His Life, Art and Work. Translated from the German of Johann Nikolaus Forkel. With notes and appendices by Charles Sanford Terry, Litt.D. Cantab.
Johann Nikolaus Forkel and Charles Sanford Terry
- FORKEL'S PREFACE
- CHAPTER I. THE FAMILY OF BACH
- Chapter II. THE CAREER OF BACH
- CHAPTER IIA. BACH AT LEIPZIG, 1723-1750
- CHAPTER III. BACH AS A CLAVIER PLAYER
- CHAPTER IV. BACH THE ORGANIST
- CHAPTER V. BACH THE COMPOSER
- CHAPTER VI. BACH THE COMPOSER (continued)
- CHAPTER VII. BACH AS A TEACHER
- CHAPTER VIII. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
- CHAPTER IX. BACH'S COMPOSITIONS
- CHAPTER X. BACH'S MANUSCRIPTS
- CHAPTER XI. THE GENIUS OF BACH
- APPENDIX I. CHRONOLOGICAL CATALOGUE OF BACH'S COMPOSITIONS
- APPENDIX II. THE CHURCH CANTATAS ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY
- APPENDIX III. THE BACHGESELLSCHAFT EDITIONS OF BACH'S WORKS
- APPENDIX IV. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BACH LITERATURE
- APPENDIX V. A COLLATION OF THE NOVELLO AND PETERS EDITIONS OF THE ORGAN WORKS
- APPENDIX VI. GENEALOGY OF THE FAMILY OF BACH
- Johann Sebastian Bach. About 1720. (From the picture by Johann Jakob Ihle, in the Bach Museum, Eisenach).
- Bach's Home at Eisenach
- The Church and School of St. Thomas, Leipzig, in 1723.
- Johann Sebastian Bach, circa 1746. From the picture by Haussmann.
- Divided Harmony, Bach treatment
- Divided Harmony, conventional treatment
- The Bach Statue at Eisenach
- Johann Sebastian Bach. From the picture discovered by Professor Fritz Volbach
- The Bach Statue at Leipzig
- Genealogy Table, p. 303
- Genealogy Table, p. 304
- Genealogy Table, p. 305
- Genealogy Table, p. 306
- Genealogy Table, p. 307
- Genealogy Table, p. 308
- Genealogy Table, p. 309
- Genealogy Table, p. 310
Johann Nikolaus Forkel, author of the monograph of which the following pages afford a translation, was born at Meeder, a small village in Saxe-Coburg, on February 22, 1749, seventeen months before the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose first biographer he became. Presumably he would have followed the craft of his father, the village shoemaker, had not an insatiable love of music seized him in early years. He obtained books, and studied them with the village schoolmaster. In particular he profited by the “Vollkommener Kapellmeister” of Johann Mattheson, of Hamburg, the sometime friend of Handel. Like Handel, he found a derelict Clavier in the attic of his home and acquired proficiency upon it. Forkel's professional career, like Bach's half a century earlier, began at Lüneburg, where, at the age of thirteen (1762), he was admitted to the choir of the parish church. Thence, at the age of seventeen (1766), he proceeded to Schwerin as “Chorpräfect,” and enjoyed the favour of the Grand Duke. Three years later he betook himself (1769), at the age of twenty, to the University [pg x] of Göttingen, which he entered as a law student, though a slender purse compelled him to give music lessons for a livelihood. He used his opportunity to acquire a knowledge of modern languages, which stood him in good stead later, when his researches required him to explore foreign literatures. Concurrently he pursued his musical activities, and in 1774 published at Göttingen his first work, Ueber die Theorie der Musik, advocating the foundation of a music lectureship in the University. Four years later (1778) he was appointed its Director of Music, and from 1779 to 1815 conducted the weekly concerts of the Sing-Akademie. In 1780 he received from the University the doctorate of philosophy. The rest of his life was spent at Göttingen, where he died on March 17, 1818, having just completed his sixty-ninth year.
That Forkel is remembered at all is due solely to his monograph on Bach. Written at a time when Bach's greatness was realised in hardly any quarter, the book claimed for him pre-eminence which a tardily enlightened world since has conceded him. By his generation Forkel was esteemed chiefly for his literary activity, critical ability, and merit as a composer. His principal work, Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik, was published in two volumes at Leipzig in 1788 and 1801. Carl Friedrich Zelter, Goethe's friend and correspondent, dismissed the book contemptuously as that of [pg xi] an author who had “set out to write a history of music, but came to an end just where the history of music begins.” Forkel's work, in fact, breaks off at the sixteenth century. But the curtailed History cleared the way for the monograph on Bach, a more valuable contribution to the literature of music. Forkel already had published, in three volumes, at Gotha in 1778, his Musikalisch-kritische Bibliothek, and in 1792 completed his critical studies by publishing at Leipzig his Allgemeine Literatur der Musik.
Forkel was also a student of the music of the polyphonic school. He prepared for the press the scores of a number of sixteenth century Masses, Motets, etc., and fortunately received proofs of them from the engraver. For, in 1806, after the Battle of Jena, the French impounded the plates and melted them down. Forkel's proofs are still preserved in the Berlin Royal Library. He was diligent in quest of Bach's scattered MSS., and his friendship with Bach's elder sons, Carl Philipp Emmanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann, enabled him to secure precious relics which otherwise might have shared the fate of too many of Bach's manuscripts. He took an active interest in the proposal of Messrs. Hoffmeister and Kühnel, predecessors of C. F. Peters at Leipzig, to print a “kritisch-korrecte” edition of Bach's Organ and Clavier works. Through his friend, Johann Gottfried Schicht, afterwards Cantor at St. Thomas's, [pg xii] Leipzig, he was also associated with Breitkopf and Haertel's publication of five of Bach's six extant Motets in 1802-3.
As a composer Forkel has long ceased to be remembered. His works include two Oratorios, Hiskias (1789) and Die Hirten bey der Krippe; four Cantatas for chorus and orchestra; Clavier Concertos, and many Sonatas and Variations for the Harpsichord.
In 1802, for reasons which he explains in his Preface, Forkel published from Hoffmeister and Kühnel's “Bureau de Musique” his Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke. Für patriotische Verehrer echter musikalischer Kunst, of which a new edition was issued by Peters in 1856. The original edition bears a dedication to Gottfried Baron van Swieten1 (1734-1803), Prefect of the Royal Library, Vienna, and sometime Austrian Ambassador in Berlin, a friend of Haydn and Mozart, patron of Beethoven, a man whose age allowed him to have seen Bach, and whose career makes the association with Bach that Forkel's dedication gives him not undeserved. It was he, an ardent Bach enthusiast, who introduced the youthful Mozart to the music of the Leipzig Cantor. “I go every Sunday at twelve o'clock to the Baron van Swieten,” Mozart writes in 1782, “where nothing is played but Handel and [pg xiii] Bach, and I am now making a collection of the Fugues of Bach.” The merit and limitations of Forkel's book will be considered later. For the moment the fact deserves emphasis that, inadequate as it is, it presented a fuller picture of Bach than so far had been drawn, and was the first to render the homage due to his genius.
In an illuminating chapter (xii.), Death and Resurrection, Schweitzer has told the story of the neglect that obscured Bach's memory after his death in 1750. Isolated voices, raised here and there, acclaimed his genius. With Bach's treatise on The Art of Fugue before him, Johann Mattheson (1681-1664), the foremost critic of the day, claimed that Germany was “the true home of Organ music and Fugue.” Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718-95), the famous Berlin theorist, expressed the same opinion in his preface to the edition of that work published shortly after Bach's death. But such appreciations were rare. Little of Bach's music was in print and available for performance or critical judgment. Even at St. Thomas's, Leipzig, it suffered almost complete neglect until a generation after Forkel's death. The bulk of Bach's MSS. was divided among his family, and Forkel himself, with unrivalled opportunity to acquaint himself with the dimensions of Bach's industry, knew little of his music except the Organ and Clavier compositions.[pg xiv]
In these circumstances it is not strange that Bach's memory waited for more than half a century for a biographer. Forkel, however, was not the first to assemble the known facts of Bach's career or to assert his place in the music of Germany.
Putting aside Johann Gottfried Walther's brief epitome in his Lexikon (1732), the first and most important of the early notices of Bach was the obituary article, or “Nekrolog,” contributed by his son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, and Johann Friedrich Agricola, one of Bach's most distinguished pupils, to the fourth volume of Mizler's Musikalische Bibliothek, published at Leipzig in 1754. The authors of this appreciation give it an intimacy which renders it precious. But Mizler's periodical was the organ of a small Society, of which Bach had been a member, and outside its associates can have done little to extend a knowledge of the subject of the memoir.
Johann Friedrich Agricola contributed notes on Bach to Jakob Adlung's Musica mechanica Organoedi, published in two volumes at Berlin in 1768. The article is valuable chiefly for Agricola's exposition of Bach's opinions upon Organ and Clavier building.
With the intention to represent him as “the coryphaeus of all organists,” Johann Adam Hiller, who a few years later became Cantor at St. Thomas's, Leipzig, published there in 1784 a [pg xv] brief account of Bach in his Lebensbeschreibungen berühmter Musikgelehrten und Tonkünstler neuerer Zeit.
Four years after Hiller's notice, Ernst Ludwig Gerber published at Leipzig, in two volumes, 1790-92, his Historisch-biographische Lexikon der Tonkünstler. As in Hiller's case, Gerber, whose father had been Bach's pupil, was chiefly interested in Bach as an organist.
Coincidently with Gerber, another of Bach's pupils, Johann Martin Schubart, who succeeded him at Weimar in 1717, sketched his characteristics as a performer in the Aesthetik der Tonkunst, published at Berlin by his son in the Deutschen Monatsschrift in 1793.
In 1794 appeared at Leipzig the first volume of a work which Spitta characterises as fantastic and unreliable, so far as it deals with Bach, Friedrich Carl Gottlieb Hirsching's Historisch-literarisches Handbuch of notable persons deceased in the eighteenth century.
Last of Forkel's forerunners, A. E. L. Siebigke published at Breslau in 1801 his Museum deutscher Tonkünstler, a work which adds nothing to our knowledge of Bach's life, but offers some remarks on his style.
Little, if any, information of value, therefore, had been added to the Nekrolog of 1754 when Forkel, in 1802, produced his monograph on Bach and his music. Nor, viewed as a biography, does [pg xvi] Forkel much enlarge our knowledge of the conditions of Bach's life. He had the advantage of knowing Bach's elder sons, but appears to have lacked curiosity regarding the circumstances of Bach's career, and to have made no endeavour to add to his imperfect information, even regarding his hero's life at Leipzig, upon which it should have been easy for him to obtain details of utmost interest. His monograph, in fact, is not a “Life” in the biographic sense, but a critical appreciation of Bach as player, teacher, and composer, based upon the Organ and Clavier works, with which alone Forkel was familiar.
It would be little profitable to weigh the value of Forkel's criticism. We are tempted to the conclusion that Bach appealed to him chiefly as a supreme master of technique, and our hearts would open to him more widely did not his appreciation of Bach march with a narrow depreciation of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, the last of whom, he declared ex cathedra, had not produced “a single work which can be called a masterpiece.” Gluck he frankly detested.
But Forkel's monograph is notable on other grounds. It was the first to claim for Bach a place among the divinities. It used him to stimulate a national sense in his own people. Bach's is the first great voice from out of Germany since Luther. Of Germany's own Kisorgimento, patently initiated by Goethe a generation after [pg xvii] Johann Sebastian's death, Bach himself is the harbinger. In his assertion of a distinctive German musical art he set an example followed in turn by Mozart, Weber, and Wagner. “With Bach,” wrote Wagner, “the German Spirit was born anew.” It is Forkel's perpetual distinction that he grasped a fact hidden from almost all but himself. In his Preface, and more emphatically in the closing paragraph of his last Chapter, he presents Bach as the herald of a German nation yet unformed.
It is a farther distinction of Forkel's monograph that it made converts. With its publication the clouds of neglect that too long had obscured Bach's grandeur began to melt away, until the dizzy altitude of his genius stood revealed. The publication of the five Motets (1803) was followed by that of the Magnificat in 1811, and of the Mass in A in 1818. A beginning was made with the Cantatas in 1821, when Breitkopf and Haertel published “Ein' feste Burg” (No. 80), commended in an article written (1822) by Johann Friedrich Rochlitz (1769-1842), the champion of Beethoven, as now of Bach. Another enthusiastic pioneer was Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832), conductor of the Berlin Sing-Akademie, who called Bach “a sign of God, clear, yet inexplicable.” To him in large measure was due the memorable revival of the St. Matthew Passion at Berlin, which the youthful Mendelssohn, Zelter's pupil, [pg xviii] conducted in March 1829, exactly one hundred years after the first production of the mighty work at Leipzig. In the following years it was given at Dresden and many other German towns. Leipzig heard it again after a barren interval in 1841, and did tardy homage to its incomparable composer by erecting (1843) the statue that stands in the shadow of St. Thomas's Church, hard by the Cantor's home for a quarter of a century.
Meanwhile, in 1830 and 1831 the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion had been engraved, and by 1845 the B minor Mass was in print. The credit of having revived it belongs to Johann Nepomuk Schelble (1789-1837), conductor of the Frankfort Caecilienverein, though the Berlin Sing-Akademie was the first to give a performance, considerably curtailed, of the whole work in 1835. A little later, in the middle of the forties, Peters began to issue his “kritisch-korrecte” edition of the Organ works, which at length made Bach widely known among organists. But the publication of the Cantatas proceeded slowly. Only fourteen of them were in print in 1850, when the foundation of the Bachgesellschaft, on the centenary of Bach's death, focused a world-wide homage. When it dissolved in 1900 its mission was accomplished, the entire works2 of Bach were published, [pg xix] and the vast range of his genius was patent to the world.
It remains to discuss the first English version of Forkel's monograph, published in 1820, with the following title-page:
The book was published in February 1820; it was announced, with a slightly differently worded title-page, in the New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register for March 1820 (p. 341), and the Scots Magazine for the same month ( vol. lxxxv. p. 263). The New Monthly states the price as 5s., the Quarterly Review (vol. xxiii. p. 281) as 6s. The book contains xi+116+3 pages of Music Figures, crown octavo, bound in dark unlettered cloth. It has neither Introduction, notes (other than Forkel's), nor indication of the translator's identity. Much of the translation is so bad as to suggest grave doubts of the translator's comprehension of the German original; while his rendering of Forkel's critical chapters rouses a strong suspicion that he also lacked technical equipment adequate to his task. It is, in fact, difficult to understand how such an unsatisfactory piece of work found its way into print.[pg xx]
The character of the 1820 translation has a close bearing upon its authorship. In the article on Bach in the new Grove it is attributed to Samuel Wesley (1766-1837), an attractive suggestion, since Wesley was as enthusiastic a Bach pioneer in this country as Forkel himself was in Germany. But the statement is not correct. In Samuel Wesley's Letters to Mr. Jacobs relating to the Introduction into this Country of the Works of J. S. Bach (London, 1875) we find the clue. On October 17, 1808, Wesley writes: “We are (in the first place) preparing for the Press an authentic and accurate Life of Sebastian, which Mr. Stephenson the Banker (a most zealous and scientific member of our Fraternity) has translated into English from the German of Forkel.”
Unfortunately, it is impossible to identify Stephenson precisely, or to detect his activities in the musical circle in which Wesley includes him. In 1820 there was in Lombard Street a firm of bankers under the style of “Remington, Stephenson, Remington, and Toulmin,” the active partner being Mr. Rowland Stephenson, a man of about forty in that year. The firm was wound up in bankruptcy in 1829, Stephenson having absconded to America the previous year. He appears to have been the only banker of that name holding such a recognised position as Wesley attributes to him, though it remains no more than a conjecture that he was the author of the translation issued in [pg xxi] 1820.3 But whoever “Stephenson the Banker” may have been, the poverty of his work fails to support Wesley's commendation of his “scientific” equipment, and suggests that his purse rather than his talents were serviceable to Wesley's missionary campaign.
For the facts of Bach's life, and as a record of his artistic activities, Forkel admittedly is inadequate and often misleading. Stephenson necessarily was without information to enable him to correct or supplement his author. Recent research, and particularly the classic volumes of Spitta and Schweitzer, have placed the present generation in a more instructed and therefore responsible position. The following pages, accordingly, have been annotated copiously in order to bring Forkel into line with modern scholarship. His own infrequent notes are invariably indicated by a prefixed asterisk. It has been thought advisable to write an addendum to Chapter II. in order to supplement Forkel at the weakest point of his narrative.
Readers of Spitta's first volume probably will remember the effort to follow the ramifications of the Bach pedigree unaided by a genealogical Table. It is unfortunate that Spitta did not [pg xxii] set out in that form the wealth of biographical material his pages contain. To supply the deficiency, and to illustrate Forkel's first Chapter, a complete Genealogical Table is provided in Appendix VI., based mainly upon the biographical details scattered over Spitta's pages.
In Chapter IX. Forkel gives a list of Bach's compositions known to him. It is, necessarily, incomplete. For that reason Appendices I. and II. provide a full catalogue of Bach's works arranged under the periods of his career. In the case of the Oratorios, Cantatas, Motets, and “Passions,” it is not difficult to distribute them upon a chronological basis. The Clavier works also can be dated with some approximation to closeness. The effort is more speculative in the case of the Organ music.
In his Preface Forkel suggests the institution of a Society for the publication and study of Bach's works. The proposal was adopted after half a century's interval, and in Appendix III. will be found a complete and detailed catalogue of the publications of the Old and New Bachgesellschaft from 1850 to 1918 inclusive. The Society's issues for 1915-18 have not yet reached this country. The present writer had an opportunity to examine them in the Library of the Cologne Conservatorium of Music in the spring of this year.
In this Introduction will be found a list of works bearing on Bach, which preceded Forkel's [pg xxiii] monograph. Appendix IV. provides a bibliography of Bach literature published subsequently to it.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Mr. Ivor Atkins, of Worcester Cathedral, and to Mr. W. G. Whittaker, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who have read these pages in proof, and improved them by their criticism.
Many years ago I determined to give the public an account of the life of Johann Sebastian Bach, with some reflections upon his genius and his works. The brief article by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach4 and Herr Agricola,5 formerly composer to the Court of Prussia, contributed to the fourth volume of Mizler's Musical Library,6 can hardly be deemed adequate by Bach's admirers and, but for the desire to complete my [pg xxv] General History of Music,7 I should have fulfilled my purpose long ago. As Bach, more than any other artist, represents an era in the history of music, it was my intention to devote to the concluding volume of that work the materials I had collected for a history of his career. But the announcement that Messrs. Hoffmeister and Kühnel, the Leipzig music-sellers and publishers, propose to issue a complete and critical edition of Bach's works has induced me to change my original plan.8
Messrs. Hoffmeister and Künel's project promises at once to advance the art of music and enhance the honour of the German name. For Bach's works are a priceless national patrimony; no other nation possesses a treasure comparable to it. Their publication in an authoritative text will be a national service and raise an imperishable monument to the composer himself. All who hold Germany dear are bound in honour to promote the undertaking to the utmost of their power. I deem it a duty to remind the public of this obligation and to kindle interest in it in every true German heart. To that end these pages [pg xxvi] appear earlier than my original plan proposed; for they will enable me to reach a larger number of my fellow countrymen. The section on Bach in my History of Music probably would have been read by a handful of experts or musical artists. Here I hope to speak to a larger audience. For, let me repeat, not merely the interests of music but our national honour are concerned to rescue from oblivion the memory of one of Germany's greatest sons.
One of the best and most effective means of popularising musical masterpieces is to perform them in public. In that way works of merit secure a widening audience. People listen to them with pleasure in the concert room, church, or theatre, remember the agreeable impression they created, and purchase them when published, even though they cannot always play them. But Bach's works unfortunately are rarely heard nowadays; for the number of persons capable of playing them adequately is at best inconsiderable. It would have been otherwise had Bach given touring performances of his music,9 a labour for which he had neither time nor liking. Many of his pupils did so, and though their skill was inferior to their master's, the admiration [pg xxvii] and astonishment they excited revealed the grandeur of his compositions. Here and there, too, were found persons who desired to hear on their own instrument pieces which the performer had played best or gave them most pleasure. They could do so more easily for having heard how the piece ought to sound.
But, to awaken a wide appreciation of musical masterpieces depends upon the existence of good teachers. The want of them is our chief difficulty. In order to safeguard their credit, the ignorant and incompetent of their number are disposed to decry good music, lest they should be asked to play it. Consequently, their pupils, condemned to spend time, labour, and money on second-rate material, will not after half a dozen years, perhaps, show themselves farther advanced in sound musical appreciation than they were at the outset. Whereas, under a good teacher, half the time, labour, and money produces progressive improvement. Time will show whether this obstacle can be surmounted by making Bach's works accessible in the music shops and by forming a Society among the admirers of his genius to make them known and promote their study.10[pg xxviii]
At any rate, if music is really an art, and not a mere pastime, its masterpieces must be more widely known and performed than in fact they are. And here Bach, prince of classic composers, can render yeoman service.11 For his music is so well calculated to educate the student to distinguish what is trivial from what is good, and to comport himself as an artist in whatever branch of the art he makes his own. Moreover, Bach, whose influence pervades every musical form, can be relied on more than any other composer to correct the superficiality which is the bane of modern taste. Neglect of the classics is as prejudicial to the art of music as it would be fatal to the interests of general culture to banish Greek and Latin writers from our schools. Modern taste exhibits no shame in its preference for agreeable trifles, in its neglect of everything that makes a demand, however slight, upon its attention. To-day we are menaced by a proposal [pg xxix] to banish the classics from our schoolrooms. Equally short-sighted vision threatens to extinguish our musical classics as well. And is it surprising? Modern art displays such poverty and frivolity that it well may shrink from putting itself in context with great literature, particularly with Bach's mighty and creative genius, and seek rather to proscribe it.
