ordinaire’ and ‘extraordinaire’ concerts were considerably diminished. There were few performances of congratulatory cantatas, and these were probably all repeats of earlier works. There are no signs, however, that Bach’s interest in instrumental ensemble music slackened; if anything, it underwent a certain revival and he continued to produce chamber music steadily throughout the 1730s.

Bach withdrew from the collegium musicum again in 1741. With the death of the coffee-house owner Gottfried Zimmermann (30 May 1741) the collegium had lost its landlord and organizer, and without him it could not long continue, at least as it had been run hitherto. Signs of reduced activity can be traced until 1744, and it is possible that Bach still presided over performances from time to time until that year. The collegium had made an important contribution to musical life in Leipzig for 40 years, both with and without Bach’s leadership, and even its demise was not without consequences for the future. In both its function and its membership it served to prepare the ground for a new focal point in civic musical life, the Grosses Concert, founded in 1743 on the lines of the Parisian Concert Spirituel and destined to be the immediate predecessor of the Gewandhaus concerts.

In August 1741 Bach went to Berlin, probably to visit Carl Philipp Emanuel who in 1738 had been appointed court harpsichord player to Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia (later Frederick the Great). In the two previous years Bach had made brief journeys to Halle (early 1740) and Altenburg (September 1739; he gave a recital on the new Trost organ in the castle church). In November 1741 there was a further journey, this time to Dresden, where he visited Count von Keyserlingk. In the same year, probably in the autumn, the ‘Aria with 30 Variations’, the so-called Goldberg Variations, appeared in print. Bach’s visit to Dresden may lie behind the anecdote related by Forkel, according to which the variations were commissioned by the count as a means of ameliorating sleepless nights, but the lack of any formal dedication in the original edition suggests that the work was not composed to a commission. It is conceivable, on the other hand, that after publication the count received a copy of the work for the use of his young resident harpsichord player Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who was a pupil of both J.S. and W.F. Bach. In his own copy (which came to light only in 1975) Bach added a series of 14 enigmatically notated canons on the bass of the Aria (bwv1087) in about 1747–8. They place a special and individual accent on the canonic writing that occupied him so intensively at that period.

On 30 August 1742, on the Kleinzschocher estate near Leipzig, a ‘Cantata burlesque’ (known as the Peasant Cantata, no.212) was performed in homage to the new lord of the manor, Carl Heinrich von Dieskau; this work is unique in Bach’s output for its folklike manner (except perhaps for the quodlibet in the Goldberg Variations). The thoroughly up-to-date characteristics of parts of the work show that Bach was not only intimately acquainted with the musical fashions of the times but also knew how to adapt elements of the younger generation’s style for his own purposes (as he also did in the third movement of the trio sonata from the Musical Offering).

Alongside this work, apparently his last secular cantata, Bach’s only vocal compositions of the 1740s were isolated sacred works (including Cantatas nos.118, 195, 197 and 200), some new, some refashioned. There is evidence, on the other hand, that he gave numerous performances of works by other composers, some newly arranged or revised. These included a German parody of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater (Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden bwv1083, c1745–7), a Latin parody after the Sanctus and ‘Osanna’ from J.C. Kerll’s Missa superba (Sanctus in D bwv241, c1747–8), Handel’s Brockes Passion (c1746–7 and 1748–9) and a pasticcio Passion after C.H. Graun (with inserted movements bwv1088 and ‘Der Gerechte kömmt um’ bc C 8). Bach also often repeated his own earlier sacred works. Evidence does not exist to form a complete picture, but they included revised versions of the St Matthew and St John Passions; the latter was performed for the last time during Bach’s lifetime on Good Friday 1749.

The only new vocal composition of any size was the Credo and following sections of the Mass, which, when added to the Missa of 1733 (bwv232I), produced the B minor Mass – a continuation of Bach’s preoccupation with Latin figural music during the late 1730s. No specific reason for the composition of the B minor Mass, and no evidence of a projected or actual performance, has so far come to light. One of the most plausible hypotheses is that the composition of the work (which is described in C.P.E. Bach’s Nachlass as ‘the large Catholic Mass’) was connected with the consecration of the Catholic Hofkirche in Dresden, planned for the late 1740s and then postponed (building started in 1739). All that is known for certain is that the expansion of the 1733 Missa by the addition of a Credo, a Sanctus (1724) and the movements from ‘Osanna’ to ‘Dona nobis pacem’ and the fusing of the various sections to create a unified score (see also §14) were done in the last years of Bach’s life – more precisely, between August 1748 and October 1749.

Instrumental music, however, once again came to the fore during the 1740s. Bach had begun to sift through his older organ chorales about 1739–42, probably following completion of Clavier-Übung III. Some of the Weimar pieces were extensively reworked and gathered into a new manuscript collection (the ‘18’, bwv651–68). These revisions may have been undertaken with a view to the subsequent appearance of the chorales in print, as happened with the six chorales on movements from cantatas (the ‘Schübler Chorales’) about 1748. Apparently Bach was still engaged in work on the chorales in the last months of his life. The copying from dictation of the chorale Vor deinen Thron bwv668, later the subject of legend, was in fact probably confined to an improvement of an existing work (the chorale bwv641 from the Weimar Orgel-Büchlein).

Bach retained his interest in organ building to the last. In 1746 alone there were two important examinations and inaugurations of organs: on 7 August in Zschortau and on 26–9 September in Naumburg. Bach’s appraisal of the large Hildebrandt organ in the Wenzelskirche, Naumburg, was one of his most important. He customarily subjected instruments to the most searching examinations, both of their technical reliability and of their tone quality. He had also taken a critical interest in the pianos that Gottfried Silbermann was building during the 1730s, proposing alterations in the mechanism which Silbermann evidently adopted. At all events, Bach praised Silbermann’s later pianos and promoted their sale (a receipt for one sold to Poland, dated 6 May 1749, survives). On his visit to Potsdam in 1747 he played on a range of Silbermann pianos of the newer type which had been purchased by the Prussian court.

The visit to the court of Frederick the Great in May 1747 is one of the most notable biographical events in Bach’s otherwise unspectacular life. The invitation probably came about through Count Keyserlingk, who was then in Berlin. Bach’s encounter with Frederick began on 7 May at the palace of Potsdam during the chamber music which was a feature of every evening of court life there. Bach’s execution on the piano of a remarkable improvisation on a theme supplied by the king met with general applause. The next day Bach gave an organ recital in the Heiliggeistkirche in Potsdam, and during chamber music that evening he improvised a six-part fugue on a theme of his own. He also visited the new Berlin opera house, and possibly went to look at organs in Potsdam and Berlin. On his return to Leipzig, probably in the middle of May, he worked industriously on an ‘elaboration of the King of Prussia’s fugue theme’, beginning with writing down the fugue he had improvised (a three-part ricercare), which, while in Potsdam, he had announced that he would print. But he now decided on a larger project and under the title Musikalisches Opfer (‘Musical Offering’) he prepared a work in several movements dedicated to Frederick the Great; this work was printed in its entirety by the end of September (Michaelmas) 1747. The royal theme serves as the basis for all the movements (two ricercares, in three and six parts, for keyboard; a trio sonata for flute, violin and continuo; and various canons for flute, violin and continuo with harpsichord obbligato).

In June 1747, after some hesitation, Bach joined the Correspondirende Societät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften founded by Lorenz Mizler. It was probably in 1747 that he submitted, as a ‘scientific’ piece of work, his canonic composition on Vom Himmel hoch bwv769. At the same time he sent the members an offprint of the six-part canon from the series on the bass of the Goldberg Variations. He seems, however, to have taken no further interest in the society’s affairs as (according to C.P.E. Bach) he thought nothing of the ‘dry, mathematical stuff’ that Mizler wanted to discuss. Besides his long acquaintance with his pupil Mizler, Bach’s most likely reason for joining the society was that prominent colleagues such as Telemann and Graun were fellow members.

The beginnings of his work on Die Kunst der Fuge (‘The Art of Fugue’) seem to date from around 1740, or before. It is impossible to give an exact date as the original composing score is now lost. However, what must be a first version survives in an autograph fair copy containing 14 movements (12 fugues and two canons) and dating from 1742 at the latest. Thereafter Bach expanded and revised the work in readiness for printing. He himself supervised the printing to a large extent, and the process was probably largely complete by about the end of 1749 (in other words, before his son Johann Christoph Friedrich, who had helped to correct the proofs, left to join the court at Bückeburg in January 1750). But Bach was not to see the entire work (eventually comprising 14 fugues and four canons) in print; his sons, probably C.P.E. in particular, took charge of the publication and the work appeared posthumously in spring 1751. Bach had been unable to complete the fair copy of the last movement, a quadruple fugue, and so the fugal cycle ends with an unfinished movement. The editors decided to mitigate the effect of that by adding the organ chorale bwv668, Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit, at the end; the revision of this had been the last piece of work to occupy Bach.

In his final years Bach suffered from increasingly severe trouble with his eyes, seriously restricting his ability to work and leading eventually to total blindness. He probably composed nothing after autumn 1749. The last known examples of his handwriting, which give an impression of increasing irregularity, clumsiness and cramping, go up to October 1749 (parts of the score of the B minor Mass). Other documents to which he put his signature date from as late as spring 1750. The cause of the eye disease seems to have lain in untreated (and untreatable) diabetes, which may also have caused neuropathy and degenerative brain disease, evidence of which is found in the dramatic change in his handwriting in manuscripts of 1748–9. He gave a performance of the St John Passion on Good Friday 1749 without completing the revision of the work begun in about 1740. His health must have been very poor by spring 1749 at the latest; otherwise the Leipzig town council would surely not have been so tactless as to submit J.G. Harrer, a protégé of the Dresden prime minister Count Brühl, to examination for the post of Kantor on 8 June 1749. Out of consideration for Bach the cantata performance was in a concert hall rather than one of the churches. The town chronicle reported that the authorities expected Bach’s death. When his grandson Johann Sebastian Altnickol (his pupil Johann Christoph Altnickol had married Elisabeth Juliane Friederica Bach) was baptized on 6 October 1749 in Naumburg Bach was unable to make the short journey to stand godfather in person.

Bach’s state of health and ability to work must have fluctuated during his last year. He appointed Johann Nathanael Bammler, a former choir prefect at the Thomasschule for whom he provided two excellent references in 1749, to deputize for him as occasion warranted. But in spite of everything Bach was not entirely inactive. In spring 1749 he is known to have corresponded with Count Johann Adam vom Questenberg, apparently about a commission or some other project. Although no details are known, this reaffirms Bach’s obviously well-established connections with some major noble patrons from the area of Bohemia (Count Sporck of Lissa and Kukus), Moravia (Count Questenberg of Jaroměřice) and Silesia (the Haugwitz family). From May 1749 to June 1750 he was engaged in a controversial correspondence about the Freiberg headmaster Biedermann. In May 1749 Biedermann had violently attacked the cultivation of music schools; Bach immediately felt himself called into battle, and among other things he gave a repeat performance of the satirical cantata about the controversy between Phoebus and Pan, no.201. His involvement is understandable, for he must have seen parallels with the state of affairs at the Thomasschule, where the same tendency fuelled Ernesti’s reforms. Bach solicited a rejoinder on the part of C.G. Schröter, a member of Mizler’s society, and even Mattheson joined in, from Hamburg. Once again, the affair throws light on the situation in German schools during the early Enlightenment and Bach’s last years as Thomaskantor. The integration of academic and musical traditions, which had been an institution for centuries, was in the process of turning into an irreconcilable confrontation.

At the end of March Bach underwent an eye operation, performed by the English eye specialist John Taylor (who was later to perform a similar operation on Handel). It was only partly successful, however, and had to be repeated during the second week of April. The second operation too was ultimately unsuccessful, and indeed Bach’s physique was considerably weakened. Yet as late as the beginning of May 1750 Johann Gottfried Müthel could go to Leipzig, stay at Bach’s house and become his last pupil. To what extent regular instruction was possible under these circumstances remains uncertain. In the next two months Bach’s health had so deteriorated that, on 22 July, he had to take his last Communion at home. He died only six days later, on the evening of 28 July, after a stroke. He was buried two or three days later at the cemetery of the Johanniskirche. It is not known what form the funeral ceremony took or what music was performed.

Bach’s wife, Anna Magdalena, who in addition to her domestic tasks was a loyal and industrious collaborator, participating in performances and copying out music, survived him by ten years. She died in abject poverty in 1760. On his death Bach had left a modest estate consisting of securities, cash, silver vessels, instruments – including eight harpsichords, two lute-harpsichords, ten string instruments (among them a valuable Stainer violin), a lute and spinet – and other goods, officially valued at 1122 thaler and 22 groschen; this had to be divided between the widow and the nine surviving children of both marriages. Bach himself had evidently given instructions for the disposition of his musical Nachlass, which is ignored in the official valuation. According to Forkel, the eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann ‘got most of it’ (see §III, (7), 11).

10. Iconography.

  • Christoph Wolff

The oak coffin containing Bach’s remains was exhumed in 1894: the detailed anatomical investigation by Professor Wilhelm His confirmed their identity and showed that Bach was of medium build. From a skull impression Carl Seffner, in 1898, modelled a bust, which shows an undoubted similarity with the only likeness of Bach that can be guaranteed as authentic, that of the Leipzig portraitist Elias Gottlob Haussmann. That portrait exists in two versions, one dating from 1746 (Museum für Geschichte der Stadt Leipzig; property of the Thomasschule) and one of 1748 (William H. Scheide Library, Princeton; see below, fig.4). The earlier, signed ‘E.G. Haussmann pinxit 1746’, was presented to the Thomasschule in 1809 by the then Thomaskantor, August Eberhard Müller. It is not known whence Müller had obtained the painting, but is quite probable that it had remained in the possession of one of Bach’s direct descendants until then. Of these the most likely is Wilhelm Friedemann (unless he had another replica of Haussmann’s painting) or Regina Susanna, who lived in Leipzig until her death in 1809. It is often supposed that the Thomasschule portrait is one that members of Mizler’s society were required by statute to donate to that institution, but that is highly unlikely: Bach probably did not present a portrait, at least in the form of a painting, to the society. With the passage of time the Thomasschule picture was severely damaged and repeatedly painted over. Thorough restoration in 1912–13 returned it more or less to its original condition, but it remains inferior to the excellently preserved replica of 1748. This has a reasonably secure provenance, out of C.P.E. Bach’s estate; it was owned privately for many years by the Jenke family in Silesia and then in England, before being exhibited in public by Hans Raupach in 1950.

The authenticity of an unsigned pastel portrait, probably painted after 1750, allegedly by either Gottlieb Friedrich or Johann Philipp Bach, and handed down in the Meiningen branch of the family, is not altogether certain, and neither is that of a group portrait of musicians, executed around 1733 by Johann Balthasar Denner (now in the Internationale Bachakademie, Stuttgart; a replica, in better condition, is in a private collection in the UK), which shows what may well be Johann Sebastian (with violoncello piccolo) and three of his sons.

Doubt hangs over the authenticity of all the other better-known and much reproduced portraits. The oil by Johann Jacob Ihle, dating from about 1720 and purporting to show Bach as Kapellmeister in Cöthen, comes from the palace at Bayreuth and was identified as a ‘picture of Bach’ only in 1897. But there is no concrete support for that identification, and the portrait’s earlier provenance is obscure; it now hangs in the Bachhaus in Eisenach. The portrait by Johann Ernst Rentsch the elder (now in the Städtisches Museum, Erfurt), allegedly representing Bach at the age of about 30, came to light only in 1907 and has no credible documentation. Many other apocryphal portraits, including the ‘portrait in old age’ discovered by Fritz Volbach in Mainz in 1903 (now in a private collection in Fort Worth), are of the ‘old man with a wig’ type and have nothing to do with Bach.

According to GerberL, probably authentic portraits that no longer survive were once owned by J.C. Kittel (from the estate of the Countess of Weissenfels) and by J.N. Forkel. A pastel from C.P.E. Bach’s collection (not the one referred to above) has not survived. During the 18th and 19th centuries many copies were made of the Haussmann portrait, both in oils and in various types of print; an engraving (1794) by Samuel Gottlieb Kütner, an art student at the Zeichenakademie, Leipzig, along with C.P.E. Bach’s son Johann Sebastian (1748–78), was said by Emanuel himself to be ‘a fair likeness’. The nearest we can nowadays get to his true physiognomy is probably in the 1748 version of Haussmann’s portrait, wherein, as a man in his early 60s, Bach is represented as a learned musician, with a copy of the enigmatic six-part canon bwv 1076 in his hand to demonstrate his status (fig.3).

Johann Sebastian Bach: portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, 1748, after an original of 1746 (William H. Scheide Library, Princeton, NJ); the composer holds a copy of his six-part canon bwv1076

William H. Scheide Library, Princeton, New Jersey / photo Willard Starks
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11. Sources, repertory.

  • Christoph Wolff

The earliest catalogue of Bach’s compositions – admittedly a very rough one – was included in the obituary that C.P.E. Bach and J.F. Agricola wrote immediately after Bach’s death but did not publish until 1754. It scarcely provides an adequate idea of the extent of Bach’s works, but it shows that nearly everything printed during Bach’s lifetime has survived to the present day: Cantata no.71, composed for the Mühlhausen town council election in 1708 (but not its counterpart of 1709); the four parts of the Clavier-Übung; the Schemelli Hymnbook; the Musical Offering; the Canonic Variations bwv769; the Schübler chorales; the Art of Fugue; and the canons bwv1074 and 1076. The great majority of Bach’s compositions remained unprinted, and most of those survived. The most serious losses occurred among the cantatas: perhaps more than 100, certainly two cycles of church cantatas and several secular occasional works. The funeral music for Prince Leopold of Cöthen (1729) and the St Mark Passion (1731) are among large-scale vocal works of which only the texts survive. A greater proportion of the music for organ and other keyboard instruments has probably survived than that in any other category. Losses among the orchestral and chamber works are almost impossible to estimate, but may be regarded (on the evidence of existing transcriptions, for example) as substantial.

On the assumption that Bach managed to keep his music together as far as possible during his lifetime, it seems that major losses occurred only on the division of his legacy in 1750, when the manuscripts, especially of the vocal works, were divided between the eldest sons and Bach’s widow. Most of them went to Wilhelm Friedemann, but he, unfortunately, was the least succussful at managing his inheritance; he was compelled for financial reasons to sell them off item by item, and the material is not simply scattered but for the most part lost. Only a few of the items inherited by Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian, including a printed copy of the Musical Offering and the autograph of the organ Prelude and Fugue in B minor bwv544 (signed with Johann Christian’s nickname ‘Christel’), can be traced. C.P.E. Bach’s and Anna Magdalena’s shares were better preserved. Bach’s widow gave her portion (the parts of the cycle of chorale cantatas) to the Thomasschule while most of C.P.E. Bach’s estate passed through Georg Poelchau’s collection into the Berlin Königliche Bibliothek (later the Preussische Staatsbibliothek and now the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin). This collection forms the basis of the most important collection of Bach archives. During the 19th century this library acquired further, smaller Bach collections, notably those from the Singakademie and the estates of Forkel, Franz Hauser and Count Voss-Buch (in some of which fragments from W.F. Bach’s inheritance appear).

Besides the original manuscripts – the autograph scores, and parts prepared for performances under Bach’s direction – which, in their essentials, Bach kept by him, many copies were made in the circle of his pupils, particularly of organ and harpsichord music. As many autographs of the keyboard works are lost, this strand is specially significant for the preservation of Bach’s works. In particular, important copies have come down through members of Bach’s family (including the Möllersche Handschrift and the Andreas-Bach-Buch, both compiled by Sebastian’s brother Johann Christoph), through J.G. Walther and through Bach’s pupils Krebs and Kittel. After Bach’s death Breitkopf in Leipzig became a centre for the dissemination of his music (again, primarily the keyboard music). In Berlin a notable Bach collection was made for Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia, under the direction of Kirnberger, in which all facets of Bach’s creative output were represented (now D-B Amalien-Bibliothek). These secondary sources have to serve when autograph material is not available – relatively often with the instrumental works (e.g. a large percentage of the organ pieces; the English and French Suites, toccatas, fantasias and fugues for harpsichord; duo and trio sonatas; concertos and orchestral works), more rarely with the vocal ones (e.g. Cantatas nos.106 and 159; motets bwv227–30; and the masses bwv233 and 235).

Research into source materials, notably in conjunction with the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, has proved fruitful. The use of diplomatic research methods has allowed most of the copyists who worked for Bach – and all the important ones – to be identified: ‘Hauptkopist A’ was J. Andreas Kuhnau (b 1703); ‘Hauptkopist B’ was C.G. Meissner (1707–60); ‘Hauptkopist C’ was J. Heinrich Bach (1707–83); ‘Hauptkopist D’ was S.G. Heder (b 1713); ‘Hauptkopist E’ was J.G. Haupt (b 1714); ‘Hauptkopist F’ was J.L. Dietel (1715–73); ‘Hauptkopist G’ was Rudolph Straube (b 1717); and ‘Hauptkopist H’ was J.N. Bammler (1722–84). Papers, inks and binding have been evaluated for the purposes of identification and dating; but above all Bach’s own handwriting, in its various stages of development, has served as the criterion for dating. A far-reaching revision of the chronology of Bach’s works (only some 40 of the originals are dated) has been made possible, leading to a substantial revision of previous conceptions, which were based for the most part on Spitta’s work. The new chronology was established in its important details by Dürr and Dadelsen during the 1950s. Since then it has been variously added to, modified and confirmed. For the vocal works it is now essentially complete; sometimes it is precise to the actual day. With the instrumental works the situation is more complicated, because the original manuscripts are often lost; in consequence, results have been less precise since the history of the secondary sources permits of only vague conclusions about composition dates (for example, copies originating from the circle around Krebs and J.G. Walther point to a date in the Weimar period); this makes it unlikely that any complete and exact chronology will be established for the instrumental works, though a relative one is now largely achieved.

Investigations of source material have also led to the solution of crucial questions of authenticity, particularly in connection with the early works but also affecting some of the later ones. For example, Cantata no.15, hitherto regarded as Bach’s earliest cantata, has now been identified as by Johann Ludwig Bach; similarly, Cantatas nos.53, 189 and 142 have been excised from the list of his works. Some instrumental works, such as bwv835–8, 969–70, 1024 and 1036–7, have been assigned to other composers. On the other hand, an important early organ work, bwv739, has now been authenticated and its manuscript ranks as probably Bach’s earliest extant musical autograph. Completely new finds have been made (bwv1081–120 and Anh.205) and numerous copies by Bach of other composers’ works have come to light; these provide additional information about his repertory and its context.

12. Background, style, influences.

  • Christoph Wolff

Bach’s output, unparalleled in its encyclopedic character, embraces practically every musical form of his time except opera. The accepted genres were significantly added to by Bach (notably with the harpsichord concerto and chamber music with obbligato keyboard); further, he opened up new dimensions in virtually every department of creative work to which he turned, in format, density and musical quality, and also in technical demands (works such as the St Matthew Passion and the B minor Mass were to remain unique in the history of music for a long time to come). At the same time Bach’s creative production was inextricably bound up with the external factors of his places of work and his employers, as was normal in his time. The composition dates of the various repertories thus reflect Bach’s priorities in his various professional appointments; for instance, most of the organ works were composed while he was active as an organist at Arnstadt, Mühlhausen and Weimar, whereas most of the vocal works belong to the period of his Kantorate at Leipzig. But Bach’s production was by no means wholly dependent on the duties attaching to his office at the time. Thus during his Leipzig period he found time to produce a body of keyboard and chamber music to meet his requirements for concerts, for advertisement, for teaching and other purposes. And his career may be seen as a steady and logical process of development: from organist to Konzertmeister, then to Kapellmeister, and finally to Kantor and director of music – a continual expansion of the scope of his work and responsibilities. This is no matter of chance. Bach chose his appointments, and chose the moment to make each move. If he was unable to accomplish what he required (as was often the case in Leipzig), he was capable of turning his attention elsewhere in pursuit of his creative aims. Bach was a surprisingly emancipated and self-confident artist for his time.

The uncertainty about the dating of Bach’s early works, with so little help in the form of source materials, makes it difficult to reconstruct and assess the beginnings of his work as a composer. It is to be supposed that he started to compose while under the tutelage of his elder brother in Ohrdruf, but although he took no formal lessons with an established composer, as Handel did with Zachow, it would be mistaken to call him self-taught as a composer, for the significance of his belonging to a long-standing family of professional musicians should not be underestimated. Composing was probably overshadowed by instrumental playing in Ambrosius Bach’s family; this must to some extent have applied to the young Johann Sebastian, and probably he devoted more attention to developing his skills as an instrumentalist, especially as an organist, than to composition studies. But the art of improvisation – in those days inseparably bound up with practice on the instrument – would at the very least prepare the ground for his work as a composer. This reciprocity between performing and composing is reflected in the unruly virtuoso and improvisatory elements in Bach’s early works.

As composers who influenced the young Bach, C.P.E. Bach cited (in 1775, in letters to Forkel) Froberger, Kerll, Pachelbel, Frescobaldi, Fischer, Strungk, certain French composers, Bruhns, Buxtehude, Reincken and Böhm – almost exclusively keyboard composers; C.P.E. Bach also said that Bach formed his style through his own efforts and developed his fugal technique basically through private study and reflection. In his letter of resignation from Mühlhausen Bach himself wrote of having procured a good supply of the very best vocal compositions, suggesting that in vocal music too he was decisively stimulated by the study of other composers’ music. Bach came into personal contact with the last three of the composers named by C.P.E.; there was no question of any teacher–pupil relationship. No record survives of what works he collected at Mühlhausen, but they might have included Keiser’s St Mark Passion, a six-part mass by Peranda and an italianate chamber concerto by Biffi, for his early autograph copies of all these survive, demonstrating the breadth of his knowledge of the repertory. As later influences, C.P.E. Bach named Fux, Caldara, Handel, Keiser, Hasse, the two Grauns, Telemann, Zelenka and Benda. This list, though certainly less representative than the earlier one, suggests that Bach’s main interests still lay in his great contemporaries, whose music he not only heard but also studied in transcripts. With them he abandoned his one-sided attention to the organists among older composers, but his interest in the retrospective style represented by Fux and Caldara, complemented by his enthusiasm (mentioned by Birnbaum, 1737) for Palestrina and Lotti, is notable, and is borne out by tendencies in his music from the mid-1730s. Clearly he also became interested in, and ready to follow, more recent stylistic trends, particularly in respect of the music of Hasse, the Graun brothers and Benda (for example in the ‘Christe eleison’ of what was to become the B minor Mass) and in such works as the Peasant Cantata, the Goldberg Variations and the Musical Offering). Mizler, in an article of 1739 on Bach’s cantata style, referring to the Scheibe–Birnbaum controversy, mentioned a work (bwv Anh.13, lost) composed ‘perfectly in accordance with the newest taste’ (‘vollkommen nach dem neuesten Geschmack eingerichtet’).

Curiously, C.P.E. Bach’s list of the masters his father had ‘loved and studied’ contains no mention of Vivaldi and the two Marcellos, or of Corelli, Torelli and other late Baroque Italian composers. Forkel compensated for this by his emphasis on the importance of Vivaldi’s concertos, without citing any particular source to support his claim. Indeed, it was Vivaldi who exercised what was probably the most lasting and distinctive influence on Bach from about 1712–13, when a wide range of the Italian repertory became available to the Weimar court orchestra. Bach drew from Vivaldi his clear melodic contours, the sharp outlines of his outer parts, his motoric and rhythmic conciseness, his unified motivic treatment and his clearly articulated modulation schemes. His confrontation with Vivaldi’s music in 1713–14 provoked what was certainly the strongest single development towards his own personal style. In Forkel's words, Vivaldi ‘taught him to think musically’; his musical language acquired its enduring quality and unmistakable identity through his coupling of italianisms with complex counterpoint, marked by busy interweavings of the inner voices as well as harmonic refinement. It is impossible to describe Bach’s personal style by means of simple formulae; but the process of adaptation and mutation that can be felt throughout his output seems to have taken a particularly characteristic turn at that point in 1713–14 whose principal landmarks are the Orgel-Büchlein and the first Weimar series of cantatas. His adaptation and integration of various contemporary and retrospective styles represent his systematic attempt at shaping and perfecting his personal musical language (‘unlike that of any other composer’, according to C.P.E. Bach) and expanding its structural possibilities and its expressive powers.

An essential component of Bach’s style can be seen in his combination of solid compositional craftsmanship with instrumental and vocal virtuosity. The technical demands made by his music reflect his own prowess as an instrumentalist. Bach’s own versatility – his early involvement in singing (it is not known whether he was later active as a singer), and his experience as a keyboard player, violinist and viola player – was partly responsible for the fact that demanding technical standards became the norm for every type of composition he wrote. This led to Scheibe’s famous criticism: ‘Since he judges according to his own fingers, his pieces are extremely difficult to play; for he demands that singers and instrumentalists should be able to do with their throats and instruments whatever he can play on the keyboard. But this is impossible’. It makes no essential difference at what level these demands are made (for instance between the Inventions and the Goldberg Variations, the four-part chorale and the choral fugue); everywhere Bach’s requirements are the antithesis of conventional simplicity. Yet technical virtuosity never predominates; it becomes a functional element within the composition as a whole. Bach’s impulse towards integration is also manifested in the typically instrumental idiom in which he cast his vocal parts. He thus produced in his music for voices and instruments a homogeneous language of considerable density. Even so, he differentiated between instrumentally and (less often) vocally dominated types of writing; but even in such vocally dominated pieces as the Credo of the B minor Mass he maintained both the density and the uncompromising, yet appropriate technical standard. It is of course significant, as regards both matters of technique and the quality of his music in general, that, as far as we know, he wrote almost exclusively for himself, his own ensembles and his own pupils, and never for a broader public (let alone a non-professional one). This partly explains why his music – unlike, say, Telemann’s or Handel’s – was disseminated within unusually narrow confines.

13. Cantatas.

  • Christoph Wolff

About two-fifths of Bach’s sacred cantatas must be considered lost; of the secular cantatas, more are lost than survive. Thus it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the evolution of the cantata in Bach’s hands, even though the surviving repertory is considerable and roughly proportional to the number of cantatas composed at each place where he worked.

The earliest surviving cantatas, and probably Bach’s first, date from the Mühlhausen and perhaps even the Arnstadt period; they include – as the earliest of all – nos.150, 131, 106 and 196 (c1707). The best, in both form and content, are nos.106 and 71. The latter is especially sumptuous, and its appearance in print bore the young composer’s reputation far beyond the boundaries of Mühlhausen. The early vocal works belong almost without exception to the category of ‘organist’s music’, that is they are pieces composed for particular occasions, not regular cantatas for the Sundays and feast days in the church calendar. Nor do they conform to the type established as modern by Neumeister in 1701, but they rely closely on central German tradition. Their texts are mostly taken from the Bible or the chorale repertory; freely conceived poetry is rare (found only in nos.71, 106 and 150). Musically they consist of a succession of different formal types – concerto, motet, (strophic) aria and chorale – adapted and combined to suit the composer’s purpose. Bach did not call them cantatas: as a rule he reserved that term for the solo cantata of the Italian type (like nos.211 and 212), calling his sacred cantatas ‘Concerto’, and in earlier works ‘Motetto’, sometimes ‘Dialogus’ (depending on the text) or simply ‘Music’.

Bach’s early cantatas are distinguished from their central German precursors, which must have been familiar to him from his upbringing, by his tendency to give each movement a unified structure and his development of a broad formal scheme. He found the means to unify movements that for the most part do not function as closed numbers by reducing motivic material (in the solo movements). Reacting against haphazard sequential form, with its danger of formal dissolution, he began to use strictly symmetrical sequences of movements to underpin the overall cyclic structure: for example, chorus–solos–chorus–solos–chorus (no. 106).

During Bach’s early Weimar years, organ music must have dominated his output; on the other hand, the letters written in 1712–13 by his pupil at Weimar, Johann Philipp Kräuter, show that Bach encouraged him to write cantatas. 1713 is the date, too, of what seems to be Bach’s first secular cantata, the Jagd-Kantate no.208, written to a commission from the Weissenfels court (where it had a repeat performance before 1717). The piece shows Bach, obviously newly acquainted with the Italian style, taking up the recitative and the modern kind of aria (for preference the da capo aria), a step which had a decisive effect on the next sacred cantatas, nos.199, 21 and 63 (nos.21 and 63 were probably written in connection with his application to succeed Zachow in Halle in December 1713). With his nomination as court Konzertmeister on 2 March 1714, he started to produce cantatas on the whole regularly from the end of March onwards, in accordance with an agreement ‘to perform a piece of his own composition under his own direction, in the chapel of the royal castle, on every fourth Sunday at all seasons’. This was Bach’s first opportunity to compose a whole cantata cycle, albeit over a fairly long time-span; however, as things turned out, the number he wrote in Weimar amounted to little more than 20. The principle of the annual cycle is closely bound up with the history of the cantata from Neumeister on; the texts were mostly published in cycles, one for each Sunday and feast day in the church year. Bach, admittedly, never adhered strictly to a single poet (except in the lost Picander cycle of 1728–9), preferring to pick and choose. In Weimar he turned for the first time to librettos by Neumeister (nos.18 and 61) and used texts by G.C. Lehms (1684–1717; nos.199 and 54), but evidently preferred texts by the Weimar court poet Salomo Franck (1659–1725), the author of extremely original and profoundly felt sacred and secular poetic texts, among the best Bach set. Nos.21, 63 and 199 are among cantatas dating from before 1714; regular production began with Cantata no.182 on 25 March 1714. There followed, usually at four-week intervals, in 1714 nos.12, 172, 61, 152; in 1715 nos.18, 54, 31, 165, 185, 163, 132; in 1716 nos.155, 80a, 161, 162, 70a, 186a and 147a. Repeat performances of nos.21, 199, 31, 165 and 185 were slotted into the cycle. Gaps are accounted for by the loss of certain cantatas and in one case by the period of mourning from 11 August to 9 November 1715.

Musically the works are of particular importance for the development they show in Bach’s personal style of writing for voices and instruments. The recitatives contain extensive arioso sections to begin with, but these gradually disappear (although the combinatorial element was to remain typical of Bach throughout his life); the arias become longer, in free or (more usually) strict da capo form and occasionally using more complex structures. The choruses embrace a multiplicity of formal principles, among them fugue and canon (no.182), passacaglia (12), concerto (172), motet (21) and French overture (61). Also notable are the overlapping of instrumental and vocal formal schemes (the use of Chor- and Vokaleinbau) and instrumental quotations of chorale melodies. The extraordinarily colourful instrumentation is especially characteristic: within the smallest of performing ensembles Bach tried out a great variety of combinations, for example recorder, oboe, viola d'amore and viola da gamba in Cantata no.152. Following the Italian ideal, his orchestral writing moved away from the French practice of five-part writing, with two violas, which predominates in the early cantatas towards a more flexible four-part style. Instead of the harmonic weight of the middle voices in five-part writing Bach provided a rhythmically and melodically active viola part that is particularly characteristic.