I fain would do justice to the sublime genius of this prince of musicians, German and foreign! Short of being such a man as he was, dwarfing all other musicians from the height of his superiority, I can conceive no greater distinction than the power to comprehend and interpret him to others.12 The ability to do so must at least connote a temperament not wholly alien from his own. It may even hint the flattering prospect that, if circumstances had opened up the same career, similar results might have been forthcoming. I am not presumptuous to suggest such a result in my own case. On the contrary I am convinced that there are no words adequate to express the thoughts Bach's transcendent genius stirs one to utter. The more intimately we are acquainted with it the greater must be our admiration. Our utmost eulogy, our deepest expressions of homage, [pg xxx] must seem little more than well-meant prattle. No one who is familiar with the work of other centuries will contradict or hold my statement exaggerated, that Bach cannot be named except in tones of rapture, and even of devout awe, by those who have learnt to know him. We may discover and lay bare the secrets of his technique. But his power to inspire into it the breath of genius, the perfection of life and charm that moves us so powerfully, even in his slightest works, must always remain extraordinary and insoluble.
I do not choose to compare Bach with other artists. Whoever is interested to measure him with Handel will find a just and balanced estimate of their relative merits, written by one fully informed for the task, in the first number of the eighty-first volume of the Universal German Library, pages 295-303.13
So far as it is not derived from the short article in Mizler's Library already mentioned,14 I am indebted for my information to the two eldest [pg xxxi] sons of Bach himself.15 Not only was I personally acquainted with them, but I corresponded regularly for many years with both,16 particularly Carl Philipp Emmanuel. The world knows them as great artists. But probably it is not aware that to the last moment of their lives they spoke of their father's genius with enthusiastic admiration.17 From my early youth I have been inspired by an appreciation no less deep than theirs. It was a frequent theme of conversation and correspondence between us.
Thus, having been in a position to inform myself on all matters relating to Bach's life, genius, and work, I may fairly hold myself competent to communicate to the public what I have learnt and to offer useful reflections upon it. I take advantage [pg xxxii] of my opportunity the more readily because it permits me to draw attention to an enterprise18 that promises to provide a worthy monument to German art, a gallery of most instructive models to the sincere artist, and to afford music lovers an inexhaustible source of sublimest pleasure.
CHAPTER I. THE FAMILY OF BACH
If there is such a thing as inherited aptitude for art it certainly showed itself in the family of Bach. For six successive generations scarcely two or three of its members are found whom nature had not endowed with remarkable musical talent, and who did not make music their profession.19
Veit Bach,20 ancestor of this famous family, [pg 2] gained a livelihood as a baker at Pressburg in Hungary. When the religious troubles of the sixteenth century broke out he was driven to seek another place of abode, and having got together as much of his small property as he could, retired with it to Thuringia, hoping to find peace and security there. He settled at Wechmar, a village near Gotha,21 where he continued to ply his trade as a baker and miller.22 In his leisure hours he was wont to amuse himself with the lute,23 playing it amid the noise and clatter of the mill. His taste for music descended to his two sons24 and their children, and in time the Bachs grew to be a very numerous family of professional musicians, [pg 3] Cantors, Organists, and Town Musicians,25 throughout Thuringia.
Not all the Bachs, however, were great musicians. But every generation boasted some of them who were more than usually distinguished. In the first quarter of the seventeenth century three of Veit Bach's grandchildren showed such exceptional talent that the Count of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt thought it worth while to send them at his expense to Italy, then the chief school of music, to perfect themselves in the art.26
We do not know whether they rewarded the expectations of their patron, for none of their works has survived. The fourth generation27 of the family produced musicians of exceptional distinction, [pg 4] and several of their compositions, thanks to Johann Sebastian Bach's regard for them, have come down to us. The most notable of these Bachs are:
|1.||Johann Christoph Bach, Court and Town Organist at Eisenach.28 He was particularly happy in his beautiful melodies and in setting words to music. In the Archives of the Bachs,29 which was in Carl Philipp Emmanuel's possession at Hamburg, there is a Motet by Johann Christoph in which he boldly uses the augmented sixth, a proceeding considered extremely daring in his day.30 He was also an uncommon master of harmony, as may be inferred from a Cantata composed by him for Michaelmas, to the words “Es erhub sich ein Streit,” etc., which has twenty-two obbligato parts in correct harmony.31 Yet another proof of his rare skill is in the alleged fact that he never [pg 5] played the Organ or Clavier in less than five parts.32 Carl Philipp Emmanuel had a particularly warm regard for him.33 I remember the old man playing some of his compositions to me on the Clavier at Hamburg, and how quizzically he looked at me when one of these daring passages occurred.34|
|2.||Johann Michael Bach, Organist and Town Clerk at Gehren.35 He was the younger brother of Johann Christoph, and like him, a particularly good composer. The Archives already mentioned36 contain several of his Motets, including one for eight voices in double chorus,37 and many compositions for Church use.|
|3.||Johann Bernhard Bach, Musician in the Prince's Kapelle and Organist at Eisenach.38He is said to have composed remarkably fine Suites, or Overtures, in the French style.39|
Besides these three men, the Bachs boasted several able composers in the generations preceding Johann Sebastian,40 men who undoubtedly would have obtained higher positions, wider reputation, and more brilliant fortune if they could have torn themselves from their native Thuringia to display their gifts elsewhere in Germany or abroad. But none of the Bachs seems to have felt an inclination to migrate. Modest in their needs, frugal by nature and training, they were content with little, engrossed in and satisfied by their art, and wholly indifferent [pg 7] to the decorations which great men of that time were wont to bestow on artists as special marks of honour. The fact that others who appreciated them were thus distinguished did not rouse the slightest envy in the Bachs.
The Bachs not only displayed a happy contentedness, indispensable for the cheery enjoyment of life, but exhibited a clannish attachment to each other. They could not all live in the same locality. But it was their habit to meet once a year at a time and place arranged beforehand. These gatherings generally took place at Erfurt, Eisenach, and sometimes at Arnstadt. Even after the family had grown very large, and many of its members had left Thuringia to settle in Upper and Lower Saxony and Franconia, the Bachs continued their annual meetings. On these occasions music was their sole recreation. As those present were either Cantors, Organists, or Town Musicians, employed in the service of the Church and accustomed to preface the day's work with prayer, their first act was to sing a Hymn. Having fulfilled their religious duty, they spent the rest of the time in frivolous recreations. Best of all they liked to extemporise a chorus out of popular songs, comic or jocular, weaving them into a harmonious whole while declaiming the words of each. They called this hotch-potch a “Quodlibet,” laughed uproariously at it, and roused equally hearty and irrepressible laughter [pg 8] in their audience.41 It is suggested that German Comic Opera has its origin in these trifles. But the “Quodlibet” was a familiar institution in Germany at a much earlier period. I possess a collection of them printed and published at Vienna in 1542.42
But these light-hearted Thuringians, and even those of their family who treated their art more seriously and worthily, would not have escaped oblivion had there not emerged in the fulness of time one whose genius and renown reflected their splendour and brilliancy on his forbears. This man, the glory of his family, pride of his countrymen, most gifted favourite of the Muse of Music, was Johann Sebastian Bach.
Chapter II. THE CAREER OF BACH
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685,43 at Eisenach, where his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was Court and Town Musician.44 Johann Ambrosius had a twin brother, Johann Christoph, Musician to the Court and Town of Arnstadt,45 who so exactly resembled him that even their wives could distinguish them only by their dress. The twins appear to have been quite remarkable. They were deeply attached, alike in disposition, in voice, and in the style of their music. If one was ill, so was the other. They died within a short time of each other, and were objects of wondering interest to all who knew them.46
In 1695, when Johann Sebastian was not quite ten years old, his father died. He lost his mother at an earlier period.47 So, being left an orphan, [pg 10] he became dependent on his eldest brother, Johann Christoph, Organist at Ohrdruf,48 from whom he received his earliest lessons on the Clavier.49 His inclination and talent for music must already have been pronounced. For his brother no sooner had given him one piece to learn than the boy was demanding another more difficult. The most renowned Clavier composers of that day were Froberger,50 Fischer,51 Johann Caspar Kerl,52 Pachelbel,53 Buxtehude,54 Bruhns,55 [pg 11] and Böhm.56 Johann Christoph possessed a book containing several pieces by these masters, and Bach begged earnestly for it, but without effect. Refusal increasing his determination, he laid his plans to get the book without his brother's knowledge. It was kept on a book-shelf which had a latticed front. Bach's hands were small. Inserting them, he got hold of the book, rolled it up, and drew it out. As he was not allowed a candle, he could only copy it on moonlight nights, and it was six months before he finished his heavy task. As soon as it was completed he looked forward to using in secret a treasure won by so much labour. But his brother found the copy and took it from him without pity, nor did Bach recover it until his brother's death soon after.57
Being once more left destitute,58 Johann Sebastian set out for Lüneburg with one of his Ohrdruf schoolfellows, named Erdmann59 (afterwards Russian Resident at Danzig), and entered the choir of St. Michael's Convent. His fine treble voice procured him a fair livelihood. But unfortunately he soon lost it and did not at once develop another. 60
Meanwhile his ambition to play the Organ and Clavier remained as keen as ever, and impelled him to hear and practise everything that promised him improvement. For that purpose, while he was at Lüeburg, he several times travelled to Hamburg to hear the famous organist,61 Johann [pg 13] Adam Reinken.62 Often, too, he walked to Celle to hear the Duke's French band play French music, which was a novelty in those parts.63
The date and circumstances of his removal from Lüneburg to Weimar are not precisely known.64 He certainly became Court Musician there in 1703, when he was just over eighteen years of age.65 But in the following year he gave up the post on his appointment as Organist to the new Church at Arnstadt, probably desiring to develop his taste for the Organ and realising that he would have better opportunities to do so at Arnstadt than at Weimar, where he was engaged simply to play the Violin.66 At Arnstadt he set himself assiduously to study the works of the celebrated organists of the period, so far as his modest means permitted him, and in order to improve himself [pg 14] in composition67 and Organ playing,68 walked the whole way to Lübeck to hear Dietrich Buxtehude, Organist of St. Mary's Church in that city, with whose compositions he was acquainted already. He remained there about three months,69 listening [pg 15] to the celebrated Organist, but without making himself known to him, and returned to Arnstadt with his experience much increased.
Bach's zeal and persevering diligence had already drawn attention to him, as is evident from the fact that he received in succession several offers of vacant organistships, one of which, at the Church of St. Blasius, Mühlhausen, he accepted in 1707.70 Barely a year after he entered upon his duties there71 he again visited Weimar and played to the Duke, who was so pleased with his performance that he offered him the post of Court Organist, which he accepted.72 Weimar promised [pg 16] him a particularly agreeable atmosphere in which to cultivate his genius.73 He applied himself closely to his work, and probably at this period achieved the mastery of the Organ that he ever afterwards possessed. At Weimar also he wrote his great compositions for that instrument.74 In 171775 the Duke appointed him Concertmeister, a post which gave him further opportunity to develop his art, since it required him to compose and direct Church music.
It was about this time that Zachau, Handel's master, died at Halle, where he was Organist.76 Bach, who by now had acquired a great reputation, was invited to succeed him.77 He visited Halle [pg 17] and composed a work as a specimen of his skill But for some reason unknown he did not obtain the post. It was given to a clever pupil of Zachau, named Kirchhoff.78
Johann Sebastian was now thirty-two years old. He had made good use of his opportunities, had studied hard as a player and composer, and by tireless enthusiasm had so completely mastered every branch of his art, that he towered like a giant above his contemporaries. Both amateurs and professional musicians already regarded him with admiration when, in 1717, Marchand, the French virtuoso, a celebrated Clavier and [pg 18] Organ player, visited Dresden. He played before the King-Elector79 and won such approbation that he was offered a large salary to enter His Majesty's service.80 Marchand's chief merit was his finished technique. Like Couperin,81 his musical ideas were weak to the point of banality, as we may judge from his compositions.82 Bach was an equally finished player, and so rich in ideas that Marchand's head would have swollen had he been equally gifted. Volumier, Concertmeister at Dresden,83 was aware of these circumstances, and knowing that the young German had his instrument and his imagination under the fullest control, determined to arrange a contest between the two men in order to give his sovereign the satisfaction of judging their merits. With the King's approbation, a message was dispatched [pg 19] to Bach at Weimar84 inviting him to a contest with Marchand. Bach accepted the invitation and set out at once on his journey. Upon his arrival at Dresden Volumier procured him an opportunity to hear Marchand secretly. Far from being discouraged by what he heard, Bach wrote a polite note to the French artist challenging him to a trial of skill, and offering to play at sight anything Marchand put before him, provided the Frenchman submitted himself to a similar test. Marchand accepted the challenge, a time and place for the contest were fixed, and the King gave his approval. At the appointed hour a large and distinguished company assembled in the house of Marshal Count Flemming.85 Bach arrived punctually; Marchand did not appear. After considerable delay he was sought at his lodging, when it was discovered, to the astonishment of all, that he had left Dresden that morning without taking leave of anybody. Bach therefore performed alone, and excited the admiration of all who heard him, though Volumier was cheated of his intention to exhibit the inferiority of French to German art. Bach was overwhelmed with congratulations; but the dishonesty of a Court official is said to have [pg 20] intercepted a present of one hundred louis d'or sent to him by the King.86
Bach had not long returned to Weimar when Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, a good judge of music and a first-rate amateur,87 offered him the post of Kapellmeister. He entered at once upon his new office88 and held it for about six years.89 At this period, about 1722,90 he visited [pg 21] Hamburg, played the Organ there, and excited general admiration. The veteran Reinken—he was nearly one hundred years old—was particularly impressed by Bach's performance. After he had treated the Choral An Wasserflüssen Babylon for half an hour in variation after variation in the true Organ style,91 Reinken paid him the compliment of saying, “I thought this art was dead, but I see that it survives in you.” Reinken had treated the same Choral in a similar manner some years before and had had his work engraved, showing that he thought highly of it. His praise therefore was particularly flattering to Bach.92
On the death of Kuhnau in 172393 Bach was appointed Director of Music and Cantor to St. Thomas' School, Leipzig,94 a position which he [pg 22] occupied until his death. Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen had great regard for him and Bach left his service with regret.95 But he saw the finger of Providence in the event; for the Prince died shortly afterwards.96 The loss of his patron affected him deeply, and moved him to compose a funeral Cantata containing remarkably fine double choruses which he himself conducted at Cöthen.97 While he was at St. Thomas' he was appointed honorary Kapellmeister to the Duke of Weissenfels98 and, in the following year [pg 23] (1736), received the title of Court Composer to the King-Elector of Poland-Saxony.99 The two compliments are not of great consequence, and the second was to some degree corollary to Bach's position as Cantor of St. Thomas' School.100
Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Bach's second son, entered the service of Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1740. So widely was Bach's skill recognised by this time that the King, who often heard him praised, was curious to meet so great an artist. More than once he hinted to Carl Philipp Emmanuel that it would be agreeable to welcome his father to Potsdam, and as Bach did not appear, desired to know the reason. Carl Philipp did not fail to acquaint his father with the King's interest. But for some time Bach was too occupied with his duties to accede to the invitation. However, as Carl Philipp continued to urge him, he set out for Potsdam towards the end of 1747, in company with his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann.101 It was the King's custom to hold a private concert [pg 24] every evening, and to take part on the flute in a Concerto or two. One evening,102 when he had got out his flute and the musicians were at their desks, an official brought him a list of the strangers newly arrived at Potsdam. Flute in hand the King ran through the names, and suddenly turning to the waiting musicians, said with considerable excitement, “Gentlemen, Old Bach has arrived.” The flute was put away for the evening, and Bach, who had alighted at his son's lodging, was summoned immediately to the Palace. Wilhelm Friedemann, who accompanied his father, often told me the story. Nor am I likely to forget the racy manner in which he related it. The courtesy of those days demanded rather prolix compliments, and the first introduction of Bach to so illustrious a monarch, into whose presence he had hurried without being allowed time to change his travelling dress for a Cantor's black gown, obviously invited ceremonial speeches on both sides. I will not dwell on them; Wilhelm Friedemann related [pg 25] a lengthy and formal conversation between the King and the Cantor.103
More worthy of record is the fact that the King gave up his concert for that evening and invited Bach, already known as “Old Bach,” to try the Silbermann pianofortes104 which stood in various parts of the Palace.105 Accompanied from room to room by the King and the musicians, Bach tried the instruments and improvised upon them before his illustrious companion. After some time he asked the King to give him a subject for a Fugue, that he might treat it extempore. The King did so, and expressed his astonishment at Bach's profound skill in developing it. Anxious to see to what lengths the art could be carried, the King desired Bach to improvise a six-part Fugue. But as every subject is not suitable for polyphonic [pg 26] treatment, Bach himself chose a theme and, to the astonishment of all who were present, developed it with the skill and distinction he had shown in treating the King's subject. His Majesty expressed a wish to hear him on the Organ also. Accordingly, next day, Bach inspected all the Organs in Potsdam,106 as the evening before he had tried the Silbermann pianofortes. On his return to Leipzig he developed the King's theme in three and six parts, added Canones diversi upon it, engraved the whole under the title Musikalisches Opfer and dedicated it to the royal author of the theme.107
His visit to Potsdam was Bach's last journey. The indefatigable diligence he had shown all his life, and particularly in his younger years, when successive days and nights were given to study, seriously affected his eye-sight. The weakness grew with age and became very distressing in character. On the advice of friends who placed great confidence in the skill of a London oculist lately come to Leipzig,108 Bach submitted to an [pg 27] operation, which twice failed. He lost his sight completely in consequence, and his hitherto vigorous constitution was undermined by the drugs administered to him. He sank gradually for full half a year, and expired on the evening of July 30, 1760, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.109 Ten days before his death110 he was suddenly able to see again and to bear the light. A few hours later he was seized by an apoplexy and inflammatory fever, and notwithstanding all possible medical aid, his weakened frame succumbed to the attack.
Such was the career of this remarkable man. I will only add that he was twice married, and that he had by his first wife seven, and by his second wife thirteen children; in all, eleven sons and nine daughters.111 All of his sons had an [pg 28] admirable talent for music, but only the elder ones fully developed it.112
CHAPTER IIA.113 BACH AT LEIPZIG, 1723-1750[pg 28]
Bach was inducted into his office as Cantor of St. Thomas' School at nine o'clock on the morning of Monday, May 31, 1723. He died in his official residence there at a quarter to nine on the evening of Tuesday, July 28, 1750. He was buried early on the morning of Friday, July 31, in the churchyard of St. John's, Leipzig.
The announcement of his death, made from the pulpit of St. Thomas' on the day of his funeral, described him as “Court Composer to His Majesty the King of Poland and Electoral and Serene Highness of Saxony, Kapellmeister to His Highness the Prince of Anhalt-Cothen, and Cantor to St. Thomas' School of this town.” Bach usually designated himself “Director Chori Musici Lipsiensis,” or shortly, “Director Musices.” Circumstances led him to emphasise a title which asserted a musical prerogative not confined to the School and the churches it served.
The Cantor of St. Thomas' was charged formerly with the musical direction of four Leipzig [pg 29] churches: St. Thomas', St. Nicolas', St. Peter's, and the New Church. He was also responsible for the music in the University Church of St. Paul, the so-called “old service,” held originally on the Festivals of Easter, Whit, Christmas, and the Reformation, and once during each University quarter. On high days music also had to be provided at St. John's Church.
Bach, as Cantor, succeeded to a more restricted responsibility, which dated from the early years of the eighteenth century. The New Church, originally the Church of the Franciscans, had been restored to use in 1699. In 1704 Georg Philipp Telemann, who came to Leipzig as a law student three years before, was appointed Organist there. He also founded the Collegium Musicum, or University Musical Society, a farther slight upon the Cantor's position. Not until 1729 did the Society pass under Bach's direction and its members become available as auxiliaries in the church choirs under his charge. Notwithstanding that Bach's predecessor Kuhnau had protested against Telemann's independence, the direction of the New Church's music passed out of the Cantor's control, though the School continued to provide the choristers. Six years later the University Church of St. Paul also began an independent course. In 1710 the authorities resolved to hold a University service in the church every Sunday. Kuhnau asserted his prerogative as Cantor. But [pg 30] he was only able to maintain it by offering to provide the music for the “new service” as well as for the “old service” at the fee of twelve thalers which the University so far had paid for the latter. After his death the University appointed (April 3, 1723) Johann Gottlieb Görner, already Organist of St. Nicolas' since 1721, to control the music both of the “old” and “new” services, for which the University provided the choir. Not until after a direct appeal to the King did Bach succeed, in 1726, in compelling the University to restore to the Cantor his emoluments in regard to the “old service,” the conduct of which had been restored to him on his appointment as Cantor. The “new service” remained under Görner's direction. As to St. Peter's, its services, which had entirely ceased, were revived in 1711. The music, however, was simple, and consisted only of hymns.
Thus Bach, as Cantor, was responsible for the music in the two principal churches, St. Thomas' and St. Nicolas'. The School also provided the choir for St. Peter's and the New Church. The junior and least competent singers sang at St. Peter's. The rest were pretty equally distributed between the other three churches. At the New Church the music was performed under the direction of a Chorpräfect. At St. Thomas' and St. Nicolas' Bach personally directed the concerted music. On ordinary Sundays a Cantata or Motet [pg 31] was performed in each church alternately. At the great Festivals, New Year, Epiphany, Ascension Day, Trinity Sunday, and the Annunciation, Cantatas were sung at both churches, the two choirs singing at Vespers in the second church the Cantata performed by them in the morning at the other church. On these occasions the second choir was conducted by a Chorpräfect. The principal Sunday service in both churches began at seven in the morning, ended at eleven, and observed the following order:
|1. Organ Prelude.|
|2. Motet, related to the Gospel for the Day; (omitted in Lent and replaced by the Benedictus).|
|4. Kyrie, sung alternately, in German and Latin.|
|5. The Lord's Prayer, intoned at the altar.|
|6. Gloria, intoned at the altar and answered either by the Choir's Et in terra pax hominibus, or by the congregation with the Hymn, Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr, the German version of the Gloria.|
|7. Collect, intoned in Latin; preceded by the preces Dominus vobiscum and Et cum spiritu tuo.|
|9. Litany, in Advent and Lent only; intoned by four boys, the Choir responding.|
|10. Hymn, appropriate to the Gospel.|
|12. Credo, intoned; (in Lent, last three Sundays of Advent, and Festivals of Apostles, the Nicene Creed, sung in Latin).|
|13. Prelude, followed by a Cantata, lasting about twenty minutes; on alternate Sundays in each church.|
|14. The Creed in German, Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, sung by the congregation.|
|15. Sermon, lasting one hour (8-9 A.M.).|
|16. Hymn, Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, followed by the reading of the Gospel, on which the Sermon had been based.|
|17. General Confession, prayers, and Lord's Prayer.|
|20. Communion Service; Hymns and Organ extemporisation.|
Vespers began at a quarter past one and was a comparatively simple service; the music consisted of Hymns, a Motet, and the Magnificat. On the last three Sundays in Advent and throughout Lent neither Cantatas nor Motets were sung. The Organ was silent. On the three great Festivals the appointed Hymn for the season was sung at the beginning of [pg 34] the principal service, before the Organ Prelude: at Christmas, Puer natus in Bethlehem; at Easter, Heut' triumphiret Gottes Sohn; at Whitsuntide, Spiritus Sancti gratia. During the Communion service the Sanctus and concerted music were sung. A festal hymn followed the Benediction. The three great Festivals were each observed for three consecutive days, on the first and second of which Cantatas were sung at both churches. On the third day concerted music was sung at only one of the two churches.