In Cöthen, corresponding to Bach’s official responsibilities, only secular cantatas were composed (with the single exception of bwvAnh.5) and those were mostly written for New Year celebrations or the prince’s birthday. Bach’s librettist was C.F. Hunold (‘Menantes’, 1681–1721). Among the Cöthen cantatas, many survive only as verbal texts (Anh.6–8) or are lost altogether; a substantial part of the music survives only for nos.66a, 134a, 173a, 184a and 194a. These pieces mostly exemplify the ‘serenata’ type of work, with succinct operatic treatment in dialogues between allegorical figures. It is not surprising that they reflect Bach’s study of the instrumental concerto of the period (in part in the solo–tutti differentiation) or that dance characteristics appear, notably in the solo movements. Bach used transverse flutes in Cantata no.173a, evidently for the first time.

Autograph MS of Bach’s Serenata ‘Durchlauchtster Leopold’bwv173a, composed c1722, with the text of the sacred cantata ‘Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut’ bwv173 added 1724 (D-Bsb P 42, f.1r)

Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin
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At Leipzig the performance of sacred cantatas on Sundays and feast days (some 60 a year) was one of Bach’s chief tasks, and he produced a large number of new works. His vast workload meant that within the first cycle, beginning on the first Sunday after Trinity (30 May), he not only had to rely on repeat performances of earlier sacred cantatas but also had to resort to parodies of secular cantatas written at Cöthen. Nevertheless, his first cycle (1723–4) contains the following new compositions: nos.75, 76, 24, 167, 136, 105, 46, 179, 69a, 77, 25, 119, 138, 95, 148, 48, 109, 89, 60, 90, 40, 64, 190, 153, 65, 154, 155, 73, 81, 83, 144, 181, 67, 104, 166, 86, 37 and 44; to these must be added his test works (nos.22 and 23, for Quinquagesima 1723) and no.194, composed for the consecration of the new organ in Störmthal. Apart from no.24 (Neumeister) and nos.64, 69a and 77, the poet or poets of this first cycle remain for the most part unknown. The use of Knauer’s Gotha cycle of 1720, which provides two texts for each Sunday and feast day, together with the fact that cantatas in two parts, or two separate cantatas, were sometimes performed (before and after the sermon) – such as nos.75, 76, 21, 24+185, 147, 186, 179+199, 70, 181+18, 31+4, 172+59, 194+165 and 22+23 – indicates that Bach designed his first Leipzig cycle, in part at least, as a double cycle.

Thus in his first year at Leipzig Bach furnished himself with an astonishingly concentrated repertory, and his emphasis on the cantata genre also gave him mastery over an incomparable variety of forms, free from any schematicism. Three favourite groundplans are: biblical text–recitative–aria–recitative–aria–chorale (nos.46, 105, 136 etc.); biblical text–recitative–chorale–aria–recitative–aria–chorale (nos.40, 48, 64 etc.); biblical text–aria–chorale–recitative–aria–chorale (nos.86, 144, 166 etc.). A constant feature, characteristic of the Leipzig cantatas as a whole, is the framework, comprising an introductory choral movement in the grand style (solo pieces appear rarely at the start) and closing four-part chorale, simple but expressive. Compared with the Weimar cantatas, the orchestral forces are larger. From no.75 onwards the brass (mainly trumpets and horns) are more strongly deployed, the flute is brought into play increasingly after 1724, and the oboe d’amore (from no.75) and oboe da caccia (from no.167) are introduced as new instruments, as are the violino piccolo and violoncello piccolo at a later date. Instrumental virtuosity is heightened, and the melismatic quality of the vocal writing is further developed. The ‘prelude and fugue’ type of movement is frequently used for the introductory chorus (as in no.46).

The second cycle, dating from 1724–5, consists mainly of a series of freshly composed chorale cantatas (i.e. cantatas of which both text and music are based on hymns): nos.20, 2, 7, 135, 10, 93, 107, 178, 94, 101, 113, 33, 78, 99, 8, 130, 114, 96, 5, 180, 38, 115, 139, 26, 116, 62, 91, 121, 133, 122, 41, 123, 3, 111, 92, 125, 126, 127 and 1. From Easter 1725 this series was continued at first with cantatas of the traditional kind, that is with texts related to the prescribed scriptural readings for the day (nos.249, 6, 42 and 85), and then with nine cantatas to texts by Mariane von Ziegler (1695–1760): 103, 108, 87, 128, 183, 74, 68, 175 and 176, in all of which there is a tendency to use forms closer to those of the first cycle. 1724–5 was not only the most productive year for cantatas, as far as is known from the surviving works at least; it also, with the chorale cantata, saw the beginnings of a type that perhaps represents Bach’s most important contribution to the history of the genre. What is particularly striking is his endeavour to lay out the introductory movements as large-scale cantus firmus compositions, each adhering to a different structural principle. Cantata no.20, and with it the second cycle, opens with a chorale movement for chorus in the form of a French overture which it is possible to regard as a kind of programmatic statement, whereas the opening chorus of no.2 takes the retrospective form of a chorale motet. By this means Bach marked out a broad framework, in terms of both musical style and compositional technique, to indicate the conceptual range of the cycle he was starting. Cohesion between the movements within each cantata is guaranteed, at least from the textual point of view, by their relationship to the fundamental chorale (with chorale paraphrases for the solo pieces, as opposed to the procedure in no.4); often it is further emphasized by references to the cantus firmus and by the use of various ways of intermingling cantus firmus and free material. The author of the texts for the chorale cantatas is not known – Pastor Christian Weiss of the Thomaskirche, who used to preach chorale sermons, is a possibility.

With the third cycle, from 1725–7, the continuous, weekly production of cantatas ends, or so the sources indicate. It appears, however, from a surviving printed textbook of 1725 covering the third to the sixth Sunday after Trinity, that this cycle must have suffered substantial losses. When his production was actually interrupted Bach usually filled the gaps with works by other composers, including no fewer than 18 cantatas by his cousin Johann Ludwig Bach of Meiningen. The cantatas of the third cycle offer no major innovations in the way of musical structure, but they notably include solo (nos.52, 84, 35 etc.) and dialogue cantatas (58, 32, 49 etc.), as well as large-scale works in two parts. There is an absence of overall formal integrity in the planning of this cycle, but Bach reveals a wide variety of ambitions and intentions, among them completing the cycle of chorale cantatas with further works of that type (no.137), reverting to older texts by Neumeister (28), Franck (72), Lehms (110, 57, 151, 16, 32, 13, 170 and 35) or from a Rudolstadt textbook (17, 39, 43, 45, 88, 102 and 187) and experimenting with the use of complementary texts from the Old and New Testaments (the former in the opening movement, the latter in a central one: Rudolstadt texts). One remarkable trait of the cycle is the frequent introduction of older instrumental movements, pre-eminently as sinfonias but sometimes also with choral participation (the reconstruction of the first movement of the Orchestral Suite bwv1069 to open Cantata no.110 is an example of this). A remarkable innovation in summer 1727 was the appearance of obbligato organ parts (nos.34, 146, 169, 49 and 188), found in both sinfonias (recycling instrumental concertos) and arias.

The third cycle was followed by the 1728–9 cycle on texts by Picander, which has disappeared but for a few remnants (1728: nos.149, 188, 197a; 1729: nos.171, 156, 159, Anh.190, 145 and 174). That Bach really did set the whole of Picander’s Cantaten auf die Sonn- und Fest-Tage durch das gantze Jahr (Leipzig, 1728) as his fourth cycle cannot be accepted without reservation. At the same time, the poet must have been expressing something more than a pious hope when he wrote in the preface ‘that any lack of poetic charm may perhaps be compensated for by the gracefulness of the incomparable Herr Kapellmeister Bach and these songs [Lieder] may be performed in the principal churches of prayerful Leipzig’. One of the characteristics of Picander texts is the frequent interpolation of chorale verses in the free poetry, creating attractive opportunities for mingling choruses and arias, which were not wasted on Bach (see nos.156 and 159, or the first movement of the St Matthew Passion). The cantatas written after 1729 offer nothing essentially new in formal terms, as far as can be determined from those that survive, but they show signs of a late style beginning to develop, manifested (in no.195 for example) above all in a more refined shaping of the accompanied recitative and a more integral, polyphonic treatment of the final chorale (entailing some modification of the cantus firmus). Some of the later cantatas (nos.117, 192, 112, 177, 97 and 100) show an interesting modification of the chorale type: they relinquish freely composed texts but (unlike the older per omnes versus type represented by Cantata no.4) set the central movements as recitatives and arias.

It is impossible to reconstruct a fifth cycle worthy of the name from the surviving works (not even given the large number of unattributed four-part chorales: see §III, (7), 15), but it would have had to be composed over a rather longer period of time, mainly in the 1730s. The mention in the obituary of ‘five cycles of church pieces, for every Sunday and holy day’ is just a tantalizing hint of how much has been lost.

Besides the cantatas composed in connection with the church year, Bach also wrote sacred cantatas for other occasions, like changes of town council, weddings, funerals, the bicentenary of the Augsburg Confession (1730) and inaugurations of organs; in style these are essentially indistinguishable from the other works. The body of cantatas, for all its variety, has an unusually self-contained character, maintained above all by its consistently high musical quality and its unfailing expressive profundity. The distinctive expressive power of Bach’s musical language did not merely evolve in the cantatas, in many essential respects, but also finds its most characteristic representation in them. His expressive urge, as seen in individual arias and choruses, was not confined to single words as the primary bearers of expression, but was geared to movements and formal sections as a whole, in keeping with Baroque formal models (like the ABA of the da capo aria). Only within the context of a movement’s structural and expressive unity did he regard the special treatment of single words as possible or meaningful. Among the tools of Bach’s craft the traditions of musica poetica and musical rhetoric (the theory of musical figures) must certainly be reckoned. They were deeply rooted in him. Yet to reduce Bach’s intentions to their rhetorical and figural components, or even to emphasize those components, would be to diminish their true breadth. Over and above this objective of expressive unity, Bach was always primarily concerned with the contrapuntal organization of melodic-rhythmic and harmonic textures to establish coherence. That is a principal reason why his cantata movements lend themselves so readily to parody. The technical prerequisites for producing a parody work – which Bach did so often – are metrical similarity and expressive affinity; the most essential requirement, however, is self-sufficiency of the musical substance, and its flexibility leaves considerable scope for the musical interpretation of a new text.

During his early Leipzig years Bach wrote only isolated secular cantatas, but these became more frequent as time passed. They were produced for various occasions: university ceremonies (nos.36b, 198, 205, 207), celebrations at the Thomasschule (bwv Anh.18, Anh.19, 36c), festivities in the houses of noblemen and prominent citizens (202, 216, 210, 249b, 30a, 210a, 212) and commissions from court (249a, 36a). Most of his large-scale congratulatory and homage cantatas written for the electoral house of Saxony were produced at the collegium musicum. A favourite format was the operatic dramma per musica, with a simple plot suited to the specific nature of the occasion being celebrated (nos.213, 206, 214, 207a, 215). The more lyrical cantatas such as no.204, or the two Italian works, nos.203 and 209, would certainly have been performed at the collegium musicum. The Coffee and Peasant Cantatas (nos.211 and 212), to some extent tinged with folk style, are distinguished by their lifelike and humorous characterization. The librettist of most of the works of 1725–42 was the versatile Picander, the only other important poet for Bach’s cantatas during this period being J.C. Gottsched (1700–66), the influential Leipzig professor of rhetoric (bwv198, Anh.13, Anh.196). There is concrete evidence of just under 40 secular cantatas composed during the Leipzig years, but in most cases only the texts survive. Their occasional nature is the main reason why so many have been lost: few could have been given a second performance, and then only after alterations to the text. Bach was of course aware that their best chance of survival lay in parody, and he took such opportunities as occurred to save the music, as in the case of the Christmas Oratorio (see §III, (7), 14).

14. Oratorios, Passions, Latin works.

  • Christoph Wolff

The three works that Bach called ‘oratorios’ fall within a very short period: the Christmas Oratorio of 1734–5, the Easter Oratorio and Ascension Oratorio of 1735. The librettists are not known for certain. The place for Bach’s oratorios in the Lutheran liturgy was the same as that for the cantata; the only difference between the oratorio and cantata texts is that the former have a self-contained ‘plot’ or take the form of narration with dialogue. This conforms with the history of the genre, although Bach held the tendency to formal expansiveness firmly in check, in comparison with standard Italian practice. In the Christmas Oratorio, especially, the normal character of a single self-contained work is contradicted by its being split into sections for six different services between Christmas Day and Epiphany, and this is further emphasized by Bach in his use of different performing forces for the sections (although these are based on an underlying general scheme, and are grouped round six scenes from the Bible, with certain divergences from the allocation of lessons to be read at the various services). The unusual conception of an oratorio performed over several days is reminiscent of the Lübeck Abendmusiken, and the Christmas Oratorio obviously belongs to the oratorio tradition established by Buxtehude. All three of Bach’s oratorios are essentially based on parodies of secular cantatas whose music, initially associated with a particular occasion, could reasonably be re-used in this way (the Christmas Oratorio from nos.213, 214 and 215 among other works; the Easter Oratorio by a reworking of parts of bwv249a; the Ascension Oratorio above all from bwv Anh.18). However, there is so much that is new and individual in the Christmas Oratorio, especially in the biblical choruses and the chorales, and in the Ascension Oratorio, that the works are in no sense subordinate to their originals. The pervasive use of texts from the Gospels, moreover, gives the works a special status, linking them to the Protestant historia and thus ultimately to the Passion.

Of the five Passions mentioned in the necrology two survive (St Matthew and St John), for one the text survives (St Mark) and the other two are lost. Judging from the source it seems probable that the anonymous St Luke Passion – which is certainly not by Bach – was included among his works in error because the score, dating from about 1730, was copied in his hand and contained additions by him. This means that only one Passion remains to be accounted for. Recent research has shown that various movements in the second version of the St John Passion (1725) were taken from a Passion composed for Weimar, most notably the chorus ‘O Mensch bewein’ and the three arias ‘Himmel, reisse’, ‘Zerschmettert mich’ and ‘Ach windet euch nicht so’. Curiously enough, Hilgenfeldt (1850) mentioned a Passion by Bach dating from 1717, giving no indication of the source of his information, and Bach gave a guest recital at the Gotha court during the Passion period in 1717, making it conceivable that he put on a Passion performance while the post of Kapellmeister was vacant. Also, he performed Keiser’s St Mark Passion in Weimar in about 1713, so his interest in the genre is established for the period. The missing fifth Passion must almost certainly, therefore, be a lost Weimar work, but the traces are too few to allow any conclusions to be drawn about it.

The three known works represent the same type of oratorio Passion, in the tradition of the historia, in which the biblical text is retained as a whole (with ‘parts’ for soloists – Evangelist, Jesus, Pilate etc. – and the turba choruses for disciples, high priests etc.), and is interrupted by contemplative, so-called ‘madrigal’ pieces set to freely composed verse, as well as by chorales. A special feature of Bach’s Passions is the unusual frequency of the chorales, which are set in simple yet extremely expressive four-part writing. The text of the St John Passion of 1724, Bach’s first large-scale vocal work for Leipzig, is not a unified piece of work. The freely composed parts rely heavily on the famous Passion poem by B.H. Brockes (Der für die Sünde der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus, 1712) and on texts by C.H. Postel (c1700) and Christian Weise (1675); besides this, the Evangelist’s part contains interpolations from St Matthew’s Gospel. Unlike any other of Bach’s large-scale works, the St John Passion underwent substantial changes of every kind in the course of its various performances. For the second performance, in 1725, Bach produced a much altered version adapted conceptually to the cycle of chorale cantatas (see §III, (7), 13) by the incorporation of movements based on a cantus firmus. In a third version (probably of 1732) the interpolations from St Matthew were cut and a new aria and sinfonia added (both lost). Finally a fourth version of 1749 saw the work restored to something much closer to its original form; besides some changes to the text, for his last performance of a Passion in Leipzig Bach greatly enlarged the performing forces (by a part for bassono grosso among other things). It seems that Bach began a thorough-going revision of the work in 1739, but for some reason abandoned the process halfway through movement 10 and did not resume it; furthermore the alterations he made at that time were not adopted in the 1749 performance. For all the modifications made over the 25-year period, the setting of the biblical Passion text remained the work’s constant centre, around which the madrigalian movements in particular were fitted in various ways like different settings for a gemstone. Bach skilfully exploited the network of internal textual correspondences which is unique to St John’s Gospel, and convincingly translated it into an ‘architectural’ structure.

The history of the St Matthew Passion, with its double chorus, is less complicated, though not entirely straightforward. In this case the date of the first performance seems now to be established (the Thomaskirche, Good Friday 1727), but some details of that occasion remain unclear because of lacunae in the source material (version bwv244b). Furthermore, some ten movements from the St Matthew Passion were incorporated into the Cöthen funeral music of 1729 (bwv244a), and the consequences of that for the repeat of the Passion in the same year are not known. On the whole the St Matthew Passion is a considerably more unified piece than the St John, for which the primary reason is its use of Picander’s text. Its greater textual and musical scale allows more space for the arias and ‘madrigal’ pieces in which the coupling of arioso with aria is an especially characteristic feature. Another special feature is the way the strings provide an accompanying halo in Jesus’s recitatives. The pervading cyclical formation of the work (from the interrelating of the chorales, tonal organization and paired movements) is in some respects even more pronounced than in the St John Passion, while it lacks the earlier work’s ‘architectural’ centre. After 1729 the St Matthew Passion had at least two more performances under Bach’s direction. In 1736 he made some important changes, chief among them emphasizing the separation of the two choruses and instrumental ensembles by division of the continuo, exchanging the simple chorale at the end of part i for ‘O Mensch bewein’ and replacing the lute in ‘Komm süsses Kreuz’ with bass viol. The additional alterations of about 1742 were mainly a matter of meeting practical performing conditions.

In its main sections, that is in the ‘madrigal’ pieces, the St Mark Passion of 1731 was a parody work whose main sources are the Trauer Ode (Cantata no.198) and the Cöthen funeral music (bwv244a). While only the text survives, the musical design can in part be deduced from these models, although they scarcely permit it to be reconstructed satisfactorily. The Bach literature includes discussion of parody relationships which go further than this, but they seem to raise more questions than they answer. The most plausible suggestion, made by Smend (1940–48), is that some of the exceptionally large number of chorales in the St Mark Passion may have survived in the collections of Bach’s four-part chorales.

In Bach’s time Latin polyphonic music was still often used in ordinary Lutheran Sunday worship, particularly, in Leipzig, at important church feasts. Further, the concerted Magnificat continued to hold its place in Vespers. Bach had been interested in Latin polyphonic music at least since his Weimar period, as his copies of pieces by other composers demonstrate (Peranda, Durante, Pez, Wilderer, Bassani, Caldara, Lotti, Palestrina etc.; catalogue in Wolff, 1968). He also wrote insertions in this style for other composers’ works, and made some arrangements (Sanctus bwv241; Credo intonation for a mass by Bassani; ‘Suscepit Israel’ for a Magnificat by Caldara). His earliest surviving work of this type is probably the Kyrie bwv233a on the cantus firmus ‘Christe, du Lamm Gottes’. Then in his first year at Leipzig came the five-part Magnificat, first the E♭ version with four inserted Christmas pieces (bwv243a), revised in D major in 1733, without the Christmas pieces, for use on any major feast day (bwv243). Among the various Sanctus settings attributed to Bach, apart from bwv232III, probably only bwv237 and 238 (both 1723) are original compositions. The four short masses (bwv233–6), mostly parody works based on cantata movements, date from about 1738. In the careful selection of models and the subsequent reworking of the musical material, these works, together with the B minor Mass, amount to a valuable anthology of Bach’s vocal writing in music of outstandingly high quality. The transposition of German cantata movements into mass settings did more than replace German words, contingent on the time and occasion of their writing, with the timelessness of the Latin (and Greek) texts; it also removed the limitations imposed on the cantatas by their place in the annual church cycle and gave them a more general validity. The longer-term outcome of this was seen soon after 1750, when specifically the Latin sacred music was hailed by connoisseurs like Marpurg, Kirnberger, Hiller and even the south German Prince-Abbot Gerbert as a particularly important sector of Bach’s music.

Autograph MS of the Sinfonia (arranged from the Prelude of the Partita for violin bwv1006) from Bach’s cantata ‘Wir danken dir, Gott’bwv29, 1731 (D-Bsb P 166, f.1r)

Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin
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Bach’s masterpiece in this genre is of course the work known – though not conceived as a unity – as the B minor Mass. Its genesis stretched over more than two decades. Bach’s aim seems originally to have been to bring together a collection of exemplary large-scale mass movements rather than to create a single, cyclical work on an unprecedented scale. In assembling the whole score in 1748–9, however, the composer undoubtedly had the intention of making it a comprehensive work of consistent quality. The oldest section is the Sanctus of 1724. The Kyrie and Gloria come from the 1733 Missa dedicated to the Dresden court, while the Credo or ‘Symbolum Nicenum’ was composed only during Bach’s last years. In many respects these two main sections represent Bach’s ideals not of Latin polyphonic music alone but of vocal music altogether: in their stylistic multiplicity (the contrast of deliberately archaic and modern styles; the experimentation with the widest variety of instrumental and vocal techniques); their abandonment of the da capo aria and the recitative; and in their formal perfection. The 1733 Missa (reminiscent of the Magnificat in its five-part writing) emerges as a completely integrated, unified whole, typified by the inner logic of the tonal organization (B minor–D–F♯ minor–D–A–D–G–B minor–D) and the disposition of the vocal and instrumental solos. The Credo is a particularly good example of Bach’s many-layered and symmetrical layout (Table 1). The Missa and the Credo have a series of parody originals (including movements from Cantatas nos.29, 46, 171, 12 and 120); in the latter the ‘Credo’, ‘Et incarnatus’ and ‘Confiteor’ seem to be the only original compositions.

Bach family III. Individual members (7) Johann Sebastian Bach 14. Oratorios, Passions, Latin works.: Table 1

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An earlier version of ‘Credo in unum Deum’ exists, dating from the early 1740s, while ‘Et incarnatus’ may be the last vocal composition that Bach completed. However, Bach’s reworking of earlier material went much further than usual. In ‘Agnus Dei’, in particular, nearly half the movement was completely revised, using new thematic material. When the entire work was nearly finished Bach revised it once more, probably in 1749, adding ‘Et incarnatus’ (the words of which he had originally set as part of the aria ‘Et in unum Dominum’). The music of the new ‘Et incarnatus’ is reminiscent of a movement in Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, and in its combination of unorthodox polyphony and musically expressive gesture points the way forward to a new stylistic sensibility. It is all the more astonishing that Bach successfully followed it with the earliest music in the mass, the ‘Crucifixus’ (from the second movement of Cantata no.12) – though he did bring this up to date with a more empfindsam style of continuo and more subtle instrumentation of the upper parts.

It was obviously not by chance that Bach turned in his old age to the mass genre. With its centuries-old tradition, by comparison with such modern genres as the cantata and oratorio, the setting of the mass had a natural affinity to the historical and theoretical dimensions of Bach's musical thinking, which also bore fruit in the monothematic instrumental works of his last years.

15. Motets, chorales, songs.

  • Christoph Wolff

In Bach’s time motets were sung as introits for services and on certain special occasions. The tradition established at Leipzig was to select introit motets from the Florilegium Portense (1603), a classical repertory from the 16th century compiled by Erhard Bodenschatz. For this reason, Bach wrote motets only for special occasions, probably only for burial services, although in only one case, Der Geist hilft (for the funeral of the Thomasschule headmaster Ernesti in 1729), is there documentary evidence of this. Bach’s motet texts, following the tradition, are based on biblical quotations and chorales; freely composed poetry is used in only one case, and even this is hymnbook poetry (Komm, Jesu, komm, Paul Thymich). On the occasions for which the motets were composed, Bach normally had more than the school choristers at his disposal; he was thus able to use between five- and eight-part writing, as he did in six pieces (bwv225–9 and Anh.159). In line with normal central German practice since the 17th century, it was a rule in the performance of motets at Leipzig, including those from Florilegium Portense, that a continuo part should be included – to be precise, organ, harpsichord (in Leipzig the so-called motet harpsichord), lute, with violone, cello, bassoon. In this way the bass of a vocal (choral or polychoral) movement was supported by a larger or smaller continuo depending on the circumstances, in the manner of a basso seguente. Colla parte accompaniment was required only occasionally. The performing parts that have survived for Der Geist hilft, with strings (first chorus) and reed instruments (second chorus) doubling the voices, must be connected with the exceptional nature of the occasion and cannot necessarily be taken as applicable to the other motets; similar special cases, with partly obbligato instruments, are bwv118, O Jesu Christ (both versions) and Der Gerechte kömmt um (not in bwv: bc C 8).

Bach’s use of double chorus and his exposition of forms of chorale treatment link the motets with the central German tradition in which he had grown up. That it was part of his direct family inheritance is illustrated by the fact, which can scarcely be coincidental, that motets are particularly well represented in the Alt-Bachisches Archiv. Bach’s earliest motet, Ich lasse dich nicht bwv Anh.159, long attributed to Johann Christoph Bach of Eisenach, adheres extremely closely to Thuringian models. Composed by 1712 at the latest, the work’s foundations in the tradition are typified by the highlighting of upper parts and the largely homophonic conception of the first section, and by the interweaving of a chorale tune in large note values in the second; by contrast, the harmonic intensity of the work (in F minor) and the unified, almost rondo-like, thematic construction of its first section are innovatory. Among later works, Bach’s debt to the tradition is best illustrated by the closing section of Fürchte dich nicht, in its combination of cantus firmus (‘Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen’) and freely imitative writing, and the opening section of Komm, Jesu, komm, with its chordal writing for double chorus. As a whole, the style of bwv118 too is retrospective, with its archaic instrumentation and its homophonic choral writing.

By contrast, most movements in the motets have a markedly polyphonic vocal manner, dominated by instrumental style and showing unifying motivic work. Another characteristic is the clear formal articulation, with multi-movement works demonstrating different kinds of treatment. Thus Jesu, meine Freude, the longest work of this kind, in 11 movements, is the most strictly (that is, symmetrically) conceived: the opening and closing movements are identical, the second to fifth correspond to the seventh and eighth, and the central sixth movement is a fugue. Der Geist hilft begins with a concerto-like movement, followed by a double fugue and a simple chorale setting. The form of the instrumental concerto (fast–slow–fast) is used in Singet dem Herrn. Precise dating is possible only in the case of Der Geist hilft(24 October 1729). Jesu meine Freude seems to date from a pre-Leipzig period, although there is no tangible evidence for this; it is possible that an earlier motet, with a text from Romans viii, was expanded into a chorale motet by the addition of stanzas from the hymn Jesu meine Freude. The other motets appear to date from the Leipzig years. This is certain in the case of O Jesu Christ (c1737): its instrumentation was revised for a repeat performance in the 1740s, with strings, oboes, bassoons and horns; the original had only two litui, cornets and three trombones. The authenticity of Lobet den Herrn has been questioned, probably groundlessly, but the paucity of material that would permit comparisons weakens the arguments on either side. Bach’s arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater with the psalm text ‘Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden’, dating from 1741–6, should be counted among the motets.

Bach’s composition of chorales is most closely associated with his production of cantatas. Four-part chorale style, or stylus simplex, was normal for his closing movements, particularly in the Leipzig cantatas; it also often occurred at the ends of subsections in the Passions and oratorios. Bach’s chorale writing is characterized by the ‘speaking’ quality of the part-writing and the harmonies – meaning that they aim to be a direct interpretation of the text. In its pervasive counterpoint and its expressiveness, Bach’s harmonic style stands out from that of his contemporaries, who preferred plain homophonic textures in their chorales. This simpler approach, found in the chorales of such as Graupner or Telemann, with movement mostly in minims, was well suited to congregational singing, but Bach took no account of that in his chorales, which are deliberately more artistic, rhythmically often more lively (written in crotchets) and frequently bolder in their harmonies. The first four-part chorale settings are in the Weimar cantatas (the last movement of no.12, performed on 22 April 1714, is among the earliest examples), and Bach’s stylistic development in this type of composition reached a final stage 30 years later in the chorales of the Christmas Oratorio, with their elegantly mobile bass lines and their polyphonic refinement of the inner voices. His training as an organist probably contributed to the personal stamp of his style; organ settings such as bwv706 display similar stylistic traits. Chorales such as bwv371, conceived with orchestral forces in mind, act furthermore as reminders that chorales were Bach’s favourite medium of instruction. C.P.E. Bach wrote in 1775: ‘His pupils had to begin by learning four-part thoroughbass. After that he went on with them to chorales; first he used to write the bass himself, then they had to invent the alto and tenor for themselves … this way of leading up to chorales is indisputably the best way of learning composition, including harmony’.

The posthumously published collections (Birnstiel, 2 vols., 1765, 1769; Breitkopf, 4 vols., 1784–7) contain almost all the chorales known from Bach’s vocal works, some under different titles. The Breitkopf edition, prepared by C.P.E. Bach and Kirnberger, contains 371 chorales, among them more than 100 not found in the extant vocal works. This provides an important pointer to the lost vocal music, and though extremely difficult to follow up it has borne some fruits, as in the reconstruction of the St Mark Passion or the Picander cycle. It is worth remarking that the number of excess chorales, that is those that cannot be assigned to extant works, more or less corresponds to the number thought to exist in the lost cantatas and Passions.

Under the generic heading of ‘sacred songs’ come the 69 melodies with figured bass in G.C. Schemelli’s Musicalisches Gesang-Buch(1736). According to the foreword, Bach edited the figured bass for some of the melodies, while others were entirely new compositions by him. Three are demonstrably his (bwv452, 500 and 505); of the rest at least seven pieces for two voices and ten ‘improved’ continuo parts can be associated with him. He seems to have been only peripherally occupied with the composition of songs and strophic arias, for which he took texts from religious poetry of the 17th and 18th centuries: that, at least, is the inference to be drawn from the limited surviving repertory, for which the only source is the second Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena Bach (1725) containing bwv511–14 and 516 – works which probably have a direct association with the Schemelli Gesangbuch. Comparison of bwv512 with 315, and of bwv452 with 299, draws attention to the conceptual association between the composition of chorales for two and for four voices. The collection of four-part chorales which Bach’s pupil J.L. Dietel extracted from his teacher’s works (Leipzig, c1735), like the Schemelli Gesangbuch(1736), indicates that Bach was working on chorales rather intensively and systematically at the time, perhaps with a view to a more compendious publication.

Only exceptionally did Bach compose secular songs. A quodlibet for four voices and continuo (bwv542), surviving only in fragmentary form, is unique among his vocal works. It was probably composed for a wedding in Erfurt, at the latest by mid-1708. With its admixture of various melodies and humorous words, the piece forms a link with the musical games played, so tradition relates, when the Bach family got together (see §III, (7), 1 above). Other rarities, from a later period when he was settled in the university town of Leipzig, are the song addressing a pipe of tobacco (bwv515) and the ‘Murky’ (bwvAnh.40).

16. Organ music.

  • Christoph Wolff

The obituary written immediately after Bach’s death and published in 1754 contains the following statement: ‘For as long as there is nought to confute us other than the mere possibility of the existence of better organists and keyboard players, we cannot be reproached if we are bold enough to persist in the claim that our Bach was the most prodigious organist and keyboard player that there has ever been. It may be that this or that famous man has accomplished much in polyphony on these instruments but was he for that reason as expert – with hands and feet together – as Bach was? Whosoever had the pleasure of hearing him and others, being not otherwise disposed by prejudice, will agree that this doubt is not unfounded. And whosoever looks at Bach’s pieces for the organ and the keyboard, which he himself, as is universally known, performed with the greatest perfection, will likewise have nothing to say in contradiction of the above statement.’ The claim illustrates the well-nigh legendary reputation that Bach enjoyed in his lifetime. His fame had already spread beyond the confines of central Germany by 1717, when he challenged the French virtuoso Louis Marchand to a competition at the court of Dresden and won by default when the Frenchman took flight. ‘It would be wrong to conclude from this defeat of Marchand in Dresden that he must have been a poor musician. Did not as great a one as Handel avoid every opportunity of confronting the late Bach … or of getting involved with him?’ (Marpurg).

Keyboard music as a whole occupies a crucial position in Bach’s life in many respects, but this is even more true of the works for harpsichord than of those for organ. No other genre occupied Bach so consistently and intensively from the beginning of his career to the end. His life as a professional musician began with learning to play on a keyboard, above all in Ohrdruf in 1695–1700 under the tuition of his elder brother Johann Christoph, and his study of keyboard music by the best composers of the 17th century laid the most important foundations of his training as a composer. The compositions for harpsichord, in particular, provide the opportunity to assess Bach’s development at each stage of his creative life.

Bach was bolder than any of his contemporaries: from the first he set no limits to his keyboard skills, and accepted no restrictions to his horizons – from the breadth of the foundations of his style to the comprehensive range of genres in which he composed. The stylistic basis was laid in his youth, and it was undoubtedly important that growing up in the central German environment of his time gave him the opportunity to learn about different stylistic tendencies side by side, without any bias towards one rather than another. As a result his models came from a highly diverse repertory. The north German school, including such masters as Buxtehude, Reincken, Bruhns, Lübeck and Böhm, were ranged alongside central German composers such as Pachelbel’s circle and older pupils (J.H. Buttstedt, for example, or A.N. Vetter) and Witt, Krieger, Kuhnau and Zachow, as well as their southern German colleagues J.J. Froberger, J.C. Kerll and J.C.F. Fischer. Italians such as Frescobaldi and Battiferri confronted Frenchmen such as Lully, Marais, Grigny and Raison. Many of these names are to be found in the large manuscript collections (the so-called Andreas-Bach-Buch and Möllersche Handschrift) copied by the Ohrdruf Bach, Johann Christoph. They give a clear picture of the repertory that the younger brother grew up with, and which showed him – like the young Handel, learning his craft in a similar environment – ‘the manifold ways of writing and composing of various races, together with each single composer’s strengths and weaknesses’. No comparable sphere of influence served to challenge this broadly based group of musicians and exemplars later in Bach’s life. There were, of course, individuals who had an effect on him, such as Vivaldi after 1710, or probably Couperin, or his exact contemporary Handel, but no group of musicians of a comparable range or variety.