The other week-day Festivals for which Cantatas were provided were the Feast of the Circumcision (New Year's Day), Epiphany, Ascension Day, Purification of the B.V.M., Annunciation of the B.V.M., Visitation of the B.V.M., Feast of St. John Baptist (Midsummer Day), Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. The Reformation Festival was kept on October 31, or if that date was a Saturday or Monday, on the previous or following Sunday.
On Good Friday the Passion was performed in the two principal churches alternately. Leipzig adopted no official Hymn-book. The compilation from which the Hymns were chosen by Bach was the eight-volumed Gesangbuch of Paul Wagner, published at Leipzig for Dresden use in 1697. It contained over five thousand Hymns but no music, merely the name of the tune being stated above the Hymn. For the [pg 35] most part the Hymns for special, and even for ordinary, occasions were prescribed by custom. Otherwise the power of selection was in the hands of the Cantor, and Bach's exercise of it caused some friction with the clergy in 1728.
The provision and direction of the music at weddings and funerals was in the Cantor's hands. He arranged the choirs and the music sung at the scholars' annual processions and perambulations of the town, which took place at Michaelmas, New Year, and on St. Martin's and St. Gregory's Days.
Augmenting the School's choristers, the Town Musicians took part in the Church services and were under the Cantor's direction. Their numbers and efficiency were inadequate.
Upon the staff of the School the Cantor ranked third after the Rector and Sub-Rector, and took a share in the general instruction of the scholars. Class III. went to Bach for Latin lessons, a duty which the Council eventually permitted him to fulfil by deputy. Singing classes were held by the Cantor on three days of the week, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, at nine and noon, and on Fridays at noon. His instruction in singing was given to the four upper classes only. On Saturday afternoons the Cantata was rehearsed. Once in four weeks the Cantor took his turn to inspect the scholars. Like the other masters, he was required to conform to the regulations [pg 36] of the School House, in which he lived. He rose at five in summer, at six in winter, dined at ten and supped at five in the afternoon.
Holidays were numerous. A week's vacation was given at the Easter, Michaelmas, and New Year Fairs. At Midsummer the School had a month of half-holidays. Whole holidays were given on the birthdays of the four upper masters. There were no morning lessons on Saints' Days, on the occasion of funeral orations in the University Church, and on the quarterly Speech Days. Hence, though Bach's office carried large responsibility, it left him considerable leisure for composition.
As Cantor Bach had an official residence in the left wing of the School House. In 1723, the Cantor's wing was of two storeys only, dwarfed by the greater elevation of the main edifice and under the shadow of the church. Bach brought to Leipzig four children of his first marriage, and his second wife, Anna Magdalena, presented him with a son or daughter annually from 1723 to 1729. The accommodation of the Cantor's lodging therefore rapidly became inadequate. In the spring of 1731 Bach found a house elsewhere while an additional storey was added to it, which provided a new music-room, a good-sized apartment whence a passage led to the big schoolroom in the main building. The new wing was formally opened and dedicated on June 5, 1732, when [pg 37] Bach's secular Cantata Froher Tag, verlangte Stunden was performed; the libretto being by his colleague Winkler. From thenceforward till his death eighteen years later Bach's occupancy was not disturbed. The wing continued to be the official residence of the Cantor until the School moved to the suburbs of the city in 1877.
In addition to his residence, which he occupied rent free, the Cantor enjoyed a revenue from various and fluctuating sources, amounting in gross to 700 thalers (=£106 per annum). His fixed stipend was only 100 thalers (=£15). About 12 thalers came to him from endowments. In kind he was entitled to 16 bushels of corn and 2 cords of firelogs, together with 2 measures of wine at each of the three great Festivals. From the University, after his successful protest, he received 12 thalers for directing the “old service.” By far the larger part of Bach's income was derived from fluctuating sources. They were of three kinds: (1) School monies, (2) funeral fees, (3) wedding fees. The School monies represented perquisites derived from funds obtained by the scholars, partly by their weekly collections from the public, partly from the four annual processions or perambulations of the city. From the weekly collections a sum of six pfennigs multiplied by the number of the scholars was put aside for the four upper masters, among whom the Cantor ranked third. From the money collected at the [pg 38] New Year, Michaelmas, and St. Martin's Day processions the Rector took a thaler, the Cantor and the Sub-Rector each took one-eleventh of the balance, sixteen thirty-thirds went to the singers, and one-quarter of what remained fell to the Cantor. Out of the money collected on St. Gregory's Day (March 12) the Rector took one-tenth for the entertainment of the four upper masters, and the Cantor took one-third of the residue. For funerals one thaler 15 groschen was paid when the whole school accompanied the procession and a Motet was sung at the house of the deceased. When no Motet was sung the Cantor's fee was 15 groschen. For weddings he received two thalers.
Reckoned in modern currency, and judged by the standard of the period, the Cantor's income was not inadequate and served to maintain Bach's large family in comfort. When he died in 1750, in addition to a mining share valued at 60 thalers, he possessed in cash or bonds about 360 thalers, silver plate valued at 251 thalers, instruments valued at 371 thalers, house furniture valued at 29 thalers, and books valued at 38 thalers. His whole estate was declared at 1158 thalers, or somewhat less than the savings of two years' income. But for the inequitable distribution of his property, owing to his intestacy, which left Anna Magdalena only about 400 thalers and the mining share, Bach's widow and unmarried [pg 39] daughters ought not to have been afflicted with excessive poverty, as in fact they were.
At the beginning of his Cantorate Bach worked amid discouraging and unsatisfactory conditions. The Rector, Johann Heinrich Ernesti, was over seventy years of age in 1723. The School was badly managed, its discipline was relaxed, the better-to-do citizens withheld their sons from it, and its numbers were seriously diminished. In 1717 the junior classes contained only 53 as against 120 in Ernesti's earlier years. The proximity and operatic traditions of Dresden and Weissenfels also had a bad effect; the St. Thomas' boys, after attaining musical proficiency, were apt to become restless, demanding release from their indentures, and even running away to more attractive and lucrative occupations. Moreover, the governors of the School were the Town Council, a body which had little sympathy with or appreciation of Bach's artistic aims and temperament. To these difficulties must be added another. The Town Musicians, on whom Bach relied for the nucleus of his orchestra, were few in number and inefficient.
So long as Ernesti lived, there was little prospect of reform. But, after his death, in October 1729, Bach made vigorous representations to the Town Council. Already he had remonstrated with the Council for presenting to foundation scholarships boys who lacked musical aptitude. The Council [pg 40] retaliated by accusing Bach of neglecting his singing classes, absenting himself without leave, and of other irregularities. He was declared to be “incorrigible” and it was resolved (August 2, 1730) to sequestrate the Cantor's income, in other words, to withhold from him the perquisites to which he was entitled for the conduct of the Church services.114
Bach was not deterred from offering, three weeks later (August 23, 1730), a “sketch of what constitutes well-appointed Church music, with a few impartial reflections on its present state of decay” in Leipzig. The document reveals the conditions amid which Bach worked. Its representations may be summarised:
The foundation scholars of St. Thomas' are of four classes: Trebles, Altos, Tenors, Basses.
A choir needs from four to eight “concertists” ( solo singers) and at least two “ripienists” to each chorus part, i.e. a minimum of twelve voices.
The foundation scholars number fifty-five, by whom the choirs of the four Churches, St. Thomas', St. Nicolas', St. Peter's, and the New Church are provided. For the instrumental accompaniments at least twenty players are required: viz., 2 or 3 first Violins, 2 or 3 second Violins, 4 Violas, 2 Violoncelli, 1 Contrabasso, 2 or more Flutes, 2 or 3 Oboi, [pg 41] 1 or 2 Fagotti, 3 Trombe, 1 Timpani. To fill these places there are eight Town Musicians, and at the moment there are no players available for third Tromba, Timpani, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabasso, third Oboe (or Taille).
To augment the Town Musicians the Cantor has been wont in the past to employ University students and instrumental players in the School. Upon the former “at all times” he relies for Viola, Violoncello, and Contrabasso, and “generally” for the second Violins. But the Council, by its recent resolution, no longer affords the Cantor the means to employ them. To place the scholars in the orchestra weakens the choir, to which they naturally belong.
By presenting to foundation scholarships boys unskilled and ignorant of music, the resources at the Cantor's disposal are still farther lessened.
Hence, Bach concludes, “in ceasing to receive my perquisites I am deprived of the power of putting the music into a better condition.”
No answer was made to Bach's memorial, and he contemplated resigning his position. But with the advent of Johann Matthias Gesner as Rector in September 1730 a happier period dawned upon the “incorrigible” Cantor. In 1732 Gesner procured the withdrawal of the Council's ban on Bach's perquisites. The fallen fortunes of the School revived, and Bach did not again make an effort to leave Leipzig. In 1736 the grant of the [pg 42] post of Hof-Componist to the Saxon Court gave him at length a title which compelled the deference of his civic masters.
Bach's early misunderstanding with the University cut him off from association with the most dignified, if not the most important, institution in Leipzig, and deprived him of opportunity to display his genius beyond the radius of his Church duties. The situation changed in 1729, when he became director of the University Society, and he held the post for about ten years. The Society gave weekly concerts on Fridays, from 8 to 10, and an extra concert, during the Fair season, on Thursdays at the same hour. It performed vocal and instrumental music and was the medium through which Bach presented his secular Cantatas, Clavier and Violin Concertos, and Orchestral Suites to the public. The proficiency of his elder sons and pupils, and his wife's talent as a singer, were a farther source of strength to the Society, whose direction undoubtedly made these years the happiest in Bach's life. He took his rightful place in the musical life of the city, and relegated to a position of inferiority the smaller fry, such as Görner, who had presumed on Bach's aloofness from the University and Municipality to insinuate themselves. His increasing reputation as an organist, gained in his annual autumn tours, also enlightened his fellow-townsmen regarding the superlative worth of one whom at the outset [pg 43] they were disposed to treat as a subordinate official.
The Leipzig of Bach's day offered various opportunities for musical celebration; official events in the University, “gratulations” or “ovations” of favourite professors by their students, as well as patriotic occasions in which town and gown participated. The recognised fee for piecès d'occasion of a public character was fifty thalers. Bach's conductorship of the University Society enabled him to perform festival works with the resources they required, and to augment the band and chorus needed for their adequate performance.
Even before he undertook the direction of the University Society, Bach more than once provided the music for University celebrations. On August 3, 1725, his secular Cantata, Der zufried-engestellte Aeolus, was performed at the students' celebration of Doctor August Friedrich Müller's name-day. In 1726 he revived an old Cantata115 to celebrate the birthday of another of the Leipzig teachers. In the same year the appointment of Dr. Gottlieb Kortte as Professor of Roman Law was celebrated by Bach's Cantata Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten. In 1733 the birthday of another Professor was marked by the performance of the Cöthen Cantata to yet another text (Die Freude reget sich). On November 21, [pg 44] 1734, the lost Cantata Thomana sass annoch betrübt was sung at the induction of Gesner's successor, Johann August Ernesti, as Rector of St. Thomas' School.
But Bach's activity as a secular composer at Leipzig was chiefly expended on patriotic celebrations. His compositions of this character are particularly numerous during the years 1733-36, while he was seeking from the Dresden Court the post of Hof-Componist. The first of these celebrations took place on May 12, 1727, the birthday of Augustus II. of Poland-Saxony, when Bach's Cantata, Entfernet euch, ihr heitern Sterne, was performed in the Market Place by the University Society. The King was present and listened to the performance from a convenient window. The music is lost. Six years elapsed before Bach was invited to collaborate in another celebration of the royal House. On September 5, 1733, less than two months after his application for the post of Hof-Componist, the University Society celebrated the eleventh birthday of the Electoral Prince by performing Bach's dramma per musica, Die Wahl des Herkules, or Herkules auf dem Scheidewege. Barely three months later, on December 8, 1733, Bach produced another Cantata in honour of the royal family, Tönet, ihr Pauken, erschallet Trompeten, of which he was both author and composer. On no less than three occasions in 1734 Bach did [pg 45] homage to his unheeding sovereign. In January the University Society, under Bach's direction, performed his Cantata Blast Larmen, ihr Feinde to celebrate the coronation of Augustus III. The music had already done duty in Dr. Müller's honour in 1725. On the following October 5, 1734, when the King visited Leipzig, Bach's hurriedly written Cantata, Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen, whose first chorus became the Osanna of the B minor Mass, was performed in the Market Place. Two days later, on October 7, 1734, the King's birthday was celebrated by another Bach Cantata, Schleicht spielende Wellen, performed by the Collegium Musicum. In 1738, having received the coveted title of Hof-Componist in the interval (1736), Bach performed a work—Willkommen, ihr herrschenden Götter der Erden—now lost, in honour of the marriage of the Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony to Charles of Sicily, afterwards Charles III. of Spain.
Apart from his musical activities and the house in which he lived there is little that permits us to picture Bach's life at Leipzig. Association with his friends Johann Christian Hoffmann, Musical Instrument Maker to the Court, Marianne von Ziegler, J. C. Gottsched and his musical wife, Johann Abraham Birnbaum, among the Professoriate, Picander and Christian Weiss, Bach's regular librettists, suggests the amenities of an academic and literary circle. But the claims of [pg 46] his art and the care of his large family had the first call upon Bach's interest. And few men had a happier home life. While his elder sons were at home the family concerts were among his most agreeable experiences. As his fame increased, his house became the resort of many seeking to know and hear the famous organist. Late in the thirties he resigned his directorship of the University Society. His sons were already off his hands and out of his house, and he turned again to the Organ works of his Weimar period. Their revision occupied the last decade of his life, and the hitherto constant flow of Church Cantatas ceased. Pupils resorted to him and filled his empty house, to one of whom, Altnikol, he gave a daughter in marriage.
A man of rigid uprightness, sincerely religious; steeped in his art, earnest and grave, yet not lacking naive humour; ever hospitable and generous, and yet shrewd and cautious; pugnacious when his art was slighted or his rights were infringed; generous in the extreme to his wife and children, and eager to give the latter advantages which he had never known himself; a lover of sound theology, and of a piety as deep as it was unpretentious—such were the qualities of one who towers above all other masters of music in moral grandeur.
Four, perhaps only three, contemporary portraits of Bach are known. One is in the [pg 47] possession of the firm of Peters at Leipzig and once belonged to Carl Philipp Emmanuel's daughter, who with inherited impiety sold it to a Leipzig flute player. The second hung in St. Thomas' School and is reproduced at p. 48 of this volume. It was painted in 1746 and restored in 1913. Both portraits are by Elias Gottlieb Haussmann, Court Painter at Dresden. The third portrait belonged to Bach's last pupil, Kittel, and used to hang on the Organ at Erfurt, whence it disappeared after 1809, during the Napoleonic wars. Recently Professor Fritz Volbach of Mainz has discovered a fourth portrait, which is printed at p. 92 of the present volume. He supposes it to be none other than the Erfurt portrait, as indeed it well may be, since it represents a man of some sixty years, austere in countenance, but of a dignity that is not so apparent in Haussmann's portraiture.116
Bach left no will. In consequence his widow, Anna Magdalena, burdened with the charge of a step-daughter and two daughters, was entitled to only one-third of her husband's estate. Neither [pg 48] Carl Philipp Emmanuel nor Wilhelm Friedemann was her own child. But the fact cannot excuse gross neglect of their father's widow. Her own sons were in a position to make such a contribution to her income as would at least have kept want from her door. In fact she was permitted to become dependent on public charity, and died, an alms-woman, on February 27, 1760, nearly ten years after her great husband. The three daughters survived her. One died in 1774, the second in 1781. The third, Regine Susanna, survived them, her want relieved by gifts from a public that at last was awakening to the grandeur of her father. Beethoven contributed generously. Regine Susanna died in December 1809, the last of Bach's children. In 1845 her nephew, Johann Christoph Friedrich's son, also died. With him the line of Johann Sebastian Bach expired.
CHAPTER III. BACH AS A CLAVIER PLAYER
As a Clavier player Bach was admired by all who had the good fortune to hear him and was the envy of the virtuosi of his day. His method greatly differed from that of his contemporaries and predecessors, but so far no one has attempted to explain in what the difference consisted. The same piece of music played by ten different performers equally intelligent and competent will produce a different effect in each case. Each player will emphasise this or that detail. This or that note will stand out with differing emphasis, and the general effect will vary consequently. And yet, if all the players are equally competent, ought not their performances to be uniform? The fact that they are not so is due to difference of touch, a quality which to the Clavier stands as enunciation to human speech. Distinctness is essential for the enunciation of vowels and consonants, and not less so for the articulation of a musical phrase. But there are gradations of distinctness. If a sound is emitted indistinctly it is comprehensible only [pg 50] with effort, which occasions us to lose much of the pleasure we should otherwise experience. On the other hand, over-emphasis of words or notes is to be avoided. Otherwise the hearer's attention will be diverted from the tout ensemble. To permit the general effect to be appreciated every note and every vowel must be sounded with balanced distinctness.
I have often wondered why Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach's Essay on the Right Manner of playing the Clavier117 does not elucidate the qualities that constitute a good touch. For he possessed in high degree the technique that made his father pre-eminent as a player. True, in his chapter on “Style in Performance,” he writes, “Some persons play as if their fingers were glued together; their touch is so deliberate, and they keep the keys down too long; while others, attempting to avoid this defect, play too crisply, as if the keys burnt their fingers. The right method lies between the two extremes.” But it would have been more useful had he told us how to reach this middle path. As he has not done so, I must try to make the matter as clear as is possible in words.
Bach placed his hand on the finger-board so that his fingers were bent and their extremities poised perpendicularly over the keys in a plane [pg 51] parallel to them.118 Consequently none of his fingers was remote from the note it was intended to strike, and was ready instantly to execute every command. Observe the consequences of this position. First of all, the fingers cannot fall or (as so often happens) be thrown upon the notes, but are placed upon them in full control of the force they may be called on to exert. In the second place, since the force communicated to the note needs to be maintained with uniform pressure, the finger should not be released perpendicularly from the key, but can be withdrawn gently and gradually towards the palm of the hand. In the third place, when passing from one note to another, a sliding action instinctively instructs the next finger regarding the amount of force exerted by its predecessor, so that the tone is equally regulated and the notes are equally distinct. In other words, the touch is neither too long nor too short, as Carl Philipp Emmanuel complains, but is just what it ought to be.119 Many advantages arise from holding the hand in Bach's position and from adopting his touch, [pg 52] on the Clavichord and Harpsichord,120 and on the Organ as well. I point out merely the most important of them. To begin with, if the fingers are bent, their movements are free. The notes are struck without effort and with less risk of missing or hitting too hard, a frequent fault with people who play with their fingers elongated or insufficiently bent. In the second place, the sliding finger-tip, and the consequently rapid transmission of regulated force from one finger to another, tend to bring out each note clearly and to make every passage sound uniformly brilliant and distinct to the hearer without exertion. In the third place, stroking the note with uniform pressure permits the string to vibrate freely, improves and prolongs the tone, and though the Clavichord is poor in quality, allows the player to sustain long notes upon it. And the method has this advantage: it prevents over-expenditure of strength and excessive movement of the hand. We gather that the action of Bach's fingers was so slight as to be barely perceptible. Only the top joint seemed to move. His hand preserved its rounded shape even in the most intricate passages. His fingers rested closely upon the keys, very much in the position required for a “shake.” An unemployed finger remained in a [pg 53] position of repose. It is hardly necessary to say that that other limbs of his body took no part in his performance, as is the case with many whose hands lack the requisite agility.121
A man may possess all these qualities, however, and remain an indifferent performer on the Clavier, just as clear and agreeable enunciation does not necessarily make a good speaker. To be a first-rate performer many other qualities are needed, and Bach possessed them all in a notable degree.
Some fingers are longer and stronger than others. Hence players are frequently seduced to use the stronger whenever they can readily do so. Consequently successive notes become unequal in tone, and passages which leave no choice as to the finger to be used may become impossible to play. Bach recognised this fact very early in his career. To get over the difficulty he invented exercises for his own use in which the fingers of both hands were made to practise passages in every conceivable position. By this means every finger on both hands equally became strong and serviceable, [pg 54] so that he could play a rapid succession of chords, single and double “shakes,” and running passages with the utmost finish and delicacy, and was equally fluent in passages where some fingers play a “shake” while the others on the same hand continue the melody.