Bach’s dedication to every keyboard genre and form appears equally boundless. The range remains constant throughout his career, from the earliest to the last compositions. All the major types are represented: the freely improvisatory (prelude, toccata, fantasia), the imitative and strict (fugue, fantasia, ricercar, canzona, capriccio, invention), the combinatory (multi-part preludes, prelude and fugue) and multi-movement forms (sonata, suite or partita, overture or sinfonia, chaconne or passacaglia, pastorale, concerto and variations); and then there are the various types and forms of chorale arrangement.

Unlike the vocal music and the chamber and orchestral works, Bach’s keyboard output covers his entire creative life. There are quite lengthy periods of heightened activity – organ music before 1717, harpsichord music after that date. As a whole, however, Bach seems to have cultivated the two genres alongside each other. It is thus the more surprising that, right from the beginning, consistently and in defiance of inherited 17th-century tradition, he abandoned the conventional community of repertory between organ and harpsichord, choosing to write specifically for the one or the other. The uncompromising use of obbligato pedals, in particular, is a distinguishing mark of Bach’s organ style. Only exceptionally (for example in the chorale partitas and the small chorale arrangements from the third part of the Clavier-Übung) do the performing possibilities coincide so that organ and harpsichord become truly interchangeable.

Since most of Bach’s keyboard works from the pre-Leipzig years survive in copies (generally made in the circle of Bach’s pupils) rather than in autograph scores, it is not possible to establish a precise chronology. Even a relative one is possible only in general terms, with considerations of style and authenticity holding the balance. In the earliest works the influence of Bach’s models is pronounced. Pachelbel had taught Johann Christoph Bach, and the master’s influence extended to the younger brother, most visibly and prevalently in the earliest of his extant compositions. Besides the little organ chorales which survive individually (bwv749, 750 and 756), regarded by Spitta as Bach’s first musical essays, the chorales in the Neumeister collection, which came to light only recently (bwv1090–1120, and bwv714, 719, 737, 742 and 756), are now taken to be among his earliest works. Although the Neumeister manuscript represents neither an integrated body of work nor a unified collection, in its dazzling variety it embodies some contradictory and simultaneously essential traits of Bach’s early organ music: imperfect technique alongside daring innovation; reliance on models such as Pachelbel, Johann Michael and Johann Christoph Bach and masters from north, south and central Germany, together with a determination to surpass and dispense with such models; and an entirely unorthodox mixture of free composition and strict polyphony, unconventional harmony and pronounced virtuosity.

A subsequent stage in Bach’s development is found in the chorale partitas bwv766–8, mostly wrought in the manner of Böhm (bwv768 was revised and expanded during Bach’s Weimar period). The Canzona bwv588, the Allabreve bwv589 and the Pastorale bwv590 show south German and Italian characteristics, while the Fantasia in G bwv572 looks to the French style. With their sectional layout, the preludes in E and G minor, bwv566 and 535a, must have been written under Buxtehude’s immediate influence.

The extraordinary harmonic boldness and the richness of fermata embellishment in the pieces bwv715, 722 and 732, intended to accompany chorales, imply that they belong to the Arnstadt period when Bach’s treatment of chorales caused confusion among the congregation. The fugues after Legrenzi and Corelli, bwv574 and 579, should probably be placed among the early works. Admittedly, the scarcity of autographs, combined with the complicated situation surrounding the other sources, makes it difficult to establish a reliable chronology. It is scarcely possible even to draw definite conclusions about which of the early keyboard works belong within the period of Bach’s youth, if that is set at about 1700–07.

The models recede in importance from the Mühlhausen period, at the latest, and Bach’s individuality begins to pervade every note of his compositions. This applies particularly to the many extended organ chorale settings probably dating from between 1709 and 1712–13 and already so much in accordance with Bach’s later ideals that he found this group of 18 chorales (bwv651–8) worthy of revising in and after about 1740. In his freely composed organ works (toccatas, preludes, fantasias and fugues) Bach tightened up the formal scheme, preparing the way for the two-movement prelude and fugue through an intermediate type in which the fugue was a long, self-contained complex but the prelude was not yet a unified section (such as the first movement of bwv532). Here is an early manifestation of one of the peculiarities of Bach’s working methods, encountered later in the ‘48’: fugues attain their final form almost instantaneously, preludes often go through several stages of development. Probably the most important work of these years is the Passacaglia in C minor bwv582.

In about 1713–14 a decisive stylistic change came about, stimulated by Vivaldi’s concerto form. Bach’s encounter with Vivaldi’s music found immediate expression in the concertos after Vivaldi’s opp.3 and 7 (bwv593 etc.). Features adapted from Vivaldi include the unifying use of motivic work, the motoric rhythmic character, the modulation schemes and the principle of solo–tutti contrast as means of formal articulation; the influence may be seen in the Toccatas in F and C bwv540 and 564. Apparently Bach experimented for a short while with a free, concerto-like organ form in three movements (fast–slow–fast: cf bwv545 + 529/2 and bwv541 + 528/3) but finally turned to the two-movement form, as in bwv534 and 536. Of comparable importance to the introduction of the concerto element is his tendency towards condensed motivic work, as in the Orgel-Büchlein. Bach’s conception of this new type of miniature organ chorale, combining rhetorical and expressive musical language with refined counterpoint, probably dates back to a relatively early point, possibly the beginning of the Weimar period, but he cannot have started to collect them systematically in the autograph before 1713–14. Among the earliest entered in the manuscript are, among new compositions, bwv608, 627 and 630, and around 1715–16 Bach added bwv615, 623, 640 and 644 (to cite some typical examples). Some of the pieces, such as bwv601 and 639, are of earlier date. By the end of the Weimar period the Orgel-Büchlein was complete in all essentials, although a few isolated pieces were added later, such as bwv620 and 631 (c1730), the fragment O Traurigkeit and bwv613 (c1740). The final total of 45 pieces falls considerably short of the 164 originally projected, but Bach had already ceased to work consistently at this major undertaking as early as 1716. The reason for this is unknown; when he took it up again in Leipzig it was only sporadically and apparently in connection with teaching, or so a copy made about 1727–30 suggests.

Bach composed few organ pieces at Cöthen, but among them is undoubtedly the C major Fantasia bwv573 which he added to Anna Magdalena Bach’s Clavier-Büchlein (1722). In Leipzig, in about 1727, he composed the trio sonatas, a new genre for the organ, which he wrote, according to Forkel, for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. It was probably in conjunction with renewed activity as a recitalist – he is known to have performed in Dresden (1725, 1731 and 1736), Kassel (1732), Altenburg (1739) and Potsdam (1747) – that he returned to the prelude and fugue genre. Now, surely as a consequence of the ‘48’, he always wrote them in two sections, with the preludes as important as the fugues. There was a final flourish of virtuosity (especially in the writing for obbligato pedal) in works such as bwv544 and 548 (both c1730), but always in the context of a clearcut structure (there is a da capo fugue in bwv548).

In 1739, as the third part of the Clavier-Übung, Bach published a comprehensive and varied group of organ works. Framed by a Prelude and Fugue in E♭ (bwv552), there are nine chorale arrangements for Mass and 12 for the catechism, followed by four duets. Bach’s encyclopedic intentions can be seen in the form of the work – that of a collection of specimen organ pieces for large church instruments and smaller domestic ones (including the harpsichord), symbolized in his invariable coupling of a large piece with a small; they can equally be seen in the variety of his contrapuntal methods, whereby he constantly produced fresh kinds of cantus firmus treatment. At the very end of Bach’s output for the organ are such disparate works as the C minor Fantasia and Fugue bwv562 (1747–8), the ‘Schübler’ chorales (arrangements after solo movements from cantatas) and the canonic variations on Vom Himmel hoch bwv769. The variations, written for Mizler’s society in 1747, survive in two original versions, printed and autograph, whose different sequence of movements shows Bach experimenting with symmetrical form and the placing of climaxes.

17. Music for harpsichord, lute etc.

  • Christoph Wolff

Just as Bach learnt most about the craft of composition from keyboard music, so too did he use it for preference in teaching others. He was obviously already a sought-after teacher when still in Weimar, but the move to Leipzig brought a decisive expansion of his teaching activities. H.N. Gerber, who studied with him in the early Leipzig years, left an account of Bach’s method of introducing the widest variety of composition by gradual stages, along with the technical premisses of their performance. According to Gerber he used to begin with the Inventions and the French and English suites, and conclude the course with the ‘48’. This canon of characteristic works from the decade 1715–25 constitutes, so to speak, the stylistic core of Bach’s music for keyboard and for that reason served later as the yardstick by which to settle questions of authenticity. Nowadays, however, the yardstick’s usefulness has become somewhat problematic, since it does not take fully into account either the stylistic breadth of Bach’s early output or the unorthodox musical language of the late works.

One of the essential elements of Bach’s art as a keyboard composer is the attention he gave, from the first, to the idiomatic qualities of the individual instruments, respecting not only the differences between organ and harpsichord but also those within the family of string keyboard instruments, of which he used at least four types: harpsichord, clavichord, lute-harpsichord and fortepiano. He is specific about the main kinds of harpsichord in the Clavier-Übung(the first part is for one-manual harpsichord, the second and fourth for a two-manual instrument). One of the earliest manuscript sources refers to the suitability of the E minor suite bwv996 for the lute-harpsichord (‘aufs Lauten Werk’). Bach took an active interest in J.G. Silbermann’s experiments in developing the fortepiano during the 1730s and 40s. There is reliable testimony that he improvised on several new Silbermann fortepianos of different types in the presence of Frederick the Great in Potsdam in 1747, which makes it possible to regard the three-part ricercar of the Musical Offering as conceived primarily for this new kind of keyboard instrument.

There is an obvious association between Bach’s renown as a keyboard virtuoso, together with his work as a teacher, and the fact that his keyboard music is among the most accessible of his entire output, and also that it was the most widely available. Its dissemination shows a marked rising curve during the 18th century, internationally as well as within Germany. Bach’s harpsichord works were available in Italy, France, Austria and England by 1750, and in view of this it is not surprising that the young Beethoven was schooled in the ‘48’. The growing recognition of the significance of this part of his output was reflected in the first complete edition of the works for harpsichord (begun in Leipzig in 1800 by Hoffmeister & Kühnel and continued by C.F. Peters) in which Forkel, among others, was involved.

Bach’s early harpsichord compositions are in a similar situation to the early organ works as regards dating and evaluation. None of the very earliest can be dated precisely. The Capriccio bwv992 has been assigned to 1704; there are no biographical data to support this (it is extremely doubtful that it was written for Bach’s brother Johann Jakob), but it certainly belongs to the period immediately after 1700. Before 1712–13 there were countless individual pieces like toccatas, preludes and fugues (these last mainly using a ‘repercussive’ thematic technique like the early organ fugues); variation form is represented by the Aria variata bwv989. In the toccatas (bwv910 etc.) Italian, north German and French influences conjoin in equal importance (bwv912 is an interesting counterpart to the organ work bwv532); Bach’s penchant for the French style is evident in his abundant use of the style brisé. After 1712 the particular influence of concertos by Vivaldi, Marcello and others can be seen in Bach’s numerous concerto arrangements (bwv972 etc.).

To the last years in Weimar and the early years in Cöthen belong works such as the so-called English Suites and the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue bwv903, and also the Clavier-Büchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann of 1720, which is predominantly didactic in layout. It is however less important for its instruction in playing technique (the Applicatio bwv994 gives fingering and tables of ornaments after D’Anglebert) than as a book of instruction in composition. For Bach himself, the two could not be dissociated: the Clavier-Büchlein contains the beginnings of the ‘48’ as well as early versions of the Inventions and Sinfonias, under such titles as ‘preambulum’ and ‘fantasia’. To some extent the 1722 Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena is a companion work, though differently laid out.

Then followed, also in 1722, Das wohltemperirte Clavier (book 1 of the ‘48’), with its 24 preludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys, surpassing, in logic, in format and in musical quality, all earlier endeavours of the same kind by other masters, such as J.C.F. Fischer’s Ariadne musica. The work shows a perfectly balanced contrast between free and strict styles, each represented by several different types of prelude and fugue. Bach’s writing in book 1 of the ‘48’ in the most varied fugues – from two- to five-part, in a wide range of styles – represents the culmination of a 20-year process of maturation and stands unparalleled in the history of music. The final version of the two- and three-part Inventions and Sinfonias, also arranged by key but representing a different method of composition whose object (according to Bach’s foreword) was ‘to teach clear playing in two and three obbligato parts, good inventions [i.e. compositional ideas] and a cantabile manner of playing’, dates from 1723.

The first traces of the subsequent great works of the Leipzig period are to be found in the 1725 Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena, which in fact anticipates the so-called French Suites bwv812–17 and the Partitas bwv825–30. The Partitas in particular (appearing in print singly from 1726) represent a further culmination in Bach’s keyboard output; whereas the ‘48’ shows the prelude and fugue type developed to its most consummate maturity, these present similarly matured specimens of the most popular harpsichord genre of the time, the partita, comprising a suite of dance movements and ‘galanteries’. These – the burlesca, capriccio and the like – do not appear in the English or French Suites; as in the English Suites, each partita begins with a large-scale movement, each differently titled and each in a different style. Later, with the collected publication of all six in 1731, Bach inaugurated his series of published works under the general title Clavier-Übung (the title was borrowed from a publication by Kuhnau, his predecessor in office). In 1735 appeared the second part, whose contents were intended to be representative of the most prominent and fashionable styles: the Concerto in the Italian Style bwv971 embodies the ultimate stage in the process of transcribing instrumental concertos for keyboard, and stands in contrast to an Overture in the French Manner bwv831 which, more markedly than the partitas, represents what was specifically French in harmony, rhythm, ornamentation and melodic invention. 1741–2 eventually saw the end of the Clavier-Übung series with the aria and 30 variations known as the Goldberg Variations. Apparently Bach had not cultivated the variation form since his youth, so that the contrast between the Goldberg Variations and the early works (chorale partitas and the Aria variata) is the more marked. This work outshines all others as far as performing technique is concerned (Domenico Scarlatti’s influence is unmistakable in places). The large-scale cyclical layout (based on a sequence of 10 x 3 movements, incorporating a series of nine canons, one at every third variation, arranged in order of ascending intervals to move towards a climax, with a final quodlibet) is without precedent. The basis of the composition is a ground bass of 32 bars, developed from the Ruggiero and related bass patterns, first presented in the aria and then subjected to free and canonic elaboration in a wide variety of ways. In their monothematic and emphatically contrapuntal conception, the Goldberg Variations set the scene for Bach’s last keyboard works – the Musical Offering and Art of Fugue.

Besides the harpsichord works published in the 1730s, the only other major work is the second part of Das wohltemperirte Clavier (not so titled – the complete autograph does not survive). This companion-piece is less unified than book 1 and was partly assembled from existing preludes and fugues, some of them transposed. The freshly composed pieces probably date chiefly from the late 1730s; the work was complete by 1744 at the latest. Apart from this one major undertaking, Bach appears to have composed very few keyboard works at this period: perhaps the Fantasia ‘sur un rondeau’ bwv918, certainly the Fantasia in C minor with fragmentary fugue bwv906.

The dates of composition of the seven surviving works for lute – apparently almost his total output for the instrument – cover at least 30 years. The earliest work is the Suite in E minor bwv996, which dates from the Weimar period; it already shows a surprisingly balanced construction. The Prelude in C minor bwv999 shows an affinity with the ‘48’, and may thus belong to the Cöthen or early Leipzig period. All the other lute works were composed in Leipzig, starting with the Fugue in G minor bwv1000, an expanded polyphonic development from the violin fugue (in bwv1001), which (like bwv997) is in a tablature copied by Bach’s friend, the Leipzig lawyer and lutenist Christian Weyrauch. The Suite in G minor bwv995 (after 1011, for cello) dates from the period 1727–31 and is dedicated in Bach’s autograph to an unidentifiable ‘Monsieur Schouster’. The Suite in E (bwv1006a, after 1006 for violin) also survives in autograph form and is a much less demanding arrangement of its model as compared with bwv1000 and 995; it dates from the second half of the 1730s. Bach must have composed the Suite in C minor bwv997 before 1741; this is an original lute composition and is laid out in a similar virtuoso fashion to the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E♭ bwv998 which can be ascribed to the early 1740s. The late works may have been written for the Dresden lutenists S.L. Weiss and Johann Kropffgans, and in any case were probably played by them. There is evidence that Weiss and Kropffgans performed at Bach’s house at least once, in 1739. Bach’s arrangement for violin and harpsichord of Weiss’s lute suite in A major (bwv1025) may have been made in connection with this occasion. His contributions to the repertory of the lute, long past its heyday but enjoying a final flowering in the German-speaking countries, represent, along with the works of Weiss, the culmination of the instrument’s 18th-century repertory. They require an instrument with 10 to 14 strings, but in Bach’s day were at least occasionally played on the lute-harpsichord, an instrument in whose construction Bach had assisted. The indistinct line between lute and harpsichord music is illustrated by the autograph of bwv998, marked ‘pour La Luth ò Cembal’.

18. Orchestral music.

  • Christoph Wolff

Many of Bach’s orchestral compositions must be presumed lost. The surviving repertory can in any case give only an incomplete idea of his output for larger instrumental ensembles, for he must have written many further works during his years at Cöthen and while he was working with the collegium musicum in Leipzig. Traces of lost concerto movements may be found in numerous cantatas, such as no.42 (first movement), and other large-scale vocal works, such as the Easter Oratorio (first two movements); and various of the surviving harpsichord concertos, in particular, invite inferences about lost originals.

In the score bearing the dedication to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg, the so-called Brandenburg Concertos are dated 24 March 1721. This is merely a terminus ante quem, for the concertos themselves must have been written over a considerable period before being assembled in 1721 as a collection of ‘Concerts avec plusieurs instruments’ (not as a single work in several parts). It cannot be proved that Bach composed instrumental music in his capacity as Konzertmeister in Weimar; but his position there and his preoccupation with the Italian concerto style during those years make it seem probable that he did. Of the Brandenburg Concertos, no.6 in particular points to the Weimar period, partly because of its indebtedness to the Italian type of concerto (above all in the middle movement) and also because of its unusual instrumentation (the particular combination of low strings is otherwise found only in Weimar cantatas). Other concertos (for instance the conjectural early version of no.1) may also belong to the Weimar period, but it is not possible to draw any firmer conclusion about a Weimar orchestral repertory.

The special significance of the Brandenburg Concertos resides in the fact that, like Vivaldi’s, they abandon the standard type of concerto grosso and use a variety of solo combinations. The originality of Bach’s ideas extends far beyond Vivaldi’s, as do the density of the compositional texture and the level of professional virtuosity. The devising of concise head-motifs, particularly in the first movements, shows a strong Italian influence. Most of Bach’s instrumentations are unprecedented. They feature all kinds of combinations, from homogeneous string sound (nos.3 and 6) to the heterogeneous mixing of brass, woodwind, string and keyboard instruments. Just as unusual is Bach’s conflation of the group concerto with the solo concerto in nos.2 and 5. No.5 probably represents the latest stage in composition of the set: it was written for the inauguration of the harpsichord he brought back from Berlin early in 1719 (an earlier version survives from about this date). At the same time it marks the beginnings of the keyboard concerto as a form.

For a long time Bach scholars assigned most of his chamber and ensemble music to the Cöthen years. Recent studies based on original sources and style criticism have led to a thorough revision of the chronology affecting this part of his output. It now seems that only the smaller part of the instrumental ensemble music (or at least of what survives of it) belongs to the Cöthen period, while the greater part was composed at Leipzig, and principally for the collegium musicum which Bach was associated with from 1723 and which he directed from 1729 to the early 1740s. Thus the four Orchestral Suites, with their leaning towards French style, were written in Leipzig: no.1 perhaps as early as 1725, nos.3 and 4 in about 1725 and after 1730 respectively and no.2 about 1739. The B minor Suite (no.2), with its hybrid mixture of concerto elements and suite form and the extraordinary virtuosity of its flute writing, is probably Bach’s very last orchestral work. The only solo concertos to survive in their original form from this time are the violin concertos in A minor and in E and the two-violin concerto in D minor, which again obviously relate to the collegium musicum. Pointers to lost works that may be supposed to have been composed in Cöthen can be obtained from Leipzig pieces showing clear signs of reworking, above all cantata sinfonias with obbligato organ and the harpsichord concertos. Among the putative originals discernible in later recensions are concertos for oboe d’amore (after bwv1053 and 1055), for violin (after bwv1052 and 1060) and for three violins (after bwv1064). The intended instrumentation of the original cannot always be conclusively determined from the later version, and allowance must also be made for substantial differences between the two versions, so that it is extremely rarely the case that reconstruction of a supposed but lost original is really possible. Bach never proceeded in a mechanical way; rather, he strove to give the arrangement an identity of its own by subjecting the model to further development and exhausting its potential. This often involved the addition of fresh contrapuntal parts, the alteration of detail and structural modification. Of special interest are Bach’s adaptations of instrumental works into vocal ones, such as the derivation of the first chorus of Cantata no.110 from bwv1069; also of note is the wresting of the outer movements of an ensemble concerto (bwv1044) out of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor for harpsichord (bwv894).

The most noteworthy of the later concertos composed in the 1730s, with substantial changes to the originals on which they draw, are the Triple Concerto in A minor bwv1044 (sharing several features with Brandenburg Concerto no.5), the seven harpsichord concertos bwv1052–8 and the concertos for two or more harpsichords bwv1060–65, all but one of them reworkings of earlier works by Bach himself (the exception is bwv1064, an arrangement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor for four violins, op.3 no.10). In fact, Bach’s alterations and restructurings are sufficiently important – especially the deployment of the left hand of the harpsichord part and the invention of idiomatic harpsichord figuration – for works of this rank to be considered compositions in their own right. They owe their special historical importance to their occurrence at the beginning of the history of the keyboard concerto, a form which was to be taken up above all by Bach’s sons so that in Germany, until about 1750, it remained the exclusive preserve of the Bach family. A stimulus for the composition of the harpsichord concertos may have been the new instrument introduced on 17 June 1733 (‘a new harpsichord, the like of which no-one here has ever yet heard’), according to the announcement advertising the collegium musicum concert.

19. Chamber music.

  • Christoph Wolff

As with the orchestral music, a great many chamber compositions are thought to be lost. Once again the greatest losses affect the Cöthen period, but the Weimar years also suffer. When the summary worklist in the obituary mentions ‘a quantity of other instrumental things, of every kind and for every kind of instrument’, it probably refers first and foremost to works for various chamber ensembles.

The unusual flexibility with which Bach manipulated the conventional genres of sonata and suite is comparable to his orchestral output, as regards formal and compositional aspects as much as textures. Particularly important is his emancipation of the harpsichord from its role as continuo instrument and its deployment as a true partner in the sonatas for harpsichord with violin (bwv1014–19), flute (1030–33) and viola da gamba (1027–9). The cycle of six harpsichord and violin sonatas (c1725–6) were the first in a series of works with obbligato keyboard and paved the way for a new musical genre. The traditional trio sonata with continuo still cast its shadow (for example, in the opening movements of bwv1015 and 1019), but it yielded by stages to a more integrated three-part style (for example, the opening movements of bwv1014 and 1018). The only genuine trio sonatas to survive, apart from the one in the Musical Offering, are bwv1038 and 1039, dating from the 1730s. Bach’s arrangement of the gamba sonata bwv1027, after bwv1039 for two flutes and continuo is an illustration of the development of the new type of trio writing from the trio sonata. A similar procedure stood behind his earlier development of the organ sonata. Most movements of the organ sonatas are based on instrumental trios, as the arrangement of the first movement of bwv528 from a trio sonata movement for oboe d’amore, viola da gamba and continuo in Cantata no.76 illustrates. This same movement preserves a trace of the many lost trio sonatas of the Cöthen years. Yet the trio sonatas of the Leipzig period, too, may represent only a small fraction of their original numbers, if the way the genre lingers on in the Musical Offering is any guide.

The list of surviving duo sonatas with continuo is also relatively short, and again dominated by works of the Leipzig period: the violin sonatas bwv1021 and 1023 and the flute sonatas bwv1034–5. The Fugue in G minor for violin and continuo bwv1026, from before 1712, is not only Bach’s earliest surviving piece of ensemble music, it is also the only chamber-music piece of the pre-Cöthen years to have survived as an independent entity. The only other sources we have for an idea of what kind of chamber music Bach wrote in his early years are the instrumental sonatas and sinfonias of the Weimar cantatas.

Bach’s creative powers in the Cöthen years appear in a special light in the sonatas and partitas for solo violin, dating from 1720, and the suites for solo cello, which are probably earlier. The sonata for solo flute (bwv1013) is not likely to have been composed in Cöthen, for the playing technique is much more advanced than, for example, the writing for flute in Brandenburg Concerto no.5. Yet all the works senza basso not only demonstrate Bach’s intimate knowledge of the typical idioms and performing techniques of each instrument, but also show his ability, even without an accompanying bass part, to bring into effective play dense counterpoint and refined harmony coupled with distinctive rhythms. The special importance of Bach’s chamber music was recognized at a very early date. J.F. Reichardt wrote in 1805, reviewing the first edition of the solo violin music, that the pieces represent ‘perhaps the greatest example in any art of the freedom and certainty with which a great master can move even when he is in chains’.

20. Canons, ‘Musical Offering’, ‘Art of Fugue’.

  • Christoph Wolff

Bach’s preoccupation with the canon as the strictest form of counterpoint can be traced back to the Weimar period. In his organ chorales and particularly in the Orgel-Büchlein the canonic principle plays a major role. Canonic elements are present also in several of the early vocal works. Here however it is a matter of canonic technique cropping up in a context of complex contrapuntal construction; as a genre in its own right, the canon, in Bach’s day, would appear almost exclusively as a theoretical example in composition teaching. It was in this sense that it was often favoured – generally in the form of a circular canon – by musicians for entries in students’ albums: such entries were normally notated in enigmatic fashion, setting the would-be solver an intellectual exercise. Bach wrote such canons in albums more than once; for the most part they are probably lost. Except for bwv1076–7, all the surviving individual canons (1072–5, 1078, 1086) were probably dedicatory works of this kind; 1077 was re-used for this purpose. What is probably the earliest of them is dated 2 August 1713 (bwv1073, dedicatee uncertain); the latest is dated 1 March 1749 (bwv1078; dedicatee Benjamin Faber).

A new kind of theoretical canon came into being in connection with the Goldberg Variations, in which the canonic principle played a special part. In his personal copy of the Goldberg Variations Bach wrote in 1747–8 a series of 14 perpetual canons on the first eight bass notes of the aria ground (bwv1087), exploring the most varied canonic possibilities of the subject, subsequently arranging the individual perpetual canons in a progressive order, organized according to their increasing contrapuntal complexity. The types included range from simple, double and triple canons, retrograde canons and stretto canons to a quadruple proportion canon by augmentation and diminution. Nos.11 and 13 of this series are identical with bwv1077 and 1076 (depicted on Haussmann’s Bach portrait of 1746).

Closely related to these (and likewise probably dating from the later 1740s) are the Vom Himmel hoch variations, where Bach first used a strictly canonic scheme for a monothematic work in several movements of progressive difficulty. The Musical Offering (1747) is also plainly influenced by this mode of musical thinking. Here, for a theme incomparably more complex than that of bwv1087, he devised ten canons of differing structural types, notated as puzzle canons in the original printed edition of 1747. The series of canons on the ‘royal theme’ includes a canonic fugue, providing a bridge between the canons, which are primarily theoretical in conception though also intended for performance, and the two keyboard fugues or ricercares in three and six parts. A further constituent part of the Musical Offering is a trio sonata for flute, violin and continuo, also based on the royal theme. In its second slow movement Bach introduced echoes of the fashionable style practised at the Prussian court. The Musical Offering, in effect a compendium in three sections, shows Bach elaborating on the theme supplied to him by Frederick the Great in every imaginable way for an ensemble of up to three instruments.

The Art of Fugue constitutes the final contribution to this group of monothematically conceived works intended as representative examples of a specific principle. As a didactic keyboard work, the Art of Fugue in some ways forms a counterpart to the two books of the ‘48’, with the difference that here it is exclusively the fugue that is in question, and, what is more, the fugues are developed from a single theme. Bach’s work on the Art of Fugue was accomplished in two stages – from about 1740 to about 1745, and then (in connection with preparing the work for publication) in about 1748–50. The extant autograph score represents the conclusion of the first stage, in which the conception of the work already appears clearly: beginning with simple fugues (Bach avoided this term, speaking of ‘contrapunctus’), progressing through ‘counter-fugues’, double fugues and triple fugues, with interpolated canons, and culminating in a mirror fugue. For the printed version the number of movements was not only increased by four (two canons, a fourth simple fugue and most notably a closing quadruple fugue) but their order was rearranged so as to expound more logically the ‘chapter of instruction on fugues’. When Bach died the work may have been more ‘complete’ than it is in the form in which it has survived. In particular the quadruple fugue had surely been completed in all essentials, since the composition of its combinatorial section must necessarily be an early stage in the composition of a quadruple fugue. Only the three opening sections of the exposition, however, are extant, and these – further abbreviated by the editors, give the Art of Fugue the appearance of being a mighty torso.

The Musical Offering and the Art of Fugue mark both the end and the culmination of Bach’s activity as a keyboard composer in the broadest sense. While the two ricercars on the ‘royal theme’ of the Musical Offering represent different fugal styles (forward- and backward-looking) and different textures (three- and six-part polyphony), the Art of Fugue explores a notably more intensive monothematic conception. As a didactic keyboard composition in some sense it counterbalances the two parts of the ‘48’, yet with the difference that it concerns itself with fugue alone, in a series of compositions developed out of a single ‘principal composition’ (theme) – and does so using a technique in which forward- and backward-looking styles operate alongside each other, synoptically as it were. It was probably unintentional, and yet it is hardly by chance, that the initial premiss and the goal of Bach’s keyboard art and his musical thinking come together in the Art of Fugue.

21. Methods of composition.

  • Christoph Wolff

Bach’s methods of composition can be outlined only roughly: the sources, musical and literary, present no more than a fragmentary picture. ‘Methods’ here refers to Bach’s general procedures of composition, as far as these can be described objectively (without venturing into conjecture about creative psychology) and can be related to certain essential impulses and particularly characteristic approaches.

Bach’s vast knowledge of the musical repertory was a decisive factor behind his art. He had an intimate knowledge of the types and styles of composition of his time and in particular of the work of his most important contemporaries; moreover, he had a sound idea of the music of the past, extending back as far as Frescobaldi and Palestrina. The study of works by other masters went hand in hand with experimentation in his own. It is thus characteristic that his acquaintance with the works of Buxtehude and Böhm, with Vivaldi’s concertos, with the Passions of Keiser and Handel and with the masses of Lotti and Palestrina should have left an immediate imprint on his compositions in the same genres. It was less a matter of imitation of a model than of an awareness of the possibilities, an expansion of his own manner of writing and a stimulation of his musical ideas. This is confirmed in a contemporary report by T.L. Pitschel on his manner of improvisation, according to which, before beginning his own fantasia, Bach as a rule played from music a work by another master (or perhaps one of his own) which would ignite his imagination. Further, C.P.E. Bach wrote that, in accompanying a trio, his father liked to extemporize a fourth part. This tendency to take compositions by others as a starting-point is paralleled in his late adaptations: in his arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater an obbligato viola part is added, replacing the one following the continuo in the original; and his version of the ‘Suscepit Israel’ from Caldara’s Magnificat in C expands it from a five-part into a seven-part piece. An important aspect of Bach’s procedure of composition is its systematic and encyclopedic nature. He habitually wrote works of one particular type within a relatively limited period: for example the Orgel-Büchlein, the ‘48’, the solo violin sonatas and partitas, the canons, the chorale cantatas etc. He was concerned to try out, to develop and to exhaust specific principles of composition. There are practically no completely isolated compositions. Relationships, correspondences and connections with other works can constantly be found. This approach to the procedure of composition is at once deep and yet of great natural simplicity; and it never results in mere repetition. Certainly there is repetition, of a kind, in the case of parodies or transcriptions of existing works. Yet even here it is inappropriate to speak of repetition, since in the process of parodying and transcribing, Bach always modified so that the end-product represents a fresh stage in the development of the original composition.

C.P.E. Bach related that his father did not actually compose at the keyboard – apart from some keyboard works whose material originated in improvisations – but that he often tried out his music on the keyboard afterwards. This procedure may be seen in the few instrumental works of which Bach’s autograph draft survives, for example the early versions of the Inventions in the Clavier-Büchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann, where an abundance of inserted corrections are to be found. In the vocal music, where a wealth of source material is available, the main stages of composition can often be reconstructed. In thematically and motivically self-contained movements, like arias and choruses, Bach normally began with the development and formulation of a motif, a phrase or a theme, which would be guided by the prosody of the text; he then added the contrapuntal voices, and continued in the same way, sometimes using ‘continuation sketches’ to plan the music’s progress in advance (see the critical edition of the sketches, Marshall, 1972). In choral fugues he usually began by outlining the thematic entries, and wrote in the accompanying parts afterwards. The decisive step was the embarkation on the writing of a movement, for progress was in its essentials determined by established models (harmonic-tonal groundplan, modulation patterns, aria schemes) and governed by the principle of unified continuation (‘style d’une teneur’ and ‘Affekteinheitlichkeit’ – ensured by a unified motivic organization and interchange, permutation and transposition of component sections). The invention of the central idea was for Bach the critical moment in the process of composition, as the title-page of the Inventions specifies: ‘gute inventiones zu bekommen’ (‘how to achieve good inventions’); and this is borne out by C.P.E. Bach’s report that his first requirement of his composition pupils was the invention of ideas. With this the die was cast, down to a work’s emotional content. Outlines and sketches relating to this operation can sometimes be found in the original manuscripts; typically, however, Bach hardly required more than one or two attempts before arriving at the definitive form of his principal idea. The further elaboration of the idea – the dispositio, elaboratio anddecoratio – required mastery of his craft rather than inspiration.

In composing multi-movement vocal works Bach, understandably, began as a rule with the self-contained movements and only afterwards worked at the recitatives and chorales. In the recitatives he normally first wrote out the text and then added the melody and bass, section by section. In the chorales the bass was added to the melody and the middle parts were inserted later. Then all the movements were revised in detail, and sometimes corrections were made. The appearance of Bach’s working drafts is thus unusually clear and neat as a whole, although it is mainly in his fair copies that the particular quality of his handwriting, a quality comparable to that of his music, is expressed. The physical state of the fair copy had to reflect the degree of artistic perfection to which the composer aspired, and the pains taken to achieve neatness and clarity in the copy are not evidence of pedantry. Rather, Bach was aware of the dichotomy between the perfection of the musical idea and that of its representation in performance. For this reason and no other he made the following statement in 1738, through the mouth of his spokesman J.A. Birnbaum: ‘One does not judge a composition first and foremost by the impression of its performance. Yet if such judgment, which can be deceptive, is not to be taken into consideration, then I see no other way of forming an opinion about it except by looking at the work as it is set down in notation.’

Ultimately, for Bach, the process of composition was an unending one. Dynamic markings and indications of articulation would be inserted as he looked through the parts; he would revise and improve a work when he was copying it out, and when giving further performances would make fresh alterations and improvements. He also inserted corrections in works already in print. Throughout his life Bach was his own severest critic. Even in works which went through two or three different versions, like the chorale prelude An Wasserflüssen Babylon bwv653, the ‘final’ version does not represent a definitive one but merely a further stage in the search for perfection – the central and ultimate concern of Bach’s method of composition.


  • Christoph Wolff
Bach did not always define instruments unambiguously; ‘corno’ could mean the normal horn of his time, the need for a brass player but not necessarily a trumpeter, or possibly the most suitable brass instrument (horn, cornett, slide-trumpet [tromba da tirarsi] etc.); parts for ‘three oboes’ at Leipzig may indicate any combination of oboes, oboes d’amore, tailles (tenor oboes in F, with no solo material) or oboes da caccia (a specific local tenor type, designed for obbligato work); four trombones indicate SATB and three ATB (usually below a cornett)
Dates of later copies or performances are given only if modifications are involved


J.S. Bach: Werke, ed. Bach-Gesellschaft. i–xlvii (Leipzig, 1851–99/R) [BG]

J.S. Bach: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke (Neue Bach-Ausgabe), ed. Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut, Göttingen, and Bach-Archiv, Leipzig, ser. I–VIII (Kassel and Basle, 1954–) [vols. in square brackets are in preparation] [NBA; CC = Critical Commentary]


W. Schmieder: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs: Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Leipzig, 1950, enlarged 2/1990, rev. and abridged 1998 by A. Dürr, Y. Kobayashi and K. Beisswenger as Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) [BWV; A = Anhang]

H.-J. Schulze and C. Wolff: Bach Compendium: analytisch-bibliographisches Repertorium der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Leipzig and Frankfurt, 1985–) [BC]

† variant versions exist; see bwv and BC

Church cantatas

Advent I = 1st Sunday in Advent; Trinity/Easter I = 1st Sunday after Trinity/Easter, etc.; most texts are compilations including at least one chorale; only single text sources given; where the text is entirely or mainly based on that of a chorale, its author’s name is given in parentheses
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Title (text/librettist)

Occasion; 1st perf.





A 173

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, chorale (P. Nicolai)

Annunciation; 25 March 1725

S, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

i, 1

I/xxviii.2, 3


A 98

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, chorale (M. Luther)

Trinity II; 18 June 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 4 trbn, 2 ob, str, bc

i, 55

I/xvi, 83


A 33

Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, chorale (M. Möller)

Epiphany II; 14 Jan 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, trbn, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

i, 75

I/v, 191


A 54

Christ lag in Todes Banden, chorale (Luther)

Easter; probably by 1708

S, A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, str, bc [3 trbn added 1725]

i, 97

I/ix, 1


A 145

Wo soll ich fliehen hin, chorale (J. Heermann)

Trinity XIX; 15 Oct 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt da tirarsi, 2 ob, str, bc

i, 127

I/xxiv, 135


A 57

Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden

Easter Monday; 2 April 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, ob da caccia, vc piccolo, str, bc

i, 153

I/x, 45


A 177

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, chorale (Luther)

St John; 24 June 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

i, 179

I/xxix, 27


A 137

Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?, chorale (C. Neumann)

Trinity XVI; 24 Sept 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

i, 213

I/xxiii, 107, 165


A 107

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, chorale (P. Speratus)

Trinity VI; c1732–5

S, A, T, B, 4vv, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

i, 245

I/xvii/2, 93


A 175

Meine Seel erhebt den Herren (Luke i.46–55)

Visitation; 2 July 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, str, bc

i, 277

I/xxviii.2, 10


A 68

Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (? S. Franck)

Easter III; 22 April 1714

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, ob, str, bc

ii, 61

I/xi/2, 1


A 34

Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen (G.C. Lehms)

Epiphany II; 20 Jan 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, ob da caccia, str, bc

ii, 81

I/v, 231


A 40

Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, chorale (Luther)

Epiphany IV; 30 Jan 1735

S, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc

ii, 101

I/vi, 139


A 23

Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Lehms)

New Year; 1 Jan 1726

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

ii, 175

I/iv, 105


A 131

Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich

Trinity XIV; 22 Sept 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

ii, 201

I/xxi, 149


A 44

Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (E. Neumeister)

Sexagesima; ? 24 Feb 1715 or ? 1713–14

S, T, B, 4vv, 4 va, bc [2 fl added 1724]

ii, 229

I/vii, 109


A 180

Es erhub sich ein Streit (after Picander)

St Michael; 29 Sept 1726

S, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, taille, str, bc

ii, 255

I/xxx, 57


A 95

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, chorale (J. Rist)

Trinity I; 11 June 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, da tirarsi, 3 ob, str, bc

ii, 293

I/xv, 135


A 99

Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (?Franck)

Trinity III; 17 June 1714 [part earlier]

S, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, ob, str, bc incl. bn [4 trbn added 1723]

v/1, 1

I/xvi, 111


A 48

Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe

Quinquagesima; 7 Feb 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

v/1, 67

I/viii.1, 3


A 47

Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn

Quinquagesima, 7 Feb 1723

S, A, T, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc [cornett, 3 trbn added 1724]

v/1, 95

I/viii.1, 35, 71


A 102

Ein ungefärbt Gemüte (Neumeister)

Trinity IV; 20 June 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

v/1, 127

I/xvii.1, 49


A 129

Es ist nicht Gesundes an meinem Leibe

Trinity XIV; 29 Aug 1723

S, T, B, 4vv, cornett, 3 trbn, 3 rec, 2 ob, str, bc

v/1, 155

I/xxi, 81


A 162

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig, chorale (M. Franck)

Trinity XXIV; 19 Nov 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, 3 ob, str, bc

v/1, 191

I/xxvii, 31


A 138

Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende!

Trinity XVI; 6 Oct 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, ob da caccia, org obbl, str, bc

v/1, 219

I/xxiii, 223


A 20

Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende (Neumeister)

Christmas I; 30 Dec 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, 3 trbn, 2 ob, taille, str, bc

v/1, 247



B 8

Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir

inauguration of town council; 27 Aug 1731

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, org obbl, str, bc

v/1, 275

I/xxxii.2, 3


A 178

Freue dich, erlöste Schar (adapted ?Picander from 30a)

St John; 24 June 1738 or later

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

v/1, 323

I/xxix, 61


A 55

Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret (Franck)

Easter; 21 April 1715

S, T, B, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc [taille added 1724]

vii, 3

I/ix, 43


A 31

Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, dialogue (Lehms)

Epiphany I; 13 Jan 1726

S, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

vii, 55

I/v, 145


A 127

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, chorale (K. Hubert)

Trinity XIII; 3 Sept 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

vii, 83

I/xxi, 25


A 84

O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe (adapted from 34a)

Whit Sunday; c1746–7

A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

vii, 117

I/xiii, 131


B 13

O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe [partly lost]

?wedding; 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xli, 117

I/xxxiii, 29


A 125

Geist und Seele wird verwirret (Lehms) [partly adapted from lost ob conc., cf 1059]

Trinity XII; 8 Sept 1726

A, 2 ob, taille, org obbl, str, bc

vii, 173

I/xx, 217


A 3

Schwingt freudig euch empor (adapted ?Picander from 36c)

Advent I; c1725–30, rev. 2 Dec 1731

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

vii, 223

I/i, 19, 43


A 75

Wer da gläubet und getauft wird [inc.]

Ascension; 18 May 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

vii, 261

I/xii, 81


A 152

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, chorale (Luther)

Trinity XXI; 29 Oct 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 4 trbn, 2 ob, str, bc

vii, 285

I/xxv, 219


A 96

Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot

Trinity I; 23 June 1726

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 rec, 2 ob, str, bc

vii, 303

I/xv, 181


A 12

Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes

2nd day of Christmas; 26 Dec 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob, str, bc

vii, 351



A 22

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, chorale (J. Herman)

New Year; 1 Jan 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, vc piccolo, str, bc

x, 3

I/iv, 39


A 63

Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats

Easter I; 8 April 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc incl. bn

x, 65

I/xi.1, 63


A 77

Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen (?Helm)

Ascension; 30 May 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc

x, 95

I/xii, 135


A 78

Sie werden euch in den Bann tun

Ascension I; 21 May 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

x, 129

I/xii, 167


A 113

Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist

Trinity VIII; 11 Aug 1726

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

x, 153

I/xviii, 199


A 117

Schauet doch und sehet

Trinity X; 1 Aug 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, tpt da tirarsi, 2 taille, str, bc

x, 189

I/xix, 111


A 141

Wer sich selbst erhöhet (J.F. Helbig)

Trinity XVII; 13 Oct 1726

S, B, 4vv, 2 ob, org obbl, str, bc

x, 241

I/xxiii, 321


A 144

Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen

Trinity XIX; 3 Oct 1723

A, T, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, str, bc

x, 277

I/xxiv, 107


A 150

Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen, dialogue [sinfonia adapted from lost conc. 1053]

Trinity XX; 3 Nov 1726

S, B, ob d’amore, org obbl, vc piccolo, str, bc

x, 301

I/xxv, 109


A 194

Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft (Revelation xii. 10) [movt of inc. or lost cantata]

St Michael

8vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, str, bc

x, 343

I/xxx, 143


A 134

Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!

Trinity XV; 17 Sept 1730

S, tpt, str, bc [2 tpt, timp added by W.F. Bach]

xii/2, 3

I/xxii, 77


A 160

Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht

Trinity XXIII; 24 Nov 1726

S, 4vv, 2 hn, 3 ob, bn, str, bc

xii/2, 27

I/xxvi, 133


A 51

Widerstehe doch der Sünde (Lehms)

Oculi or Trinity VII; 4 March or 15 July 1714

A, str, bc

xii/2, 61

I/xviii, 3


A 157

Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht

Trinity XXII; 17 Nov 1726

T, 4vv, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xii/2, 75

I/xxvi, 57


A 146

Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen

Trinity XIX; 27 Oct 1726

B, 4vv, 3 ob, str, bc

xii/2, 89

I/xxiv, 175


A 14

Selig ist der Mann, dialogue (Lehms)

2nd day of Christmas; 26 Dec 1725

S, B, 4vv, 3 ob, str, bc

xii/2, 107



A 26

Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, dialogue

New Year I; 5 Jan 1727

S, B, str, bc [2 ob, taille added 1733–4]

xii/2, 135

I/iv, 219


A 82

Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten (Neumeister)

Whit Sunday; 28 May 1724

S, B, 4vv, 2 tpt, timp, str, bc

xii/2, 153

I/xiii, 67


A 161

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, dialogue

Trinity XXIV; 7 Nov 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xii/2, 171

I/xxvii, 3


A 1

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Neumeister)

Advent I; 2 Dec 1714

S, T, B, 4vv, str, bc

xvi, 3

I/i, 3


A 2

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, chorale (Luther)

Advent I; 3 Dec 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc

xvi, 21

I/i, 77


A 8

Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (? N. Heineccius)

Christmas; c1714–15

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 4 tpt, timp, 3 ob, str, bc [org obbl added after c1729]

xvi, 53

I/ii, 3


A 15

Sehet, welch eine Leibe (Knauer)

3rd day of Christmas; 27 Dec 1723

S, A, B, 4vv, cornett, 3 trbn, ob d’amore, str, bc

xvi, 113



A 27

Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen

Epiphany; 6 Jan 1724

T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 rec, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

xvi, 135

I/v, 3


A 56

Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, dialogue [adapted from 66a]

Easter Monday; 10 April 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, str, bc

xvi, 169

I/x, 3


A 62

Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ

Easter I; 16 April 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xvi, 217

I/xi.1, 1


A 86

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt (M. von Ziegler)

Whit Monday; 21 May 1725

S, B, 4vv, hn, cornett, 3 trbn, 2 ob, taille, vc piccolo, str, bc

xvi, 249

I/xiv, 33


B 10

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (partly Knauer) [adapted from 69a]

inauguration of town council; 1742–8

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xvi, 283

I/xxxii.2, 113


A 123

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Knauer)

Trinity XII; 15 Aug 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, rec, 3 ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

xvi, 373 (inc.)

I/xx, 119


A 165

Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! (partly Franck) [adapted from 70a]

Trinity XXVI; 21 Nov 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, ob, str, bc

xvi, 329

I/xxvii, 109


A 4

Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! (Franck) [music lost]

Advent II; 6 Dec 1716

I/i, CC


B 1

Gott ist mein König

inauguration of Mühlhausen town council; 4 Feb 1708

S, A, T, B, 4vv; 3 tpt, timp; 2 rec, vc; 2 ob; str, bc incl. org obbl

xviii, 3

I/xxxii.1, 3


A 37

Alles nur nach Gottes Willen (Franck)

Epiphany III; 27 Jan 1726

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xviii, 57

I/vi, 59


A 35

Herr, wie du willt, so schick’s mit mir

Epiphany III; 23 Jan 1724

S, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc [later version, 1730s, with org obbl instead of hn]

xviii, 87

I/vi, 3


A 83

Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten (Ziegler) [partly adapted from 59]

Whit Sunday; 20 May 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

xviii, 107

I/xiii, 85


A 94

Die Elenden sollen essen

Trinity I; 30 May 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xviii, 149

I/xv, 87


A 97, A 185

Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes

Trinity II; 6 June 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, ob d’amore, va da gamba, str, bc

xviii, 191

I/xvi, 3


A 126

Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben (Knauer)

Trinity XIII; 22 Aug 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt da tirarsi, 2 ob, str, bc

xviii, 235

I/xxi, 3


A 130

Jesu, der du meine Seele, chorale (Rist)

Trinity XIV; 10 Sept 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xviii, 257

I/xxi, 117


A 184

Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild

Reformation Festival; 31 Oct 1725

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 hn, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xviii, 289

I/xxxi, 3


A 183

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (Franck) [adapted from 80a]

Reformation Festival; 1727–31, rev. 1744–7 or earlier

S, A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc [ob d’amore, taille added c1744–7; 3 tpt, timp added by W.F. Bach]

xviii, 319, 381

I/xxxi, 67, 73


A 52

Alles, was von Gott geboren (Franck) [music lost]

Lent III; Oculi, 15 March 1716

I/viii, CC


A 39

Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?

Epiphany IV; 30 Jan 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xx/1, 3

I/vi, 111


A 169

Ich habe genug

Purification; 2 Feb 1727

B, ob, str, bc; other versions for S/A with altered ww

xx/1, 27

I/xxviii.1, 77


A 167

Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde

Purification; 2 Feb 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob, str, bc

xx/1, 53

I/xxviii.1, 3


A 43

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (Picander)

Septuagesima; 9 Feb 1727

S, 4vv, ob, str, bc

xx/1, 79

I/vii, 23


A 66

Ich bin ein guter Hirt

Easter II; 15 April 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, vc piccolo, str, bc

xx/1, 101

I/xi.1, 157


A 73

Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch

Easter V; 14 May 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xx/1, 121

I/xii, 47


A 74

Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten (Ziegler)

Easter V; 6 May 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

xx/1, 137

I/xii, 63


A 105

Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden

Trinity V; 21 July 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob d’amore, taille, str, bc

xx/1, 155

I/xvii.2, 33


A 155

Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim?

Trinity XXII; 24 Oct 1723

S, A, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc

xx/1, 181

I/xxvi, 3


A 163

Es reisset euch ein schrecklich Ende

Trinity XXV; 14 Nov 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, str, bc

xx/1, 197

I/xxvii, 61


A 9

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, chorale (Luther)

Christmas; 25 Dec 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, timp, 3 ob, str, bc

xxii, 3

I/ii, 133, 164


A 42

Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn, chorale (P. Gerhardt)

Septuagesima; 28 Jan 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxii, 35

I/vii, 43


A 104

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten, chorale (G. Neumark)

Trinity V; 9 July 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxii, 71

I/xvii.2, 3


A 115

Was frag ich nach der Welt, chorale (B. Kindermann)

Trinity IX; 6 Aug 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxii, 97

I/xix, 45


A 136

Christus, der ist mein Leben, stanzas from 3 chorales

Trinity XVI; 12 Sept 1723

S, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxii, 131

I/xxiii, 67


A 142

Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn, chorale (E. Kreuziger)

Trinity XVIII; 8 Oct 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, trbn, fl piccolo, 2 ob, vn piccolo, str, bc

xxii, 157

I/xxiv, 3


A 189

In allen meinen Taten, chorale (P. Fleming)


S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxii, 187

I/xxxiv, 199


A 153

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

Trinity XXI; 10 Nov 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxii, 233

I/xxv, 243


A 133

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, chorale (P. Rodigast)

Trinity XV; 17 Sept 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxii, 253

I/xxii, 41


A 191

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, chorale (Rodigast)


S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, timp, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxii, 279

I/xxxiv, 241


A 118

Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, chorale (Möller)

Trinity X; 13 Aug 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, 3 trbn, fl, 2 ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

xxiii, 3

I/xix, 175


A 119

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben

Trinity X; 25 Aug 1726

A, T, B, 4vv, fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xxiii, 35

I/xix, 231


A 69

Ihr werdet weinen und heulen (Ziegler)

Easter III; 22 April 1725

A, T, 4vv, tpt, fl piccolo, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiii, 69

I/xi.2, 25


A 65

Du Hirte Israel, höre

Easter II; 23 April 1724

T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, ob da caccia, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiii, 97

I/xi.1, 113


A 114

Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht

Trinity IX; 25 July 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc

xxiii, 119

I/xix, 3


B 18

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus tragicus)

funeral; ?1707–8

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, 2 va da gamba, bc

xxiii, 149

I/xxxiv, 3


A 109

Was willst du dich betrüben, chorale (Heermann)

Trinity VII; 23 July 1724

S, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiii, 181

I/xviii, 57


A 72

Es ist euch gut, dass ich hingehe (Ziegler)

Easter IV; 29 April 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiii, 205

I/xii, 19


A 151

Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben

Trinity XXI; 17 Oct 1723

A, T, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, str, bc

xxiii, 233

I/xxv, 159


A 10

Unser Mund sei voll Lachens [cf 1069] (Lehms)

Christmas; 25 Dec 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 3 ob, ob d’amore, ob da caccia, str, bc

xxiii, 265

I/ii, 73


A 36

Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit, chorale (A. von Brandenburg)

Epiphany III; 21 Jan 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxiv, 3

I/vi, 27


A 67

Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, chorale (W. Meuslin)

Easter II; 8 April 1731

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiv, 31

I/xi.1, 179


A 122

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, chorale (B. Ringwaldt)

Trinity XI; 20 Aug 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiv, 51

I/xx, 81


A 139

Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost, chorale (J. Gigas)

Trinity XVII; 1 Oct 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xxiv, 83

I/xxiii, 289


A 156

Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit, chorale (J.B. Freystein)

Trinity XXII; 5 Nov 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, ob d’amore, vc piccolo, str, bc

xxiv, 111

I/xxvi, 23


A 164

Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, chorale (J. Ebert)

Trinity XXV; 26 Nov 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiv, 135

I/xxvii, 81


A 187

Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut, chorale (J.J. Schütz)


A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiv, 161

I/xxxiv, 153


B 3

Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn

inauguration of town council; 30 Aug 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 4 tpt, timp, 2 rec, 3 ob, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

xxiv, 195

I/xxxii.1, 131


B 6

Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille

inauguration of town council; ? 29 Aug 1729

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxiv, 249

I/xxxii.2, 55


B 15

Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge [adapted from 120, partly lost]

wedding; ?1729

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, org obbl, str, bc

xli, 149

I/xxxiii, 77


B 28

Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille (Picander) [adapted from 120, music lost]

2nd day of 200th anniversary of Augsburg Confession, 26 June 1730


A 13

Christum wir sollen loben schon, chorale (Luther)

2nd day of Christmas; 26 Dec 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, 3 trbn, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxvi, 3



A 19

Das neugeborne Kindelein, chorale (C. Schneegass)

Christmas I; 31 Dec 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 rec, 2 ob, taille, str, bc

xxvi, 23



A 28

Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen, chorale (A. Fritsch)

Epiphany; 6 Jan 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxvi, 43

I/v, 49


A 30

Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht, chorale (C. Keymann)

Epiphany I; 7 Jan 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxvi, 63

I/v, 117


A 168

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, chorale (Luther)

Purification; 2 Feb 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, fl, ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxvi, 85

I/xxviii.1, 33


A 46

Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, chorale (Luther)

Sexagesima; 4 Feb 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, str, bc

xxvi, 113

I/vii, 157


A 49

Herr Jesu Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott, chorale (P. Eber)

Quinquagesima; 11 Feb 1725

S, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 rec, 2 ob, str, bc

xxvi, 135

I/viii.1, 107


A 76

Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein (Ziegler)

Ascension; 10 May 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 hn, 2 ob d’amore, taille, str, bc

xxvi, 163

I/xii, 103


A 93

Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, chorale (J. Olearius)

Trinity or Reformation; 16 June or 31 Oct 1726

S, A, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxvi, 187

I/xv, 39


A 179

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, chorale (Eber)

St Michael; 29 Sept 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, fl, 3 ob, str, bc

xxvi, 233

I/xxx, 3


B 25

Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (? G.C. Eilmar)


S, A, T, B, 4vv, ob, bn, vn, 2 va, bc

xxviii, 3

I/xxxiv, 69


A 6

Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn! (Franck)

Advent IV; 22 Dec 1715

S, A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

xxviii, 35

I/i, 101


A 16

Ich freue mich in dir, chorale (K. Ziegler)

3rd day of Christmas; 27 Dec 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxviii, 53



A 59

Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss [adapted from 134a]

Easter Tuesday; 11 April 1724

A, T, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxviii, 83, 287

I/x, 71


A 100

Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, chorale (Schneegass)

Trinity III; 25 June 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, cornett, trbn, 2 ob, str, bc

xxviii, 121

I/xvi, 199


A 111

Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz

Trinity VIII; 18 June 1723

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxviii, 139

I/xviii, 131


A 124

Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, chorale (J. Neander)

Trinity XII; 19 Aug 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc

xxviii, 167

I/xx, 173


A 132

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz?, chorale (anon.)

Trinity XV; 5 Sept 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxviii, 199

I/xxii, 1


A 159

Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott, chorale (J.C. Rüben)

Trinity XXIII; 12 Nov 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxviii, 225

I/xxvi, 99


A 166

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, chorale (Nicolai)

Trinity XXVII; 25 Nov 1731

S, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, taille, vn piccolo, str, bc

xxviii, 251

I/xxvii, 151


A 41

Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin

Septuagesima; 6 Feb 1724

S, A, T, 4vv, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxx, 77

I/vii, 3


A 60

Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen (Picander)

Easter Tuesday; ?1729

S, T, B, 4vv, tpt, fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxx, 95

I/x, 113


A 70

Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal [partly adapted from lost vn conc.; cf 1052]

Easter III; ? 12 May 1726 or ? 18 April 1728

S, A, T, B, 4vv, fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, taille, org obbl, str, bc

xxx, 125

I/xi.2, 65


A 174

Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (partly Franck) [adapted from 147a]

Visitation; 2 July 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, 2 ob, ob d’amore, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

xxx, 193

I/xxviii.2, 65


A 7

Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Franck) [music lost]

Advent IV; 20 Dec 1716

I/i, CC


A 140

Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens (after Picander)

Trinity XVII; ? 19 Sept 1723

A, T, 4vv, tpt, ob, ob d’amore, ob da caccia, str, bc

xxx, 237

I/xxiii, 255


A 181

Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg (Picander)

St Michael; ? 29 Sept 1728 or ? 1729

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, bn, str, bc

xxx, 263

I/xxx, 99


B 24

Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich [? inc.]

? before 1707

S, A, T, B, 4vv, bn, 2 vn, bc

xxx, 303



A 17

Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt (Lehms)

3rd day of Christmas; 27 Dec 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, fl, str, bc [ob d’amore added c1727]

xxxii, 3



A 18

Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn (Franck)

Christmas I; 30 Dec 1714

S, B, rec, ob, va d’amore, va da gamba, bc

xxxii, 19



A 25

Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind

New Year I; 2 Jan 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, str, bc

xxxii, 43

I/iv, 201


A 29

Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren

Epiphany I; 9 Jan 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxii, 61

I/v, 91


A 32

Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange (Franck)

Epiphany II; 19 Jan 1716

S, A, T, B, 4vv, bn, str, bc

xxxii, 85

I/v, 175


A 38

Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe (Picander) [sinfonia adapted from lost ob conc.; cf 1056]

Epiphany III; ? 23 Jan 1729

A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

xxxii, 99

I/vi, 91


A 170, B 20

Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn (Picander) [adapted from earlier version as funeral cant.]

Purification; ? 2 Feb 1728 or later

T, B, 4vv, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxii, 117

I/xxxiv, 43


A 61, A 171

Der Friede sei mit dir [? adapted from earlier cant. for Purification] [inc.]

Easter Tuesday; after 1723

B, 4vv, ob, vn, bc

xxxii, 143

I/x, 131


A 50

Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem (Picander)

Quinquagesima; ? 27 Feb 1729

A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

xxxii, 157

I/viii.1, 159


A 135

Komm, du süsse Todesstunde (Franck)

Trinity XVI; 6 Oct 1715

A, T, 4vv, 2 rec, org obbl, str, bc

xxxiii, 3

I/xxiii, 3, 35


A 148

Ach! ich sehe, jetzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe (Franck) [inc.]

Trinity XX; 3 Nov 1715

S, A, T, B, 4vv, hn da tirarsi, str, bc

xxxiii, 31

I/xxv, 3, 23


A 158

Nur jedem das Seine (Franck)

Trinity XXIII; 24 Nov 1715

S, A, T, B, 4vv, str, bc

xxxiii, 49

I/xxvi, 79


A 128

Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet (Franck)

Trinity XIII; 26 Aug 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xxxiii, 67

I/xxi, 59


A 90

O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad (Franck)

Trinity; 16 June 1715

S, A, T, B, 4vv, str, bc

xxxiii, 91

I/xv, 3


A 71

Wo gehest du hin? [inc.]

Easter IV; 7 May 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc

xxxiii, 107

I/xii, 3


A 176

Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe

St John; 24 June 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt da tirarsi, ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

xxxiii, 125

I/xxix, 3


A 116

Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort (Franck)

Trinity IX; 29 July 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxiii, 149

I/xix, 89


A 143

Gott soll allein mein Herze haben [partly adapted from lost conc.; cf 1053]

Trinity XVIII; 20 Oct 1726

A, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, taille, org obbl, str, bc

xxxiii, 169

I/xxiv, 61


A 106

Vergnügte Ruh’, beliebte Seelenlust (Lehms)

Trinity VI; 28 July 1726

A, ob, d’amore, org obbl, str, bc

xxxiii, 195

I/xvii.2, 61


A 24

Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (Picander)

New Year; 1 Jan ?1729

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc

xxxv, 3

I/iv, 133


A 81

Erschallet, ihr Lieder (?Franck)

Whit Sunday; 20 May 1714

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, ob, str, bc

xxxv, 37

I/xiii, 3, 35


A 85

Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut [adapted from 173a]

Whit Monday; ? 29 May 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, str, bc

xxxv, 73

I/xiv, 3


A 87

Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte (Picander)

Whit Monday; 6 June 1729

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob, taille, str, bc

xxxv, 105

I/xiv, 65


A 89

Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen (M. von Ziegler)

Whit Tuesday; 22 May 1725

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 tpt, 3 rec, vc piccolo, str, bc

xxxv, 161

I/xiv, 149, 165


A 92

Es is ein trotzig, und verzagt Ding (M. von Ziegler)

Trinity; 27 May 1725

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 ob, ob da caccia, str, bc

xxxv, 181

I/xv, 19


A 103

Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, chorale (J. Agricola)

Trinity IV; 6 July 1732

S, A, T, 4vv, 2 ob, taille, bn, str, bc

xxxv, 201

I/xvii.1, 79


A 112

Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält, chorale (J. Jonas)

Trinity VIII; 30 July 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, hn, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxv, 237; xli, 204

I/xviii, 161


A 121

Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht

Trinity XI; 8 Aug 1723

S, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

xxxv, 275

I/xx, 57


A 149

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, chorale (J. Franck)

Trinity XX; 22 Oct 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, fl, ob, ob da caccia, vc piccolo, str, bc

xxxv, 295

I/xxv, 43


A 45

Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister [? incl. earlier material] [inc.]

Sexagesima; 13 Feb 1724

S, A, T, B, 4vv, tpt, str, bc [fl, ob added later]

xxxvii, 3

I/vii, 135


A 53, A 172

Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (?Franck)

Palm Sunday; 25 March 1714

A, T, B, 4vv, rec, str, bc

xxxvii, 23

I/viii.2, 3, 43


A 79

Sie werden euch in den Bann tun (Ziegler)

Ascension I; 13 May 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, 2 ob da caccia, vc piccolo, str, bc

xxxvii, 61

I/xii, 189


A 88

Erwünschtes Freudenlicht [adapted from 184a]

Whit Tuesday; 30 May 1724

S, A, T, 4vv, 2 fl, str, bc

xxxvii, 77

I/xiv, 121


A 101

Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (Franck)

Trinity IV; 14 July 1715

S, A, T, B, 4vv, ob, str, bc [later version with tpt da tirarsi instead of ob]

xxxvii, 103

I/xvii.1, 3


A 108

Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (partly Franck) [adapted from 186a]

Trinity VII; 11 July 1723

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, taille, str, bc

xxxvii, 121

I/xviii, 17


A 5

Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (Franck) [music lost]

Advent III; 13 Dec 1716

I/i, CC


A 110

Es wartet alles auf dich

Trinity VII; 4 Aug 1726

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxxvii, 157

I/xviii, 93


A 154

Ich habe meine Zuversicht (Picander) [sinfonia adapted from lost vn conc.; cf 1052]

Trinity XXI; ? 17 Oct 1728

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, taille, org obbl, str, bc

xxxvii, 195; xlv/1, 234

I/xxv, 267


A 21

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied! [partly lost]

New Year; 1 Jan 1724

A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, ob d’amore, bn, str, bc

xxxvii, 229

I/iv, 3


B 27

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied! [adapted from 190, lost]

200th anniversary of Augsburg Confession; 25 June 1730

I/xxxiv, CC


A 188

Nun danket alle Gott, chorale (M. Rinkart) [partly lost]


S, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xli, 67

I/xxxiv, 109


B 5

Ihr Tore zu Zion

inauguration of town council; 25 Aug 1727

S, A, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xli, 93

I/xxxii, 203


A 91, B 31

Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest [adapted from 194a]

consecration of Störmthal church and org; 2 Nov 1723

S, T, B, 4vv, 3 ob, str, bc

xxix, 101

I/xxxi, 147


B 14

Dem Gerechten muss das Licht

wedding; 1727–31, rev. c1742 and 1747–8

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 hn, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xiii/1, 3

I/xxxiii, 17


B 11

Der Herr denket an uns (Ps cxv)

wedding; ?1707–8

S, T, B, 4vv, str, bc

xiii/1, 73

I/xxxiii, 3


B 16

Gott ist unsre Zuversicht [partly based on 197a]

wedding; 1736/7

S, A, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xiii/1, 97

I/xxxiii, 119


A 11

Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe (Picander) [partly lost]

Christmas; 25 Dec ?1728

A, B, 4vv, 2 fl, ob d’amore, vc/bn, str, bc

xli, 109

I/ii, 65


A 120

Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (Lehms)

Trinity XI; 12 Aug 1714

S, ob, str, bc

xli, 202 (inc.)

I/xx, 3, 25, 46, 48


A 192

Bekennen will ich seinen Namen [frag. of lost cantata]

?Epiphany or ?Purification; c1742

A, 2 vn, bc

I/xxviii.1, 189

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Lost or incomplete
View large



Title (librettist)

Occasion; 1st perf.





A 186

Meine Seele soll Gott loben

only incipit of last movt extant



B 22

Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt (Picander)

funeral of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 24 March 1729

music lost, text partly same as St Matthew Passion (244), and Trauer Ode (198)



A 193

[Sinfonia], from lost cant.


vn, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc

xxi/1, 65

I/xxxiv, 307


Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden (after Ps li) [arr. of Pergolesi: Stabat mater]


S, A, str, bc



A 147

[untexted frag.]

Trinity XIX; 1729

6-bar frag. in autograph of 226

xxxix, p.xxix



B 7

Gott, gib dein Gerichte dem Könige (Picander)

change of town council; 28 Aug 1730

only text extant



B 4

Wünschet Jerusalem Glück (Picander)

change of town council; 26 Aug 1726 or 30 Aug 1728

only text extant



B 29

Wünschet Jerusalem Glück (Picander)

3rd day of 200th anniversary of Augsburg Confession, 27 June 1730

only text extant



B 30

Lobet den Herrn, alle seine Heerscharen (C.F. Hunold)

birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 10 Dec 1718

only text extant



B 12

Sein Segen fliesst daher wie ein Strom

wedding; 12 Feb 1725

only text extant



B 32

Siehe, der Hüter Israel

degree ceremony, Leipzig; 1723–49

cited in Breitkopf catalogue, 1761; lost



Mein Gott, nimm die gerechte Seele


cited in Breitkopf catalogue, 1761; lost



B 9

Herrscher des Himmels, König der Ehren

change of town council; 29 Aug 1740

last chorus adapted from 208, otherwise lost



Ich bin ein Pilgrim auf der Welt (Picander)

Easter Monday; ? 18 April 1729

only frag. of 4th movt extant

I/xxxiii, CC


B 2

[title unknown]

change of Mühlhausen town council; 1709




Ihr wallenden Wolken

? New Year

cited in Forkel: Nachlassverzeichnis, 1819, lost



[title unknown]

Easter I

7-bar sketch in autograph score of 103

xxiii, p.xxxii



Sie werden euch in den Bann tun

? Ascension I

6-bar sketch in autograph score of 79



[title unknown]

St Michael; Sept 1729

14-bar sketch for opening of cant. in autograph score of 201

B 19

Was ist, das wir Leben nennen

dedication service; 2 April 1716

B 21

[title unknown]

first funeral music for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 23 March 1729

music lost

View large
Doubtful and spurious
View large



Title (librettist)

Occasion; 1st perf.