Besides these improvements, Bach invented a new system of fingering.122 Before his time, and even in his early years, it was usual for the player to pay attention to harmony rather than counterpoint. Even so it was not customary to use every one of the twenty-four major and minor keys. The Clavichord was still what we term “gebunden”; that is, several keys struck the same string, which, therefore, could not be accurately tuned.123 Consequently it was usual to employ only those keys whose notes were tuned with some approximation to accuracy. Again, [pg 56] good players in those days hardly ever used the thumb, except when a large interval had to be stretched. But when Bach began to melodise harmony so that his middle parts not merely filled in but had a tune of their own, when, too, he began to deviate from the Church modes then in general vogue in secular music, using the diatonic and chromatic scales indifferently, and tuning the Clavier in all the twenty-four keys, he found himself compelled to introduce a system of fingering better adapted to his innovations than that in use, and in particular, to challenge the convention which condemned the thumb to inactivity. It is held by some writers that Couperin forestalled Bach's method of fingering, in his L'Art de toucher le Clavecin, published in 1716. But that is not the case. In the first place, Bach was above thirty years old in 1716, and had already developed a distinctive method of his own. And in the second place, Couperin's system differs materially from Bach's, though both made more frequent use of the thumb than was so far customary. When I say “more frequent use” I do so advisedly; for whereas in Bach's system the thumb is the principal finger—for the difficult keys, as they are called, are unplayable without it—it is not equally indispensable with Couperin, whose thematic material was not so intricate as Bach's, nor did he compose or play in such difficult keys. Consequently Couperin [pg 56] had not an equally urgent need to use the thumb. We need only compare Couperin's with Bach's system of fingering, as Carl Philipp Emmanuel explains it,124 to discover that Bach's permits every passage, however intricate and polyphonic, to be played with ease, whereas Couperin's is hardly effective even for his own compositions. Bach was acquainted with Couperin's works and highly esteemed them,125 as he did those of other French Clavier composers, for their finish and brilliance. But he considered them affected in their excessive use of ornaments, scarcely a single note being free from them. He held them, also, superficial in matter.
Bach's easy, unconstrained use of the fingers, his musical touch, the clearness and precision of every note he struck, the resourcefulness of his fingering, his thorough training of every finger of both hands, the luxuriance of his thematic material and his original method of stating it, all contributed to give him almost unlimited power over his instrument, so easily did he surmount the difficulties of its keyboard. Whether he improvised or played his compositions from notes, he systematically employed every finger of each hand, and his fingering was as uncommon as the compositions themselves, yet so accurate that he [pg 57] never missed a note. Moreover, he read at sight other people's compositions (which, to be sure, were much easier than his own) with the utmost facility. Indeed, he once boasted to a friend at Weimar that he could play at sight and without a mistake anything put before him. But he was mistaken, as his friend convinced him before the week was out. Having invited Bach to breakfast one morning, he placed on the Clavier, among other music, a piece which, at a first glance, seemed perfectly easy. On his arrival, Bach, as was his custom, sat down at the Clavier to play or look through the music. Meanwhile his friend was in the next room preparing breakfast. In a short time Bach took up the piece of music destined to change his opinion and began to play it. He had not proceeded far before he came to a passage at which he stopped. After a look at it he began again, only to stop at the same place. “No,” he called out to his friend, who was laughing heartily in the next room, “the man does not exist who can play everything at sight. It can't be done.” With that he got up from the Clavier in some annoyance.126
Bach also could read scores with remarkable facility and play them on the Clavier. He found no more difficulty in piecing together the [pg 58] separate parts when laid side by side before him.127 He often did so when a friend brought him a new Trio or Quartet for Strings and wished to hear how it sounded. If a Continuo part, however badly figured, was put before him he could improvise a Trio or Quartet upon it. Nay, when he was in the mood and at the height of his powers, he would convert a Trio into a Quartet by extemporising a fourth part. On such occasions he used a Harpsichord with two manuals and pedal attachment.
Bach preferred the Clavichord to the Harpsichord, which, though susceptible of great variety of tone, seemed to him lacking in soul. The Pianoforte was still in its infancy and too coarse.128 [pg 59] Both for practice and intimate use he regarded the Clavichord as the best instrument and preferred to express on it his finest thoughts. He held the Harpsichord, or Clavicembalo, incapable of the gradations of tone obtainable on the Clavichord, an instrument which, though feeble in quality, is extremely flexible.
No one could adjust the quill plectrums of his Harpsichord to Bach's satisfaction; he always did it himself. He tuned his Harpsichord and Clavichord, and was so skilful in the operation that it never took him more than a quarter of an hour. It enabled him to play in any key he preferred, and placed the whole twenty-four of them at his disposal, so that he could modulate into the remoter as easily and naturally as into the more nearly related keys. Those who heard him frequently could hardly detect the fact that he had modulated into a distant key, so smooth were his transitions. In chromatic movements his modulation was as easy and sequent as in diatonic. His Chromatic Fantasia, which is now published,129 bears out my statement. In his extemporisation he was even freer, more brilliant and expressive.[pg 60]
When he played his own music Bach usually adopted a brisk pace. He contrived to introduce so much variety that every piece became a sort of conversation between its parts. If he wished to express deep emotion he did not strike the notes with great force, as many do, but expressed his feeling in simple melodic and harmonic figures,130 relying rather on the internal resources of his art than external dynamics. Therein he was right. True emotion is not suggested by hammering the Clavier. All that results is that the notes cannot be heard distinctly, much less be connected coherently.
CHAPTER IV. BACH THE ORGANIST
What has been said regarding Bach's admirable Clavier playing applies generally to his skill as an organist. The Clavier and Organ have points in common, but in style and touch are as different as their respective uses. What sounds well on the Clavier is ineffective on the Organ, and vice versa. The most accomplished Clavier player may be, and usually is, a bad organist unless he realises the differing natures of the two instruments and the uses they serve. I have come across only two men who can be regarded as exceptions to this general rule—Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann. Both were finished Clavier performers, but no trace of the Clavier style was apparent when they played the Organ. Melody, harmony, and pace were carefully selected with due regard to the nature and distinctive use of each instrument. When Wilhelm Friedemann played the Clavier his touch was elegant, delicate, agreeable. When he played the Organ he inspired a feeling of reverent awe. On the one he was [pg 62] charming. On the other he was solemn, impressive. So also was his father, and to an even greater degree. Wilhelm Friedemann was a mere child to him as an organist, and frankly admitted the fact.131 The music that extraordinary man wrote for the Organ is full of dignity, awe-inspiring, saturated with the atmosphere of devotion. His improvisation was even more inspired, dignified, and impressive: for then his imagination was untrammelled by the irksomeness of expressing himself on paper. What is the essence of this art? Let me, though imperfectly, attempt an answer.
When we compare Bach's Clavier compositions with those written for the Organ it is at once apparent that they differ essentially in melodic and harmonic structure. Hence we conclude that a good organist must select fitting themes for his instrument, and let himself be guided by its character and that of the place in which it stands and by the objects of its use. Its great body of tone renders the Organ ill-adapted to light and jaunty music. Its echoes must have liberty to rise and fall in the dim spaces of the church, otherwise the sound becomes confused, blurred, and unintelligible. What is played upon it [pg 63] must be suited to the place and the instrument, in other words, must be congruous to a solemn and majestic fabric. Occasionally and exceptionally a solo stop may be used in a Trio, etc. But the proper function of the Organ is to support church singing and to stimulate devotional feeling. The composer therefore must not write music for it which is congruous to secular surroundings. What is commonplace and trite can neither impress the hearer nor excite devotional feeling. It must therefore be banished from the Organ-loft. How clearly Bach grasped that fact! Even his secular music disdained trivialities. Much more so his Organ music, in which he seems to soar as a spirit above this mortal planet.
Of the means by which Bach attained to such an altitude as a composer for the Organ we may notice his harmonic treatment of the old Church modes, his use of the obbligato pedal, and his original registration. The remoteness of the ecclesiastical modes from our twenty-four major and minor keys renders them particularly appropriate to the service of religion. Any one who looks at Bach's simple four-part Hymn tunes (Choralgesänge) will at once convince himself of the fact. But no one can realise how the Organ sounds under a similar system of harmonic treatment unless he has heard it. It becomes a choir of four or five parts, each in its natural [pg 64] compass. Compare the following chords in divided harmony:
which is the more usual form organists employ. We realise instantly the effect when music in four or more parts is played in the same manner. Bach always played the Organ so, adding the obbligato pedal, which few organists know how to use properly. He employed it not only to sound the low notes which organists usually play with the left hand, but he gave it a regular part of its own, often so complicated that many organists would find it difficult to play with their five fingers.
To these qualities must be added the exquisite art Bach displayed in combining the stops of the Organ. His registration frequently astonished organists and Organ builders, who ridiculed it at first, but were obliged in the end to admit its [pg 65] admirable results and to confess that the Organ gained in richness and sonority.132
Bach's peculiar registration was based on his intimate knowledge of Organ building and of the properties of each individual stop. Very early in his career he made a point of giving to each part of the Organ the utterance best suited to its qualities, and this led him to seek unusual combinations of stops which otherwise would not have occurred to him. Nothing escaped his notice which had the slightest bearing on his art or promised to advance it. For instance, he made a point of observing the effect of large musical compositions in different surroundings. The practised ear, which enabled him to detect the slightest error in music even of the fullest and richest texture, and the art and rapidity with which he tuned his instrument, alike attest his intuitive skill and many-sidedness. When he was at Berlin in 1747 he was shown the new Opera House. He took in its good and bad qualities at a glance, whereas others had done so only after experience. He was shown the large adjoining Saloon and went up into the gallery that runs round it. Merely glancing at the roof he remarked, “The architect has secured a novel effect which, probably, neither himself nor any one else suspected.” The Saloon, in fact, is a parallelogram. If a [pg 66] person puts his face to the wall in one corner of it and whispers a few words, another person at the corner diagonally opposite can hear them distinctly, though to others between them the words are inaudible. The effect arises from the span of the arches in the roof, as Bach saw at a glance. These and similar observations suggested to him striking and unusual combinations of Organ stops.
Bach brought the methods I have indicated to bear upon Church music, and they help to explain his extraordinarily dignified and inspired playing, which was at once so appropriate and filled the listener with deep awe and admiration. His profound knowledge of harmony, unfailing originality, freedom from a secular style, his complete command of the instrument, both manuals and pedals, whence flowed a generous stream of the richest and most abundant fancy, the infallible and swift judgment which allowed him always to select from the treasury of his mind precisely the musical ideas best suited to the occasion immediately before him, his intuitive grasp of every detail, and his power to make it serve his artistic ends—in a word, his transcendent genius brought the art of Organ playing to a degree of perfection which, till then, it had never attained and hardly will attain again. Quantz133 has expressed the [pg 67] same opinion. “The admirable Johann Sebastian Bach,” he writes, “brought the art of Organ playing to its highest perfection. It is to be hoped that when he dies it will not be suffered to decline or be lost, as is to be feared from the small number of people who nowadays bestow pains upon it.”134
Strangers often asked Bach to play to them between the hours of divine service. On those occasions he was wont to select and treat a theme in various ways, making it the subject of each extemporisation even if he continued playing for two hours. As a beginning he played a Prelude and Fugue on the Great Organ. Then he developed it with solo stops in a Trio or Quartet. A Hymn-tune followed, whose melody he interrupted in the subtlest fashion with fragments of the theme in three or four parts. Last came a Fugue, with full Organ, in which he treated the subject alone or in association with one or more accessory themes. Here we have the art which old Reinken of Hamburg considered to be lost, but which, as he afterwards found, not only survived but attained its greatest perfection in Bach.
Bach's pre-eminent position and his high reputation often caused him to be invited to examine candidates for vacant organistships, and to report on new Organs. In both cases he acted so conscientiously and impartially that he generally made [pg 68] enemies. Scheibe, late Director of Music at the Danish Court, who as a young man was examined by Bach on such an occasion, was so incensed by Bach's unfavourable verdict that he afterwards avenged himself in his “Critical Musician” by violently attacking his examiner.135 In his examination of Organs Bach equally exposed himself to trouble. He could as little prevail on himself to praise a bad instrument as to recommend a bad organist. He was, therefore, severe, though always fair, in the tests he applied, and as he was thoroughly acquainted with the construction of the instrument it was hopeless to attempt to deceive him. First of all he drew out all the stops, to hear the Full Organ. He used to say jokingly, that he wanted to find out whether the instrument had good lungs! Then he gave every part of it a most searching test. But his sense of fairness was so strong that, if he found the work really well done, and the builder's remuneration [pg 69] too small, so that he was likely to be a loser, Bach endeavoured, and often successfully, to procure for him an adequate addition to the purchase price.
When the examination was over, especially if the instrument pleased him, Bach liked to exhibit his splendid talent, both for his own pleasure and the gratification of those who were present. Such demonstrations of his powers invariably invited the verdict, that he was conclusively “the prince of Clavier and Organ players,” a title which Sorge, the late highly-esteemed organist at Lobenstein,136 once gave him in a dedicatory Preface.
CHAPTER V. BACH THE COMPOSER
Bach's first attempts at composition, like all early efforts, were unsatisfactory. Lacking special instruction to direct him towards his goal, he was compelled to do what he could in his own way, like others who have set out upon a career without a guide. Most youthful composers let their fingers run riot up and down the keyboard, snatching handfuls of notes, assaulting the instrument in wild frenzy, in hope that something may result from it. Such people are merely Finger Composers—in his riper years Bach used to call them Harpsichord Knights—that is to say, their fingers tell them what to write instead of being instructed by the brain what to play.137 Bach abandoned that method of composition when he observed that [pg 71] brilliant flourishes lead nowhere. He realised that musical ideas need to be subordinated to a plan and that the young composer's first need is a model to instruct his efforts. Opportunely Vivaldi's Concertos for the Violin,138 then recently published, gave him the guidance he needed. He had often heard them praised as admirable works of art, and conceived the happy idea of arranging them for the Clavier.139 Hence he was led to study their structure, the musical ideas on which they are built, the variety of their modulations, and other characteristics. Moreover, in adapting to the Clavier ideas and phrases originally written for the Violin Bach was compelled to put his brain to work, and so freed his inspiration from dependence on his fingers. Henceforth he was able to draw ideas out of his own storehouse, and having placed himself on the right road, needed only perseverance and hard work to succeed. And how persevering he was! He even robbed [pg 72] himself of sleep to practise in the night what he had written during the day! But the diligence he bestowed upon his own compositions did not hinder him from studying the works of Frescobaldi,140 Froberger, Kerl, Pachelbel, Fischer, Strungk,141 Buxtehude, Reinken, Bruhns, Böhm, and certain French organists who were famed in those days as masters of harmony and fugue.142
The models he selected—Church musicians for the most part—and his own disposition inclined him to serious and exalted subjects. But in that kind of music little can be accomplished with inadequate technique. Bach's first object, therefore, was to develop his power of expressing himself before he attempted to realise the ideal that beckoned him. Music to him was a language, and the composer a poet who, whatever the idiom he affects, must first of all have at his disposal the means of making himself intelligible to others. But the technique of his period Bach found limited in variety and insufficiently pliable. Therefore he set himself at the outset to refashion the accepted harmonic system. He did so in a manner characteristically individual and bearing the impress of his personality.[pg 73]
If the language of music is merely the utterance of a melodic line, a simple sequence of musical notes, it can justly be accused of poverty. The addition of a Bass puts it upon a harmonic foundation and clarifies it, but defines rather than gives it added richness. A melody so accompanied—even though all the notes are not those of the true Bass—or treated with simple embellishments in the upper parts, or with simple chords, used to be called “homophony.” But it is a very different thing when two melodies are so interwoven that they converse together like two persons upon a footing of pleasant equality. In the first case the accompaniment is subordinate, and serves merely to support the first or principal part. In the second case the two parts are not similarly related. New melodic combinations spring from their interweaving, out of which new forms of musical expression emerge. If more parts are interwoven in the same free and independent manner, the apparatus of language is correspondingly enlarged, and becomes practically inexhaustible if, in addition, varieties of form and rhythm are introduced. Hence harmony becomes no longer a mere accompaniment of melody, but rather a potent agency for augmenting the richness and expressiveness of musical conversation. To serve that end a simple accompaniment will not suffice. True harmony is the interweaving of several melodies, which [pg 74] emerge now in the upper, now in the middle, and now in the lower parts.
From about the year 1720, when he was thirty-five, until his death in 1750, Bach's harmony consists in this melodic interweaving of independent melodies, so perfect in their union that each part seems to constitute the true melody. Herein Bach excels all the composers in the world.143 At least, I have found no one to equal him in music known to me. Even in his four-part writing we can, not infrequently, leave out the upper and lower parts and still find the middle parts melodious and agreeable.
But in harmony of this kind each part must be highly plastic; otherwise it cannot play its role as an actual melody and at the same time combine with the other parts. To produce it Bach followed a course of his own, upon which the textbooks of his day were silent, but which his genius suggested to him. Its originality consists in the freedom of his part writing, in which he transgresses, seemingly, at any rate, rules long established and to his contemporaries almost sacred. Bach, however, realised their object, which was simply to facilitate the flow of pure melody on a sound harmonic basis, in other words, successive and coexistent euphony, and he succeeded with singular success though by [pg 75] unfamiliar means. Let me explain my meaning more closely.
Between simple intervals there is little difficulty in deciding whether the second note must rise or fall. And in regard to phrases, or sections of a phrase, if we analyse their structure and follow out their harmonic tendency, their resolution is equally clear. But this sense of destination may be provoked in each part by different intervals. As we have observed already, every one of the four parts must flow melodically and freely. But to secure that result it will be necessary to introduce between the notes which begin a phrase and establish its general atmosphere other notes which often are not consonant with those employed in the other parts and whose incidence is governed by the accent. This is what we call a transitus regularis et irregularis.144 Each part starts from a fixed point, and returns to it, but travels freely between them. No one has made more use of such progressions than Bach in order to colour his parts and give them a characteristic melodic line. Hence, unless his music is played with perfect fluency, occasional passages will sound harshly and we may be tempted to accuse him of exaggeration. But the charge is ill founded. Once we play them as Bach intended [pg 76 ] them, such passages reveal their full beauty and their attractive though bizarre dissonance opens up new vistas in the realm of sound.
But, to speak in detail of Bach's transgression of recognised rules. To begin with, he admitted octaves and fifths provided they sounded well; that is, when the cause of their being forbidden did not arise.145 Everybody knows that there are positions in which they sound well, and others when they should be avoided, owing to the harsh effect or thin harmony they produce. Bach's octaves and fifths never produce bad or thin harmony, and he was very definite as to when they could and could not be used. In certain circumstances he would not permit hidden fifths and octaves even between the middle parts, though we exclude them only between the outer parts. Yet, on occasion he used them in such a barefaced manner as to puzzle the beginner in composition. But their use very soon commends itself. Even in the last revision of his early compositions we find him altering passages, which at first sight appear impeccable, with the object of enriching their harmony and without scrupling to use hidden octaves. A remarkable instance occurs [pg 77] in the first part of the Well-tempered Clavier, in the E major Fugue, between the fifth and fourth bars from the end.146 I regret to this hour that, on looking over the later text, from which Hoffmeister and Kühnel's edition of that work is printed,147 I was so foolish as to reject Bach's amended reading there, merely because the harmony is unorthodox though more pleasing. I stupidly preferred the older, more correct, and harsher reading, though in the later text the three parts run easily and smoothly. And what more can one demand?
Again, there is a rule that every note raised by an accidental cannot be doubled in the chord, because the raised note must, from its nature, resolve on the note above. If it is doubled, it must rise doubled in both parts and, consequently, form consecutive octaves. Such is the rule. But Bach frequently doubles not only notes accidentally raised elsewhere in the scale but actually the semitonium modi or leading-note itself. Yet he avoids consecutive octaves. His finest works yield examples of this.
Again, Bach's statement that “over a pedal point all intervals are permissible that occur in the three scales”148 should be regarded rather [pg 78] an expansion than a violation of the recognised rule. In general what is called an Organ point is merely a retarded close. Bach, however, did not hesitate to employ it in the middle of a piece; a striking example occurs in the last Gigue of the English Suites.149 On a first hearing this Gigue, imperfectly rendered, may not sound well. But it grows more beautiful as it becomes more familiar, and what seemed harsh is found to be smooth and agreeable, until one never tires of playing and hearing it.
Bach's modulation was as original and characteristic as his harmony, and as closely related to it. But the two things, though closely associated, are not the same. By harmony we mean the concordance of several parts; by modulation, their progression through keys. Modulation can take place in a single part. Harmony requires more than one. I will endeavour to make my meaning clearer.
Most composers stick closely to their tonic key and modulate out of it with deliberation. In music that requires a large number of performers, and in a building, for instance a church, where the large volume of sound dies away slowly, such a habit shows good sense in the composer who wishes his work to produce the best possible effect. But in chamber or instrumental music it is not always a proof of wisdom, but rather of mental poverty. Bach saw clearly that the two [pg 79] styles demand different treatment. In his large choral compositions he bridles his exuberant fancy. In his instrumental works he lets himself go. As he never courted popularity, but always pursued his ideal, Bach had no reason to suppress the nobility of his inspirations, or to lower their standard for public consumption. Nor did he ever do so. Therefore every modulation in his instrumental work is a new thought, a constantly progressive creation in the plane of the chosen keys and those related to them. He holds fast to the essentials of harmony, but with every modulation introduces a new suggestion and glides so smoothly to the end of a piece that no creaking of machinery is perceptible; yet no single bar—I might almost say no part of a bar—is like another. Every modulation bears a strict relationship to the key from which it proceeds, and springs naturally from it. Bach ignored, or rather despised, the sudden sallies by which many composers seek to surprise their hearers. Even in his chromatic passages his progressions are so smooth and easy that we are hardly conscious of them, however extreme they may be. He makes us feel that he has not stepped outside the diatonic scale, so quick is he to seize upon the consonances common to dissonant systems and combine them to his sure purpose.
CHAPTER VI. BACH THE COMPOSER (continued)[pg 80]
Bach's treatment of harmony and modulation powerfully influenced his melody. The strands of his harmony are really concurrent melodies. They flow easily and expressively, never engross the hearer's attention, but divide his interest, as now one now the other becomes prominent. Even when they are noticeable they seem obscured by the melodic parts that accompany them—I say “seem obscured,” for if the hearer is sufficiently instructed to distinguish the several melodies in the ensemble he will discover them to be more clearly defined by their accompaniment.