Denn du wirst meine Seele


by J.L. Bach

ii, 135


Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde (?Franck)


? by M. Hoffmann

xii/2, 53


Das ist je gewisslich wahr (Helbig)

Advent III

by G.P. Telemann

xxx, 3


Uns ist ein Kind geboren (Neumeister)


xxx, 19


Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele

New Year

xxx, 45

I/iv, 167


Ich weiss, dass mein Erlöser lebt (Neumeister)


by Telemann

xxxii, 171


Meine Seele rühmt und preist


probably by M. Hoffmann

xxxvii, 215


Gedenke, Herr, wie es uns gehet

Epiphany I

xli, 207


Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch (Neumeister)

Whit Sunday

by Telemann

xli, 223


Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe

St Michael

by Telemann

xli, 239


Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munde

St John

xli, 259


Wer sucht die Pracht, wer wünscht den Glanz


Mein Odem ist schwach

by (10) J.E. Bach


Reisst euch los, bekränkte Sinnen


frag., ? by C.P.E. Bach

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Secular cantatas

View large



Title (librettist)

Occasion; date





G 31

Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich (Picander)

for J.C. von Hennicke; 28 Sept 1737

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

v/1, 399; xxxiv, 325

I/xxxix, 53


G 12

Steigt freudig in die Luft (Picander) [music lost; arr. from 36c]

birthday of Princess Charlotte Friedericke Wilhelmine of Anhalt-Cöthen; 30 Nov 1726

I/xxxv, CC; I/xxxix, CC


G 38

Die Freude reget sich [inc.]

for member of Rivinus family; 1735

S, A, T, 4vv, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxiv, 41

I/xxxviii, 257


G 35

Schwingt freudig euch empor (?Picander)

birthday; 1725

S, T, B, 4vv, ob d’amore, va d’amore, str, bc

xxxiv, 41

I/xxxix, 3


G 4

Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück (C.F. Hunold), serenata [music lost]

birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 10 Dec 1718

2vv, chorus, insts

I/xxxv, CC


G 5

Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht (Hunold)

New Year; 1 Jan 1719

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xxix, 209 (inc.)

I/xxxv, 51


G 9

Durchlauchster Leopold, serenata

birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 10 Dec ?1722

S, B, 2 fl, bn, str, bc

xxxiv, 3

I/xxxv, 97


G 8

[some music preserved in 184, text lost]

? 10 Dec 1720 or 1 Jan 1721

I/xiv, CC; I/xxxv, CC


G 15

Ihr Häuser des Himmels, ihr scheinenden Lichter (Picander), dramma per musica [music lost]

nameday of August II; 3 Aug 1727

I/xxxvi, CC


G 11

[some music preserved in 194, text lost]

? for court of Anhalt-Cöthen; before Nov 1723

I/xxxv, CC


G 34

Trauer Ode: Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl (J.C. Gottsched)

memorial service for Electress Christiane Eberhardine; 17 Oct 1727

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, 2 va da gamba, 2 lutes, str, bc

xiii/3, 3

I/xxxviii, 181


G 46

Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan: Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde (Picander), dramma per musica


S, A, T, T, B, B, 6vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xi/2, 3

I/xl, 119


G 41

Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten

wedding; before 1730

S, ob, str, bc

xi/2, 75

I/xl, 3


G 51

Amore traditore [not fully authenticated]

? before 1723

B, hpd obbl

xi/2, 93



G 45

Ich bin in mir vergnügt (Hunold)


S, fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xi/2, 105

I/xl, 81


G 36

Der zufriedengestellte Äolus: Zerreisset, zerspringet, zertrümmert die Gruft (Picander), dramma per musica

nameday of Dr A.F. Müller; 3 Aug 1725

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 hn, 2 fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, va d’amore, va da gamba, str, bc

xi/2, 139

I/xxxviii, 3


G 20

Blast Lärmen, ihr Feinde! [adapted from 205; music lost]

? coronation of August III; ? 19 Feb 1734

I/xxxvii, CC


G 23, G 26

Schleicht, spielende Wellen, dramma per musica

birthday of August III; 7 Oct 1736; 2nd version, nameday of August III; 3 Aug 1740

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xx/2, 3

I/xxxvi, 159


G 37

Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten, dramma per musica

installation of Professor Gottlieb Kortte;c11 Dec 1726

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, ob da caccia, str, bc

xx/2, 73

I/xxxviii, 99


G 22

Auf, schmetternde Töne, cant.

nameday of August III; ? 3 Aug 1735

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, ob da caccia, str, bc

xx/2, 141; xxxiv, 345

I/xxxvii, 3


G 1, G 3

Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd! (Franck)

birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels; 23 Feb ?1713; later versions ?1713–17 or ? after 1738, ?1742

S, S, T, B, 2 hn, 2 rec, 2 ob, ob da caccia, bn, str, bc

xxix, 3

I/xxxv, 3; I/xxxvii, CC


G 50

Non sa che sia dolore

departure of scholar (?L. Mizler); after 1729

S, fl, str, bc

xxix, 45



G 44

O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit

wedding; ? 1738–41, after earlier version

S, fl, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxix, 69

I/xl, 37


G 29

O angenehme Melodei! [music lost, mostly = 210]

for Joachim Fredrich, Graf von Flemming; before Oct 1740, after earlier version

xxix, 245

I/xxxix, 143


G 48

Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Coffee Cantata) (Picander)


S, T, B, fl, str, bc

xxix, 141

I/xl, 195


G 32

Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (Peasant Cantata) (Picander)

manorial accession celebration for C.H. von Dieskau; 30 Aug 1742

S, B, hn, fl, str, bc

xxix, 175

I/xxxix, 153


G 18

Hercules auf dem Scheidewege: Lasst uns sorgen, lasst uns wachen (Picander), dramma per musica

birthday of Prince Friedrich Christian; 5 Sept 1733

S, A, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxiv, 121

I/xxxvi, 3


G 19

Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, dramma per musica

birthday of Electress Maria Josepha; 8 Dec 1733

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

xxxiv, 177

I/xxxvi, 91


G 21

Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen (J.C. Clauder), dramma per musica

anniversary of election of August III as King of Poland; 5 Oct 1734

S, T, B, 8vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc incl. bn

xxxiv, 245

I/xxxvii, 87


G 43

Vergnügte Pleissenstadt (Picander) [only vv extant]

wedding; 5 Feb 1728

S, A, insts

I/xl, 23


G 47

Erwählte Pleissenstadt [music lost]

for Leipzig city council; after 1728

xxxiv, p.xlvi

I/xl, CC


G 2

Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen (Picander) [music lost, but most in 249]

birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels; 23 Feb 1725

S, A, T, B, 3 tpt, timp, 2 rec, fl, 2 ob, ob d’amore, str, bc

I/xxxv, CC; II/vii, CC


G 28

Die Feier des Genius: Verjaget, zerstreuet, zerrütet, ihr Sterne (Picander), dramma per musica [music lost]

birthday of Joachim Friedrich, Graf von Flemming; 25 Aug 1726

I/xxxix, CC

View large
View large



Title (librettist)

Occasion; 1st perf.





B 30

Lobet den Herren, alle seine Heerscharen (Hunold)

birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 10 Dec 1718

only text extant

I/xxxv, CC


G 6

Dich loben die lieblichen Strahlen (Hunold)

New Year; 1 Jan 1720

only text extant



G 7

Heut ist gewiss ein guter Tag (Hunold)

birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen; 10 Dec ?1720

only text extant

I/xxxv, CC


G 10

[title unknown]

New Year; 1 Jan 1723

lost; ? = 184a

I/xxxv, CC


G 14

Entfernet euch, ihr heitern Sterne (C.F. Haupt)

birthday visit of August III; 12 May 1727

only text extant

I/xxxvi, CC


G 30

So kämpfet nur, ihr muntern Töne (Picander)

birthday of Joachim Friedrich, Graf von Flemming; 25 Aug 1731

only text extant

I/xxxix, CC


G 16

Es lebe der König, der Vater im Lande (Picander)

nameday of August II; 3 Aug 1732

only text extant

I/xxxvi, CC


G 17

Frohes Volk, vergnügte Sachsen (Picander) [adapted from a18]

nameday of August III; 3 Aug 1733

only text extant

I/xxxvi, CC


G 24

Willkommen! Ihr herrschenden Götter (Gottsched)

king’s visit and marriage of Princess Maria Amalia; 28 April 1738

only text extant

I/xxxvii, CC


G 39

Froher Tag, verlangte Stunden (J.H. Winckler)

opening of Thomasschule after renovation; 5 June 1732

only text extant


I/xxxix, CC


G 40

Thomana sass annoch betrübt (J.A. Landvoigt)

in honour of new Rektor of Thommasschule J.A. Ernesti; 21 Nov 1734

only text extant

xxxiv, p.lviii

I/xxxix, CC


G 33

Latin ode [title unknown]

birthday of Duke Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha; 9 Aug 1723


I/xxxviii, CC


Auf! süss entzückende Gewalt (Gottsched)

wedding; 27 Nov 1725

only text extant

I/xl, 22


[title unknown]

birthday of Johann August of Anhalt-Zerbst; 9 Aug 1722


G 25

[title unknown]

birthday of August III; 7 Oct 1739


G 49

Wo sind meine Wunderwerke

? departure of Rektor J.M. Gesner; 1732–5, ? 4 Oct 1734

frag. of inst parts

View large

Latin church music

View large









E 16

Gloria in excelsis Deo

perf. Christmas 1745; adapted from Mass 232I

S, T, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

xli, 3

I/ii, 173


E 1

[Mass in B minor]:




Missa (Kyrie, Gloria)

ded. new Elector of Saxony, Friedrich August II, 1733; Gratias agimus from 29, 1731; Qui tollis from 46, 1723

2 S, A, T, B, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, hn, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, 2 bn, str, bc

Symbolum Nicenum (Credo)

added to autograph score c1747–9; Patrem omnipotentem from 171, ?1729; Crucifixus from 12, 1714; Et exspecto from 120, 1728–9; Credo (early version), c1740

S, A, B, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc


1st perf. Christmas Day 1724; added to autograph score c1747–9

6vv, 3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, str, bc

Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei et Dona nobis pacem

added to autograph score c1747–9; Osanna from a9, 1727, and a11, 1732; Agnus Dei from 11, 1735; Dona nobis pacem from 29, 1731 (cf Gratias agimus, above)

A, T, 8vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

4 missae breves:

?1738–9 or later; mostly adaptations of cant. movts


E 6


from 11, 40, 102, a18

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 hn, ob, bn, str, bc

viii, 3

II/ii, 199


E 7

Kyrie, F

?1708–17; orig. Kyrie of 233

5vv, bc

xli, 187

II/ii, 287


E 3


from 67, 79, 136, 179

S, A, B, 4vv, 2 fl, str, bc

viii, 53

II/ii, 3


E 5


from 72, 102, 187

A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

viii, 101

II/ii, 129


E 4


from 17, 79, 138, 179

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

viii, 157

II/ii, 63

5 settings of Sanctus:

except 237–8, all probably arrs. of music by other composers


E 10


perf. ? 24 June 1723

4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc

xi/1, 69

II/ii, 313



perf. ? Christmas Day 1723

4vv, cornett, str, bc

xi/1, 81

II/ii, 327



perf. 1735–46

4vv, str, bc

xi/1, 89




perf. 1735–46

4vv, 2 ob, str, bc

xi/1, 95



E 17


perf. 1747/8; arr. from piece by J.C. Kerll

8vv, 2 ob d’amore, bn, 2 str, bc

xli, 177



E 8

Christe eleison

inserted in Mass, c, by F. Durante

S, A, bc

xli, 197

II/ii, 306


E 14

Magnificat, E♭

perf. Christmas Day 1723; incl. 4 Christmas texts: Vom Himmel hoch; Freut euch und jubiliert; Gloria in excelsis; Virga Jesse floruit

2 S, A, T, B, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 rec, 2 ob, str, bc

II/iii, 3


E 14

Magnificat, D

rev. of above, c1732–5; without Christmas texts

2 S, A, T, B, 5vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

xi/1, 3

II/iii, 67


E 9

Credo in unum Deum, F

perf. c1747–8; inserted in Mass, F, by G.B. Bassani

4vv, bc

II/ii, CC


E 15

Suscepit Israel, e

c1740–42, from Magnificat, C, by Caldara with addl 2 ?vn pts.

4vv, 2 ?vn, bc

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Passions, oratorios

View large









Passio secundum Matthaeum (St Matthew Passion) (Picander)

perf. Good Friday, 11 April 1727 and 15 April 1729

scoring similar to 244, but with only 1 bc group



D 3

Passio secundum Matthaeum (S Matthew Passion) (Picander)

perf. Good Friday, 30 March 1736, incl. 2 org; also perf. c1742

S in ripieno; chorus I: S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 rec, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, 2 ob da caccia, va da gamba, str, bc; chorus II: S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, va da gamba, str, bc [bc incl. bassono grosso, c1742]

iv, 1



D 2

Passio secundum Joannem (St John Passion) (anon. compilation from B.H. Brockes and others)

perf. Good Friday, 7 April 1724; 30 March 1725 with 5 nos. replaced (see NBA II/v, suppl. ii); ? 11 April 1732 and 4 April 1749 with further revs.

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, 2 ob da caccia, 2 va d’amore, va da gamba, lute/org/hpd, str, bc [bc incl. bassono grosso in late rev., ?1740s]

xii/1, 3



D 4

Passio secundum Marcum (St Mark Passion) (Picander)

perf. Good Friday, 23 March 1731; lost except for 1 movt ? rev. in 248 and 7 movts in orig. form in 198 and 54; see NBA II/v, CC

xx/2, preface

II/v, CC; I/xviii, CC


D 7

Oratorium … Die heilige Weynacht (Christmas Oratorio) (?Picander)

in 6 pts. for feast days Christmas to Epiphany 1734– 5; pts. of nos.1–5 adapted from secular cants. 213–15, most of no.6 from lost church cant. 248a



Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf preiset die Tage

perf. Christmas Day 1734

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend

perf. 26 Dec 1734

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 fl, 2 ob d’amore, 2 ob da caccia, str, bc

Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen

perf. 27 Dec 1734

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben

perf. 1 Jan 1735

S, S, T, B, 4vv, 2 hn, 2 ob, str, bc

Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen

perf. 2 Jan 1735

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc

Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben

perf. Epiphany, 6 Jan 1735

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc


D 8

Oratorium Festo Paschali: Kommt, eilet und laufet (Easter Oratorio)

perf. Easter, 1 April 1725 as cant.; rev. as orat c1738

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 rec, fl, 2 ob d’amore, str, bc




D 9

Oratorium Festo Ascensionis Christi: Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen (Ascension Oratorio)

perf. Ascension, 19 May 1735

S, A, T, B, 4vv, 3 tpt, timp, 2 fl, 2 ob, str, bc

ii, 1

II/viii, 3


So heb ich denn mein Auge sehnlich auf

incl. in Passion pasticcio, late Leipzig period; authenticity doubtful

B, insts, bc


D 1


?1717, lost; some numbers incl. in St John Passion, 1725

II/4, CC

D 5

Addns to R. Keiser: St Mark Passion

c1713; perf. 19 April 1726

S, A, T, 4vv, str, bc

View large


texts of 225–8 and a159 are compilations, including chorale; other texts and librettist given in parentheses
View large




Occasion; date





C 1

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied



xxxix, 5

III/i, 3


C 2

Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf

funeral of J.H. Ernesti; 20 Oct 1729

8vv, 2 ob, taille, bn, str, bc

xxxix, 41, 143

III/i, 39


C 5

Jesu, meine Freude

before 1735


xxxix, 61

III/i, 77


C 4

Fürchte dich nicht


xxxix, 87

III/i, 107


C 3

Komm, Jesu, Komm! (P. Thymich)

before 1732


xxxix, 109

III/i, 127


C 6

Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden (Ps cxvii)

4vv, org

xxxix, 129

III/i, 149


Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

? after 1 Jan 1725; from 28 and Telemann


xxix, 167 (inc.)


C 9

Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn

before Sept 1713



B 23

O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (2 versions), chorale

burial or memorial service; 1st version 1736–7, 2nd version c1746–9

4vv, 2 litui, cornett, 3 trbn; 2nd version 4vv, 2 litui, str, bc (2 ob, ob da caccia and bn, ad lib)

xxiv, 183

III/i, 163, 171

C 8

Der Gerechte kommt um (Isaiah lvii.1–2)

? late Leipzig period; reworking of J. Kuhnau: Tristis est anima mea

5vv, 2 ob, str, bc

View large

Chorales, sacred songs, arias



Wedding chorales, 4vv, 2 hn, ob, ob d’amore, str, bc, after 1730; BG 143 xiii/1, 147; NBA III/ii.1, 3


F 193.3

Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan


F 59.4

Sei Lob und Ehr’ dem höchsten Gut


F 148.2

Nun danket alle Gott

Chorales, 4vv, from Joh. Seb. Bachs vierstimmige Choral-gesänge, ed. J.P. Kirnberger and C.P.E. Bach, i–iv (Leipzig, 1784–7) [excluding those within larger works]; BG xxxix, 177; NBA III/ii.2, 3


F 35.1

Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ


F 1.1

Ach Gott, erhör’ mein Seufzen


F 2.1

Ach Gott und Herr


F 212.1

Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost


F 5.1

Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen


F 10.1

Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’


F 11.1

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ


F 8.1

Alle Menschen müssen sterben


F 12.1

Alles ist an Gottes Segen


F 13.1

Als der gütige Gott


F 14.1

Als Jesus Christus in der Nacht


F 15.1

Als vierzig Tag nach Ostern war


F 17.1

An Wasserflüssen Babylon


F 19.1

Auf, auf, mein Herz, und du, mein ganzer Sinn


F 21.1

Aus meines Herzens Grunde


F 92.1

Befiehl du deine Wege


F 92.2

Befiehl du deine Wege


F 136.2

Befiehl du deine Wege


F 24.1

Christ, der du bist der helle Tag


F 27.1

Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht


F 28.1

Christe, du Beistand deiner Kreuzgemeinde


F 25.1

Christ ist erstanden


F 26.1

Christ lag in Todes Banden


F 26.2

Christ lag in Todes Banden


A 61/4

Christ lag in Todes Banden


F 65.1

Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam


F 30.1

Christus, der ist mein Leben


F 30.2

Christus, der ist mein Leben


F 31.1

Christus, der uns selig macht


F 32.1

Christus ist erstanden, hat überwunden


F 34.1

Da der Herr Christ zu Tische sass


F 183.1

Danket dem Herren


F 119.1

Dank sei Gott in der Höhe


F 36.1

Das alte Jahr vergangen ist


F 36.2

Das alte Jahr vergangen ist


F 38.1

Das walt’ Gott Vater und Gott Sohn


F 39.1

Das walt’ mein Gott, Vater, Sohn und heil'ger Geist


F 40.1

Den Vater dort oben


F 42.1

Der du bist drei in Einigkeit


F 43.1

Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich


F 178.1

Des heil’gen Geistes reiche Gnad’


F 44.1

Die Nacht ist kommen


F 161.1

Die Sonn’ hat sich mit ihrem Glanz gewendet


F 46.1

Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’


F 47.1

Dir, dir, Jehova, will ich singen


F 51.1

Du grosser Schmerzensmann


F 50.1

Du, o schönes Weltgebäude


F 53.1

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott


F 53.2

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott


F 54.1

Eins ist Not! ach Herr, dies Eine


F 55.1

Erbarm’ dich mein, o Herre Gott


F 58.1

Erstanden ist der heil’ge Christ


F 150.1

Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit


F 62.1

Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl


F 63.1

Es steh'n vor Gottes Throne


F 64.1

Es wird schier der letzte Tag herkommen


F 66.1

Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein


F 66.2

Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein


F 105.2

Für deinen Thron tret’ ich hiermit


F 68.1

Für Freuden lasst uns springen


F 69.1

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ


F 70.1

Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille


F 71.1

Gott, der du selber bist das Licht


F 72.1

Gott, der Vater, wohn’ uns bei


F 143.1

Gottes Sohn ist kommen


F 74.1

Gott hat das Evangelium


F 75.1

Gott lebet noch


F 77.1

Gottlob, es geht nunmehr zu Ende


F 76.1

Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet


F 140.1

Gott sei uns gnädig


F 79.1

Heilig, heilig


F 105.1

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir


F 83.1

Herr Gott, dich loben wir


F 134.1

Herr, ich denk’ an jene Zeit


F 84.1

Herr, ich habe missgehandelt


F 84.2

Herr, ich habe missgehandelt


F 85.1

Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’


F 86.1

Herr Jesu Christ, du hast bereit’t


F 202.1

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut


F 170.1

Herr Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht


F 88.1

Herr Jesu Christ, wah’r Mensch und Gott


F 89.1

Herr, nun lass in Friede


F 90.1

Herr, straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn


F 23.1

Herr, wie du willst, so schick’s mit mir


F 91.1

Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr


F 94.1a

Heut’ ist, o Mensch, ein grosser Trauertag


F 95.1

Heut’ triumphieret Gottes Sohn


F 96.1

Hilf, Gott, lass mir’s gelinge


F 97.1

Hilf, Herr Jesu, lass gelingen


F 99.1

Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht


F 100.1

Ich dank’ dir, Gott für all’ Wohltat


F 101.1

Ich dank’ dir, lieber Herre


F 101.2

Ich dank’ dir, lieber Herre


F 4.1

Ich dank’ dir schon durch deinen Sohn


F 139.1

Ich danke dir, o Gott, in deinem Throne


F 102.1

Ich hab’ mein’ Sach’ Gott heimgestellt


F 104.1

Ihr Gestirn’, ihr hohlen Lüfte


F 107.1

In allen meinen Taten


F 110.1

In dulci jubilo


F 187.1

Jesu, der du meine Seele


F 187.2

Jesu, der du meine Seele


F 187.3

Jesu, der du meine Seele


F 112.1

Jesu, der du selbsten wohl


F 113.1

Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben


F 114.1

Jesu, Jesu, du bist mein


F 116.1

Jesu, meine Freude


F 206.1

Jesu meiner Seelen Wonne


F 206.2

Jesu meiner Seelen Wonne


F 117.1

Jesu, meines Herzens Freud’


F 118.1

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset


F 121.1

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland


F 120.1

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland


F 123.1

Jesus, meine Zuversicht


F 124.1

Keinen hat Gott verlassen


F 125.1

Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist


F 129.1

Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit


F 82.1

Lass, o Herr, dein Ohr sich neigen


F 133.1

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier


F 135.1

Lobet den Herren, denn er ist freundlich


F 127.1

Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich


F 128.1

Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich


F 137.1

Mach’s mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt’


F 138.1

Meine Augen schliess’ ich jetzt


F 122.1

Meinen Jesum lass’ ich nicht, Jesus


F 141.1

Meinen Jesum lass’ ich nicht, weil


F 140.1

Meine Seele erhebet den Herrn


F 142.1

Meines Lebens letzte Zeit


F 144.1

Mit Fried’ und Freud’ ich fahr’ dahin


F 145.1

Mitten wir im Leben sind


F 146.1

Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr


F 147.1

Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist


F 148.1

Nun danket alle Gott


F 106.1

Nun freut euch, Gottes Kinder all’


F 149.1

Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein


F 153.1

Nun lob’, mein’ Seel’, den Herren


F 153.2

Nun lob’, mein’ Seel’, den Herren


F 154.1

Nun preiset alle Gottes Barmherzigkeit


F 166.1

Nun ruhen alle Wälder


F 155.1

Nun sich der Tag geendet hat


F 156.1

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort


F 45.2b

O Gott, du frommer Gott


F 157.1

O Gott, du frommer Gott


F 160.1

O Herzensangst, o Bangigkeit und Zagen!


F 162.1

O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig


F 61.1

O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross


F 163.1

O Mensch, schau Jesum Christum an


F 165.1

O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid!


F 166.2

O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben


F 166.5

O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben


F 166.9

O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben


F 167.1

O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen


F 7.1

O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen


F 168.1

O wir armen Sünder


F 94.1b

Schaut, ihr Sünder!


F 173.1



F 174.1

Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig


F 175.1

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied


F 177.1

So gibst du nun, mein Jesu, gute Nacht


F 130.1

Sollt’ ich meinem Gott nicht singen


F 35.2

Uns ist ein Kindlein heut’ gebor’n


F 18.1

Valet will ich dir geben


F 181.4a

Vater unser im Himmelreich


F 185.1

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen


F 185.2

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen


F 185.3

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen


F 212.2

Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit


F 189.1

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz


F 189.2

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz


F 190.1

Warum sollt’ ich mich denn grämen


F 191.1

Was betrübst du dich, mein Herze


F 192.1

Was bist du doch, o Seele, so betrübet


F 195.1

Was willst du dich, o meine Seele


F 197.1

Weltlich Ehr’ und zeitlich Gut


F 200.1

Wenn ich in Angst und Not


F 201.1

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist


F 201.2

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist


F 201.3

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist


F 203.1

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein


F 203.2

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein


F 204.1

Wer Gott vertraut, hat wohl gebaut


F 205.1

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten


F 207.1

Wie bist du, Seele, in mir so gar betrübt


F 109.1

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern


F 211.1

Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott


F 212.3

Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält


F 213.1

Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein’ Gunst

Sacred songs, 1v, bc, in G.C. Schemelli: Musicalisches Gesang-Buch (Leipzig, 1736) [Bach was involved in the production of Schemelli’s hymnal, but research has discredited the methods by which these items were attrib. him; only bc ? by Bach unless otherwise stated]; BG xxxix, 279; NBA III/ii.1, 104


F 274

Ach, dass nicht die letzte Stunde


F 229

Auf, auf! die rechte Zeit ist hier [? melody by Bach]


F 245

Auf, auf! mein Herz, mit Freuden


F 257

Beglückter Stand getreuer Seelen


F 265

Beschränkt, ihr Weisen dieser Welt [? melody by Bach]


F 242

Brich entzwei, mein armes Herze


F 247

Brunnquell aller Güter


F 220

Der lieben Sonnen Licht und Pracht


F 221

Der Tag ist hin, die Sonne gehet nieder


F 222

Der Tag mit seinem Lichte


F 249

Dich bet’ich an, mein höchster Gott [? melody by Bach]


F 235

Die bittre Leidenszeit beginnet abermal


F 219

Die goldne Sonne, voll Freud’ und Wonne


F 250

Dir, dir Jehovah, will ich singen [melody by Bach]


F 225

Eins ist Noth! ach Herr, diess Eine [? melody by Bach]


F 230

Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist


F 261

Erwürgtes Lamm, das die verwahrten Siegel


F 258

Es glänzet der Christen


F 275

Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben


F 243

Es ist vollbracht! vergiss ja nicht


F 256

Es kostet viel, ein Christ zu sein


F 263

Gieb dich zufrieden und sei stille


F 255

Gott lebet noch; Seele, was verzagst du doch?


F 248

Gott, wie gross ist deine Güte [? melody by Bach]


F 223

Herr, nicht schicke deine Rache


F 276

Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht


F 231

Ich freue mich in dir


F 264

Ich halte treulich still und liebe [? melody by Bach]


F 269

Ich lass’ dich nicht


F 270

Ich liebe Jesum alle Stund’ [? melody by Bach]


F 232

Ich steh’ an deiner Krippen hier [? melody by Bach]


F 233

Ihr Gestirn’, ihr hohen Lüfte


F 228

Jesu, deine Liebeswunden [? melody by Bach]


F 271

Jesu, Jesu, du bist mein [? melody by Bach]


F 226

Jesu, meines Glaubens Zier


F 266

Jesu, meines Herzens Freud’


F 251

Jesus ist das schönste Licht


F 246

Jesus unser Trost und Leben


F 278

Kein Stündlein geht dahin


F 277

Komm, süsser Tod, komm, sel’ge Ruh’! [? melody by Bach]


F 285

Kommt, Seelen, dieser Tag [? melody by Bach]


F 286

Kommt wieder aus der finstern Gruft [? melody by Bach]


F 236

Lasset uns mit Jesu ziehen


F 252

Liebes Herz, bedenke doch


F 279

Liebster Gott, wann werd’ ich sterben?


F 280

Liebster Herr Jesu! wo bleibest du so lange? [? melody by Bach]


F 272

Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen


F 281

Meines Lebens letzte Zeit


F 227

Mein Jesu, dem die Seraphinen


F 237

Mein Jesu! was für Seelenweh [? melody by Bach]


F 259

Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr


F 267

Nur mein Jesus ist mein Leben


F 238

O du Liebe meine Liebe


F 282

O finstre Nacht [? melody by Bach]


F 234

O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild


F 260

O liebe Seele, zieh’ die Sinnen [? melody by Bach]


F 283

O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen


F 253

Seelen-Bräutigam, Jesu, Gottes Lamm!


F 268

Seelenweide, meine Freude


F 240

Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig


F 239

Selig, wer an Jesum denkt [? melody by Bach]


F 241

So gehst du nun, mein Jesu, hin [? melody by Bach]


F 244

So giebst du nun, mein Jesu, gute Nacht


F 284

So wünsch’ ich mir zu guter Letzt


F 287

Steh’ ich bei meinem Gott


F 254

Vergiss mein nicht, dass ich dein nicht


F 262

Vergiss mein nicht, vergiss mein nicht [melody by Bach]


F 273

Was bist du doch, o Seele, so betrübet


Wo ist mein Schäflein, das ich liebe

Pieces in Clavierbüchlein, ii, for Anna Magdalena Bach; BG xxxix, 289; NBA V/iv, 91:


F 214a

Gib dich zufrieden, chorale, g


F 214b

Gib dich zufrieden, chorale, e (arr. of 511)


F 218

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, chorale [from 397]


F 216

Schaffs mit mir, Gott, chorale


F 215

Warum betrübst du dich, aria


H 1

Quodlibet, SATB, bc, frag., for wedding, Mühlhausen, by mid-1708


Murky: Ihr Schönen, höret an, S, bc, before 1736




Pieces in Clavierbüchlein, ii, for Anna Magdalena Bach; BG xxxix, 309; NBA V/iv, 102:


Bist du bei mir, aria (by G.H. Stölzel)


Gedenke doch, mein Geist, aria (anon.)


Gib dich zufrieden, chorale, F (anon. bass added)


H 2

So oft ich meine Tobackspfeife, aria (anon., ? by Gottfried Heinrich Bach, ? arr. J.S. Bach)


Wie wohl ist mir, o Freund der Seelen (anon.)

Sacred songs, 5 for 1v, bc (probably spurious); NBA [III/iii]:


Hier lieg’ ich nun


Das walt’ mein Gott


Gott mein Herz dir Dank zusendet


Meine Seele, lass es gehen


Ich gnüge mich an meinem Stande


Independent of chorales
View large








J 62

Fugue, g

arr. from 131

xxxviii, 217


J 1–6

6 sonatas (E♭, c, d, e, C, G)

c1730; no.3: cf 1044; no.4 arr. from 76

xv, 3–66

IV/vii, 2–76


J 9

Prelude and fugue, C

? before 1705

xv, 81

IV/v, 3


J 13, 54, 70

Prelude and fugue, D

? before 1710

xv, 88

IV/v, 58; IV/vi, 95


J 18, 72

Prelude and fugue, e

? before 1705

xv, 100

IV/v, 90; IV/vi, 106


J 20

Prelude and fugue, f

? before 1710

xv, 104

IV/v, 130


J 23

Prelude and fugue, g

? before 1705; rev. ?1708–17

xv, 112

IV/v, 157; IV/vi, 109


J 24

Prelude and fugue, A


xv, 120

IV/v, 180; IV/vi, 114


J 40

Fantasia and fugue, c

? after 1723

xv, 129

IV/v, 47


J 38

Toccata and fugue, ‘Dorian’, d


xv, 136

IV/v, 76


J 15, 71

Prelude and fugue, d

? after 1720; fugue adapted from vn sonata, 1001

xv, 148

IV/v, 70


J 39, 55, 73

Toccata and fugue, F

toccata ? after 1712; fugue before 1731

xv, 154

IV/v, 112


J 22

Prelude and fugue, G

? after 1712; rev. c1724–5

xv, 169

IV/v, 146


J 42, 57, 67

Fantasia and fugue, g

fugue: before 1725; fantasia: c1720

xv, 177

IV/v, 167


J 26

Prelude and fugue, a

after 1715; fugue: cf 944

xv, 189

IV/v, 186; IV/vi, 121


J 27

Prelude and fugue, b


xv, 199

IV/v, 198


J 10, 51

Prelude and fugue, C

? before 1708; rev. ?1712–17

xv, 212

IV/v, 10; IV/vi, 77


J 12, 53, 69

Prelude and fugue, c


xv, 218

IV/v, 35


J 11

Prelude and fugue, C

? by 1725

xv, 228

IV/v, 20


J 19

Prelude and fugue, e

rev. 1727–31

xv, 236

IV/v, 95


J 14

Prelude and fugue, c/d

before 1705; rev. ? after 1723

xxxviii, 3

IV/v, 30; IV/vi, 101


J 21

Prelude and fugue, G

? before 1710

xxxviii, 9

IV/v, 138


J 25

Prelude and fugue, a

? before 1707

xxxviii, 17

IV/vi, 63


J 16

Prelude and fugue, ‘St Anne’, E♭

in Clavier-Übung, iii, (Leipzig, 1739), see 669–89

iii, 173, 254

IV/iv, 2, 105


J 28–35

[8 short preludes and fugues] (C, d, e, F, G, g, a, B♭)

xxxviii, 23



J 41, 56

Fantasia and fugue, c

fantasia: c1730; fugue (inc.) c1740–45

xxxviii, 64, 209

IV/v, 54, 105


J 43

Fantasia, b

before 1708

xxxviii, 59

IV/vi, 68


J 36

Toccata, adagio and fugue, C


xv, 253

IV/vi, 3


J 37

Toccata and fugue, d

? before 1708

xv, 267

IV/vi, 31


J 17

Prelude and fugue, E/C

? before 1708

xv, 276

IV/vi, 40


J 47

Prelude, G

? before 1705

xxxviii, 85

IV/vi, 51


J 48

Prelude, a

? before 1705

xxxviii, 89

IV/vi, 59


J 49

Fantasia, C

? before 1705

xxxviii, 62

IV/vi, 16


J 82

Fantasia, G

xxxviii, 67


J 83

Pièce d’orgue, G

? before 1712

xxxviii, 75

IV/vii, 130, 154, 156


J 50

Fantasia, C

c1722; frag. in Clavierbüchlein, i, for Anna Magdalena Bach

xxxviii, 209

IV/vi, 18


J 63

Fugue on theme by Legrenzi, c

? before 1708

xxxviii, 94, 205

IV/vi, 19, 82, 88


J 60

Fugue, c

? 1708–17

xxxviii, 101

IV/vi, 26


J 61

Fugue, G

xxxviii, 111


J 66

Fugue, g

? before 1707

xxxviii, 116

IV/vi, 55


J 68

Fugue on theme by Corelli, b

? before 1710

xxxviii, 121

IV/vi, 71


J 79

Passacaglia, c


xv, 289

IV/vii, 98, 148


J 8

Trio, d


xxxviii, 143

IV/vii, 94


J 80

Canzona, d

? before 1705

xxxviii, 126

IV/vii, 118, 150


J 64

Alla breve, D

xxxvii, 131

IV/vii, 114


J 81

Pastorella, F

? after 1720

xxxviii, 135

IV/vii, 122


J 78

Kleine harmonisches Labyrinth

xxxviii, 225


5 concertos:

Weimar, c1714; arrs. of works by other composers


J 88, 192


arr. of conc. by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

xxxviii, 149; xlii, 282

IV/viii, 56


J 86


arr. of Vivaldi op.3 no.8 = rv522

xxxviii, 158



J 84


arr. of Vivaldi op.7/ii no.5 = rv208

xxxviii, 171

IV/viii, 30


J 87


arr. of conc. by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

xxxviii, 196

IV/viii, 65


J 85


arr. of Vivaldi op.3 no.11 = rv565

IV/viii, 3


J 74–7

4 duettos (e, F, G, a)

in Clavier-Übung, iii (Leipzig, 1739); see also 552, 669–89

iii, 242

IV/vi, 92


Trio, G

transcr. from last movt of va da gamba sonata, 1027


Fantasia, c

before 1705

View large
Doubtful and spurious
View large








Prelude and fugue, A

variant of 536



Fantasia and fugue, a


xxxviii, 48


Prelude, C

by J.L. Krebs

xxxviii, 84


Fugue, G


xxxviii, 106


J 65

Fugue, D


xxxviii, 215


Fugue, G



Trio, g

probably spurious


Trio, c

by J.F. Fasch

xxxviii, 219

IV/viii, 73


Trio, G

after Telemann

IV/viii, 78


Aria, F

after Couperin: Les nations

xxxviii, 222

IV/viii, 82


Concerto, E♭



Q 2


? by C.P.E. Bach

xxxviii, 210


View large
Based on chorales: Orgel-Büchlein





Das Orgel-Büchlein, mostly 1713–15; BG xxv/2, 3, 159; NBA IV/i, 3


K 28

Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland


K 29

Gott, durch deine Güte


K 30

Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn


K 31

Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott


K 32

Puer natus in Bethlehem


K 33

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ


K 34

Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich


K 35

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her


K 36

Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar


K 37

In dulci jubilo


K 38

Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich


K 39

Jesu, meine Freude


K 40

Christum wir sollen loben schon


K 41

Wir Christenleut’


K 42

Helft mir Gottes Güte preisen


K 43

Das alte Jahr vergangen ist


K 44

In dir ist Freude


K 45

Mit Fried’ und Freud’ ich fahr dahin


K 46

Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf


K 47

O Lamm Gottes unschuldig


K 48

Christe, du Lamm Gottes


K 49

Christus, der uns selig macht


K 50

Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund’


K 51

O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross


K 52

Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ


K 53

Hilf Gott, das mir’s gelinge


K 55

Christ lag in Todesbanden


K 56

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland


K 57

Christ ist erstanden


K 58

Erstanden ist der heil’ge Christ


K 59

Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag


K 60

Heut’ triumphieret Gottes Sohn


K 61

Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heilger Geist


K 62

Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’


K 63a

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier


K 63b

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier


K 64

Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’


K 65

Vater unser im Himmelreich


K 66

Durch Adam’s Fall ist ganz verderbt


K 67

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her


K 68

Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ


K 69

In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr


K 70

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein


K 71

Wer nun den lieben Gott lässt walten


K 72

Alle Menschen müssen sterben


K 73

Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig


K 54

O Trauerigkeit, o Herzeleid (frag.)

Based on chorales: Other
View large







Sechs Choräle [‘Schübler’ chorales]:

(Zella, 1748–9), transcrs. of cant. movts pubd by Schübler


K 22

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

from 140, movt 4

xxv/2, 63

IV/i, 86


K 23

Wo soll ich fliehen hin

source unknown; cf 694

xxv/2, 66

IV/i, 90


K 24

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

from 93, movt 4

xxv/2, 68

IV/i, 92


K 25

Meine Seele erhebt den Herren

from 10, movt 5

xxv/2, 70

IV/i, 94


K 26

Ach bleib’ bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ

from 6, movt 3

xxv/2, 71

IV/i, 95


K 27

Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter

from 137, movt 2

xxv/2, 74

IV/i, 98

[17 (18) chorales]:

all probably begun before 1723, and all but 657 also preserved in an early version; 651–65 assembled as an autograph collection, c1735–45, D-B P271; for 2 manuals, pedal


K 74

Fantasia super Komm, Heiliger Geist

organo pleno; c.f. in pedal; cf 651a

xxv/2, 79

IV/ii, 3, 117


K 75

Komm, Heiliger Geist

alio modo; cf 652a

xxv/2, 86

IV/ii, 13, 121


K 76

An Wasserflüssen Babylon

cf 653a and 653b

xxv/2, 92

IV/ii, 22, 130, 133


K 77

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele

cf 654a

xxv/2, 95

IV/ii, 26, 136


K 78

Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

cf 655a

xxv/2, 98

IV/ii, 31, 140


K 79

O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig

cf 656a

xxv/2, 102

IV/ii, 38, 146


K 80

Nun danket alle Gott

c.f. in soprano; see above

xxv/2, 108

IV/ii, 46


K 81

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen

c.f. in pedal; cf 658a

xxv/2, 112

IV/ii, 51, 154


K 82

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

cf 659a

xxv/2, 114

IV/ii, 55, 157


K 83

Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

cf 660a and 660b

xxv/2, 116

IV/ii, 59, 160


K 84

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

organo pleno; c.f. in pedal, cf 661a

xxv/2, 118

IV/ii, 62, 164


K 85

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

c.f. in soprano; cf 662a

xxv/2, 122

IV/ii, 67, 168


K 86

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

c.f. in tenor; cf 663a

xxv/2, 125

IV/ii, 72, 172


K 87

Trio super Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

cf 664a

xxv/2, 130

IV/ii, 79, 179


K 88

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland

cf 665; Bach’s last autograph entry in D-B P271

xxv/2, 136

IV/ii, 87, 187


K 89

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland

alio modo; cf 666a; copied intoD-B P271 by J.C. Altnickol, c1744–7

xxv/2, 140

IV/ii, 91, 191


K 90

Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist

organo pleno; cf 631; copied into D-B P271 by Altnickol

xxv/2, 142

IV/ii, 94; IV/i, 58


K 91

Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit

partly in D-B P271, copied ? after 1750; with minor variants, 668a, pubd as Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein in 1080; cf 641

xxv/2, 145

IV/ii, 113, 212; IV/i, 71

Chorale preludes in Clavier-Übung, iii, bestehend in verschiedenen Vorspielen über die Cathechismus- und andere Gesaenge

(Leipzig, 1739); framed by 552; for 2 kbd, pedal unless otherwise stated


K 1

Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit

c.f. in soprano

iii, 184

IV/iv, 16


K 2

Christe, aller Welt Trost

c.f. in tenor

iii, 186

IV/iv, 18


K 3

Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist

a 5, organo pleno; c.f. in bass

iii, 190

IV/iv, 22


K 4

Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit

alio modo, manuals only

iii, 194

IV/iv, 27


K 5

Christe, aller Welt Trost

manuals only

iii, 194

IV/iv, 28


K 6

Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist

manuals only

iii, 196

IV/iv, 29


K 7

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

a 3; c.f. in alto; manuals only

iii, 197

IV/iv, 33


K 8

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

iii, 199

IV/iv, 33


K 9

Fughetta super Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

manuals only

iii, 205

IV/iv, 41


K 10

Dies sind die heilgen zehen Gebot

c.f. in canon

iii, 206

IV/iv, 42


K 11

Fughetta super Dies sind die heiligen zehen Gebot

manuals only

iii, 210

IV/iv, 49


K 12

Wir gläuben all an einen Gott

organo pleno

iii, 212

IV/iv, 52


K 13

Fughetta super Wir gläuben all an einen Gott

manuals only

iii, 216

IV/iv, 57


K 14

Vater unser im Himmelreich

c.f. in canon

iii, 217

IV/iv, 58


K 15

Vater unser im Himmelreich

alio modo, manuals only

iii, 223

IV/iv, 66


K 16

Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam

c.f. in pedal

iii, 224

IV/iv, 68


K 17

Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam

alio modo, manuals only

iii, 228

IV/iv, 73


K 18

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

a 6, organo pleno, pedal doppio

iii, 229

IV/iv, 74


K 19

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

a 4, alio modo, manuals only

iii, 232

IV/iv, 78


K 20

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Zorn Gottes wandt

c.f. in pedal

iii, 234

IV/iv, 81


K 21

Fuga super Jesus Christus unser Heiland

a 4, manuals only

iii, 239

IV/iv, 89


K 127

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

manuals only; ? before 1705

xl, 3

IV/iii, 98


K 99

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

manuals only; autograph in Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach; c1720–23

xl, 4

IV/iii, 98


K 139

Wo soll ich fliehen hin

2 kbd, pedal; before 1708; cf 646

xl, 6

IV/iii, 103


K 136

Fantasia super Christ lag in Todes Banden

manuals only; ? before 1708

xl, 10

IV/iii, 20


K 142

Christum wir sollen loben schon

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 13

IV/iii, 23


K 147

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 14

IV/iii, 32


K 149

Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 15

IV/iii, 35


K 155

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 16

IV/iii, 73


K 156

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her

before 1708, rev. 1740s

xl, 17

IV/iii, 92


K 157

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 19

IV/iii, 96


K 143

Das Jesulein soll doch mein Trost


xl, 20



K 148

Gottes Sohn ist kommen

fughetta, manuals only; ?1739–42

xl, 21

IV/iii, 34


K 153

Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott

fughetta, manuals only; ? 1739–42

xl, 22

IV/iii, 62


K 144

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt

xl, 23



K 116

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

?1708–14; cf 706ii [alio modo]

xl, 25

IV/iii, 59


K 137

Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt

xl, 26



K 158

Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt

xl, 30, 152



K 150

Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

2 kbd, pedal; ?Weimar, 1708–17

xl, 30

IV/iii, 43


K 140

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

bicinium; ?1708–17; rev. 1740s

xl, 34

IV/iii, 11


K 151

In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr

manuals only

xl, 36

IV/iii, 48


K 138

Fantasia super Jesu, meine Freude

manuals only

xl, 38

IV/iii, 54


K 172

Ach Gott und Herr

per canonem

xl, 43

IV/iii, 3


K 128

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

xl, 44

IV/iii, 14


K 141

Fuga super Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

xl, 45



K 106

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

manuals only

xl, 47

IV/iii, 8


K 119

Christ lag in Todes Banden

2 kbd, pedal

xl, 52

IV/iii, 16


K 160

Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich

xl, 55



K 103

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

xl, 57

IV/iii, 24


K 107

Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott

manuals only

xl, 60

IV/iii, 28


K 114

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

xl, 62, 158

IV/iii, 30–31


K 108

Gott, durch deine Güte (Gottes Sohn ist kommen)

before 1705; alternative title in bwv, BG

xl, 65

IV/iii, 33


K 199

Herr Gott, dich loben wir

a 5

xl, 66

IV/iii, 36


K 130

Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

xl, 72

IV/iii, 45


K 109

Herzlich tut mich verlangen

2 kbd, pedal

xl, 73

IV/iii, 46


K 101

Jesus, meine Zuversicht

manuals only; autograph in Clavierbüchlein, i, for Anna Magdalena Bach

xl, 74

IV/iii, 58


K 115

In dulci jubilo

sketch, 729a

xl, 74, 158

IV/iii, 52, 50


K 133

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

xl, 76

IV/iii, 60


K 134

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

2 kbd, pedal

xl, 77

IV/iii, 61


K 117

Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich

sketch, 732a

xl, 78, 159

IV/iii, 63–4


K 120

Meine Seele erhebet den Herren (Fuge über das Magnificat)

organo pleno

xl, 79

IV/iii, 65


K 125

Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein

manuals only; c.f. in tenor; cf 734a

xl, 160

IV/iii, 70


K 104

Fantasia super Valet will ich dir geben

with pedal obbl; Weimar, 1708–17, rev. ? after 1723

xl, 86, 161

IV/iii, 77, 81


K 131

Valet will ich dir geben

c.f. in pedal

xl, 90

IV/iii, 84


K 112

Vater unser im Himmelreich

manuals only

xl, 96

IV/iii, 90


K 118

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her

sketch, 738a

xl, 97, 159

IV/iii, 94


K 97

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern

? before 1705

xl, 99



K 135

Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein

organo pleno

xl, 167

IV/iii, 4


K 173

Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder



K 121

Ach, was ist doch unser Leben


K 122

Auf meinen lieben Gott

xl, 170


K 102

Christus, der uns selig macht


K 195

Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

? before 1700


K 196

Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht

? before 1700


K 124

Jesu, meine Freude

frag.; ? before 1723

xl, 163



Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier


K 197

Nun ruhen alle Wälder

? before 1700


K 126

O Herre Gott, dein göttlichs Wort


K 198

O Vater, allmächtiger Gott

xl, 179


K 113

Vater unser im Himmelreich


K 98

Wie schön leuchtet uns der Morgenstern

frag.; ? before 1705

xl, 164



K 105

Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott


K 110, 111

O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig

manuals only

IV/iii, 74


Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott


Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort


Jesu, meine Freude


Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn


Jesu, meine Freude

Partite diverse:


K 94

Christ, der du bist der helle Tag


xl, 107

IV/i, 113


O Gott, du frommer Gott

K 95

xl, 114

IV/i, 122


K 96

Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig

? before 1710, rev. later

xl, 122

IV/i, 132


K 93

Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen

xl, 189

Neumeister Chorales

before 1705; in MS belonging to J.G. Neumeister, incl. also 601, 639, 714, 719, 737, 742



K 161

Wir Christenleut


K 162

Das alte Jahr vergangen ist


K 163

Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf


K 164

Herzliebster, Jesu, was hast du verbrochen


K 165

O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt


K 166

O Lamm Gottes unschuldig


K 167

Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht


K 168

Ehre sei dir, Christe


K 169

Wir glauben all an einen Gott


K 170

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir


K 171

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ


K 174

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt


K 175

Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ


K 176

Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort


K 177

Wenn dich Unglück tut greifen an


K 178

Jesu, meine Freude


K 179

Gott ist mein Heil, mein Hilf und Trost


K 180

Jesu, meines Lebens Leben


K 181

Als Jesus Christus in der Nacht


K 182

Ach Gott, tu dich erbarmen


K 183

O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort


K 184

Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben


K 185

Christus, der ist mein Leben


K 186

Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt


K 187

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut


K 188

Herzlieblich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr


K 189

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan


K 190

Alle Menschen müssen sterben


K 191

Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt


K 192

Werde munter, mein Gemüte


K 193

Wie nach einer Wasserquelle


K 194

Christ, der du bist der helle Tag

View large
Based on chorales: Doubtful and spurious
View large








Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

xl, 151



Ach Gott und Herr

by J.G. Walther

xl, 4, 152


Ach Gott und Herr

by J.G. Walther

xl, 5


Fantasia super Christ lag in Todes Banden

c.f. in pedal

xl, 153


Fantasia super Jesu, meine Freude

c.f. in pedal

xl, 155


Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

xl, 63



Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein

c.f. in pedal; *734; doubtful

xl, 84


Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Vater

xl, 103



Aus der Tiefe rufe ich

by C.P.E. Bach

xl, 171


Christ ist erstanden

by J.C.F. Fischer

xl, 173


Gott der Vater wohn’ uns bei

by J.G. Walther

xl, 177


In dulci jubilo

by J.M. Bach


Jesu, der du meine Seele


Nun freut euch, lieben Christen


Schmüchke dich, o liebe Seele

by G.A. Homilius

xl, 181


Vater unser im Himmelreich

by G. Böhm

xl, 183


Vater unser im Himmelreich

by Böhm

xl, 184


Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern


Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’

chorale variations; nos.3, 8 (?all) by A.N. Vetter

xl, 195

View large

Other keyboard

View large








L 27–41

15 Inventions (C, c, D, d, E♭, E, e, F, f, G, g, A, a, B♭, b)

c1720, rev. 1723

iii, 1; xlv, 213

V/iii; V/v


L 42–56

15 Sinfonias (C, c, D, d, E♭, E, e, F, f, G, g, A, a, B♭, b)

c1720, rev. 1723

iii, 19

V/iii; V/v


L 13–18

6 [English] Suites (A, a, g, F, e, d)

? before 1720

xlv/1, 3



L 19–24

6 [French] Suites (d, c, b, E♭, G, E)


xlv/1, 89


Clavier-Übung [i] bestehend in Präludien, Allemanden, Couranten, Sarabanden, Giguen, Menuetten, und anderen Galanterien:

partitas pubd singly (Leipzig, 1726–31) and as op.1 (Leipzig, 1731)

iii, 46



L 1–6

6 Partitas (B♭, c, a, D, G, e)


L 8

Ouvertüre [Partita] nach französischer Art, b

in Clavier-Übung, ii (Leipzig, 1735); see also 971; early version by 1733

iii, 154

V/ii, 20


L 80–103

Das wohltemperirte Clavier, oder Praeludia, und Fugen durch alle Tone und Semitonia [i] [The Well-tempered Clavier]: 24 Preludes and fugues (C, c, C♯, c♯, D, d, E♭, e♭/d♯, E, e, F, f, F♯, f♯, G, g, A♭, g♯, A, a, B♭, b♭, B, b)

1722, rev. later




L 104–27

[Das wohltemperirte Clavier, ii]: 24 Preludes and fugues (C, c, C♯, c♯, D, d, E♭, e♭/d♯, E, e, F, f, F♯, f♯, G, g, A♭, g♯, A, a, B♭, b♭, B, b)

c1740; some pieces earlier, rev.




L 7

Concerto nach italiänischem Gusto [Italian Concerto]

in Clavier-Übung, ii, (Leipzig, 1735)

iii, 139

V/ii, 3


L 9

Aria mit [30] verschiedenen Veraenderungen [Goldberg Variations]

Clavier-Übung, [iv] (Nuremberg, 1741)

iii, 263

V/ii, 69

Miscellaneous suites and suite movts:


L 25

Suite, a


xxxvi, 3

V/viii, 129, 146


L 26

Suite, E♭


xxxvi, 8

V/viii, 136


L 173

Ouverture, F


xxxvi, 14

V/x, 43


L 169

Suite, B♭

xlii, 213



L 168

Suite, g

before 1707

V/x, 68


L 167

Suite, f

frag.; before 1715

xxxvi, 229

V/x, 50


L 174

Partie, A

? before 1708

xlii, 255

V/x, 54


L 172

Prelude and partita, F

before 1708

V/10, 54


L 176

3 minuets, G, g, G

c1720; from Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 209

V/v, 16

Miscellaneous preludes, fugues, fantasias, toccatas:


L 130

Prelude and fugue, a

c1715–25; cf 1044

xxxvi, 91

V/ix.2, 40


L 129

Prelude and fugue, a

before 1725

xxxvi, 104

V/xii.2, 69


L 128

Prelude and fugue, A

before 1710

xxxvi, 157 [fugue only]

V/ix.2, 72


L 77

Prelude and fughetta, e

before 1726

xxxvi, 108



L 78

Prelude and fughetta, F

before 1730; fughetta = early version of 886

xxxvi, 112



L 79

Prelude and fughetta, G

? before 1730; fughetta = early version of 884

xxxvi, 114, 220



L 134

Chromatic fantasia and fugue, d

before 1723

xxxvi, 71, 219

V/ix.2, 76


L 136

Fantasia and fugue, a

Leipzig, c1725

xxxvi, 81

V/ix.2, 100


L 133, 138

Fantasia and fugue, c

fugue (c1704) inc.

xxxvi, 145, 238

V/ix.2, 110


L 146

Toccata, f♯


iii, 311

V/ix.2, 3


L 142

Toccata, c

before 1714

iii, 322

V/ix.1, 15


L 143

Toccata, D

before 1710

xxxvi, 26, 218

V/ix.1, 28


L 144

Toccata, d

? before 1708

xxxvi, 36

V/ix.1, 52


L 145, 163

Toccata, e

?c1710; fugue after ? B. Marcello

xxxvi, 47

V/ix.1, 80


L 148

Toccata, g


xxxvi, 54

V/ix.1, 89


L 147

Toccata, G

before 1714

xxxvi, 63

V/ix.1, 102


L 140

Fantasia, g

? before 1710

xxxvi, 143

V/ix.2, 14


L 139

Fantasia on a rondo, c

? after 1740

xxxvi, 148

V/ix.2, 18


J 44, 52

Prelude (Fantasia), c

before 1714

xxxvi, 136

V/ix.2, 24


L 141

Fantasia, a

before 1714

xxxvi, 138

V/ix.2, 27


L 131

Prelude, b

before 1725

xlii, 211

V/ix.2, 116


L 135, 164

Fantasia and fugue, a

fugue after Torelli

iii, 334

V/ix.2, 133


L 160

Fugue on theme by Albinoni, C

? before 1708

xxxvi, 159

V/ix.2, 153


L 157

Fugue, a

xxxvi, 161



L 151

Fugue, d

before 1727

xxxvi, 164

V/xii.2, 156


L 154

Fugue, A

xxxvi, 169

V/xii.2, 163


L 161

Fugue on theme by Albinoni, A


xxxvi, 173

V/ix.2, 168


L 162

Fugue on theme by Albinoni, b

c1712; *951a of earlier date

xxxvi, 178, 221

V/ix.2, 118


L 150

Fugue, C

xxxvi, 184

V/xii.2, 176


L 149

Fugue, C

after 1723 from Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 186

V/v, 46


L 165

Fugue, B♭

arr. of fugue from J.A. Reincken: Hortus musicus

xlii, 50

V/xi, 200


L 152

Fugue, e

xlii, 200



L 155

Fugue, a

xlii, 205



L 156

Fugue, a

xlii, 208

V/ix.2, 178


L 158

Fughetta, c

xxxvi, 154

V/xii.2, 182

Pieces from Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach:

Cöthen, 1720–; incl. also 836–7, 841–3, 924a–5, 931–2, 953, 994; see 691, 753, 772ff, 846ff

xxxvi, 118



L 57

Praeambulum, C


L 58

Prelude, d


L 59

Praeambulum, F


L 60

Prelude, F


L 61

Trio, g

inserted in Partita, g, by G.H. Stölzel


L 62

Praeambulum, g

Clavierbüchlein, i, for Anna Magdalena Bach

Cöthen, 1722–5; see 573, 728, 812–16, 841, 991

xliii/2, 3

V/iv, 3

Clavierbüchlein, ii, for Anna Magdalena Bach

Leipzig, 1725; incl. 82 (recit, aria), 299, 508–18, 691, 812–13, 827, 830, 846 (prelude), 988 (aria); see a183

xliii/2, 6

V/iv, 47


L 64–9

[6 little preludes] (C, c, d, D, E, e)

xxxvi, 128

V/ix.2, 3


L 70–74

5 Preludes (C, d, e, a, C)

xxxvi, 119


Sonatas, variations, capriccios, etc.:


L 182

Sonata, D


xxxvi, 19

V/x, 32


L 184

Sonata, d

arr. of 1003

xlii, 3


L 187

Sonata, a

? before 1705; arr. of sonata from J.A. Reincken: Hortus musicus

xlii, 29

V/xi, 173


L 186

Sonata, C

? before 1705; arr. of part of sonata from Reincken: Hortus musicus

xlii, 42

V/xi, 188


L 183

Sonata, a

c1705; arr. of 1st movt of anon. chamber sonata

xlv/1, 168


L 185

Sonata, a

arr. of 1005, 1st movt

xlii, 27


L 179

Aria variata, a

? before 1710

xxxvi, 203

V/x, 21


L 178

Sarabande con partite, C

xlii, 221



L 177

Air with variations, c

frag.; in Clavierbüchlein, i, for Anna Magdalena Bach

xliii/2, 4

V/iv, 40


L 181

Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo [Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother], B♭

? before 1705

xxxvi, 190

V/x, 3


L 180

Capriccio, E

xxxvi, 197

V/x, 12


Q 1

Applicatio, C

early 1720; 1st entry in Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 237

V/v, 4

16 Concertos:

Weimar, 1713–14; arrs. of works by other composers


L 189


after Vivaldi op.3 no.9 = rv230

xlii, 59

V/xi, 3


L 191


after Vivaldi op.7/ii no.2 = rv299

xlii, 66

V/xi, 12


L 194


after ob conc. by A. Marcello

xlii, 73

V/xi, 20


L 193


after Vivaldi op.4 no.6 = rv316

xlii, 80

V/xi, 30


L 188


after Vivaldi op.3 no.12 = rv265

xlii, 87

V/xi, 39


L 202


source unknown (?Vivaldi)

xlii, 96

V/xi, 50


L 190


after Vivaldi op.3 no.3 = rv310

xlii, 101

V/xi, 56


L 196


after vn conc. by Torelli

xlii, 108

V/xi, 64


L 192


after Vivaldi op.4 no.1 = rv381

xlii, 119

V/xi, 79


L 195


after B. Marcello op.1 no.2

xlii, 127

V/xi, 90


L 200


after conc. by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

xlii, 135

V/xi, 100


L 204


source unknown

xlii, 142

V/xi, 110


L 197


after conc. by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

xlii, 148

V/xi, 118


L 201


after vn conc. by Telemann

xlii, 155

V/xi, 128


L 203


source unknown

xlii, 161

V/xi, 137


L 198


after conc. by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

xlii, 165

V/xi, 142

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Doubtful and spurious
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Suite, A

frag.; by Telemann

xxxvi, 231


Allemande, c

xlii, 259



Allemande, a

by Kirnberger

xlii, 267


2 allemandes, g (1 inc.)

c1720–22; from Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach; ? by W.F. Bach assisted by J.S. Bach

xlv/1, 214

V/v, 8


Allemande and courante, A

by C. Graupner

xlii, 265



Sarabande, g


Courante, G

by Telemann


Scherzo, d

? by W.F. Bach

xlii, 220, 281


Gigue, f

xlii, 263


Prelude and fugue, a

prelude by C.H. Dretzel

xlii, 173



Prelude and fugue, B♭



Prelude and fughetta, d



Fantasia and fugue, d

xlii, 179



Fantasia and fughetta, B♭

? by G. Kirchhoff

xlii, 268



Fantasia and fughetta, D

? by G. Kirchhoff

xlii, 272



Concerto and fugue, c

xlii, 190



Fantasia, c

? by J. Bernhard Bach

xxxvi, 152



Fantasia, g

xlii, 183



Fugue, e


xxxvi, 155



Fugue, B♭

before 1730

xlii, 55



Fugue, e

xlii, 276



Fugato, e

by Albrechtsberger

xlii, 198

Pieces from Clavier-Büchlein for W.F. Bach:

Cöthen, 1720–


Prelude, C

reworking of 924; ? by W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 221

V/v, 41


Prelude, D

? by W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 121

V/v, 42


Prelude, a

? by W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 237

V/v, 45


L 63

Prelude, e

? by W.F. Bach

xxxvi, 238

V/v, 44


Andante, g

xlii, 218



Presto, d

by W.F. Bach



Sarabande con partite, C


xlii, 221


Clavierbüchlein, ii, for Anna Magdalena Bach [only anon. pieces listed]:

after 1724; also incl. pieces by C.P.E. Bach (a122–5, 127, 129), J.C. Bach (a131), Böhm (without no.), Couperin (a183), Hasse (a130), Petzoldt (a114–15); remainder anon., ? by members of Bach circle

xliii/2, 25

V/iv, 47

Minuet, F (a113); Minuet, G (a116); Polonaise, F (a117a, 117b); Minuet, B♭ (a118); Polonaise, g (a119); Minuet, a (a120); Minuet, c (a121); Musette, D (a126); [Polonaise], d (a128); Polonaise, G (a130); Minuet, d (a132)

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Suite, g

c1730; arr. of vc suite 1011

V/x, 81


L 166

Suite, e

? after 1712; orig. in d

xlv/1, 149

V/x, 94


L 170

Partita, c


xlv/1, 156

V/x, 102


L 132

Prelude, fugue and allegro, E♭


xlv/1, 141

V/x, 114


L 175

Prelude, c


xxxvi, 119

V/x, 122


Fugue, g

after 1720; arr. of fugue from vn sonata 1001

V/x, 124


L 171

Partita, E: see 1006

c1736–7; ? for lute-harpsichord

xlii, 16

V/x, 134

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Title, scoring





Sonatas and partitas, solo vn:

1720; 1006 arr. lute = 1006a

xxvii/1, 3

VI/i, 3

Sonata no.1, g; Partita no.1, b; Sonata no.2, a; Partita no.2, d: Sonata no.3, C; Partita no.3, E


6 suites, solo vc (G, d, C, E♭, c, D)


xxvii/1, 59

VI/ii, 1


Partita, a, fl

after 1723

VI/iii, 3


6 sonatas, hpd, vn

before 1725, rev. before 1740; earlier version of no.5 (Adagio only) = 1018a (BG ix, 250; NBA VI/i, 195); 1st version of no.6 incl. 1019a (BG ix, 252; NBA VI/i, 197); 3 versions of 1019 [9 movts], 2nd version related to 830

ix, 69

VI/i, 83

no.1, b; no.2, A; no.3, E; no.4, c; no.5, f; no.6, G


Sonata, G, vn, bc


VI/i, 65


Sonata, e, vn, bc

after 1723

xliii/1, 31

VI/i, 73


Suite, A, vn, hpd

c1740; after S.L. Weiss

ix, 43

VI/v, 67


Fugue, g, vn, hpd

before 1712

xliii/1, 39

VI/v, 59


3 sonatas, hpd, va da gamba (G, D, g)

before 1741

ix, 175



Sonata, b, fl, hpd

c1736; earlier version, g

ix, 3

VI/iii, 33, 89


Sonata, E♭, fl, hpd


ix, 22

VI/v, 13


Sonata, A, fl, hpd

c1736; 1st movt inc.

ix, 245, 32

VI/iii, 54


Sonata, C, fl, bc


xliii/1, 3

VI/v, 45


Sonata, e, fl, bc


xliii/1, 9

VI/iii, 11


Sonata, E, fl, bc


xliii/1, 21

VI/iii, 23


Sonata, G, fl, vn, bc


ix, 221

VI/v, 45


Sonata, G, 2 fl, bc

c1736–41; cf 1027

ix, 260

VI/iii, 71


Trio, F, vn, ob, bc

movt based on material from Cantata 208, ? perf. with cant.; later used in Cantata 68

xxix, 250

I/xxxv, 47

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Doubtful and spurious
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Title, scoring





Sonata, g, hpd, vn

? by C.P.E. Bach

ix, 274


Sonata, F, vn, hpd

arr. of 1038; ? by one of Bach’s sons or pupils

VI/v, 27


Sonata, c, vn, bc

? by J.G. Pisendel


Sonata, d, 2 vn, hpd

by C.P.E. Bach


Sonata, C, 2 vn, hpd

by J.G. Goldberg

ix, 231

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where applicable, scoring given as concertino/solo; ripieno

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Title, key






Concerto, a

vn; str, bc

c1730; cf 1058

xxi/1, 3

VII/iii, 3


Concerto, E

vn; str, bc

before 1730; cf 1054

xxi/1, 21

VII/iii, 35


Concerto, d

2 vn; str, bc

1730–31; cf 1062

xxi/1, 41

VII/iii, 71


Concerto, a

fl, vn, hpd; str, bc

1729–41; movts adapted from prelude and fugue 894 and trio sonata 527

xvii, 223

VII/iii, 105

Brandenburg Concertos:

autograph MS ded. Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, 24 March 1721


no.1, F

2 hn, ob, vn piccolo; 2 ob, bn, str, bc

xix, 3

VII/ii, 3


Sinfonia, F

2 hn, 3 ob, bn, str, bc

formerly 1071; also used in 52

xxxi/1, 96

VII/ii, 225


no.2, F

tpt, rec, ob, vn; str, bc

xix, 33

VII/ii, 43


no.3, G

3 vn, 3 va, 3 vc, bc

xix, 59

VII/ii, 73


no.4, G

vn, 2 rec; str, bc

cf 1057

xix, 85

VII/ii, 99


no.5, D

fl, vn, hpd; str, bc


xix, 127

VII/ii, 145, appx


no.6, B♭

2 va, 2 va da gamba, vc, bc

xix, 167

VII/ii, 197

Harpsichord concertos:

Leipzig, mostly c1738–9; mostly transcrs. of vn or ob concs; some orig./transcrs. also used in church cants.



hpd; str, bc

from lost vn conc. reconstructed in NBA VII/vii, 3

xvii, 3

VII/iv, 3



hpd; str, bc

from lost ?ob conc; see NBA VII/vii, CC

xvii, 45

VII/iv, 79



hpd; str, bc

from 1042

xvii, 81

VII/iv, 127



hpd; str, bc

from lost ob d’amore conc. reconstructed in NBA VII/vii, 33

xvii, 109

VII/iv, 161



hpd; str, bc

outer movts from lost ob conc. in g reconstructed in NBA VII/vii, 59

xvii, 135

VII/iv, 197



hpd, 2 rec; str, bc

from 1049

xvii, 153

VII/iv, 221



hpd; str, bc

from 1041

xvii, 199

VII/iv, 283



hpd, ob; str, bc

inc., from lost ob conc., see NBA VII/vii, CC

xvii, p.xx

VII/iv, 313



2 hpd; str, bc

c1736; from lost ob and vn conc. reconstructed in NBA VII/vii, 75

xxi/2, 3

VII/v, 3



2 hpd; str, bc

1732–5; orig. for 2 hpd, ? without acc.

xxi/2, 39

VII/v, 83, 109



2 hpd; str, bc

c1736; from 1043

xxi/2, 83

VII/v, 43



3 hpd; str, bc

c1730; source unknown, see NBA VII/vii, CC

xxxi/3, 3

VII/vi, 3



3 hpd; str, bc

c1730; from lost 3 vn conc. in D reconstructed in NBA VII/vii, 103

xxxi/3, 53

VII/vi, 57



4 hpd; str, bc

c1730; from Vivaldi op.3 no.10 = rv580

xliii/1, 71

VII/vi, 117

4 orchestral suites:



2 ob, bn, str, bc

before 1725

xxxi/1, 3

VII/i, 3



fl; str, bc


xxxi/1, 24

VII/i, 27



3 tpt, timp, 2 ob, str, bc


xxxi/1, 40

VII/i, 49, 119



3 tpt, timp, 3 ob, bn, str, bc

c1725; later version 1729–41

xxxi/1, 66

VII/i, 81


Overture, g

str, bc


xlv/1, 190


Sinfonia: see 1046a

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Studies in counterpoint, canons etc.