The combination of several melodic lines obliges the composer to use devices which are unnecessary in homophonic music. A single melody can develop as it pleases. But when two or more are combined each must be so delicately and cleverly fashioned that it can be interwoven with the others in this direction and in that. And here we detect one at least of the reasons why Bach's melodies are so strangely original, and his tunes so clearly distinguishable from those of other [pg 81] composers. Provided that novelty does not degenerate into eccentricity or extravagance, and that clearness and facility of expression march with agreeableness, a composer's meritoriousness is proclaimed in his originality.150 The one drawback is that the ordinary hearer cannot appreciate melodic beauties which are patent only to the expert.
But Bach's melodies are not invariably so handicapped. They are always original, it is true. But in his free compositions the melodies are so natural and spontaneous that, while they sound differently from those of other composers, their naturalness, and the sincerity of feeling that inspires them, make them intelligible to every listener. Most of the Preludes in the Well-tempered Clavier as well as a number of movements in the Suites are of this character.
Bach's melody, then, bears the unmistakable stamp of originality. And so does his passage work, as it is called. Such novelty, originality, and brilliancy are not found in any other composer. Examples are to be found in all Bach's Clavier works. But the most striking and original are in [pg 82] the Great Variations,151 in the first Part of the Clavierübung,152 in the English Suites,153 and the Chromatic Fantasia.154 In the last particularly Bach's fertility impresses us. The greater part of its passage work is in the form of harmonic arpeggios whose richness and originality match the chords they represent.
In order to realise the care and skill Bach expended on his melody and harmony, and how he put the very best of his genius into his work, I need only instance his efforts to construct a composition incapable of being harmonised with another melodic part. In his day it was regarded as imperative to perfect the harmonic structure of part-writing. Consequently the composer was careful to complete his chords and leave no door open for another part. So far the rule had been followed more or less closely in music for two, three, and four parts, and Bach observed it in such cases. But he applied it also to compositions consisting of a single part, and to a deliberate experiment in this form we owe the six Violin and the six Violoncello Solo Suites,155 [pg 83] which have no accompaniment and do not require one. So remarkable is Bach's skill that the solo instrument actually produces all the notes required for complete harmony, rendering a second part unnecessary and even impossible.
Bach's melody never palls on us, because of the presence in it of those qualities to which I have referred. It remains “ever fair and young,” like Nature herself. In his earlier works, in which we find him still in bondage to the prevailing mode, there is a good deal that to-day seems antiquated. But when, as in his later works, he draws his melody from the living wells of inspiration and cuts himself adrift from convention, all is as fresh and new as if it had been written yesterday. Of how many compositions of that period can the same be said? Even the works of ingenious composers like Reinhard Keiser156 and Handel have become old-fashioned sooner than we or their composers might have supposed. Like other caterers for the public, they were obliged to pander to its taste, and such music endures no longer than the standard which produced it. Nothing is more inconstant and fickle than popular caprice and, in general, what is called fashion. It must be admitted, however, that Handel's Fugues are not yet out of date, [pg 84] though there are probably few of his Arias that we now find agreeable.157
Bach's melody and harmony are rendered still more distinctive by their inexhaustible rhythmic variety. Hitherto we have discussed his music merely subjectively as harmony and melody. But to display vivacity and variety music needs to be uttered with rhythmic point and vigour. More than those of any other period composers of Bach's time found no difficulty in this, for they acquired facility in the management of rhythm in the “Suite,” which held the place of our “Sonata.” Between the initial Prelude and closing Gigue the Suite includes a number of characteristic French dance measures, whose rhythm is their distinguishing characteristic. Composers of Bach's day, therefore, were familiar with measures and rhythms which are now obsolete. Moreover skilful treatment was necessary in order that each dance might exhibit its own distinctive character and swing. Herein Bach exceeded his predecessors and contemporaries. He experimented with every kind of key and rhythm in order to give variety and colour to each movement. Out of his experience he acquired such facility that, even in [pg 85] Fugue, with its complex interweaving of several parts, he was able to employ a rhythm as easy as it was striking, as characteristic as it was sustained from beginning to end, as natural as a simple Minuet.
The source of Bach's astonishing pre-eminence is to be sought in his facile and constant application of the methods we have discussed. In whatever form he chose to express himself, easy or difficult, he was successful and seemingly effortless.158 There is not a note in his music that does not suggest consummate ease of workmanship. What he sets out to do he concludes triumphantly. The result is complete and perfect; no one could wish for a single note to be other than it is. Some illustrations will make my point clearer.
Carl Philipp Emmanuel, in the preface to his father's Vierstimmige Choralgesänge (“Four-part Hymn-tunes”), which he edited,159 says that [pg 86] the world was accustomed to look for nothing but masterpieces from Bach. Some reviewers thought this praise exaggerated. But if the term “masterpiece” is restricted to works written during the years of Bach's maturity160 it is nothing less than the truth. Others have produced masterpieces in various forms which may be placed honourably by the side of his. For instance, certain Allemandes, Courantes, etc., by Handel and others are not less beautiful, though less richly wrought, than Bach's. But in Fugue, Counterpoint, and Canon he stands alone, in a grandeur so isolated that all around him seems desert and void. No one ever wrote Fugues to compare with his; indeed, persons unacquainted with them cannot imagine what a Fugue is and ought to be. The ordinary Fugue follows a rule of thumb development. It takes a theme, puts another beside it, passes them into related keys, and writes other parts round them over a Continuo. Certainly this is Fugue: but of what merit? Persons who know no other not unnaturally hold the whole species in little esteem, and the player who hopes to make such commonplace material convincing will need all his skill and imagination.
Bach's Fugue is of quite another kind. It presents all the characteristics we are accustomed to [pg 87] in freer musical forms: a flowing and distinctive melody, ease, clarity, and facility in the progression of the parts, inexhaustible variety of modulation, purest harmony, the exclusion of every jarring or unnecessary note, unity of form and variety of style, rhythm, and measure, and such superabundant animation that the hearer may well ask himself whether every note is not actually alive. Such are the properties of Bach's Fugues, properties which excite the admiration and astonishment of all who can appreciate the intellectual calibre their composition demands. How great a tribute of homage is due to work of this kind, which exhibits all the qualities which lend distinction to compositions in other musical forms! Moreover, while all Bach's Fugues of his mature period have the foregoing properties in common, each is endowed with peculiar excellencies of its own, has its own distinctive individuality, and displays a melodic and harmonic scheme in keeping with it. The man who can play one of Bach's Fugues is familiar with, and can play, one only; whereas knowing one, we can perform portfolios of Fugues by other performers of Bach's period.
To what a height was the art of Counterpoint carried by Bach's genius! It enabled him to develop out of a given subject a whole family of related and contrasted themes, of every form and design. It taught him to develop an idea logically [pg 88] from the beginning to the end. It gave him such a command of harmony and its infinite combinations that he could invert whole themes, note by note, in every part, without impairing in the least the flow of melody or purity of his harmony. It taught him to write in canon at all intervals and in movements of all kinds so easily and naturally that the workmanship is not perceptible and the composition sounds as smoothly as though it were in the free style. Lastly, it has given to posterity a legacy of works immensely various, which are, and will remain, models of contrapuntal form as long as music endures.161
I have written exclusively so far of Bach's Clavier and Organ work. But in its expression music has two branches, instrumental and vocal, and as Bach excels in both of them, the reader will desire to hear somewhat respecting his vocal writings.
It was at Weimar that Bach first had occasion to write for the voice,162 upon his appointment to [pg 89] the Kapelle, which imposed on him the provision of music for the ducal chapel. His church music, like his Organ works, is devout and serious, and in every respect what church music ought to be. He makes a point also of not elaborating individual words, which leads to mere trifling, but interprets the text as a whole.163 His choruses invariably are magnificent and impressive, and he frequently introduces Chorals into them,164 making the other parts accompany their Cantus fugally, as was the practice in a Motet. As elsewhere in his works, the harmonic structure of his voice parts and instrumental accompaniment is rich. The declamation of the recitatives is expressive, and the latter have fine Continuo parts.165 In his Arias, hardly one of which is not beautiful and expressive, Bach seems to have been handicapped by the inefficiency of his singers and instrumentalists, who constantly complained of the difficulty of his music. If he had been fortunate enough to have capable performers the merits of his church music [pg 90] would have been established and, like his other works, they would still be sung and admired; for they contain treasures which deserve immortality.166
Among the works composed at Leipzig I single out two Cantatas, one of which was performed at Cöthen at the funeral of Bach's beloved Prince Leopold, and the other in St. Paul's Church, Leipzig, on the occasion of the funeral sermon in honour of Christiana Eberhardine, Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.167 The first contains double choruses of uncommon magnificence and most affecting sentiment.168 The second has only four-part choruses, but they are so delightful and fresh that he who begins the work will not pause till he has reached the end of it. It was written in October 1727.
Bach also composed a great number of Cantatas, chiefly for the choir of St. Thomas' School, Leipzig.169 [pg 91] The choir ordinarily numbered fifty singers, and sometimes more, over whose musical training Bach presided like a father. He practised them so hard in Cantatas for single and double chorus that they became excellent singers. Among these works are some which, in profundity of conception, magnificence, richness of harmony and melody, and animation, surpass everything of their kind. But, like all Bach's works, and in common with other masterpieces, they are difficult to perform and need a numerous orchestra to produce their full effect.
Such are Bach's most important vocal compositions. 170 In minor forms of the art, morceaux for social entertainments and the like, he wrote little,171 though he was of a most sociable disposition. For instance, he is said never to have composed a song.172 And why should he? They produce themselves so spontaneously that there is little call for genius to aid their gestation.
CHAPTER VII. BACH AS A TEACHER
It not infrequently happens that talented composers and players are incapable of imparting their skill to others. Either they have never troubled to probe the mechanism of their own facility, or, through the excellence of their instructors, have taken the short cut to proficiency and allowed their teacher and not their own judgment to decide how a thing should be done. Such people are useless to instruct beginners. True, they may succeed in teaching the rudiments of technique, assuming that they have been properly taught themselves. But they are certainly unqualified to teach in the full sense of the word. There is, in fact, only one way to become a good teacher, and that is to have gone through the discipline of self-instruction, a path along which the beginner may go astray a thousand times before attaining to perfection. For it is just this stumbling effort that reveals the dimensions of the art. The man who has adventured it learns the obstacles that obstruct his path, and how to surmount them. To be sure, it is a lengthy method. But if a man [pg 93] has patience to persevere he will reap a sure reward after an alluring pilgrimage. No musician ever founded a school of his own who has not followed such a course, and to his experience his teaching has owed its distinctive character.
This is so with Bach, who, only gradually discovering his full stature, was thirty years old before unremitting application raised him above the difficulties of his art. But he reaped his reward. Self-discipline set him on the fairest and most alluring path that it has ever been given to a musician to tread.
To teach well a man needs to have a full mind. He must have discovered how to meet and have overcome the obstacles in his own path before he can be successful in teaching others how to avoid them. Bach united both qualities. Hence, as a teacher he was the most instructive, clear, and definite that has ever been. In every branch of his art he produced a band of pupils who followed in his footsteps, without, however, equalling his achievement.
First of all let me show how he taught the Clavier.173 To begin with, his pupils were made to acquire the special touch of which I have already spoken.174 To that end for months together he made them practise nothing but simple exercises [pg 94] for the fingers of both hands, at the same time emphasising the need for clearness and distinctness. He kept them at these exercises for from six to twelve months, unless he found his pupils losing heart, in which case he so far met them as to write short studies which incorporated a particular exercise. Of this kind are the Six Little Preludes for Beginners,175 and the Fifteen Two-part Inventions,176 both of which Bach wrote during the lesson for a particular pupil and afterwards improved into beautiful and expressive compositions. Besides this finger practice, either in regular exercises or in pieces composed for the purpose, Bach introduced his pupils to the use of the various ornaments in both hands.
Not until this stage was reached did Bach allow his pupils to practise his own larger works, so admirably calculated, as he knew, to develop their powers. In order to lessen their difficulty, it was his excellent habit to play over to them the pieces they were to study, with the remark, “That's how it ought to sound.”177 It would be difficult to exaggerate the helpfulness of this method. The pupil's interest was roused by hearing the piece properly played. But that was not [pg 95] the sole result. Without the help thus given the pupil could only hope to overcome the difficulties of the piece after considerable effort, and would find it much less easy to realise a proper rendering of it. As it was, he received at once an ideal to aim at and was taught how to surmount the difficulties the piece presented. Many a young performer, still imperfect after a year's practice, probably would master his music in a month if he once had it played over to him.
Bach's method of teaching composition was equally sure and effective.178 He did not begin with the dry details of counterpoint, as was the custom of other teachers in his day. Still less did he burden his pupils with the physical properties of sound, which he held to be matter for the theorist and instrument-maker rather than the composer. He started them off at once on four-part harmony over a figured Bass, making his pupils write each part on a separate stave in order to impress on them the need for accurate harmonic progression. Then he passed to Hymn tunes, setting the Bass himself and making his pupils write the Tenor and Alto parts. In time he let them write the Bass also. He insisted on correct harmony and on each part having a real melodic line. Every musician knows what models [pg 96] Bach has left us in this form. The inner parts of his four-part Hymn-tunes are so smooth and melodious that often they might be taken for the melody. He made his pupils aim at similar tunefulness, and until they showed a high standard of merit did not permit them to write compositions of their own. Meanwhile he aimed at cultivating their feeling for pure harmony and for the order and connection of ideas and parts by familiarising them with the compositions of others. Until they had acquired facility in those qualities he neither permitted them nor held them competent to put pen to paper.
Bach required his pupils in composition to work out their musical ideas mentally. If any of them lacked this faculty he admonished him not to compose and discountenanced even his sons from attempting to write until they had first given evidence of genuine musical gifts. Having completed their elementary study of harmony, Bach took his pupils on to the theory of Fugue, beginning with two-part writing. In these and other exercises he insisted on the pupil composing away from the Clavier.179 Those who did otherwise he ridiculed as “Harpsichord Knights.” In the second place he required rigorous attention to each part and its relation to the concurrent parts, permitting none, not even an inner one, to break off before it had finished what it had to say. He insisted upon a correct relation between each note and its predecessor. If he came upon one whose derivation or destination was not perfectly clear he struck it out as faulty. It is, indeed, a meticulous exactitude in each individual part that makes [pg 98] Bach's harmony really multiple melody. Confused part-writing, where a note that belongs to the Tenor is given to the Alto, or vice versa, or the haphazard addition of extraneous parts to a chord which suddenly shows an increase of notes as if fallen from the sky, to vanish as suddenly as they came, are faults found neither in his own nor his pupils' writing. He regarded his musical parts as so many persons engaged in conversation. If there are three, each of them on occasion may be silent and listen to the others until it finds something relevant to say itself. But if, at an interesting point of the conversation, an interloping voice intervened, Bach regarded it as an intruder and let his pupils understand that it could not be admitted.
Notwithstanding his strictness on this point, Bach allowed his pupils considerable licence in other respects. In their use of certain intervals, as in their treatment of harmony and melody, he let them experiment within the limits of their ability, taking care to discountenance ugliness and to insist on their giving appropriate expression to the character of the composition. Beauty of expression, he postulated, was only attainable on a foundation of pure and accurate harmony. Having experimented in every form himself, he liked to see his pupils equally adventurous. Earlier teachers of composition, for instance, Berardi,180 [pg 99] Buononcini,181 and Fux,182 did not allow such liberty. They were afraid to trust their pupils to encounter difficulties, and short-sightedly prevented them from learning how to overcome them. Bach's system was wiser, for it took his pupils farther, since he did not limit their attention, as his predecessors did, to the harmonic structure, but extended it to the qualities that constitute good writing, namely, consistency of expression, variety of style, rhythm, and melody. Those who would acquaint themselves with Bach's method of teaching composition will find it fully set forth in Kirnberger's Correct Art of Composition.183
As long as his pupils were under his instruction Bach did not allow them to study any but his own works and the classics. The critical sense, which permits a man to distinguish good from bad, develops later than the aesthetic faculty and may be blunted and even destroyed by frequent contact with bad music. The best way to instruct youth is to accustom it early to consort with the best models. Time brings experience and an instructed judgment to confirm the pupil's early attraction to works of true art.[pg 100]
Under this admirable method of teaching all Bach's pupils became distinguished musicians, some more so than others, according as they came early or late under his influence, and had opportunity and encouragement to perfect and apply the instruction they received from him. His two eldest sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emmanuel, were his most distinguished pupils, not because he gave them better instruction than the rest, but because from their earliest youth they were brought up amid good music at home. Even before they began their lessons they knew what was good. On the other hand, others, before they became Bach's pupils, either had heard no good music or their taste had been already vitiated by contact with bad. It at least attests the excellence of Bach's method that even his pupils thus handicapped took high rank in their profession and distinguished themselves in one or other of its branches.184
Bach's first pupil was JOHANN CASPAR VOGLER, who received instruction from him in his early days at Amstadt and Weimar and, on Bach's testimony, was an exceedingly able player. He became organist, and later burgomaster, at Weimar, retaining his professional position. Some Choral [pg 101] Preludes by him for a two-manualed Organ with pedals were engraved about 1737.185
Other pupils of Bach who became famous were:
|1. HOMILIUS, of Dresden. He was not only an excellent organist but a distinguished composer of church music as well.186|
|2. TRANSCHEL, of Dresden. He was a fine musician and performer on the Clavier. There exist in MS. six Polonaises by him which perhaps are superior to those of any composer but Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.187|
|3. GOLDBERG, of Königsberg. He was a very finished player on the Clavier, but without any marked talent for composition.188|
|4. KREBS, Organist at Altenburg. He was not only a player of the first rank, but also a prolific composer for the Organ, Clavier, and of church music. He was fortunate in having Bach's instruction for nine years.189|
|5. ALTNIKOL, Organist at Naumburg. He was Bach's son-in-law and is said to have been a very competent player and composer.190|
|6. AGRICOLA, Court Composer at Berlin.191 He is less known as a composer than as a theorist. He translated Tosi's192 II canto figurato from Italian into German and provided the work with an instructive commentary.|
|7. MÜTHEL, of Riga. He was a good Clavier player and wrote for that instrument. His Sonatas and a Duet for two Claviers attest his ability as a composer.193|
|8. KIRNBERGER,194 Court Musician at Berlin to the Princess Amalia of Prussia.195 He was one of the most distinguished of Bach's pupils, full of genuine enthusiasm for his art and eager to assure its interests. Besides his exposition of Bach's system of teaching composition, we are indebted to him for the first logical treatise on harmony, in which he sets forth his master's teaching and [pg 103] practice. The first work is entitled Kunst des reinen Satzes, and the second, Wahre Grundsätze zum Gebrauch der Harmonie.196 He served the interests of his art also by other writings and compositions, and was an excellent teacher. The Princess Amalia was his pupil.|
|9. KITTEL, Organist at Erfurt. He is a sound, though not a finished, player, and is distinguished as a composer by several Organ Trios, so excellent that Bach himself might have written them. He is the sole survivor (1802) of Bach's pupils.197|
|10. VOIGT, of Anspach,198 and an organist named SCHUBART199 were mentioned to me by Carl Philipp Emmanuel as having been Bach's pupils. He knew nothing about them except that they entered his father's house after he left it.200|
I have said already that Bach's sons were his most distinguished pupils. The eldest, WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH, came nearest to his father in the originality of his genius. His melodies have quite a different character from those of other composers. They are exceedingly clever, elegant, and spontaneous. When performed with delicacy, as he played them, they cannot fail to charm every hearer. It is greatly to be regretted that he preferred to follow his fancy in extemporisation and to expend his genius on fugitive thoughts rather than to work them out on paper. The number of his compositions therefore is small, but all are beautiful.
CARL PHILIPP EMMANUEL BACH, who comes next, went out into the world sufficiently early to discover that it is a good thing for a composer to have a large public behind him. Hence, in the clearness and easy intelligibility of his compositions, he approaches the popular style, though he scrupulously avoids the commonplace.201 Both he and his elder brother admitted that they were [pg 105] driven to adopt a style of their own by the wish to avoid comparison with their incomparable father.
JOHANN CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH BACH, Concertmeister at the Court of Bückeburg, imitated Carl Philipp's style, but was not his equal. According to Wilhelm Friedemann, he was the best player among the brothers, and the most effective performer of their father's Clavier compositions.
JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, called “Bach of Milan,” and afterwards “Bach of London,” was the youngest son of Bach's second marriage and of too tender an age when his father died ever to have had lessons from him. Hence, perhaps, the absence of Bach's style in his music. He was, in fact, a popular composer universally admired in his day.202
CHAPTER VIII. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Distinguished as a player, composer, and teacher, Bach was also an indulgent father, a good friend, and a loyal citizen. His paternal devotion is shown by his care for his children's education, and he was equally assiduous in the performance of his civil and social duties. His acquaintance was agreeable to everybody. Every lover of music, whatever his nationality, was sure of a friendly reception at his house, and his sociability and reputation caused him to be seldom without visitors.