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Title, scoring





Einige [5] canonische Veränderungen über das Weynacht-Lied, Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, org

written on becoming member of Mizler’s Societät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften, June 1747 (Nuremberg, 1748); autograph version 769a, chronology of versions uncertain, several pubd in puzzle form

xl, 137

IV/ii, 197, 98


Musikalisches Opfer [fl, vn, bc, kbd]

May–July 1747 (Leipzig, 1747); 2 Ricercars, a 3, a 6; 10 canons; sonata, fl, vn, bc; insts not fully specified


VIII/i, 12


Die Kunst der Fuge [kbd]

before 1742, rev. c1745 and 1748–9 (Leipzig, 1751, 2/1752)




Canon trias harmonica

a 8, in contrary motion; in F.W. Marpurg: Abhandlung von der Fuge, ii (Berlin, 1754)

xlv, 131

VIII/i, 3, 6


Canon a 4 perpetuus

2 Aug 1713

xlv, 132

VIII/i, 3, 6


Canon a 4

1727; ded. L.F. Hudemann; pubd in G.P. Telemann: Der getreue Music-Meister (Hamburg, 1728) and in J. Mattheson: Der vollkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg, 1739/R)

xlv, 134

VIII/i, 3, 7


Canon a 2 perpetuus

10 Jan 1734; ded. ? J.G. Walther (1712–77)

VIII/i, 3, 7


Canon triplex a 6

before 1746; cf 1087

xlv, 138

VIII/i, 3, 8


Canone doppio sopr’il soggetto

15 Oct 1747; ded. J.G. Fulde; cf 1087

VIII/i, 4, 8


Canon super fa mi a 7 post tempus musicum

1 March 1749; ded. ? Benjamin Faber; pubd in F.W. Marpurg: Abhandlung von der Fuge, ii (Berlin, 1754)

xlv, 136

VIII/i, 4, 9


Canon concordia discors

a 2

VIII/i, 4, 10


[14] Verschiedene Canones

after 1745; on first 8 notes of aria ground of 988; incl. earlier versions of 1076–7

V/ii, 119

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A Bibliographies, research studies. B Catalogues. C Source studies: manuscripts and prints. D Source studies: documents, letters etc. E Iconography. F Biography: life and works. G Biography: special studies. H Works: general. I Works: special studies. J Vocal works. K Instrumental works. L Performing practice.

    A: Bibliographies, research studies
  • M. Schneider: ‘Verzeichnis der bis zum Jahre 1851 gedruckten (und der geschrieben im Handel gewesenen) Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach’, BJb 1906, 84–113
  • J. Schreyer: Beiträge zur Bach-Kritik, 1 (Dresden, 1910); ii (Leipzig, 1912)
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Zwölf Jahre Bachforschung’, AcM, 37 (1965), 95–158
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Die Bachforschung seit etwa 1965: Ergebnisse, Probleme, Aufgaben’, AcM, 50 (1978), 93–154; liv (1982), 162–207; lv (1983), 1–58
  • R.A. Leaver: Bachs theologische Bibliothek: eine kritische Bibliographie (Neuhausen-Stuttgart,1983)
  • C. Wolff, ed.: Bach-Bibliographie: Nachdruck der Verzeichnisse des Schrifttums über Johann Sebastian Bach (Bach-Jahrbuch 1905–1984), mit einem Supplement und Register (Berlin,1985)
  • R. Nestle: ‘Das Bachschrifttum 1981 bis 1985’, BJb 1989, 107–89
  • R. Nestle: ‘Das Bachschrifttum 1986 bis 1990’, BJb 1994, 75–162
  • D.R. Melamed and M. Marissen: An Introduction to Bach Studies(Oxford, 1998)
  • Bach Bibliography On-Line (Belfast, Queen’s University; Y. Tomita) [on-line database]
    B: Catalogues
  • W. Schmieder: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach: Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Leipzig, 1950, enlarged 2/1990, rev. and abridged 1998 by A. Dürr, Y. Kobayashi and K. Beisswenger as Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis)
  • P. Kast: Die Bach-Handschriften der Berliner Staatsbibliothek (Trossingen, 1958)
  • S.W. Kenney, ed.: Catalog of the Emilie and Karl Riemenschneider Memorial Bach Library (New York,1960)
  • M. deF. McAll, ed.: Melodic Index to the Works of Johann Sebastian Bach (New York, 1962)
  • H.-J. Schulze: Katalog der Sammlung Manfred Gorke: Bachiana und andere Handschriften und Drucke des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1977)
  • R.W. Wade, ed.: The Catalog of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Estate: a Facsimile of the Edition by Schniebes, Hamburg, 1790 (New York, 1981)
  • T. Leibnitz, ed.: Katalog der Sammlung Anthony von Hoboken in der Musiksammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, i: Johann Sebastian Bach und seine Söhne(Tutzing, 1982)
  • G. Herz: Bach-Quellen in Amerika/Bach Sources in America (Kassel, 1984)
  • W. Neumann and C. Fröde: Die Bach-Handschriften der Thomasschule Leipzig: Katalog (Leipzig, 1986)
  • C. Wolff and H.-J. Schulze: Bach Compendium: analytisch-bibliographisches Repertorium der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Leipzig and Frankfurt, 1986–)
  • U. Balestrini: Catalogo tematico (incipit) delle opere di J.S. Bach: Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis 1–1080 (Milan, 1988)
  • U. Leisinger: ‘Die “Bachsche Auction” von 1789’, BJb 1991, 97–126
  • K. Beisswenger: Johann Sebastian Bachs Notenbibliothek (Kassel, 1992)
  • R. Reeder: The Bach English-Title Index (Berkeley, 1993)
  • U. Leisinger and P. Wollny: Die Bach-Quellen der Bibliotheken in Brüssel: Katalog (Hildesheim,1997)
    C: Source studies: manuscripts and prints
  • R. Schwartz: ‘Die Bach-Handschriften der Musikbibliothek Peters’, JbMP 1919, 56–73
  • G. Kinsky: Die Originalausgaben der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Vienna, 1937/R)
  • W. Schmieder: ‘Die Handschriften Johann Sebastian Bachs’, Bach-Gedenkschrift, ed. K. Matthaei (Zürich, 1950), 190–203
  • G. von Dadelsen: ‘Originale Daten auf den Handschriften J.S. Bachs’, Hans Albrecht in memoriam, ed. W. Brennecke and H. Haase (Kassel, 1962), 116–20
  • P. Krause, ed.: Handschriften der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs in der Musikbibliothek der Stadt Leipzig(Leipzig, 1964)
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Beiträge zur Bach-Quellenforschung’, GfMKB: Leipzig 1966, 269–75
  • H. Zietz: Quellenkritische Untersuchungen an den Bach-Handschriften P 801, P 802 und P 803 aus dem ‘Krebs’schen Nachlass’ unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Choralbearbeitungen des jungen J.S. Bach (Hamburg, 1969)
  • A. Dürr: ‘Zur Chronologie der Handschrift Johann Christoph Altnickols und Johann Friedrich Agricolas’, BJb 1970, 44–65
  • K. Engler: Georg Poelchau und seine Musikaliensammlung: ein Beitrag zur Überlieferung Bachscher Musik im 19. Jahrhundert (diss., U. of Tübingen, 1970)
  • P. Krause, ed.: Originalausgaben und ältere Drucke der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs in der Musikbibliothek der Stadt Leipzig (Leipzig, 1970)
  • Y. Kobayashi: ‘Zu einem neu entdeckten Autograph Bachs: Choral Aus der Tiefen’, BJb 1971, 5–12
  • W. Hobohm: ‘Neue “Texte zur Leipziger Kirchen-Musik”’, BJb 1973, 5–32
  • Y. Kobayashi: Franz Hauser und seine Bach-Handschriftsammlung (diss., U. of Göttingen,1973)
  • ‘Johann Sebastian Bach: Studies of the Sources’,Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Music in Honor of Arthur Mendel, ed. R.L. Marshall (Kassel and Hackensack, NJ, 1974), 231–300 [contributions by P. Brainard, A. Dürr, G. Herz, E. May and C. Wolff]
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Wie entstand die Bach-Sammlung Mempell-Preller?’, BJb 1974, 104–22
  • K.-H. Köhler: ‘Die Bach-Sammlung der Deutschen Staatsbibliothek: Überlieferung und Bedeutung’,Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 139–46
  • Y. Kobayashi: ‘Neuerkenntnisse zu einigen Bach-Quellen anhand schriftkundlicher Untersuchungen’,BJb 1978, 43–60
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Das Stück in Goldpapier: Ermittlungen zu einigen Bach-Abschriften des frühen 18. Jahrhunderts’, BJb 1978, 19–42
  • Y. Kobayashi: ‘Breitkopfs Handel mit Bach-Handschriften’, Beiträge zur Bachforschung, 1 (1982), 79–84
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘“150 Stück von den Bachischen Erben”: zur Überlieferung der vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb 1983, 81–100
  • A. Dürr: Johann Sebastian Bach: seine Handschrift; Abbild seines Schaffens (Wiesbaden, 1984)
  • H.-J. Schulze: Studien zur Bach-Überlieferung im 18. Jahrhundert (Leipzig, 1984)
  • R. Elvers and H.-G. Klein, eds.: Die Handschrift Johann Sebastian Bachs, Musikabteilung der Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 22 March – 13 July 1985 (Wiesbaden, 1985) [exhibition catalogue]
  • H.J. Marx: ‘Wiederaufgefundene Autographe von Carl Philipp Emanuel und Johann Sebastian Bach’, Mf, 41 (1988), 150–56
  • Y. Kobayashi: Die Notenschrift Johann Sebastian Bachs: Dokumentation ihrer Entwicklung, NBA, 9 (1989)
  • C. Wolff: ‘From Berlin to Lodz: the Spitta Collection Resurfaces’, Notes, 46 (1989–90), 311–27
  • L.A. Federowskaja: ‘Bachiana in russischen Bibliotheken und Sammlungen: Autographe, Abschriften, Frühdrucke, Bearbeitungen’, BJb 1990, 27–36
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Bach und Buxtehude: eine wenig beachtete Quelle in der Carnegie Library zu Pittsburgh/PA’, BJb 1991, 177–82
  • U. Leisinger: Die Bach-Quellen der Forschungs- und Landesbibliothek Gotha (Gotha, 1993)
  • A. Glöckner: ‘Die Teilung des Bachschen Musikaliennachlasses und die Thomana-Stimmen’, BJb 1994, 41–57
    D: Source studies: documents, letters etc.
  • J.A. Scheibe: Der critische Musikus (Hamburg, 1738–40, 2/1745/R)
  • L. Mizler: Neu eröffnete musikalische Bibliothek (Leipzig, 1739–54/R)
  • J.F. Agricola and C.P.E. Bach: Obituary in L. Mizler: Neu eröffnete musikalische Bibliothek, 4/1 (Leipzig, 1754/R), 158–76; repr. in BJb 1920, 11–29
  • E.H. Müller von Asow: Johann Sebastian Bach: Gesammelte Briefe (Regensburg, 1938, rev. 2/1950 with H. Müller von Asow)
  • H.T. David and A. Mendel, eds.: The Bach Reader (New York, 1945, enlarged 3/1998 by C. Wolff as The New Bach Reader)
  • W. Neumann and H.-J. Schulze, eds.: Schriftstücke von der Hand Johann Sebastian Bachs, Bach-Dokumente, 1 (Leipzig, 1963; Fr. trans., 1976)
  • W. Neumann and H.-J. Schulze, eds.: Fremdschriftliche und gedruckte Dokumente zur Lebensgeschichte Johann Sebastian Bachs 1685–1750, Bach-Dokumente, 2 (Leipzig, 1969)
  • A. Dürr: ‘Zur Chronologie der Handschrift Johann Christoph Altnickols und Johann Friedrich Agricolas’, BJb 1970, 44–65
  • H.-J. Schulze, ed.: Dokumente zum Nachwirken Johann Sebastian Bachs 1750–1800, Bach-Dokumente, 3 (Leipzig, 1972)
  • H. Stiehl: ‘Taufzettel für Bachs Kinder: ein Dokumentenfund’, BJb 1979, 7–18
    E: Iconography
  • H. Besseler: Fünf echte Bildnisse Johann Sebastian Bachs (Kassel, 1956)
  • H.O.R. van Tuyll van Serooskerken: Probleme des Bachporträts (Bilthoven, 1956)
  • C. Freyse: Bachs Antlitz (Eisenach, 1964)
  • W. Neumann, ed.: Bilddokumente zur Lebensgeschichte Johann Sebastian Bachs/Pictorial Documents of the Life of Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach-Dokumente, 4 (Leipzig, 1979)
  • H. Börsch-Supan: ‘Gruppenbild mit Musikern: ein Gemälde von Balthasar Denner und das Problem der Bach-Ikonographie’, Kunst und Antiquitäten, 3 (1982), 22–32
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Zur Überlieferung einiger Bach-Porträts’, BJb 1982, 154–6
  • H. Raupach: Das wahre Bildnis des Johann Sebastian Bach: Bericht und Dokumente (Munich,1983)
  • M. Staehelin: ‘Zu einer umstrittenen Bach-Porträtzeichnung des 18. Jahrhunderts’,Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr, ed. W. Rehm (Kassel, 1983), 260–66
  • M. Korth and S. Kuhlmann, eds.: J.S. Bach: Bilder und Zeugnisse eines Musikerlebens (Munich, 1985)
  • G. Wagner: ‘Ein unbekanntes Porträt Johann Sebastian Bachs aus dem 18. Jahrhundert?’, BJb 1988, 231–4
    F: Biography: Life and works
  • J.N. Forkel: Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke (Leipzig, 1802/R; Eng. trans., 1820/R)
  • C.L. Hilgenfeldt: Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Wirken und Werke: ein Beitrag zur Kunstgeschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1850/R)
  • C.H. Bitter: Johann Sebastian Bach (Berlin, 1865, enlarged 2/1881/R; Eng. trans., abridged, 1873)
  • P. Spitta: Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1873–80, 5/1962; Eng. trans., 1884)
  • A. Schweitzer: J.S. Bach, le musicien-poète (Paris, 1905; Ger. trans., enlarged, 1908; Eng. trans., 1911/R)
  • A. Pirro: J.-S. Bach (Paris, 1906, rev. 1949; Eng. trans., 1957)
  • C.H.H. Parry: Johann Sebastian Bach (London, 1909, 2/1934/R)
  • C.S. Terry: Bach: a Biography (London, 1928, 2/1933/R)
  • W. Gurlitt: Johann Sebastian Bach: der Meister und sein Werk (Berlin, 1936, enlarged 5/1980; Eng. trans., 1957/R)
  • W. Neumann: Auf den Lebenswegen Johann Sebastian Bachs (Berlin, 1953, 4/1962; Eng. trans., 1957)
  • W. Neumann: Bach: eine Bildbiographie (Munich, 1960, 2/1961; Eng. trans., 1961, rev. 2/1969 as Bach and his World)
  • K. Geiringer: Johann Sebastian Bach: the Culmination of an Era (New York, 1966)
  • B. Schwendowius and W. Dömling, eds.: Johann Sebastian Bach: Zeit, Leben, Wirken (Kassel, 1976; Eng. trans., 1978)
  • A. Basso: Frau Musika: la vita e le opere di J.S. Bach (Turin, 1979–83)
  • M. Boyd: Bach (London, 1983, 3/2000)
  • D. Arnold: Bach (Oxford, 1984)
  • W. Felix: Johann Sebastian Bach (Wiesbaden, 1984; Eng. trans., 1985)
  • P. Buscaroli: Bach (Milan, 1985)
  • M. Geck: Bach: Leben und Werk (Reinbek, 2000)
  • C. Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach: the Learned Musician (New York, 2000)
    G: Biography: Special studies
  • C. Scherer: ‘Joh. Seb. Bachs Aufenthalt in Kassel’, MMg, 25 (1893), 129–33
  • B.F. Richter: ‘Stadtpfeifer und Alumnen der Thomasschule in Leipzig zu Bachs Zeit’, BJb 1907, 32–78
  • C. Freyse, ed.: Eisenacher Dokumente um Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1933)
  • G. Herz: ‘Bach’s Religion’, JRBM, 1 (1946), 124–38
  • G. Fock: Der junge Bach in Lüneburg 1700 bis 1702 (Hamburg, 1950)
  • K. Müller and F. Wiegand, eds.: Arnstädter Bachbuch: Johann Sebastian Bach und seine Verwandten in Arnstadt (Arnstadt, 1950, 2/1957)
  • F. Smend: Bach in Köthen (Berlin, 1951; Eng. trans., rev. 1985)
  • H. Löffler: ‘Die Schüler Joh. Seb. Bachs’, BJb 1953, 5–28
  • K. Geiringer: The Bach Family: Seven Generations of Creative Genius (London, 1954/R, Ger. trans., enlarged, 1958, 2/1977)
  • W. Neumann: ‘Das “Bachische Collegium Musicum”’, BJb 1960, 5–27
  • F. Blume: ‘Outlines of a New Picture of Bach’, ML, 44 (1963), 214–27
  • G. Stiller: Johann Sebastian Bach und das Leipziger gottesdienstliche Leben seiner Zeit(Kassel, 1970; Eng. trans., 1984)
  • I. Ahlgrimm: ‘Von Reisen, Kirchererbsen und Fischbeinröcken’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 155–70
  • R. Eller: ‘Gedanken über Bachs Leipziger Schaffensjahre’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 7–27
  • W. Schrammek: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach, Gottfried Silbermann und die französische Orgelkunst’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 93–107
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach und Georg Gottfried Wagner: neue Dokumente’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 147–54
  • E. Zavarský: ‘J.S. Bachs Entwurf für den Umbau der Orgel in der Kirche Divi Blasii und das Klangideal der Zeit’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 82–93
  • W. Siegmund-Schultze: ‘Über die “unvermeidlichen Lücken” in Bachs Lebensbeschreibung’,Bachforschung und Bachinterpretation heute: Marburg 1978, 32–42
  • C. Wolff: ‘Bachs Leipziger Kantoratsprobe und die Aufführungsgeschichte der Kantate bwv23’, BJb 1978, 78–94
  • C. Wolff: ‘Probleme und Neuansätze der Bach-Biographik’, Bachforschung und Bachinterpretation heute: Marburg 1978, 21–31
  • W. Frei: ‘Bach, das konservative Genie – oder das Schicksal aus seiner Familie’,Musik und Gottesdienst, 34 (1980), 1–6
  • A. Glöckner: ‘Neuerkenntnisse zu Johann Sebastian Bachs Aufführungskalender zwischen 1729 und 1735’, BJb 1981, 43–76
  • A. Plichta: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach und Johann Adam Graf von Questenberg’, BJb 1981, 23–8
  • U. Siegele: ‘Bachs Ort in Orthodoxie und Aufklärung’, Musik und Kirche, 51 (1981), 3–14
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Luther und Bach’, Musik und Kirche, 53 (1983), 233–42
  • K. von Fischer: Johann Sebastian Bach: Welt, Umwelt und Frömmigkeit (1983)
  • M. Petzoldt: ‘Zur Frage nach den Funktion des Kantors Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig’,Musik und Kirche, 53 (1983), 167–73
  • W. Rehm, ed.: Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr (Kassel, 1983) [incl. W. Felix: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach: Leipziger Wirken und Nachwirken’, 88–92; H. Heussner: ‘Zur Musikpflege im Umkreis des Prinzen Maximilian von Hessen: Pietro Locatelli und Johann Sebastian Bach in Kassel’, 108–15; W. Neumann: ‘Über die mutmasslichen Beziehungen zwischen dem Leipziger Thomaskantor Bach und dem Leisniger Matthäikantor Stockmar’, 201–8; W.H. Scheide: ‘Bach vs. Bach: Mühlhausen Dismissal Request vs. Erdmann Letter’, 234–42; H.-J. Schulze: ‘“Monsieur Schouster”, ein vergessener Zeitgenosse Johann Sebastian Bachs’, 243–50; E. Zavarský: ‘Ein Besucher aus der Slowakei bei Johann Sebastian Bach’, 363–7]
  • U. Siegele: ‘Bachs Stellung in der Leipziger Kulturpolitik seiner Zeit’, BJb 1983, 7–50; 1984, 7–43; 1986, 33–67
  • J. Bahns, ed.: Ex libris Bachianis II: das Weltbild Johann Sebastian Bachs im Spiegel seiner theologischen Bibliothek, Kurpfälzisches Museum der Stadt Heidelberg, 1 June – 15 July 1985 (Heidelberg, 1985) [exhibition catalogue]
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Wandlungen und Probleme des Bachbildes’, Musik und Kirche, 55 (1985), 274–84
  • H.H. Cox: The Calov Bible of J.S. Bach (Ann Arbor, 1985)
  • W. Hildesheimer: Das ferne Bach: eine Rede (Frankfurt, 1985)
  • R.A. Leaver: J.S. Bach and Scripture: Glosses from the Calov Bible Commentary (St Louis, 1985)
  • M. Petzoldt: ‘“Ut probus & doctus reddar”: zum Anteil der Theologie bei der Schulausbildung Johann Sebastian Bachs in Eisenach, Ohrdruf und Lüneburg’, BJb 1985, 7–42
  • M. Walter: ‘J.S. Bach und die Aufklärung?’, AMw, 42 (1985), 229–40
  • J.J. Pelikan: Bach Among the Theologians (Philadelphia, 1986)
  • A. Glöckner: Die Musikpflege an der Leipziger Neukirche zur Zeit (Leipzig, 1990)
  • D. Kranemann: ‘Johann Sebastian Bachs Krankheit und Todesursache: Versuch einer Deutung’, BJb 1990, 53–64
  • R. Szeskus: ‘Bach und die Leipziger Universitätsmusik’, BMw, 32 (1990), 161–70
  • U. Siegele: ‘“Ich habe fleissig sein müssen …”: zur Vermittlung von Bachs sozialem und musikalischem Charakter’, Musik und Kirche, 61 (1991), 73–8; Eng. trans., Bach, 22/2 (1991), 5–12
  • P. Wollny: ‘Bachs Bewerbung um die Organistenstelle an der Marienkirche zu Halle und ihr Kontext’, BJb 1994, 25–39
  • K. Küster: Der junge Bach (Stuttgart, 1996)
    H: Works: General
  • A. Pirro: L’esthétique de Jean-Sébastien Bach (Paris, 1907)
  • C.S. Terry: The Music of Bach: an Introduction (London, 1933/R)
  • G. Herz: Johann Sebastian Bach im Zeitalter des Rationalismus und der Frühromantik (Kassel, 1935)
  • A.E.F. Dickinson: The Art of J.S. Bach (London, 1936, enlarged 2/1950)
  • G. Frotscher: Johann Sebastian Bach und die Musik des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts (Wädenswil,1939)
  • A. Schering: Johann Sebastian Bach und das Musikleben Leipzigs im 18. Jahrhundert, Musikgeschichte Leipzigs, 3 (Leipzig, 1941)
  • W. Blankenburg: Die innere Einheit von Bachs Werk (diss., U. of Göttingen, 1942)
  • L. Schrade: ‘Bach: the Conflict between the Sacred and the Secular’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 7 (1946), 151–94; pubd separately (New York, 1954/R)
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Bach geistlich und weltlich’, Musik und Kirche, 20 (1950), 36–46
  • R. Petzoldt and L. Weinhold, eds.: Johann Sebastian Bach: das Schaffen des Meisters in Spiegel einer Stadt (Leipzig, 1950)
  • H. Besseler: ‘Bach und das Mittelalter’, Wissenschaftliche Bachtagung: Leipzig 1950, 108–30; Eng. trans. in The Score, no.9 (1954), 31–42
  • A.T. Davison: Bach and Handel: the Consummation of the Baroque in Music (Cambridge, MA, 1951/R)
  • P. Hindemith: Johann Sebastian Bach: Heritage and Obligation (New Haven, 1952)
  • H. Besseler: ‘Bach als Wegbereiter’, AMw, 12 (1955), 1–39
  • W. Mellers: Bach and the Dance of God (London, 1980)
  • C. Wolff: ‘“Die sonderbaren Vollkommenheiten des Herrn Hof Compositeurs”: Versuch über die Eigenart der Bachschen Musik’, Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr, ed. W. Rehm (Kassel, 1983), 356–62
  • A. Dürr: Bachs Werk vom Einfall bis zur Drucklegung (Wiesbaden, 1989)
  • R.L. Marshall: The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach: the Sources, the Style, the Significance (New York, 1989)
  • H.H. Eggebrecht: Bach – wer ist das?: zum Verständnis der Musik Johann Sebastian Bachs (Mainz, 1992)
  • L. Dreyfus: Bach and the Patterns of Invention (Cambridge, MA, 1996)
  • J. Butt, ed.: The Cambridge Companion to Bach (New York, 1997)
  • M. Geck: Bach und die Stile (Dortmund, 1999)
    I: Works: Special studies
  • E. Kurth: Grundlagen des linearen Kontrapunkts: Einführung in Stil und Technik von Bachs melodischer Polyphonie (Berne, 1917, 5/1956/R)
  • A. Schering: ‘Über Bachs Parodieverfahren’, BJb 1921, 49–95
  • K. Geiringer: Symbolism in the Music of Bach (Washington DC, 1956); repr. in Lectures on the History and Art of Music (New York, 1968), 123ff
  • A. Dürr: ‘Gedanken zu J.S. Bachs Umarbeitungen eigener Werke’, BJb 1956, 93–104
  • G. von Dadelsen: Bemerkungen zur Handschrift Johann Sebastian Bachs, seiner Familie und seines Kreises (Trossingen,1957)
  • G. von Dadelsen: Beiträge zur Chronologie der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Trossingen, 1958)
  • E. Bodky: The Interpretation of Bach’s Keyboard Works (Cambridge, MA, 1960/R)
  • A. Mendel: ‘Recent Developments in Bach Chronology’, MQ, 46 (1960), 283–300
  • A. Dürr: ‘Neues über Bachs Pergolesi-Bearbeitung’, BJb 1968, 89–100
  • C. Wolff: Der stile antico in der Musik Johann Sebastian Bachs (Wiesbaden, 1968)
  • R.L. Marshall: ‘How J.S. Bach Composed Four-part Chorales’, MQ, 56 (1970), 198–220
  • M. Geck: ‘Bachs Probestück’, Quellenstudien zur Musik: Wolfgang Schmieder zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. K. Dorfmüller and G. von Dadelsen (Frankfurt,1972), 55–68
  • ‘Johann Sebastian Bach: Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation’, Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Music in Honor of Arthur Mendel, ed. R.L. Marshall (Kassel and Hackensack, NJ, 1974), 139–230 [contributions by W. Blankenburg, E.T. Cone, W. Emery, R.L. Marshall, F. Neumann, N. Rubin and W.H. Scheide ]
  • W. Emery: ‘A Note on Bach’s Use of Triplets’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 109–11
  • H. Eppstein: ‘Zum Formproblem bei J.S. Bach’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975, 29–42
  • H. Grüss: ‘Tempofragen der Bachzeit’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975, 73–81
  • R.L. Marshall: ‘Bach the Progressive: Observations on his Later Works’, MQ, 62 (1976), 313–57
  • U. Meyer: ‘Zum Problem der Zahlen in Johann Sebastian Bachs Werk’, Musik und Kirche, 49 (1979), 58–71
  • U. Prinz: Studien zum Instrumentarium J.S. Bachs mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Kantaten(Tübingen, 1979)
  • G.G. Butler: ‘Leipziger Stecher in Bachs Originaldrucken’, BJb 1980, 9–26
  • L. Prautzsch: Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit: Figuren und Symbole in den letzten Werken Johann Sebastian Bachs (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1980)
  • K.-J. Sachs: ‘Die “Anleitung …, auff allerhand Arth einen Choral durchzuführen” als Paradigma der Lehre und die Satzkunst Johann Sebastian Bachs’,AMw, 37 (1980), 135–54
  • W. Neumann: Über das funktionale Wechselverhältnis von Vokalität und Instrumentalität als kompositionstechnisches Grundphänomen, dargestellt am Schaffen Johann Sebastian Bachs (Berlin, 1982)
  • G.A. Theill: Beiträge zur Symbolsprache Johann Sebastian Bachs (Bonn, 1983–)
  • Q. Faulkner: J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Technique: a Historical Introduction (St Louis, MO,1984)
  • Bach und die italienische Musik: Venice 1985
  • M. Dankwardt: Instrumentale und vokale Kompositionsweise bei Johann Sebastian Bach (Tutzing, 1985)
  • M. Petzoldt, ed.: Bach als Ausleger der Bibel: theologische und musikwissenschaftliche Studien zum Werk Johann Sebastian Bachs (Göttingen, 1985)
  • G. Wagner: Traditionsbezug im musikhistorischen Prozess zwischen 1720 und 1740 am Beispiel von Johann Sebastian und Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: musikalische Analyse und musikhistorische Bewertung (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1985)
  • C. Wolff: ‘Johann Adam Reinken und Johann Sebastian Bach: zum Kontext des Bachschen Frühwerkes’, BJb 1985, 99–118; Eng. trans., rev. in J.S. Bach as Organist, ed. G. Stauffer and E. May (Bloomington, IN, 1986), 57–80, and in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA, 1991), 56–71
  • G. Stauffer and E. May, eds.: J.S. Bach as Organist: his Instruments, Music, and Performance Practices (Bloomington, IN, 1986)
  • W. Elders: ‘Kompositionsverfahren in der Musik der alten Niederländer und die Kunst J.S. Bachs’,Beiträge zur Bachforschung, 6 (1987), 110–34
  • W.F. Hindermann: ‘“Seine Einsicht in die Dichtkunst … ”: Bachs Rhetorik-Verständnis im Spiegel von Quintilians Institutio oratoria ’, Musik und Kirche, 57 (1987), 284–97
  • H.-J. Schulze: ‘The Parody Process in Bach's Music: an Old Problem Reconsidered’,Bach, 20/3 (1989), 15–33
  • K. Beisswenger: ‘Bachs Eingriffe in Werke fremder Komponisten: Beobachtungen an den Notenhandschriften aus seiner Bibliothek unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der lateinischen Kirchenmusik’, BJb 1991, 127–58
  • M. Little and N. Jenne: Dance and the Music of Bach(Bloomington, IN, 1991)
  • R. Tatlow: Bach and the Riddle of the Number Alphabet (Cambridge, 1991)
  • E. Kooiman, G. Weinberger and H.J. Busch: Zur Interpretation der Orgelmusik Johann Sebastian Bachs (Kassel, 1995)
    J: Vocal works
  • K. Ziebler: Das Symbol in der Kirchenmusik Joh. Seb. Bachs (Kassel, 1930)
  • A. Schering: Johann Sebastian Bachs Leipziger Kirchenmusik (Leipzig, 1936)
  • W. Neumann: J.S. Bachs Chorfuge (Leipzig, 1938, 3/1953)
  • F. Smend: ‘Bachs Markus-Passion’, BJb 1940–48, 1–35
  • A. Schering: Über Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs (Leipzig, 1942, 3/1950)
  • F. Smend: ‘Neue Bach-Funde’, AMf, 7 (1942), 1–16; repr. in Friedrich Smend: Bach-Studien, ed. C. Wolff (Kassel, 1969), 137–52
  • A. Mendel: ‘On the Keyboard Accompaniments to Bach’s Leipzig Church Music’,MQ, 36 (1950), 339–62
  • A. Dürr: ‘Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke J.S. Bachs’, BJb 1957, 5–162; pubd separately (Berlin, 1958, 2/1976)
  • W. Neumann: ‘Über Ausmass und Wesen des Bachschen Parodieverfahrens’, BJb 1965, 63–85
  • R.L. Marshall: The Compositional Process of J.S. Bach: a Study of the Autograph Scores of the Vocal Works (Princeton, NJ, 1972)
  • W. Neumann, ed.: Sämtliche von Johann Sebastian Bach vertonte Texte (Leipzig, 1974)
  • U. Siegele: ‘Bachs Endzweck einer regulierten und Entwurf einer wohlbestallten Kirchenmusik’,Festschrift Georg von Dadelsen zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. T. Kohlhase and V. Scherliess (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1978), 313–51
  • L. Dreyfus: ‘J.S. Bach's Experiment in Differentiated Accompaniment: Tacet Indications in Organ Parts’, JAMS, 32 (1979), 321–34
  • J. Rifkin: ‘Bach's Chorus: a Preliminary Report’, MT, 123 (1982), 747–54
  • W. Blankenburg: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach und das evangelische Kirchenlied zu seiner Zeit’, Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr, ed. W. Rehm (Kassel, 1983), 31–8
  • G. von Dadelsen: ‘Anmerkungen zu Bachs Parodieverfahren’, Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr, ed. W. Rehm (Kassel, 1983), 52–7
  • R. Marshall: ‘Bach's Chorus: a Preliminary Reply to Joshua Rifkin’, MT, 124 (1983), 19–22
  • J. Rifkin: ‘Bach's Chorus: a Response to Robert Marshall’, MT, 124 (1983), 161–2
  • G. Wagner: ‘Die Chorbesetzung bei J.S. Bach und ihre Vorgeschichte: Anmerkungen zur “hinlänglichen” Besetzung im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert’, AMw, 43 (1986), 278–304
  • K. Häfner: Aspekte des Parodieverfahrens bei Johann Sebastian Bach: Beiträge zur Wiederentdeckung verschollener Vokalwerke (Laaber, 1987)
  • S.A. Crist: Aria Forms in the Vocal Works of J.S. Bach, 1714–24 (diss., Brandeis U.,1988)
  • H.H. Eggebrecht: ‘Sinnbildlichkeit in Text und Musik bei Johann Sebastian Bach’, Musik und Kirche, 58 (1988), 176–84
  • E.T. Chafe: Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of J.S. Bach (Berkeley, 1991)
  • M. Walter: Musik-Sprache des Glaubens: zum geistlichen Vokalwerk Johann Sebastian Bachs (Frankfurt,1994)
  • S.A. Crist: ‘Bach, Theology, and Harmony: a New Look at the Arias’, Bach, 27/1 (1996), 1–30
  • D.E. Freeman: ‘J.S. Bach's “Concerto” Arias: a Study in the Amalgamation of Eighteenth-Century Genres’, Studi musicali, 27 (1998), 123–62
    • R. Wustmann, ed.: Johann Sebastian Bachs Kantatentexte (Leipzig, 1913, rev. 2/1967 as Geistliche und weltliche Kantatentexte)
    • C.S. Terry: Joh. Seb. Bach: Cantata Texts, Sacred and Secular, with a Reconstruction of the Leipzig Liturgy of his Period (London, 1926/R)
    • W. Neumann: Handbuch der Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs (Leipzig, 1947, 5/1984)
    • F. Smend: Joh. Seb. Bach: Kirchen-Kantaten (Berlin, 1947–9, 3/1966)
    • I. Finlay: Johann Sebastian Bachs weltliche Kantaten (Göttingen, 1950)
    • I. Finlay: ‘Bach's Secular Cantata Texts’, ML, 31 (1950), 189–95
    • A. Dürr: Studien über die frühen Kantaten J.S. Bachs (Leipzig, 1951, 2/1977)
    • A. Dürr: ‘Zur Echtheit einiger Bach zugeschreibener Kantaten’, BJb 1951–2, 30–46
    • K.F. Tagliavini: Studi sui testi delle cantate sacre di J.S. Bach (Padua, 1956)
    • P. Mies: Die geistlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs und der Hörer von heute, 1 (Wiesbaden, 1959, 2/1966); ii (1960, 2/1968); iii (1964)
    • W.H. Scheide: ‘Johann Sebastian Bachs Sammlung von Kantaten seines Vetters Johann Ludwig Bach’, BJb 1959, 52–94; 1961, 5–24; 1962, 5–32
    • W.G. Whittaker: The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (London, 1959)
    • J. Day: The Literary Background to Bach’s Cantatas (London, 1961)
    • P. Mies: Die weltlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs und der Hörer von heute, 1 (Wiesbaden, 1966–7)
    • A. Dürr: Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (Kassel, 1971, 6/1995)
    • R. Gerlach: ‘Besetzung und Instrumentation der Kirchenkantaten J.S. Bachs und ihre Bedingungen’, BJb 1971, 53–71
    • W. Hobohm: ‘Neue Texte zur Leipziger Kirchen-Musik’, BJb 1973, 5–32
    • A. Dürr: ‘Bachs Kantatentexte: Probleme und Aufgaben der Forschung’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 63–71
    • K. Häfner: ‘Der Picander-Jahrgang’, BJb 1975, 70–113
    • W. Blankenburg: ‘Eine neue Textquelle zu sieben Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs und achtzehn Kantaten Johann Ludwig Bachs’, BJb 1977, 7–25
    • W.H. Scheide: ‘Bach und der Picander-Jahrgang’, BJb 1980, 47–52
    • K. Häfner: ‘Picander, der Textdichter von Bachs viertem Kantatenjahrgang: ein neuer Hinweis’, Mf, 35 (1982), 156–62
    • C. Wolff: ‘Wo bleib Bachs fünfter Kantatenjahrgang?’, Mf, 35 (1982), 151–2
    • W.H. Scheide: ‘Eindeutigkeit und Mehrdeutigkeit in Picanders Kantatenjahrgangs-Vorbemerkung und im Werkverzeichnis des Nekrologs auf Johann Sebastian Bach’, BJb 1983, 109–14
    • L. Dreyfus: ‘The Metaphorical Soloist: Concerted Organ Parts in Bach's Cantatas’,EMc, 13 (1985), 237–47
    • A. Glöckner: ‘Zur Chronologie der Weimarer Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb 1985, 159–64
    • A. Dürr: ‘Noch einmal: Wo blieb Bachs fünfter Kantatenjahrgang?’, BJb 1986, 121–2
    • A. Hirsch: Die Zahl im Kantatenwerk Johann Sebastian Bachs (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1986)
    • H.K. Krausse: ‘Erdmann Neumeister und die Kantatentexte Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb 1986, 7–31
    • A. Dürr: ‘Merkwürdiges in den Quellen zu Weimarer Kantaten Bachs’, BJb 1987, 151–7
    • A. Glöckner: ‘Überlegungen zu J.S. Bachs Kantatenschaffen nach 1730’, Beiträge zur Bachforschung, 6 (1987), 54–64
    • W.M. Young: The Cantatas of J.S. Bach: an Analytical Guide (Jefferson, NC, 1989)
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Bach's Secular Cantatas: a New Look at the Sources’, Bach, 21/1 (1990), 26–41
    • F. Krummacher: ‘Bachs frühe Kantaten im Kontext der Tradition’, Mf, 44 (1991), 9–32
    • L. and R. Steiger: Sehet! Wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem: Johann Sebastian Bachs Kantaten auf den Sonntag Estomihi (Göttingen,1992)
    • K. Hofmann: ‘Neue Überlegungen zu Bachs Weimarer Kantaten-Kalender’, BJb 1993, 9–29
    • D.R. Melamed: ‘Mehr zur Chronologie von Bachs Weimarer Kantaten’, BJb 1993, 213–16
    • U. Meyer: ‘“Flügel her! Flügel her!”: gepredigte Sterbekunst als Hintergrund Bachscher Kantatentexte’, Musik und Kirche, 63 (1993), 258–65
    • M. Petzoldt: Texte zur Leipziger Kirchen-music: zum Verständnis der Kantatentexte Johann Sebastian Bachs (Wiesbaden, 1993)
    • R. Steiger: ‘So lerne nun die neue Evangelische Sprache: Elemente einer musikalischen Sprache des Trostes in J.S. Bachs Sterbekantaten’, Musik und Kirche, 64 (1994), 255–63
    • F. Krummacher: Bachs Zyklus der Choralkantaten: Aufgaben und Lösungen (Göttingen, 1995)
    • D.L. Smithers: ‘The Original Circumstances in the Performance of Bach's Leipzig Church Cantatas, “Wegen seiner sonn- und festtätigen Amts-Verrichtungen’,Bach, 26/1–2 (1995), 28–47
    • C. Wolff and T. Koopman, eds.: De wereld van de Bach-cantates, i, Johann Sebastian Bachs geestelijke cantates van Arnstadt tot Köthen(Abcoude, 1995; Eng. trans., 1997)
      Passions and oratorios
    • W. Werker: Die Matthäus-Passion (Leipzig, 1923)
    • F. Smend: ‘Die Johannes-Passion von Bach’, BJb 1926, 105–28; repr. in Friedrich Smend: Bach-Studien, ed. C. Wolff (Kassel, 1969), 11–23
    • C.S. Terry: ‘The Spurious Bach “Lukas-Passion”’, ML, 14 (1933), 207–21
    • A. Schering: ‘Zur Markus-Passion und zur “vierten” Passion’, BJb 1939, 1–32
    • F. Smend: ‘Bachs Markus Passion’, BJb 1940–48, 1–35; repr. inFriedrich Smend: Bach-Studien, ed. C. Wolff (Kassel, 1969), 110–36
    • A. Dürr: ‘Zu den verschollenen Passionen Bachs’, BJb 1949–50, 81–99
    • F. Smend: ‘Bachs Himmelsfahrts-Oratorium’, Bach-Gedenkschrift, ed. K. Matthaei (Zürich, 1950), 42–65; repr. in Friedrich Smend: Bach-Studien, ed. C. Wolff (Kassel, 1969), 195–211
    • W. Serauky: ‘Die “Johannes-Passion” von Joh. Seb. Bach und ihr Vorbild’, BJb 1954, 29–39
    • B. Smallman: The Background of Passion Music: J.S. Bach and his Predecessors (London, 1957, enlarged 2/1970)
    • J. Chailley: Les Passions de J.-S. Bach (Paris, 1963, 2/1984)
    • A. Mendel: ‘Traces of the Pre-History of Bach's St John and St Matthew Passions’,Festschrift Otto Erich Deutsch, ed. W. Gerstenberg, J. LaRue and W. Rehm (Kassel, 1963), 31–48
    • D. Gojowy: ‘Zur Frage der Köthener Trauermusik und der Matthäuspassion’, BJb 1965, 86–134
    • P. Brainard: ‘Bach's Parody Procedure and the St. Matthew Passion’, JAMS, 22 (1969), 241–60
    • A. Glöckner: ‘Bach and the Passion Music of his Contemporaries’, MT, 116 (1975), 613–16
    • J. Rifkin: ‘The Chronology of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion’, MQ, 61 (1975), 360–87
    • E. Axmacher: ‘Ein Quellenfund zum Text der Matthäus-Passion’, BJb 1978, 181–91
    • G.A. Theill: Die Markuspassion von Johann Sebastian Bach (bwv247): Entstehung, Vergessen, Wiederentdeckung, Rekonstruktion (Steinfeld, 1978, 2/1981)
    • P. Steinitz: Bach’s Passions (London, 1979)
    • E.T. Chafe: ‘Key Structure and Tonal Allegory in the Passions of J.S. Bach: an Introduction’,CMc, no.31 (1981), 39–54
    • R. Steiger: ‘Die Einheit des Weinachtsoratoriums von J.S. Bach’, Musik und Kirche, 51 (1981), 273–80; lii (1982), 9–15
    • W. Blankenburg: Das Weinachts-Oratorium von Johann Sebastian Bach (Munich and Kassel, 1982)
    • E.T. Chafe: ‘J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion; Aspects of Planning, Structure, and Chronology’,JAMS, 35 (1982), 49–114
    • R.A. Leaver: Music as Preaching: Bach, Passions and Music in Worship (Oxford, 1982)
    • E. Axmacher: ‘Aus Liebe will mein Heyland sterben’: Untersuchungen zum Wandel des Passionverständnisses im frühen 18. Jahrhundert(Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1984)
    • W.F. Hindermann: Johann Sebastian Bach, Himmelfahrts-Oratorium: Gestalt und Gehalt (Hofheim am Taunus, 1985)
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bachs Unvollendete: die Johannes-Passion. Mehrbändiges Kompendium erschliesst das monumentale Werk des Komponisten’, Neue Musikzeitung, 36/2 (1987), 39 only
    • A. Dürr: Die Johannes-Passion von Johann Sebastian Bach: Entstehung, Überlieferung, Werkeinführung (Munich and Kassel, 1988)
    • C. Wolff: ‘Musical Forms and Dramatic Structure in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion ’,Bach, 19/1 (1988), 6–20
    • M. Geck: Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannespassion bwv245(Munich, 1991)
    • K. Hofmann: ‘Zur Tonartenordnung der Johannes-Passion von Johann Sebastian Bach’,Musik und Kirche, 61 (1991), 78–86
    • E. Platen: Die Matthäus-Passion von Johann Sebastian Bach: Entstehung, Werkbeschreibung, Rezeption (Munich and Kassel, 1991)
    • W.M. Young: The Sacred Dramas of J.S. Bach: a Reference and Textual Interpretation(Jefferson, NC, 1994)
      Latin church music, motets and chorales
    • C.S. Terry: Bach’s Chorals (Cambridge, 1915–21/R)
    • A. Schering: ‘Die Höhe Messe in h-moll’, BJb 1936, 1–30
    • F. Smend: ‘Bachs h-moll-Messe: Entstehung, Uberlieferung, Bedeutung’, BJb 1937, 1–58
    • W. Blankenburg: Einführung in Bachs h-moll-Messe (Kassel, 1950, 3/1974)
    • R. Bullivant: ‘Zum Problem der Begleitung der Bachschen Motetten’, BJb 1966, 59–68
    • F. Smend: ‘Zu den ältesten Sammlungen der vierstimmigen Choräle J.S. Bachs’, BJb 1966, 5–40; repr. in Friedrich Smend: Bach-Studien, ed. C. Wolff (Kassel, 1969), 237–69
    • R. Leavis: ‘Bach's Setting of Psalm CXVII (bwv230)’, ML, 52 (1971), 19–26
    • F. Krummacher: ‘Textauslegung und Satzstruktur in J.S. Bachs Motetten’, BJb 1974, 5–43
    • M. Geck: ‘Zur Datierung, Verwendung und Aufführungspraxis von Bachs Motetten’,Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 63–71
    • H. Rilling: Johann Sebastian Bachs h-Moll-Messe (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1979, 2/1986)
    • G.J. Buelow: ‘Symbol and Structure in the “Kyrie” of Bach's B-minor Mass’, Essays on the Music of J.S. Bach and Other Divers Subjects: a Tribute to Gerhard Herz, ed. R.L. Weaver (Louisville, KY, 1981), 21–41
    • A. Mann: ‘Bach's A major Mass; a Nativity Mass?’, Essays on the Music of J.S. Bach and Other Divers Subjects: a Tribute to Gerhard Herz, ed. R.L. Weaver (Louisville, KY, 1981), 43–7
    • R.M. Cammarota: ‘The Sources of the Christmas Interpolations in J.S. Bach's Magnificat in E-flat Major’, CMc, no.36 (1983), 79–99
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘“150 Stück von den Bachischen Erben”: zur Überlieferung der vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb (1983), 81–100
    • G. Wachowski: ‘Die vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs: Untersuchungen zu den Druckausgaben von 1765 bis 1932 und zur Frage der Authentizität’, BJb (1983), 51–79
    • A. Mann: ‘ Missa Brevis and Historia: Bach's A Major Mass’, Bach, 16/1 (1985), 6–11
    • Y. Kobayashi: ‘Die Universalität in Bachs h-moll-Messe: ein Beitrag zum Bach-Bild der Letzten Lebensjahre’, Musik und Kirche, 57 (1987), 9–24
    • R.A. Leaver: ‘Bach, Kirchenlieder und Gesangbücher’, Musik und Kirche, 57 (1987), 169–74
    • W. Breig: ‘Grundzüge einer Geschichte von Bachs vierstimmigen Choralsatz’, AMw, 45 (1988), 300–19
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bach the Cantor, the Capellmeister, and the Musical Scholar: Aspects of the B-Minor Mass’, Bach, 20/1 (1989), 55–64
    • R.A. Leaver: ‘Parody and Theological Consistency: Notes on Bach's A-major Mass’,Bach, 21/3 (1990), 30–43
    • J. Butt: Bach: Mass in B Minor (Cambridge, 1991)
    • P. Wollny: ‘Bachs Sanctus bwv 241 und Kerlls “Missa superba”’,BJb 1991, 173–6
    • A. Durr: ‘Zur Parodiefrage in Bachs h-moll-Messe: eine Bestandsaufnahme’,Mf, 45 (1992), 117–38
    • R. Stinson: ‘Some Thoughts on Bach's Neumeister Chorales’, JM, 11 (1993), 455–77
    • P. Wollny: ‘Ein Quellenfund zur Enstehungsgeschichte der h-Moll-Messe’, BJb 1994, 163–9
    • R.L. Marshall: Luther, Bach, and the Early Reformation Chorale (Atlanta, GA, 1995)
    • D.R. Melamed: J.S. Bach and the German Motet (Cambridge, 1995)
    K: Instrumental works
    • K.A. Rosenthal: ‘Über Sonatenvorformen in den Instrumentalmusikwerken Joh. Seb. Bachs’,BJb 1926, 68–89
    • C.S. Terry: Bach’s Orchestra (London, 1932/R)
    • J.M. Barbour: ‘Bach and “The Art of Temperament”’, MQ, 33 (1947), 64–89
    • A.E.F. Dickinson: Bach’s Fugal Works (London, 1956/R)
    • C. Dahlhaus: ‘Bach und der “lineare Kontrapunkt”’, BJb 1962, 58–79
    • H.-G. Klein: Der Einfluss der Vivaldischen Konzertform im Instrumentalwerk Johann Sebastian Bachs(Strasbourg, 1970)
    • C. Wolff: ‘Ordnungsprinzipien in den Originaldrucken Bachscher Werke’, Bach-Interpretationen, ed. M. Geck (Göttingen, 1969), 144–67; Eng. trans. in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA, 1991), 340–58
    • U. Siegele: Kompositionsweise und Bearbeitungstechnik in der Instrumentalmusik Johann Sebastian Bachs(Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1975)
    • J.R. Fuchs: Studien zu Artikulationsangaben in Orgel- und Clavierwerken von Joh. Seb. Bach(Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1985)
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘The French Influence in Bach's Instrumental Music’, EMc, 13 (1985), 180–84
    • R. Stinson: ‘Toward a Chronology of Bach's Instrumental Music: Observations on Three Keyboard Works’, JM, 7 (1989), 440–70
      Organ works
    • H. Grace: The Organ Works of Bach (London and New York, 1922)
    • F. Dietrich: ‘Analogieformen in Bachs Tokkaten und Präludien für die Orgel’, BJb 1931, 51–71
    • H. Klotz: Über die Orgelkunst der Gotik, der Renaissance und des Barock (Kassel, 1934, 3/1986)
    • H. Keller: ‘Unechte Orgelwerke Bachs’, BJb 1937, 59–82
    • S. de B. Taylor: The Chorale Preludes of J.S. Bach (London, 1942)
    • H. Keller: Die Orgelwerke Bachs: ein Beitrag zu ihrer Geschichte, Form, Deutung und Wiedergabe(Leipzig, 1948/R; Eng. trans., 1967)
    • H. Klotz: ‘Bachs Orgeln und seine Orgelmusik’, Mf, 3 (1950), 189–203
    • K. Matthaei: ‘Johann Sebastian Bachs Orgel’, Bach-Gedenkschrift, ed. K. Matthaei (Zürich, 1950), 118–149
    • P. Aldrich: Ornamentation in J.S. Bach’s Organ Works (New York, 1950/R)
    • W. Emery: Notes on Bach’s Organ Works: a Companion to the Revised Novello Edition(London, 1952–7)
    • W. Schrammek: ‘Die musikgeschichtliche Stellung der Orgeltrio sonaten von Joh. Seb. Bach’,BJb 1954, 7–28
    • R. Donington: Tempo and Rhythm in Bach’s Organ Music (London, 1960)
    • G. von Dadelsen: ‘Zur Entstehung des Bachschen Orgelbüchleins’, Festschrift Friedrich Blume, ed. A.A. Abert and W. Pfannkuch (Kassel, 1963), 74–9
    • P.F. Williams: ‘J.S. Bach and English Organ Music’, ML, 44 (1963), 140–51
    • E.D. May: Breitkopf’s Role in the Transmission of J.S. Bach’s Organ Chorales (diss., Princeton U., 1974)
    • E. May: ‘Eine neue Quelle für J.S. Bachs einzeln überlieferte Orgelchoräle’,BJb 1974, 98–103
    • U. Meyer: ‘Zur Einordnung von J.S. Bachs einzeln überlieferten Orgelchorälen’, BJb (1977), 75–89
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bachs Handexemplar der Schübler-Chorale’, BJb (1977), 120–29
    • T.F. Harmon: The Registration of J.S. Bach’s Organ Works (Buren, 1978)
    • G.B. Stauffer: The Organ Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach (Ann Arbor, 1980)
    • P. Williams: The Organ Music of J.S. Bach (Cambridge, 1980–84)
    • P. Williams: ‘The Musical Aims of J.S. Bach's “Clavierübung III”’,Source Materials and the Interpretation of Music: a Memorial Volume to Thurston Dart, ed. I. Bent (London, 1981), 259–78
    • D. Humphreys: The Esoteric Structure of Bach’s Clavierübung III (Cardiff, 1983)
    • D. Kilian: ‘Zu einem Bachschen Tabulatorautograph’, Bachiana et alia musicologica: Festschrift Alfred Dürr, ed. W. Rehm (Kassel, 1983), 161–7
    • H. Klotz: Studien zu Bachs Registrierkunst (Wiesbaden, 1985)
    • F. Krummacher: ‘Bach und die norddeutsche Orgeltoccata: Fragen und Überlegungen’,BJb 1985, 119–34
    • R.A. Leaver: ‘Bach and Hymnody: the Evidence of the Orgelbüchlein ’, EMc, 13 (1985), 227–36
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bach's Organ Music: Studies and Discoveries’, MT, 126 (1985), 149–52
    • G.B. Stauffer and E. May, eds.: J.S. Bach as Organist: his Instruments, Music, and Performance Practices (Bloomington, IN, 1986)
    • J.-C. Zehnder: ‘Georg Böhm und Johann Sebastian Bach: zur Chronologie der Bachschen Stilentwicklung’, BJb 1988, 73–110
    • G. Butler: Bach’s Clavier-Übung III: the Making of a Print, with a Companion Study of the Canonic Variations on ‘Vom Himmel hoch’ BWV 769 (Durham, NC, 1990)
    • W. Breig: ‘Formprobleme in Bachs frühen Orgelfugen’, BJb 1992, 7–21
    • G.B. Stauffer: ‘Boyvin, Grigny, D'Anglebert, and Bach's Assimilation of French Classical Organ Music’, EMc, 21 (1993), 83–96
    • W. Breig: ‘Versuch einer Theorie der Bachschen Orgelfuge’, Mf, 48 (1995), 14–52
    • R.D. Claus: Zur Echtheit von Toccata und Fuge d-moll BWV 565(Cologne, 1995)
    • Q. Faulkner: ‘Die Registrierung der Orgelwerke J.S. Bachs’, BJb 1995, 7–30
    • R. Stinson: Bach: the Orgelbüchlein (New York, 1996)
      Keyboard and lute music
    • W. Werker: Studien über die Symmetrie im Bau der Fugen und die motivische Zusammengehörigkeit der Präludien und Fugen des ‘Wohltemperierten Klaviers’ von Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1922/R)
    • H. David: ‘Die Gestalt von Bachs Chromatischer Fantasie’, BJb 1926, 2–67
    • H. Neeman: ‘J.S. Bachs Lautenkompositionen’, BJb 1931, 72–87
    • H. Keller: Die Klavierwerke Bachs (Leipzig, 1950)
    • J.N. David: Das wohltemperierte Klavier: der Versuch einer Synopsis (Göttingen, 1962)
    • H. Keller: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier von Johann Sebastian Bach: Werke und Wiedergabe(Kassel, 1965, 4/1994; Eng. trans., 1976)
    • W. Breig: ‘Bachs Goldberg-Variationen als zyklisches Werk’, AMw, 32 (1975), 243–65
    • H. Eichberg: ‘Unechtes unter Johann Sebastian Bachs Klavierwerken’, BJb 1975, 7–49
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Melodiezitate und Mehrtextigkeit in der Bauernkantate und in den Goldberg-Variationen’,BJb 1976, 58–72
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bach'sHandexemplar of the Goldberg Variations: a New Source’, JAMS, 29 (1976), 224–41; repr. in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA, 1991), 162–77
    • A. Burguéte: ‘Die Lautenkompositionen Johann Sebastian Bachs’, BJb 1977, 26–54
    • J. Barnes: ‘Bach's Keyboard Temperament: Internal Evidence from the Well-Tempered Clavier ’,EMc, 7 (1979), 236–49
    • C. Wolff: ‘Textkritische Bemerkungen zum Originaldruck der Bachschen Partiten’, BJb 1979, 65–74; Eng. trans. in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music(Cambridge, MA, 1991), 214–22
    • A. Dürr: Zur Frühgeschichte des Wohltemperierten Klaviers I von Johann Sebastian Bach(Göttingen, 1984)
    • P. Williams: ‘J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier: a New Approach’, EMc, 11 (1983), 46–52, 332–9
    • D. Humphreys: ‘More on the Cosmological Allegory in Bach's Goldberg Variations ’,Soundings, 12 (1984–5), 25–45
    • I. Kaussler: Die Goldberg-Variationen von J.S. Bach (Stuttgart, 1985)
    • R. Dammann: Johann Sebastian Bachs ‘Goldberg-Variationen’ (Mainz, 1986)
    • A. Street: ‘The Rhetorico-Musical Structure of the Goldberg Variations: Bach's Clavier-Übung IV and the Institutio oratoria of Quintilian’, MAn, 6 (1987), 89–131
    • G. Butler: ‘Neues zur Datierung der Goldberg-Variationen’, BJb 1988, 219–23
    • D. Schulenberg: The Keyboard Music of J.S. Bach (New York, 1992)
    • Y. Tomita: J.S. Bach’s ‘Das Wohltemperierte Clavier II’: a Critical Commentary(Leeds, 1993–5)
      Orchestral and chamber music
    • N. Carrell: Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (London, 1963, 2/1985)
    • H. Eppstein: Studien über J.S. Bachs Sonaten für ein Melodieinstrument und obligates Cembalo (Stockholm, 1966)
    • H. Eppstein: ‘Grundzüge in J.S. Bachs Sonatenschaffen’, BJb 1969, 5–30
    • L. Hoffmann-Erbrecht: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach als Schöpfer des Klavier Konzerts’, Quellenstudien zur Musik: Wolfgang Schmieder zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. K. Dorfmüller and G. von Dadelsen (Frankfurt, 1972), 69–77
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Johann Sebastian Bachs Konzertbearbeitungen nach Vivaldi und anderen: Studien- oder Auftragswerke?’, DJbM, 18 (1973–7), 80–100
    • A. Dürr: ‘Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des 5. Brandenburgischen Konzerts’, BJb 1975, 63–9
    • W. Breig: ‘Bachs Violinkonzert d-moll: Studien zu seiner Gestalt und Entstehungsgeschichte’, BJb (1976), 7–34
    • H. Eppstein: ‘Chronologieprobleme in Johann Sebastian Bachs Suiten für Soloinstrument’, BJb (1976), 35–57
    • W. Breig: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach und die Entstehung des Klavierkonzerts’, AMw, 36 (1979), 21–48
    • R. Leavis: ‘Zur Frage der Authentizität von Bachs Violinkonzert d-Moll’, BJb 1979, 19–28
    • R.L. Marshall: ‘J.S. Bach's Compositions for Solo Flute: a Reconsideration of their Authenticity and Chronology’, JAMS, 32 (1979), 463–98
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Ein “Dresdner Menuett” im zweiten Klavierbüchlein der Anna Magdalena Bach, nebst Hinweisen zur Überlieferung einiger Kammermusikwerke Bachs’, BJb 1979, 45–64
    • P. Ahnsehl, K. Heller and H.-J. Schulze, eds.: ‘Beiträge zum Konzertschaffen J. S. Bachs’, Bach-Studien, 6 (1981)
    • H. Vogt: Johann Sebastian Bachs Kammermusik (Stuttgart, 1981; Eng. trans., 1988)
    • W. Breig: ‘Zur Chronologie von Johann Sebastian Bachs Konzertschaffen: Versuch eines neuen Zugangs’, AMw, 40 (1983), 77–101
    • L. Dreyfus: ‘J.S. Bach's Concerto Ritornellos and the Question of Invention’,MQ, 71 (1985), 327–58
    • C. Wolff: ‘Bach's Leipzig Chamber Music’, EMc, 13 (1985), 165–75; repr. in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA, 1991), 223–38
    • L. Dreyfus: ‘J.S. Bach and the Status of Genre: Problems of Style in the G-minor Sonata bwv1029’, JM, 5 (1987), 55–78
    • M. Marissen: ‘A Critical Reappraisal of J.S. Bach's A-major Flute Sonata’, JM, 6 (1988), 367–86
    • C. Berger: ‘J.S. Bachs Cembalokonzerte’, AMw, 47 (1990), 207–16
    • E. Lang-Becker: Johann Sebastian Bach: die Brandenburgischen Konzerte (Munich, 1990)
    • M. Boyd: Bach: the Brandenburg Concertos (Cambridge, 1993)
    • J. Swack: ‘On the Origins of the “Sonate auf Concertenart”’, JAMS, 46 (1993), 369–414
    • C. Wolff: ‘Das Trio A-Dur bwv 1025: eine Lautensonate von Silvius Leopold Weiss, bearbeitet und erweitert von Johann Sebastian Bach’, BJb 1993, 47–67
    • M. Geck: ‘Köthen oder Leipzig?: zur Datierung der nun in Leipziger Quellen erhaltenen Orchesterwerke Johann Sebastian Bachs’, Mf, 47 (1994), 17–24
    • M. Marissen: The Social and Religious Designs of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos(Princeton, NJ, 1995)
    • M. Geck: Bachs Orchesterwerke (Witten, 1997)
      Art of Fugue, Musical Offering, canons
    • W. Graeser: ‘Bachs “Kunst der Fuge”’, BJb 1924, 1–104
    • D.F. Tovey: A Companion to ‘The Art of Fugue’ (London, 1931)
    • H.T. David: J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering: History, Interpretation and Analysis (New York, 1945/R)
    • G.M. Leonhardt: The Art of Fugue, Bach’s Last Harpsichord Work: an Argument (The Hague,1952)
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Johann Sebastian Bachs Kanonwidmungen’, BJb (1967), 82–92
    • C. Wolff: ‘Der Terminus “Ricercar” in Bachs Musikalischen Opfer’, BJb (1967), 70–81
    • C. Wolff: ‘New Research on Bach's Musical Offering ’, MQ, 57 (1971), 379–408
    • C. Wolff: ‘Überlegungen zum “Thema Regium”’, BJb 1973, 33–8
    • C. Wolff and others: ‘Bach's “Art of Fugue”: an Examination of the Sources’, CMc, no.19 (1975), 47–77
    • N. Kenyon: ‘A Newly Discovered Group of Canons by Bach’, MT, 117 (1976), 391–3
    • W. Kolneder: Die Kunst der Fuge: Mythen des 20. Jahrhunderts (Wilhelmshaven, 1977, 2/1983)
    • W. Wiemer: Die wiederhergestellte Ordnung in Johann Sebastian Bachs Kunst der Fuge: Untersuchungen am Originaldruck (Wiesbaden, 1977)
    • U. Kirkendale: ‘The Source for Bach's Musical Offering: the Institutio oratoria of Quintilian’, JAMS, 33 (1980), 88–141
    • G.G. Butler: ‘Ordering Problems in J.S. Bach's Art of Fugue Resolved’, MQ, 69 (1983), 44–61
    • C. Wolff: ‘Zur Chronologie und Kompositionsgeschichte von Bachs “Kunst der Fuge”’,BMw, 25 (1983), 130–42; Eng. trans. in Bach: Essays on his Life and Music (Cambridge, MA, 1991), 265–81
    • E.T. Chafe: ‘Allegorical Music: the Symbolism of Tonal Language in the Bach Canons’, JM, 3 (1984), 340–62
    • H.H. Eggebrecht: Bachs Kunst der Fuge: Erscheinung und Deutung (Munich, 1984; Eng. trans., 1993)
    • E. Bergel: Bachs letzte Fuge, die ‘Kunst der Fuge’, ein zyklisches Werk: Entstehungsgeschichte, Erstausgabe, Ordnungsprinzipien (Bonn, 1985)
    • R. Boss: Die Kunst des Rätselkanons im Musikalischen Opfer (Wilhelmshaven, 1991)
    • P. Schleuning: Johann Sebastian Bachs ‘Kunst der Fuge’: Ideologien, Entstehung, Analyse(Munich and Kassel, 1993)
    • P. Dirksen: Studien zur Kunst der Fuge von Johann Sebastian Bach: Untersuchungen zur Enstehungsgeschichte, Struktur und Aufführungspraxis (Wilhelmshaven,1994)
    • M. Marissen: ‘More Source-Critical Research on Bach's Musical Offering ’,Bach, 25/1 (1994), 11–27
      L: Performing practice
    • W. Emery: Bach’s Ornaments (London, 1953)
    • F. Rothschild: The Lost Tradition in Music: Rhythm and Tempo in J.S. Bach’s Time(London, 1953/R)
    • A. Mendel: ‘On the Pitches in Use in Bach's Time’, MQ, 41 (1955), 332–54, 466–80
    • W. Emery: ‘Is your Bach Playing Authentic?’, MT, 112 (1971), 483–8, 697–8, 796–7
    • H. Grüss: ‘Tempofragen der Bachzeit’, Bach-Studien, 5 (1975), 73–81
    • F. Neumann: Ornamentation in Baroque and Post-Baroque Music with Special Emphasis on J.S. Bach(Princeton, NJ, 1978)
    • K. Hochreiter: Zur Aufführungspraxis der Vokal-Instrumentalwerke Johann Sebastian Bachs(Berlin, 1983)
    • R. Kirkpatrick: Interpreting Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier: a Performer’s Discourse of Method(New Haven, CT, 1984)
    • H. Klotz: Die Ornamentik der Klavier- und Orgelwerke von Johann Sebastian Bach: Bedeutung der Zeichen, Möglichkeiten der Ausführung (Kassel, 1984)
    • A. Newman: Bach and the Baroque: a Performing Guide to Baroque Music with Special Emphasis on the Music of J.S. Bach (New York, 1985)
    • G. Stauffer and E. May, eds.: J.S. Bach as Organist: his Instruments, Music, and Performance Practices (Bloomington, IN, 1986)
    • R. Szeskus and H. Gruss, eds.: Aufführungspraktische Probleme der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Leipzig, 1987)
    • H.-J. Schulze: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestra: Some Unanswered Questions’, EMc, 17 (1989), 3–15
    • P. Badura-Skoda: Bach-Interpretation: die Klavierwerke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Laaber, 1990; Eng. trans.,1993)
    • J. Butt: Bach Interpretation: Articulation Marks in Primary Sources of J.S. Bach (Cambridge, 1990)
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Early Music
Journal of Musicology
Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters
Archiv für Musikforschung
Deutsches Jahrbuch der Musikwissenschaft
Music Analysis
Music & Letters
Musical Quarterly
Current Musicology
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Gesellschaft für Musikforschung: Kongress-Bericht [1950-]
Journal of Renaissance and Baroque Music
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Musical Times
Die Musikforschung
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek, Musikabteilung
G. Frotscher: Geschichte des Orgelspiels und der Orgelkomposition (Berlin, 1935-6/R, music suppl. 1966)
F. Blume: Die evangelische Kirchenmusik (Potsdam, 1931-4/R, enlarged 2/1965 as Geschichte der evangelischen Kirchenmusik; Eng. trans., enlarged, 1974, as Protestant Church Music: a History)
A. Schering: Geschichte des Instrumental-Konzerts (Leipzig, 1905, 2/1927/R)
Beuerberg, Stiftskirche
Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft
Monatshefte für Musikgeschichte
Acta musicologica
H. Smither: A History of the Oratorio (Chapel Hill, NC, 1977-)