As an artist Bach was exceptionally modest. Notwithstanding his pre-eminence in his profession, a superiority of which he could not but be conscious, and in spite of the admiration and respect daily shown him, he never gave himself airs. If he was asked the secret of his mastership he would answer, “I was made to work; if you are equally industrious you will be equally successful,”203 a [pg 107] remark which made no allowance for his own exceptional genius. His opinion of other composers and their work was invariably fair and generous. Naturally, much of their work struck him as somewhat trivial, viewed from his own altitude. But he never uttered a harsh criticism, unless it were to a pupil, to whom he held himself bound to say what he thought. Still less did he presume on his acknowledged superiority to indulge in braggadocio, as often happens with performers brought into touch with those whom they regard as their inferiors. Herein Bach's modesty went so far that he never spoke voluntarily of his frustrated contest with Marchand, though the latter was the challenger.204 Many absurd stories are told of Bach; for instance that, dressed up as a village schoolmaster, he liked to enter a church and ask the organist to let him play a Choral, in order to enjoy the astonishment excited by his playing, or to hear the Organist declare, “This must be Bach or the Devil.”205 He always ridiculed such stories, and indeed had too much respect for his art to make it cloak his vanity.[pg 108]
At musical parties where Quartet or other instrumental music was performed, Bach liked to play the Viola, an instrument which put him, as it were, in the middle of the harmony in a position from which he could hear and enjoy it on both sides. On those occasions he would sometimes join in a Trio or other piece on the Harpsichord. If he was in the mood and the composer was agreeable, he would, as has been told already, extemporise a new Trio from the Continuo part, or, adding a new part, convert the Trio into a Quartet. But these were the only occasions on which he was ready to display his great powers before others. One Hurlebusch, of Brunswick,206 a conceited and arrogant Clavier player, once visited Bach at Leipzig, not to hear him play, but to play to him. Bach received him politely and listened patiently to his very indifferent performance. On taking leave Hurlebusch made Bach's eldest sons a present of his published Sonatas, exhorting them to study them diligently. Bach, knowing the kind of music his sons were wont to play, smiled at Hurlebusch's naïveté but did not permit him to suspect his amusement.207
Bach was fond of listening to the music of other composers. If he and one of his elder sons [pg 109] happened to be in church when a Fugue was played, directly the subject had been stated he always pointed out how it ought to be developed. If the composer knew his business and fulfilled Bach's anticipations, he was pleased and nudged his son to draw his attention to the fact. Is this not evidence of his impartial interest in other people's compositions?
I have mentioned already the composers whom in his youth Bach esteemed, loved, and studied. Later, when experience ripened his critical faculty, he had other favourites, among them Imperial Kapellmeister Fux, Handel, Caldara,208 Reinhard Keiser, Hasse,209 the two Grauns,210 Telemann,211 Zelenka,212 Benda,213 etc., and, in general, the distinguished musicians at Dresden and Berlin. He was acquainted with all except the first four of those I mention. In his youth Bach was intimate with Telemann.214 He also had a very warm regard [pg 110] for Handel and often expressed a desire to know him. As Handel, like himself, was a famous performer on the Organ and Clavier, many in Leipzig and its neighbourhood wished to bring the two great men together. But Handel, then living in London, never found time for a meeting during the visits he paid to Halle, his native town. On his first visit in 1719, Bach was at Cöthen, only some twenty miles distant. As soon as he was informed of Handel's arrival he lost not a moment in setting out to visit him, but on his arrival found that Handel had returned to England. At the time of Handel's second visit, between 1730 and 1740,215 Bach was prevented from leaving Leipzig by indisposition. But no sooner was he advised of Handel's arrival at Halle than he sent his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, to beg him to visit Leipzig, an invitation which Handel was unable to accept. In 1752 or 1753, when Handel paid his third visit to Germany,216 Bach was dead. He had always expressed the strongest desire to know Handel, and the Leipzig people were disappointed in their wish to hear the two great men together.
While Hasse was Kapellmeister at Dresden both the Opera and Kapelle flourished. Bach [pg 111] had many friends at Dresden, who held him in high regard. Among them may be mentioned Hasse and his wife, the celebrated Faustina.217 They often visited Leipzig and were admirers of the Cantor's rare talents. Hence, at Dresden he was always received in the most respectful manner and often visited the Opera, generally accompanied by his eldest son. When the time for their journey approached Bach would say in fun, “Well, Friedemann, shall we go to Dresden to hear the pretty tunes218 again?” Innocent as the jest was, I am sure Bach would not have uttered it to any but his son, who already could distinguish between great music and agreeable trifles.
Bach was never in a position to make what is called a brilliant fortune.219 He held a fairly lucrative office, but his income had to maintain and educate a large family. He neither possessed nor sought other means of livelihood, and was too absorbed in his art and work to think of accepting engagements which, in those days, and to a man of his genius, certainly would have brought riches. Had he possessed a taste for travel he would, as even one of his detractors admits, have “drawn [pg 112] upon himself the admiration of the whole world.” But he preferred a quiet domestic life, constant occupation in his work, with contentment and a moderate competence, like his forbears. His modesty, however, did hot prevent him from receiving manifold proofs of regard and affection and marks of honourable distinction. Prince Leopold of Cöthen, Duke Ernst August of Weimar,220 and Duke Christian of Weissenfels, all showed sincere regard for him, which must have been the more agreeable to him seeing that they were all sound judges of music. At Berlin, as at Dresden, he was universally honoured and respected. If we add to these testimonies the fact that he captured the admiration of all who heard him play or were acquainted with his music, then we may be sure that Bach, “singing for himself and the Muses,” received at the hands of Fame the recognition he valued most, and cherished it far more than the trivial honour of a ribbon or gold chain.
I add that, in 1747, Bach became a member of the “Society of the Musical Sciences,” founded by Mizler, only because we owe to the circumstance his admirable Choral Variations on Vom Himmel hoch.221 He presented them to the [pg 113] Society on his admission and they were engraved subsequently.222
CHAPTER IX. BACH'S COMPOSITIONS
To have produced so many great works in all forms of musical expression Bach necessarily must have been a prolific writer. For if a composer be the greatest genius in the world, unless he constantly exercises his art he cannot hope to produce real masterpieces. Superlative excellence is the fruit of indefatigable application. Yet in Bach's case we should be wrong to acclaim as masterpieces all the products of his great activity just because masterpieces at length were the fruit of it. Already in his early compositions we find undeniable evidence of genius. But they are blemished by faults, passages poor in quality, extravagant, insipid, that are hardly worth preserving, though of interest to the student who wishes to trace from its source the development of Bach's genius.
It is not difficult to distinguish with exactitude those of Bach's early compositions which are of the first excellence; for he has been at pains to give us the clue. As he did not publish his first work until he was about forty years [pg 115] old 223 we are justified in assuming the merit of what, at so mature an age, he thought worthy to put into print, and in concluding generally that all his engraved works are of first-rate merit.224
With respect to his unpublished compositions, and they are by far the most numerous, we must in order to distinguish their merit rely partly on a critical examination of their texts, partly on Bach's own judgment. Like all great composers, he was continually working on his compositions with a view to making them still more finished. Indeed, he actually attempted to improve some of them that were already perfect. Any that were susceptible of improvement he improved, even those already engraved. Such is the origin of the variant readings of his works found in older and more recent texts. By constantly retouching his compositions Bach aimed at making them indisputable masterpieces. In this category I place most of what he wrote before the year 1725, as I show in detail in the following catalogue. A great [pg 116] many compositions subsequent to 1725, which for reasons easily understood are still in MS., bear too evidently the stamp of perfection to leave us in doubt whether to class them as early essays or as the finished work of an accomplished master.
The following are those of Bach's works which have been engraved:
|1. Clavierübung, or “Exercises for the Clavier, consisting of Preludes, Allemandes, Courantes, Sarabandes, Gigues, Minuets, etc., for the Diversion of Amateurs. Opus I. Published by the Composer, 1731.” This was Bach's first published work and contains six Suites. The first of them came out in 1726;225 the others followed in successive years until all were engraved together in 1731.226 The work was much noticed at the time. Such compositions for the Clavier had not been seen or heard before, and the man who could play them was sure of a success. Our young players to-day would profit by the study of them, so brilliant, agreeable, expressive, and original are they. In the new edition227 they are entitled, “Exercises for the Clavier.”|
|2. Clavierübung, or “Exercises for the Clavier, Part II., consisting of a Concerto in the Italian style and an Overture in the French manner228 for a Clavier with two manuals. Published by Christopher Weigel, Junior, in Nürnberg.”229|
|3. Clavierübung, or “Exercises for the Clavier, Part III., consisting of various Organ Preludes to the Catechism and other Hymns, composed for the diversion of amateurs and particularly of competent judges of such works. Published by the Composer.” Besides the Preludes and Fugues for the Organ, all of which are masterly, the book contains four Duetti for the Clavier,230 models of their kind.|
|4. Sechs Choräle, or “Six Choral Melodies of different kinds, for an Organ with two manuals and pedal. Zella, in the Thuringian Forest. Published by Johann G. Schübler.”231 They are full of dignity and religious feeling. In some of them, too, we have instances of Bach's original management [pg 118] of the stops.232 Thus, in the second Choral, Wo soll ich fliehen hin, he gives to the first manual an 8 foot, to the second a 16 foot, and to the pedal a 4 foot stop. The pedal has the cantus firmus.233|
|5. Clavierübung, or “Exercises for the Clavier, consisting of an Aria with several Variations, for a Clavier with two manuals. Published by Balthasar Schmidt at Nürnberg.”234 This admirable work consists of thirty Variations, some in canon, in a variety of movements and at all intervals from the unison to the ninth, with easy flowing melody. It includes a regular fourpart Fugue,235 several extremely brillant Variations for two Claviers,236 and concludes with a Quodlibet, as it is called, which alone would render its composer immortal, though it is not the best thing in the volume.237
The Variations are models of what such compositions ought to be, though no one has been so rash as to attempt to follow Bach's footsteps. [pg 119] We owe them to Count Kaiserling, formerly Russian Ambassador at the Saxon Electoral Court, who frequently visited Leipzig with Goldberg, already mentioned238 among Bach's pupils. The Count was a great invalid and suffered from insomnia. Goldberg lived in the Ambassador's house, and slept in an adjoining room, to be ready to play to him when he was wakeful. One day the Count asked Bach to write for Goldberg some Clavier music of a soothing and cheerful character, that would relieve the tedium of sleepless nights. Bach thought a set of Variations most likely to fulfil the Count's needs, though, on account of the recurrence of the same basic harmony throughout, it was a form to which he had hitherto paid little attention. Like all his compositions at this period, however, the Variations are a masterpiece, and are the only example he has left us of this form.239 The Count always called them “my Variations” and was never weary of hearing them. For long afterwards, when he could not sleep, he would say, “Play me one of my [pg 120] Variations, Goldberg.” Perhaps Bach was never so well rewarded for any composition as for this. The Count gave him a golden goblet containing one hundred louis d'ors, though, as a work of art, Bach would not have been overpaid had the present been a thousand times as large. It may be observed, that in the engraved copy of the Variations there are serious mistakes, which the composer has corrected in his own copy.240
|6. Einige kanonische Verdäderungen, “Canonic Variations on the Christmas Hymn ‘Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her,’ for an Organ with two manuals and pedal. Published at Nürnberg by Balthasar Schmidt.” The work contains five canonic variations of the utmost ingenuity.241|
|7. Musikalisches Opfer, or “A Musical Offering,” dedicated to Frederick II., King of Prussia. The theme received by Bach from the King242 is treated first as a three-part Fugue under the acrostic title “Ricercare” (Regis iussu cantio et reliqua canonica arte resoluta). There follows a six-part “Ricercare” and Thematis regii elaborationes canonicae [pg 121] of various kinds.243 The work includes a Trio for Flute, Violin, and Clavier upon the same subject.244|
|8. Die Kunst der Fuge, or “The Art of Fugue.” This work, unique of its kind, did not appear till about 1752, after Bach's death, though the greater part of it had been engraved by his sons during his lifetime.245 Marpurg,246 the leading German musical critic of that day, contributed a preface to this edition which contains many just observations on the value and utility of such treatises.247 But, being too good for the general public, the work found only a small circulation among those who discerned its merit and eagerly bought copies. [pg 122] The plates were never used again and eventually were sold248 by Bach's heirs at the price of old copper. Written by a man of Bach's transcendent genius, and commended as a masterpiece by a critic so highly regarded as Marpurg, a work of this kind, if published in any other country than Germany, would have passed through at least ten editions by now, if only at the bidding of patriotism. But in Germany not a sufficient number of copies was sold to pay for the plates used in engraving the work!
The work consists of fugal Variations planned on the most elaborate scale.249 The composer's intention was to show in what a variety of ways the same theme can be treated fugally. The Variations (here called “Contrapunctus”)250 are complete Fugues upon the same theme. The last Fugue of all has three subjects, in the third of which the composer signs his name, B A C H.251 [pg 123] Bach was prevented from finishing it by the disorder of his eyes, and as an operation brought no relief the movement was never completed. It is said that Bach intended to introduce four themes into it and to bring it to an impressive conclusion by inverting them all. All the Fugues in the work are equally smooth and melodious.
To make up for the unfinished Fugue Bach concluded the work with a Choral Prelude upon the tune “Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein,” which he dictated to his son-in-law, Altnikol, a few days before his death.252 Of the extraordinary skill it displays I do not speak, save to remark that even in his last illness it proclaims Bach's skill undiminished. The pious resignation and devotion that characterise it move me deeply whenever I play it. Nor should I find it easy to say which I had rather had been omitted, the Choral Prelude, or the conclusion of the unfinished Fugue.
|9. Lastly, after Bach's death, his four-part Chorals were collected by his son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, and were published by Birnstiel (Berlin and Leipzig), Part I. in 1765, Part II. in 1769.253 Each Part contains one hundred Chorals, [pg 124] mostly taken from the composer's church Cantatas.
More recently Kirnberger edited, in four volumes, a collection of Bach's Chorals. They are published by Breitkopf.254
Bach's works, still in MS., consist of compositions for the Clavier, Organ, with and without other instruments, Strings, and the voice. I will enumerate them in that order.
I. Compositions For The Clavier
|1. Six Little Preludes far Beginners.255|
|2. Fifteen Two-part Inventions. An Invention is a musical theme so constructed that by imitation and inversion a whole movement can be evolved from it. The subject having been first stated, the rest develops naturally out of it. For the instruction of a young Clavier player these fifteen Inventions are of great value, seeing that the composer has been careful not only to provide exercises for both hands but for every finger as [pg 125] well. They were composed at Cöthen in 1723, with a long title which begins: “An honest Guide, in which lovers of the Clavier are shown a clear method of playing correctly in two parts,” etc.256
It cannot be denied that, among other blemishes, the Inventions occasionally exhibit melodic poverty and roughness. But finding them useful to his pupils, Bach eventually revised them and removed from them everything that offended his maturer taste, so that they now stand as masterpieces of pure music. Moreover they are invaluable exercises for the fingers and hands and are sound instructors of taste. There is no better introduction to Bach's larger works than they afford.
|3. Fifteen three-part Inventions, also called Symphonies. They were written for the same purpose as the Inventions, but are more advanced.257|
|4. The Well-tempered Clavier, or, Preludes and Fugues in all tones and semitones, composed for the profit and use of young musicians desirous of knowledge, as also for those who are skilled already in this studio. Part I. was finished in 1722. Part II., like Part I., contains twenty-four Preludes and twenty-four Fugues in every key, [pg 126] and was composed at a later period.258 Every number of it, from first to last, is a masterpiece. In Part I., however, certain Preludes and Fugues bear marks of immaturity and are included probably only in order to complete the series. But here again Bach eventually corrected whatever seemed to him lacking in finish. He altered or rewrote entire passages, so that in the later texts few movements are not perfect. Among these few I reckon the Fugues in A minor,259 G major and G minor,260 C major,261 F major and F minor.262 The rest are excellent, some of them so superlatively good as to be not inferior to those in Part II.263 Even Part II., for all its original perfection, has been improved by the composer, as may be observed by comparing the original and later texts. Both Parts contain treasures of art not to be found outside Germany.|
|5. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue.264 I have taken considerable pains to discover a similar piece of music by Bach, but without success. The Fantasia is unique and unequalled. Wilhelm Friedemann sent it to me from Brunswick inscribed with these words by a mutual friend. “Anbey kommt an etwas Musik von Sebastian, sonst genannt: Fantasia chromatica; bleibt schön in alle Saecula.”
It is remarkable that this piece, for all its technical skill, appeals to the most unpractised hearer, if it is performed at all tolerably.
|6. A Fantasia in C minor. It is not of the same character as the preceding work, but resembles rather the Allegro of a Sonata. It is divided into two parts, but must be played as a single movement. It is an excellent work, and in old copies an unfinished Fugue follows, which, however, cannot belong to it.265 The first thirty bars certainly are by Bach, for they are marked by an extremely bold use of augmented and diminished intervals and their inversions, in three-part harmony. None but Bach attempted such things. [pg 128] The rest of the movement seems to have been added by another hand and bears no trace of Bach's style.|
|7. Six large Suites, consisting of Preludes, Allemandes, Courantes, Sarabandes, etc. They are known as the “English Suites,” because the composer wrote them for an Englishman of rank.266 All of them are of great merit as works of art, and some movements, in particular the Gigues of the fifth and sixth Suites, are perfect masterpieces of harmony and melody.|
|8. Six small Suites, consisting of Allemandes, Courantes, etc. They are generally called the “French Suites,” because they are written in the French style.267 The composer is intentionally less academic in them than in his larger Suites, and their melodies are more than usually pleasant and agreeable. In particular the fifth Suite deserves to be noticed: all its movements are most melodious, and in the concluding Gigue [pg 129] only consonant intervals, especially thirds and sixths, are used.|
These are Bach's principal works for the Clavier which can be considered classics.268 A great number of single Suites,269Toccatas and Fugues,270 besides those already mentioned, have great and varying merit, but are youthful works.271 At the most, ten or twelve of them seem to me worth preserving, some of them because they would be useful as finger exercises, for which their author originally intended them, others because they are at least better than similar works by other composers. As an exercise for the fingers of both hands I particularly single out a Fugue in A minor,272 in which the composer has been at great pains to write florid passages in order to give equal strength and suppleness to both hands. For beginners a little two-part Fugue273 should also prove useful. It is melodious, flowing, and not at all old-fashioned.
II. Music For The Clavier With Other Instruments
|1. Six Sonatas for Clavier with Violin obbligato. Composed at Cöthen, they are among Bach's masterpieces in this form and display fugal and canonic writing which is both natural and full of character. The Violin part needs a master to play it; for Bach knew the capabilities of the instrument and spared it as little as the Clavier. The six Sonatas are in the keys of B minor, A major, E major, C minor, F minor, and G major.274|
|2. Several Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin,275 Harpsichord and Flute,276 Harpsichord and Viol da Gamba.277 They are admirably written and most of them are pleasant to listen to even today.278|
|3. Several Concertos for the Clavier and other instruments. They contain real gems of art but are antiquated in form.279|
|4. Two Concertos for two Claviers, with an accompaniment of two Violins, Viola, and Violoncello. The first, in C minor,280 has an antique flavour. But the second, in C major,281 is as fresh as if it had been written yesterday.282 It may be played without the String quartet and still sounds admirable. The final Allegro is a majestic movement and strictly fugal. Compositions of this form were first perfected, indeed, we may conjecture, were first attempted, by Bach. At least, I have met with only a single example by another composer that may perhaps be older—namely, Pachelbel of Nürnberg's Toccata, as he called it. Pachelbel, however, was a contemporary of Bach and may have taken the idea from him. However, his work is not worth considering. One instrument merely repeats the other's phrases without being at all concertante. It almost seems as if Bach at this period had made up his mind to discover what could be done with any number of parts. Having already written for a [pg 132] single solo instrument music which required no accompaniment, he next experimented in dividing his material between as large a number of solo instruments as possible. Hence the Concertos for two Claviers were followed by|
|5. Two Concertos for three Claviers with an accompaniment of Strings.283 These Concertos present a remarkable characteristic: besides the concertante combination of three Claviers, the stringed instruments also have concertante parts distinct from the accompaniment. It is difficult to realise the art involved in this achievement. For, in spite of their technical skill, the two works are so delicate, full of character, and expressive, that the composer might be treating a simple melody (note particularly the Concerto in D minor). Words are inadequate to express the admiration they arouse. But Bach was not satisfied. Hence he wrote|
|6. A Concerto for four Claviers and four stringed instruments.284 I cannot judge the effect of this composition, for I have never been able to get together the four instruments and four performers [pg 133] it requires. But that it is admirably written can be seen from the parts.|
III. Compositions For The Organ
The pedal is the distinctive feature of the Organ which places it above all other instruments, and gives it its magnificence, sonority, and majesty. Deprive it of the pedal and you take from it the solemn and imposing tones which are its distinctive utterance, reducing it to the level of a “positiv,” or Chamber-organ, an instrument relatively insignificant.
But an Organ equipped with a pedal must be able to employ it in its full compass,285 and both composer and organist must know the proper use of it. No one excelled Bach in this knowledge. Not only is his rich harmony and melody singularly adapted to the instrument, but he gave the pedal a part of its own, even in his early compositions. Yet it was only gradually that he mastered its technique; for his Organ masterpieces belong to the period in which those for the Clavier began to be classics. His early and immature Organ works are widely dispersed; for as soon as a composer begins to be distinguished everybody is anxious to possess a specimen of his art. Public curiosity, however, generally dies down long before a composer comes to maturity, [pg 134] particularly if his work is over the heads of the public. And this seems to have been Bach's fortune. Consequently his mature Organ works are less familiar than his early efforts. The latter, however, cannot possibly be admitted to a “correct and critical” edition of his works, and I mention here only those whose merit is as incontestable as that of the Clavier works enumerated in the preceding paragraphs.
Bach's finest Organ music falls into three groups:
|1. The Great Preludes and Fugues, with obbligato pedal. Their number cannot be stated, but I believe it not to exceed a dozen.286 At least, after prolonged search I have not been able to collect more than that number.287 To these I must add a very clever and original Passacaglia, which, [pg 135] however, seems suitable rather for a two-manual Clavicembalo and pedal than for the Organ.288|
|2. Preludes on Choral Melodies. It was at Arnstadt that Bach began to compose Variations on Choral melodies, under the title Partite diverse.289 Most of them can be played on the manuals alone. Those which I include here are an exception and require the obbligato pedal. Their number may amount to one hundred. I myself possess above seventy, and more survive elsewhere.290 No other Choral Preludes approach them in religious feeling, dignity, and sublimity of expression. I cannot notice them individually; they are too numerous. Besides the larger, there is a great number of shorter and easier ones, particularly useful for young players. MSS. of them exist in considerable number.291|
|3. Six Sonatas, or Trios, for two manuals and an obbligato pedal.292 Bach wrote them for his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, whom they helped to become the great performer he was when I knew him. It is impossible to overpraise their beauty. Bach composed them when he was in the full vigour of his powers, and they may be considered his chef d'oeuvre in this form.293 He also wrote other Organ Sonatas, the MSS. of which are in various collections. They are fine compositions, though they do not equal the Six in merit.294|
IV. Instrumental Music
There are few instruments for which Bach did not write. In his day it was usual to play a Concerto or instrumental Solo during the Communion office.295 Bach composed many of these pieces himself, and always with a view to their improving the technique of the player. Most of them are lost. But two important works of another kind survive and to some extent compensate us. They are:
|1. Six Solos for Violin, unaccompanied.296|
|2. Six Solos for Violoncello, unaccompanied.297 The Violin Solos have long been considered by the finest players to be the best instructor for the instrument. The Violoncello Solos are equally effective.298|
V. Vocal Music
|1. Five complete sets of church Cantatas for the Sundays and Festivals of the year.299|
|2. Five compositions for Holy Week, one of which is for double chorus.300|
|3. Several Oratorios,301 Masses,302 a Magnificat, settings of the Sanctus,303 compositions for birthdays and Saints' Days,304 funerals,305 marriages,306 and some Italian Cantatas.307|
|4. Several Motets for single and double chorus.308|
Most of these works are now dispersed. The Church Cantatas were divided between his elder sons after their composer's death. Wilhelm Friedemann had the larger share because, being organist at Halle, he could make use of them. Later, circumstances compelled him to part with them gradually. I know of no other collection of Bach's larger choral works. There exist, however, eight or ten Motets for double chorus, but they are dispersed in various hands.309 In the collection bequeathed by the Princess Amalia of Prussia to the Joachimsthal Gymnasium at Berlin there are some of Bach's vocal compositions.310 Their number is not considerable, but among them are the following:
|1. Twenty-one Church Cantatas.311 In one of them, set to the words, Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde,312 the composer introduces a bell obbligato. From that fact we may conclude that the Cantata was not composed in the period of Bach's maturity,313 for the use of bells is of doubtful taste.|
|2. Two Masses for five voices with instrumental accompaniment.314|
|3. A Mass for double chorus, the first being [pg 141] accompanied by Strings and the second by wind instruments.315|
|4. A Passion, for double Chorus,316 the text by Picander.317|
|5. A Sanctus, for four voices and instrumental accompaniment.318|
|6. A Motet, for four voices, Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir.319|
|7. A Motet for five voices, Jesu, meine Freude.|
|8. Four Motets, for eight voices in double chorus:
|9. A detached four-part fugal chorus, Nimm was dein ist, und gehe hin.321|
|10. A bucolic Cantata, with Recitatives, Aria, Duet, and Chorus. A note is prefixed to it.322
On the MS. of the last-named Cantata and of the Mass for double chorus (No. 3 supra) there is a note by Kirnberger analysing the skill and merit of the compositions.
CHAPTER X. BACH'S MANUSCRIPTS
It has been remarked more than once that Bach, throughout his life, devoted much thought to the improvement of his compositions. I have had frequent occasion to compare the original and subsequent texts of his works, and confess to have experienced both surprise and pleasure in observing his care to improve whatever he thought faulty, to make good better, and better perfect. Nothing is more instructive than a collation of this kind, whether to the experienced musician or the instructed amateur. I should like to see a supplement to the complete edition of Bach's works showing these variant readings.323 The collation would be in the highest degree instructive, and to attempt it is as appropriate to the works of the composer, a poet in sound, as to those of the poet in words.
In Bach's early texts he often repeats a phrase to other words with some melodic variety, in a [pg 144] lower or even in the same octave. In his riper experience he could not tolerate such poverty of workmanship, and cut out these passages remorselessly, without regard for the number and quality of the persons who had approved them in their original state. There occur to me two good examples of this, the C major and C sharp minor Preludes in the first part of the Well-tempered Clavier. Bach revised them so drastically as to cut them down by one-half, sacrificing passages that he thought redundant.324
In other places Bach tends to be over-concise; he expresses an idea, but does not fully develop it. The best illustration that occurs to me is the D minor Prelude in the second part of the Well-tempered Clavier. I possess several texts of it. In the oldest the first transposition of the theme in the Bass and several other details essential to a complete development of the idea are wanting. A second MS. gives the theme to the Bass wherever the latter is in a key nearly related to that of the tonic. In a third MS. these addenda are developed more fully and are joined more skilfully. But melodic details are present of doubtful relevance to the rest of the composition. In a fourth MS. these disappear or are amended, so that, as we have it, the Prelude stands as one of the most beautiful and least faulty in the Well-tempered Clavier. Many people, no doubt, [pg 145] preferred the movement in its original form. But Bach was not a man to be influenced by approbation or criticism. He went on correcting until he satisfied himself.
In the early part of the seventeenth century it was the fashion in instrumental music to overload single notes with ornaments and add florid runs. Lately it has become the fashion to do so in vocal music as well. That Bach shared this disposition may be inferred from certain pieces that he wrote in this style. An instance is the Prelude in E minor in the first part of the Well-tempered Clavier. But he soon returned to his natural better taste, and altered the movement to the form in which it is engraved.325
Every decade has its own style of melody, distinctive of itself and evanescent. A composer must carefully avoid it if he hopes to be listened to by posterity. In his young days even Bach ran upon this rock. His early compositions for the Organ, and the two-part Inventions in their original form, are full of fiorituri such as the taste of his period approved. His Organ compositions remain comparatively untouched, but the Inventions he closely revised. The public will soon be able to compare them in their first and later forms, as the publishers, with admirable spirit, have resolved to discontinue the present edition [pg 146] and to send out to subscribers a revised one based on Bach's corrected text.
Bach's processes of revision so far mentioned, however, merely correct faults of form, that is, diffuseness or incomplete development of a musical thought. But Bach employed other methods which are less easy to describe because they are more subtle. He often rivets the style and character of a piece by changing a single note, strictly correct grammatically and yet disagreeable to an artist such as himself. Even commonplace passages he could convert into phrases of beauty by the addition or alteration of a single note. Only the most sensitive taste and trained experience can decide in such cases, and Bach possessed both in the highest perfection. He developed them to such a pitch, indeed, that his brain eventually rejected any idea which, in all its properties and relations, did not accord inevitably and naturally with the whole composition. Consequently his later works display such consistency of merit that all of them seem to have been cast complete in a mould, so smooth, facile and abundant is the flow of his rich fancy. It is on the highest summits of the art that harmony and melody find their ideal union, and as yet Bach dwells there in majestic isolation.
CHAPTER XI. THE GENIUS OF BACH
It is surely unnecessary to ask whether that artist is a genius who, in every form of his art, has produced masterpiece after masterpiece, of an originality which sets them above the achievements of all other ages, distinguished also by a wealth of originality and agreeableness that enslaves every hearer. The most fertile fancy, invention inexhaustible, a judgment so nice as to reject intuitively every irrelevant and jarring detail, unerring ingenuity in employing the most delicate and minute resources of his art, along with an unrivalled technique—these qualities, whose expression demands the outpouring of a man's whole soul, are the signboards of genius. The man who cannot find them in Bach's music either is not acquainted with it at all or knows it imperfectly. One needs to be steeped in it thoroughly to appreciate the genius of its author. For the greater the work the closer study is demanded for its apprehension. The butterfly method, a sip here and there, is of little use. But admirable as were the gifts Bach received [pg 148] from nature, he could never have become an accomplished genius had he not learned betimes to avoid the rocks on which many artists, some of them perhaps not less gifted than he, too often founder. I will communicate to the reader some scattered thoughts on the subject and conclude this essay with an indication of the characteristics of Bach's genius.
Even the largest natural gifts, coupled with the strongest propensity for a particular art, offer no more than fruitful soil on which that art may thrive by patient cultivation. Industry, the true begetter of every art and science, is an indispensable factor. Not only does it enable genius to master technique, but it stimulates the critical and reflective faculties also. The very ease with which genius acquires and applies the apparatus of musical composition frequently entices it to leap over root principles in its plunge into deeper waters, or to fly before its wings are grown. In such a case, unless genius is guided back to neglected fundamentals and forced to build itself upon the great examples of the past, it will inevitably expend its treasure uselessly and never attain to its promised dimensions. For it is an axiom, that real progress can never be made, nor the highest perfection be attained, if the foundations are insecure. If arduous heights are to be achieved, the easier obstacles must first be approached and overcome. Guided by his own [pg 149] inexperience no one ever can hope to become great. He must profit by the practice and example of others.
Bach did not founder on this rock. His soaring genius attended an equally ardent industry which incessantly impelled him, whenever he found his own equipment insufficient, to seek guidance from others. Vivaldi and his Concertos were the first from whom he sought counsel. From them he turned to the principal Organ and Clavier composers of the period. Nothing is more intellectually stimulating than counterpoint, and the composers Bach studied were distinguished by their mastery of it, as their fugal writing attests. Hence Bach's diligent study and imitation of them pointed his taste and imagination to perceive wherein himself was lacking and what steps were needed to take him farther in his art.
A second rock upon which genius often comes to grief is the public's undiscriminating applause. To be sure, I do not undervalue public approval or commend without reserve the remark of a Greek teacher to his pupil, “You performed badly, otherwise the audience would not have applauded you.” Yet it is none the less true that many artists are thrown off their balance by exaggerated and often unmerited plaudits, particularly in their early careers before they have acquired self-discipline and sound judgment. The public merely asks for what it can understand, whereas the true [pg 150] artist ought to aim at an achievement which cannot be measured by popular standards. How, then, can popular applause be reconciled with the true artist's aspirations towards the ideal? Bach never sought applause, and held with Schiller:
Mach' es wenigen recht; vielen gefallen ist schlimm.326
Like every true artist, Bach worked to please himself in his own way, obeying the summons of his own genius, choosing his own subjects, and finding satisfaction only in the approval of his own judgment. He could count on the applause of all who understood good music, and never failed to receive it. Under what other conditions can sound works of art emerge? The composer who debases his muse to the popular mood either lacks real genius or, having it, abuses it. For to catch the ear of the public is not a difficult task and merely connotes an agreeable facility. Composers of that class are like artisans who frankly fashion their goods to suit their market. But Bach never condescended to such artifices. The artist, in his judgment, is the dictator of public taste, not its slave. If, as often happened, he was asked to write something simple for the Clavier [pg 151] he would answer, “I will do what I can.” He would choose an easy theme. But when he began to develop it he always found so much to say that the piece soon became anything but simple. If his attention was drawn to the fact, he would answer smilingly, “Practise it well and you will find it quite easy. You have as many good fingers on each hand as I have.” Nor was he prompted in this by mere contradictoriness, but exhibited the true artist spirit.
It was, in fact, the artist temperament that led Bach to make the great and sublime his goal. For that reason his music is not merely agreeable, like other composers', but transports us to the regions of the ideal. It does not arrest our attention momentarily but grips us the stronger the oftener we listen to it, so that after a thousand hearings its treasures are still unexhausted and yield fresh beauties to excite our wonder. Even the beginner who knows but the A B C of his art warms with pleasure when he hears Bach's music and can open his ear and heart to it. It was the true artist spirit, too, that guided Bach to unite majesty and grandeur of design with meticulous care for detail and the most refined elegance, characteristics which we rather seek, perhaps, in works whose object is merely to give pleasure. Bach held strongly that if the strands are imperfect, the whole design is faulty. His genius is sublime and impressive, and he never [pg 152] condescends to be frivolous even when he touches the lighter forms of art.
To conclude: it was the union of astounding genius and indefatigable application that enabled Bach to widen at every point the domain of musical expression. His successors have failed to maintain the art at the level to which he raised it. If Bach was more successful, if he was able to produce great work of convincing beauty and imperishable as a model for those who came after him, we owe it as much to his application as to his genius.
This man, the greatest orator-poet that ever addressed the world in the language of music, was a German! Let Germany be proud of him! Yes, proud of him, but worthy of him too!
APPENDIX I. CHRONOLOGICAL CATALOGUE OF BACH'S COMPOSITIONS
I. CATALOGUE OF BACH'S COMPOSITIONS PRIOR TO HIS APPOINTMENT TO WEIMAR IN JUNE 1708, in his twenty-fourth year.327
Motet: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden.
|Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo (bk. 208 p. 62) (1704).|
|Capriccio in honorem Joh. Christoph Bachii, Ohrdruf (bk. 216 p. 34) (c. 1704).|
|Sonata in D major (bk. 215 p. 44) (c. 1704).329|
B.G. XXXVI. prints a number of pieces which, in general, may be assigned to Bach's immature years. They are reproduced in Peters' edition:
|Book 215: Three Minuets (p. 62).|
To these may be added (? authentic) from B.G. XLII.:
|Prelude and Fugue in C minor (bk. 2 p. 48) (c. 1704).|
|Do. do. C major (bk. 8 p. 88) (? 1707).331|
|Do. do. the “Short,” A minor (bk. 10 p. 208).|
|Fugue in C minor (bk. 12 p. 95) (c. 1704).|
|Do. C minor, on a theme by Legrenzi (bk. 10 p. 230) (c. 1708).|
|Do. B minor, on a theme by Corelli (bk. 3 p. 60).|
|Do. D major (bk. 12 p. 83).|
|Do. G major (bk. 12 p. 55).|
|Do. G major (bk. 12 p. 86).|
|Do. G minor (bk. 2 p. 41).|
|Prelude in A minor (bk. 10 p. 238) (by 1706).|
|Do. C major (bk. 12 p. 94).|
|Fantasia and Fugue in A minor (bk. 12 p. 60).|
|Fantasias in 6 major (bk. 9 p. 168; bk. 12 p. 75).|
|Pastorale in F major (bk. 12 p. 102).|
|Choral Partita: Christ, der du bist der helle Tag (bk. 19 p. 36).|
|Do. O Gott, du frommer Gott (bk. 19 p. 44).|
|Do. Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig (bk. 19 p. 55).|
Generally speaking, the Choral Preludes, other than those in the maturer collections made by Bach himself, may be regarded as youthful works (bks. 18, 19).
II. Catalogue Of Bach's Compositions At Weimar, 1708-17, from his twenty-fourth to his thirty-third year.
|Secular Cantata: Was mir behagt (1716), or, Verlockender Götterstreit.|
|Sixteen Concertos after Vivaldi (bk. 217) (c. 1708-12).|
|Toccatas in D major (bk. 211 p. 28), G major (bk. 215 p. 19), D minor (bk. 210 p. 68), G minor (bk. 211 p. 4), E minor (bk. 210 p. 23) (c. 1708-12).|
|Aria variata alia maniera Italiana (bk. 215 p. 12) (c. 1708-12).|
|Prelude and Fugue in A minor (bk. 211 p. 14) (c. 1715).|
|Fugues in A major (bk. 215 pp. 52, 57).|
|Do. B minor (bk. 214 p. 48).|
|Do. A major (bk. 212 p. 66).|
|Do. A minor (bk. 212 p. 70).|
|Fantasia in G minor (bk. 215 p. 32).|
|Do. B minor (bk. 215 p. 41). (For Organ, N. bk. 12 p. 71.)|
|Do. D major (bk. 211 p. 28).|
|Do. A minor (bk. 215 p. 5) (c. 1710).|
|Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor (bk. 10 p. 214).|
|Four Concertos after Vivaldi (bk. 11).|
|Eight Short Preludes and Fugues (bk. 1).|
|Orgelbüchlein (bk. 15) (1717).|
|Aria in F major (bk. 12 p. 112).|
|Fantasia con Imitazione (bk. 12 p. 71).|
|Do. C major (bk. 12 p. 92).|
|Do. C minor (bk. 3 p. 57).|
|Trio in C minor (bk. 12 p. 108).|
|Do. D minor (bk. 2 p. 54).|
|Canzona in D minor (bk. 2 p. 34) (c. 1714).|
|Allabreve in D major (bk. 2 p. 26).|
|Prelude and Fugue in C major (bk. 7 p. 74).|
|Do. do. the “Short,” E minor (bk. 2 p. 44).|
|Do. do. D major (bk. 6 p. 10).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” A minor (bk. 7 p. 42).|
|Do. do. A major (bk. 3 p. 64).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” C minor (bk. 7 p. 64).|
|Do. do. F minor (bk. 6 p. 21).|
|Do. do. G major (bk. 7 p. 80).|
|Do. do. G minor (bk. 8 p. 120) (c. 1712).|
|Toccata and Fugue in D minor (bk. 6 p. 2).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” C major (bk. 9 p. 137).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” F major (bk. 9 p. 176).|
|Do. do. the Dorian, D minor (bk. 10 p. 196).|
|Fantasia and Fugue in C minor (bk. 3 p. 76).|
|Prelude in G major (bk. 2 p. 30).|
|Do. C major (bk. 12 p. 91).|
|Fugue, the “Short,” in G minor (bk. 3 p. 84).|
|Do. C major (bk. 12 p. 100).|
III. Catalogue Of Bach's Compositions At Cöthen, 1717-23, from his thirty-third to his thirty-ninth year.
|Secular Cantata: Durchlaucht'ster Leopold (1717).|
|Do. Mit Gnaden bekröne der Himmel die Zeiten|
|(?1721). Do. Weichetnur, betrübte Schatten (?1717-23).332|
|Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1720).|
|Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (bk. 207 p. 4) (c. 1720-23).|
|Clavier-Büchlein vor A. M. Bachin (bk 1959) (1722).|
|The Well-tempered Clavier (Part i.) (bk. 2790a) (1722).|
|Six French Suites (bks. 202 and 2793) (c. 1722).|
|Six English Suites (bks. 203-4 and 2794-95) (before 1726).|
|Fantasia and Fugue in A minor (bk. 208 p. 50).|
|Fugue in A minor (bk. 207 p. 16) (B.G. III. p. 334).|
|Twelve Little Preludes and Six Preludes for Beginners (bks. 200 and 2791) (c. 1722).|
|Inventions and Symphonies (bks. 201 and 2792) (1723).|
|Toccatas in F sharp minor and C minor (bk. 210 pp. 30 and 40).|
|Suites in A minor, E flat major, E minor, F major, and F minor (fragment) (bk. 214 pp. 54,62, 68; bk. 215 p. 27; bk. 212 p. 84).|
|Prelude and Fugue in E flat major (bk. 214 p. 40).|
|Six Sonatas (Suites) for Violin Solo (bk. 228) (c. 1720).334|
|Six Sonatas (Suites) for Violoncello Solo (bk. 238a) (c. 1720).|
|Six Sonatas for Violin and Clavier (bks. 232-33-232a-33a).|
|Suite in A major for Violin and Clavier (bk. 236).|
|Four Inventions for Violin and Clavier (bk. 2957).|
|Sonata in E minor and Fugue in G minor for Violin and Clavier (bk. 236) (?early work).|
|Six Sonatas for Flute and Clavier (bks. 234-35).|
|Sonata in C major for two Violins and Clavier (bk. 237).|
|Three Sonatas for Viol da Gamba and Clavier (bk. 239).|
|Sonata in G major for two Flutes and Clavier (bk. 239 p. 2).|
|Sonata in G major for Violin, Flute, and Clavier (bk. 237).|
|Six Brandenburg Concertos (bks. 261-66) (1721).|
|Four Suites (Overtures) (bks. 267-69, 2068).336|
|Three Concertos for Violin and Orchestra (bks. 229, 230).337|
|Concerto in D minor for two Violins and Orchestra (bk. 231).338|
|Prelude (Fantasia) and Fugue, the “Great,” in G minor (bk. 8 p. 127) (?1720).|
IV. Catalogue Of Bach's Compositions At Leipzig, 1723-34, from his thirty-ninth to his fiftieth year.
|Magnificat in D (?1723).339|
|Sanctus in C major, D major (c. 1723), D minor, and G major (P. bk. 29b).340|
|St. John Passion (1723).|
|St. Matthew Passion (1729).|
|Mass in B minor (1733-?1738).|
|Christmas Oratorio (1734).|
|Three Wedding Chorals (P. bk. 1654).|
|Motet: Jesu, meine Freude (1723).|
|Do. Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf (1729).|
|Do. fürchte dich nicht.|
|Do. Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied.|
|Motet: Komm, Jesu, komm.|
|Secular Cantata: Der zufriedengestellte Aeolus (1725); also entitled Blast Larmen, ihr Feinden (1734).|
|Do. Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten (1726), or, Auf schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten (after 1733).|
|Do. Schwingt freudig euch empor; also entitled Die Freude reget sich, or Steigt freudig in die Luft (1726).|
|Do Entfernet euch, ihr heitern Sterne (1727; music lost).|
|Do. Vergnügte Pleissenstadt (1728; music lost).|
|Do. Von der Vergnügsamkeit, or Ich bin in mir vergnügt (c. 1730).|
|Do. Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (c. 1730).|
|Do. Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan 1731).|
|Do. Froher Tag, verlangte Stunden (1732; music lost).|
|Do. Schweigt stille (Coffee Cantata) (c. 1732).|
|Do. Herkules auf dem Scheidewege, or Die Wahl des Herkules (1733).|
|Do. Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten (1733).|
|Do. Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen (1734).|
|Do. Schleicht, spielende Wellen (1734).|
|Do. Thomana sass annoch betrübt (1734; music lost).|
|Graduation Cantata: Siehe, der Hüter Israels (music lost).|
|Notenbuch vor Anna Magdalena Bach (bk. 1959) (1725).|
|Clavierübung, Part I. containing the six Partitas, or German Suites (bks. 205-6 or 2796-97) (1731).|
|Concertos in C major, C minor, and C minor for two Claviers and Orchestra (bks. 256, 257, 257b) (1727-36).341|
|Seven Concertos for Clavier and Orchestra (bks. 248-54) (1729-36).|
|Concerto in A minor for Violin, Flute, Clavier, and Orchestra (bk. 255) (c. 1730).342|
|Concerto in A minor for four Claviers and Orchestra (bk. 260) (c. 1733).|
|Concertos in D minor and C major for three Claviers and Orchestra (bks. 258, 259) (c. 1733).|
V. Catalogue Of Bach's Compositions At Leipzig, 1735-50, from his fifty-first year to his death.
|Ascension Oratorio (Cantata 11) (c. 1735).|
|Schemelli's Hymn-book (1736).|
|Easter Oratorio (c. 1736).|
|Four Masses, in P major, A major (c. 1739), G minor, G major (c. 1739).|
|Secular Cantata: Angenehmes Wiederau (1737).|
|Do. Willkommen, ihr herrschenden Götter der Erden (1738) (music lost).|
|Do. Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (Peasant Cantata) (1742).|
|Do. O holder Tag (?1749), or, O angenehme Melodei.|
|Italian Cantata: Amore traditore.|
|Do. Andro dall' colle al prato (lost).|
|Do. Non sa che sia dolore.|
|Clavierübung, Part II. containing the Italian Concerto (bk. 207) and Partita in B minor (bk. 208) (1735).|
|Fantasia and Fugue in C minor (bk. 207 p. 50 and bk. 212 p. 88) (c. 1738).|
|Clavierübung, Part III. containing the four Duetti (bk. 208) (1739).|
|Clavierübung, Part IV. containing the Goldberg Variations (bk. 209) (c. 1742).|
|The Well-tempered Clavier, Part II. (bk. Ib or 2790b) (1744).|
|Sonata for Violin, Flute, and Clavier, in C minor (in the “Musical Offering”) (bk. 237 p. 3) (1747).|
|Three Partitas for the Lute (?1740).345|
|The Catechism Choral Preludes (in Clavierübung, Part III.) (bk. 16) (1739).|
|Fugue in D minor (in ditto) (bk. 16 p. 49) (1739).|
|Prelude and Fugue in E flat major (in ditto) (bk. 6 p. 28) (1739).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” in C major (bk. 9 p. 156).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” in B minor (bk. 7 p. 52) (1727-36).|
|Do. do. the “Great,” in E minor (bk. 8 p. 98).|
|Canonic Variations on “Vom Himmel hoch” (bk. 19) (1746).|
|The Schübler Choral Preludes (bk. 16) (c. 1747-50).|
|The Eighteen Choral Preludes (bk. 17) (c. 1747-50).|
|The Musical Offering (P. bk. 219) (1747).|
|The Art of Fugue (P. bk. 218) (1749).|
APPENDIX II. THE CHURCH CANTATAS ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY
We have the statement of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,346 confirmed by Forkel,347 Bach's earliest biographer, that his father composed five Cantatas for every Sunday and Festival of the ecclesiastical year. Concerted music was sung at Leipzig annually on forty-three Sundays and sixteen week-days.348 Bach therefore must have written at least 295 Cantatas. Of this number he composed at least thirty before 1723. Hence approximately 265 were written at Leipzig. But Bach's fertility does not appear to have outlived the year 1744. We have reason, therefore, to conclude that the 265 Leipzig Cantatas were written in the course of twenty-one years, that is, between 1723 and 1744. To complete that number Bach must have composed a new Cantata every month, a surprising but demonstrable conclusion.
Of the 295 Cantatas only 202 have come down to us, three of them in an incomplete state.349 Of those written before 1723 the survivors are too scanty to indicate a rate of productivity. But thereafter we have fuller materials for a calculation. Bach, as Cantor, conducted his first Leipzig Cantata on May 30, 1723, and in the following sixteen months produced twenty-four Cantatas, at the [pg 164] rate of more than one a month.350 Beginning at the New Year of 1725 he wrote eighteen Cantatas in nine months, some of which, however, may belong to the years 1726-7-8-9. But even so, his monthly average seems to have been maintained. For 1730 we have, perhaps, ten Cantatas. For 1731 about twenty survive, of which half a dozen may belong to 1732, a deduction which still preserves Bach's steady average. In 1735 he produced actually nineteen Cantatas between the New Year and the following November, though not all of them are positively dated. Thereafter his activity is less certainly measured. But from 1736 till the end of 1744 he composed fifty-three Cantatas, at the rate, that is, of at least six every year, without making allowance for Cantatas written and lost.
There are few phenomena in the record of art more extraordinary than this unflagging cataract of inspiration, in which masterpiece followed masterpiece with the monotonous periodicity of a Sunday sermon. Its musical significance has been presented with illuminating exegesis by more than one commentator. But its literary apparatus has captured little attention. Yet Bach's task must have been materially eased or aggravated according as the supply of libretti was regular or infrequent, while the flow of his inspiration must have been governed by their quality. Moreover, the libretto was the medium through which he offered the homage of his art to the service of God. The subject therefore deserves attention. However trivial, measured against the immensities of Bach's genius, the study will at least provide a platform from which to contemplate it.
At the outset the opinion may be hazarded that the provision of his weekly libretti caused Bach greater anxiety than the setting of them to music, a task which he accomplished with almost magical facility. It is [pg 165] true that from the early part of the 18th century cycles of Cantata texts for the Church's year were not infrequently published. Bach was in more or less intimate touch with the authors of four, perhaps five, printed collections of the kind. But he used them with surprising infrequency. Neumeister's published cycles provided him with seven libretti,351 Franck's with sixteen,352 Picander's with ten,353 Marianne von Ziegler's with nine,354 and Helbig's with two.355 He took three libretti from the Bible,356 and the hymn-book furnished him with eleven more.357 But all these published sources together only account for fifty-eight texts. Bach possessed only one book that could assist his own efforts at authorship—Paul Wagner's eight-volumed Hymn-book—whence he took the stanzas which decorate his Cantatas like jewels in the rare settings he gave them. It was, therefore, mainly upon writers with whom he was brought into occasional or official contact that Bach depended for his texts.
At the beginning of his career Bach was thrown upon his inexperience. His earliest libretti, consequently, are tentative and transitory in their construction. His first Cantata was written at Arnstadt for the Easter Festival of 1704.358 The core of the libretto is a seven-stanzaed Easter song by an unknown poet, eked out by two passages of Scripture, a Excitativo, Aria, and a verse of a congregational hymn. The Aria and Recitativo are the only original numbers of the libretto, and there is little [pg 166] doubt that Bach wrote them himself.359 But the whole libretto is stamped by his personality, and reveals the inveterate subjectivity of his religion. For, disregarding the general message of the Festival, the libretto opens on the soul's personal longing for immortality and closes on its song of victory over death. In construction it is archaic, a survival of traditions acquired from central and northern Germany through Bach's earlier residence at Lüneburg and intercourse with Hamburg.360
Three years passed before Bach produced his next extant Cantata. In the interval, on 29th June 1707, he resigned his Arnstadt appointment to become organist of the Church of St. Blasius at Mühlhausen.361 Here, within the space of ten months, he produced three Cantatas, the uniform character of whose libretti points to local and transitory influence upon the composer. The first of them,362 written in August 1707, is a setting of Psalm 130, with the addition of two hymn-stanzas. The second363 was performed on 4th February 1708, at the inauguration of the Mühlhausen Town Council, and consists of Old Testament passages, a verse of a hymn, and three original stanzas. The third,364 a wedding Cantata, was performed at Dornheim, near Arnstadt, on 5th June 1708, at the marriage of Pastor Johann Lorenz Stauber to Frau Bach's aunt, and is set to four verses of Psalm 115.
We can have little doubt regarding the authorship of these singularly austere libretti, so far removed in atmosphere from those of Bach's subsequent periods. In fact, the clue is furnished by Bach himself. A note in his handwriting on the score of the first of the three [pg 167] Cantatas (No. 131) states that he composed it at the request of Georg Christian Eilmar. The man was a close friend, godfather of Bach's eldest daughter, Katharina Dorothea (b. 1708), chief pastor of the Church of the Blessed Virgin, and Consistorial Assessor, at Mühlhausen. He was, moreover, an aggressive foe of Pietism, of which Mühlhausen was the citadel, and Bach's minister, Frohne, the protagonist. Indeed, the two men waged so public and wordy a warfare365 that Bach's social relations with the one and official connection with the other must have been rendered difficult. To his settled convictions regarding the fellowship of music and worship Pietism offered Puritan opposition. In fact, its lack of sympathy eventually drove him from Mühlhausen, in hope, in his own words, “to realise my views upon the right ordering of Church music without vexation from others.”366 Eilmar, on the other hand, though he admitted the aesthetic value of music, conspicuously lacked the warmth and emotionalism of Bach's religious temperament. To him undoubtedly we must attribute the cold austerity of the three Mühlhausen libretti and the suppression of the personal note already sounded in Bach's Arnstadt Cantata. Nor did Eilmar's influence pass with Bach's departure from Mühlhausen.367 It is to be traced in the early libretti of the Weimar period.
The Weimar Cantatas are twenty-two in number, of which all but three were written subsequently to Bach's appointment as Concertmeister early in 1714. He had been organist to the Ducal Court of Weimar since June 1708, a position which did not require him to compose for the Ducal Chapel. On the other hand, three Cantatas are attributed to the early Weimar years. But they [pg 168] cannot be positively dated, and their libretti bear such clear traces of Eilmar's influence that their composition may belong rather to the Mühlhausen period. Their texts display Eilmar's preference for strictly Biblical material and a disinclination to employ secular forms. The first of them368 is a paraphrase of the Magnificat. The second369 consists of four verses of Psalm 25, along with three simple rhymed stanzas which we have no difficulty in attributing to Bach himself. The third, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (No. 106), was composed, Spitta conjectures,370 for the funeral of Philipp Grossgebauer, Rector of Weimar School, in 1711. But more recently, and more probably, Pirro371 has expressed the opinion that Bach wrote it for the funeral of his uncle, Tobias Lammerhirt, who was buried at Erfurt in September 1707. The theory accords with the suggestion that all three Cantatas belong to the Mühlhausen period. If so, it is probable that the libretto, a very ingenious mosaic of Scripture texts, was written by Eilmar for the occasion. It is the last in which we detect his influence.
Bach's appointment as Ducal Concertmeister at Weimar can be placed between 14th January and 19th March 1714372 and, it is probable, was nearer the former date. He seems to have produced the first Cantata his new post required him to write on Sexagesima Sunday, which fell on 4th February in that year. From thence to the end of 1716 he produced nineteen Cantatas and collaborated with a writer whose libretti at length gave him a satisfactory literary medium.
The new poet, Erdmann Neumeister, four of whose libretti Bach set to music immediately after his [pg 169] appointment, and a fifth a year later,373 was considerably Bach's senior.374 As far back as 1700 he had begun to write a cycle of Cantata texts for the Ducal Chapel at Weissenfels, and pubushed it in 1704, with an explanatory Preface referred to later.375 In 1708 he issued a second cycle for the Court of Rudolstadt, while in 1711 and 1714 third and fourth cycles were written for the Ducal Chapel at Eisenach. All four cycles were reissued in 1716,376 with the addition of a fifth and a Preface, which lauded Neumeister as “the first German to give sacred music its fitting position by introducing and perfecting the Church Cantata.”377
Spitta has dealt exhaustively378 with the evolution and construction of the Neumeister libretto. It need only be remarked that it adapted a secular or operatic apparatus to the service of religion, and that the innovation, hateful to many, triumphed because of Neumeister's delicate handling of it. He perfected the new form, however, in stages. “A Cantata,” he insisted in his 1704 Preface, “is simply a fragment of Opera made up of Aria and Recitativo.” But the restriction excluded from the Cantata its most appropriate material. In his 1708 cycle he found a place for the chorus. Finally, he admitted the Bible stanza and congregational hymn. With their inclusion the Cantata libretto assumed the form familiar to us in Bach's use. It represents a combination of secular Opera and ecclesiastical Motet. The free Arias and Recitativi are derived from the one, the Bible stanzas and congregational hymns perpetuate the traditions of the other. Unity of design is stamped on [pg 170] the whole by its general subordination to the Gospel for the Day. Thus, at the moment when Bach was about to devote his genius to the Cantata, Neumeister opportunely provided him with a libretto singularly adapted to the end Bach had in view, and appropriate to the musical expression by which he proposed to secure it. He adhered to it almost to the end of his life, and found unfailing inspiration in Neumeister's sincerity, delicacy, and uniformly religious outlook. Neumeister's Arias, with a single exception,379 are hymn-like in mood and metre. His Recitativi are reflective and prayerful, rarely oratorical or pictorial, simple communings upon the Gospel themes which the libretto handles.380
Bach's early introduction to Neumeister's texts is explained by the close relations between the Courts of Weimar and Eisenach, by his associations with his own birthplace, and his intimacy with Georg Philipp Telemann, Kapellmeister there, for whose use Neumeister's third and fourth cycles were written.381 Bach set, in all, seven of the libretti—four from the fourth cycle,382 one from the third,383 and two from the first,384 one of which (No. 142) differs so much from the published version as to raise the question whether Bach did not receive it direct from Neumeister in the form in which he set it.385
That Bach should have set no more than seven of Neumeister's texts386 is strange. He shrank, perhaps, from appropriating libretti on which his friend Telemann had a prior claim.387 But the reason is found rather in the fact that at Weimar Bach discovered in 1715 a local [pg 171] poet of first-rate ability who, with perhaps but one exception, wrote the libretti of all the Cantatas he composed during the last two years of his Weimar appointment.
Salomo Franck, Bach's new collaborator, was Curator of the Ducal Museum of Coins and Medals at Weimar. He was twenty-six years older than Bach. But Spitta's conjecture,388 that the two men were not acquainted, is hardly tenable. Both resided in the same small provincial town, both were in the Duke's service, and throughout 1715 and 1716 collaborated in at least ten Cantatas performed in the Ducal Chapel. Moreover, though the Preface of Franck's first cycle is dated 4th June 1715,389 Bach had already set one of its libretti for Easter of that year. A second cycle of texts, of which Bach made little use,390 was published by Franck in 1717.391
Schweitzer, no doubt, is correct in his conclusion392 that Bach was drawn to Franck by his poetic insight, his mysticism, and innate feeling for nature. It must be remembered, too, that his libretti were, in some degree, official. On the other hand, Franck was Neumeister's inferior in ability to conceive a picture fit to express Bach's larger moods, and on occasion could descend to sheer bathos.393 But his texts have a rhythmic swing and melody which Bach found agreeable. He set at least sixteen of them, and returned to them even after he settled at Leipzig.
The circumstances which terminated Bach's service at Weimar are familiar, and need not be restated. He received a new appointment at Cöthen on 1st August 1717, and took up his duties there, probably at Christmas, that year.394 His position was that of Capellmeister to the princely Court. He never styles himself Court Organist,395 and his duties severed him for five years from the service of the Church, to which he had declared his particular dedication in 1708. The Cöthen Court was unpretentious. The Prince was a Calvinist. Figurate music was not permitted in the Court Chapel, and its Organ was small and inadequate. Hence Bach devoted himself chiefly to chamber music, and only two genuine Church Cantatas belong to this period of his career. Both must have been written for performance elsewhere, possibly in connection with Bach's frequent Autumn tours as a performer.396
For both Cantatas Bach employed a librettist, otherwise little known, named Johann Friedrich Helbig, State Secretory to the Eisenach Court. In March 1720,397 more than two years after Bach's arrival at Cöthen, Helbig published a cycle of “Musical Texts on the Sunday and Saints' Day Gospels throughout the year,” for performance “in God's honour by the Prince's Kapelle at Eisenach.”398 How they came into Bach's hands we do not know, but can readily conjecture. They are indifferent poetry, judging them by the two specimens Bach made use of, and are uniform in construction. The first movement invariably is a Chorus upon a text from the Gospel for the Day, or a Scripture passage closely related to it. Two Arias separated by a Recitative follow. A Choral brings the libretto to an end.399
The first of the two Cantatas written to Helbig's words [pg 173] was designed for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, which fell in 1720 on September 22.400 Spitta conjectures401 that Bach intended it for performance at Hamburg. In fact, his wife's death postponed Bach's visit to that town until November, by which date the Sunday appropriate to the Cantata had passed. Spitta holds that the Cantata may have been performed, after all, during the visit. Schweitzer is sceptical.402 But Bach certainly expended great pains upon the score.
The second Helbig Cantata403 is for the Third Sunday in Advent, and the date of it would appear to have been 1721. It is one of the least agreeable of Bach's works. Spitta 404 declares it a juvenile composition hastily adapted to a new libretto. Schweitzer405 expresses the same opinion, and Sir Hubert Parry406 finds the work “rather commonplace.” Its genuineness is discussed by Max Schreyer in the “Bach-Jahrbuch” for 1912, and more recently Rudolf Wustmann has insisted that it does not bear the stamp of Bach's genius.407 If it actually was composed in 1721, its production must have coincided with Bach's second marriage on December 3 of that year.408 In that case, his resort to old material is explicable.
Only these two Cantatas were composed at Cöthen. But later, at Leipzig, two others were manufactured out of secular material written there.409 It is unnecessary to refer to them, except to remark that in each case Bach appears to have been the author of the new libretto. In the first of them410 it is clear that he was handicapped by the frankly secular metre of the original stanzas. The [pg 174] second of them,411 originally a Birthday Ode to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, is a masterly conversion into a Whit-Monday text which, assuming that Bach wrote it, puts his literary facility beyond question.
Bach made the last move in his professional career on May 31, 1723, when he was inducted Cantor of St. Thomas' School at Leipzig, with particular charge of the Churches of St. Thomas and St. Nicolas. Here by far the greater number of his Cantatas appeared, and 172 of them survive. They are too numerous to be considered individually, and their classification is rendered difficult by the fact that the authorship of most of their libretti is conjectural and not ascertained. They fall, however, into two large categories, each of which exhibits characteristics of its own.
The dividing year, clearly but not arbitrarily, is 1734. Before it and after it Bach was aided by new writers. But the earlier period pre-eminently was one of experiment, out of which emerged the glorified hymn-libretto, or Choral Cantata, of Bach's last years. That it sprang, in some degree, from the difficulty of finding good original texts in sufficient number may be granted. That it was adopted as an avenue of escape from Picander's coarser work is a conjecture based, apparently, upon a prevalent exaggeration of Bach's dependence on that writer. The fundamental reason which led Bach to the hymn-libretto undoubtedly was the fact that it most closely fulfilled the ideals which informed his work.
The first Cantata performed during Bach's Cantorship412 reveals a new author, whose assistance, if the conclusion is well grounded, was at Bach's disposal throughout the whole of the earlier Leipzig period. Spitta's keen insight failed him in this instance. He betrays no recognition of [pg 175] the new writer, and occasionally413 attributes his libretti to Picander. The credit of the discovery belongs to Rudolf Wustmann, though he fails to work it out to its fullest conclusions.414
No one can read the early Leipzig libretti without being struck by the number of them that are not only uniform in structure, but similar in tone and point. They all begin with a Bible text, chosen frequently, but not invariably, from the Gospel for the Day. Every one of them ends with a hymn-stanza. Their Arias, with hardly an exception,415 are written in what, compared with Picander's rollicking dactyls, may be held hymn-metres. Their Recitativi, almost invariably, are didactic or exegetical.416 They do not display the vapid rhetoric of Picander. Nor do they express the reflective or prayerful mood that reveals Bach. They are essentially expositive and, it is noticeable, are studded with direct or veiled references to Bible passages which expand or enforce the lesson of the initial text. In a word, they suggest the work of a preacher casting his sermon notes into lyrical form, an impression which is strengthened by the fact that the libretto invariably opens with a Scripture passage and frequently blends the Gospel and Epistle for the Day in one harmonious teaching. Spitta detected this characteristic. But he failed to follow up the clue. He speaks417 of one of these texts418 as a “moralising homily,” a phrase concisely appropriate to them all. Moreover, a remark of his,419 pointing the significance [pg 176] of the god-parents chosen by Bach for his children—Eilmar, for instance—as revealing Bach's intimate associates at the moment, affords another clue to the personality of the new writer.
Among the clergy of St. Thomas' during Bach's Cantorate were two men, father and son, each of whom bore the name Christian Weiss. The elder was Pastor of the Church from 1714 till his death in 1737. He was a cultured man, in touch with the University, and possibly formed a link between it and Bach, to whom he showed greater cordiality than the Cantor received from other clerical colleagues. In 1732 his daughter, Dorothea Sophia stood godmother to Bach's son, Johann Christoph Friedrich, afterwards famous as the “Bückeburg Bach.”420 In 1737 his son stood sponsor to Bach's daughter, Johanna Caroline.421 Nor can it be altogether without significance that the names Dorothea, Sophia, Christian, are borne by others of Bach's children by his second marriage. There is sufficient evidence, therefore, that Bach's relations with the elder Weiss were intimate enough to support a literary partnership. Moreover, circumstances lend weight to the inference. For some years before Bach's arrival in Leipzig, Weiss suffered from an affection of the throat which kept him from the pulpit. But, during the first year of Bach's Cantorate, he was able to resume his preaching. If he was, in fact, the author of the libretti, we can have little difficulty in concluding that they and his sermons were built on the same text.
So far as they can be identified—the attempt is somewhat speculative—Weiss provided Bach with at least thirty-three libretti. He set five of them in 1723, three in 1724, nine in or about 1725, one in 1727, two in 1730, six in 1731, three in 1732, and four in the later Leipzig period.422 Fourteen others bear a constructional [pg 177] resemblance to Weiss's texts,423 but their character refers them rather to Bach or Picander. Even so, if we do not exaggerate his activity, Weiss seems to have written at least one-sixth of the Leipzig libretti and more than a quarter of those of the earlier period. Without a doubt he eased a difficult situation in Bach's experience before his regular association with Picander began.
Apart from their revelation of Christian Weiss, the libretti of Bach's first year at Leipzig do not call for comment. Franck and Neumeister appear among them, and we trace Bach's hand in nine.424 But at Easter, 1724, he broke new ground with a libretto whence developed the Cantata form of his latest period.
The Cantata for Easter Day 1724,425 is Bach's earliest setting of an entire congregational hymn. Spitta suggests426 that he felt the fitness of giving the libretto an antique character to match the hymn's melody. However that may be, Bach would appear already to have been groping towards the Choral Cantata of the late '30's. And though he did not repeat the experiment until the Easter of 1731,427 he treated three hymn-libretti in the interval in a manner which shows him already to have worked out the essentials of the Choral Cantata form.428
Another landmark meets us a year and a half after the Easter experiment. On September 23, 1725(?)—the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity—Bach produced a Cantata429 whose Arias are set to words which had appeared in print in the preceding year. Their author was a hack writer named Christian Friedrich Henrici, or, as he preferred to style himself, Picander. His hand probably [pg 178] is also traced in the libretto used by Bach on the preceding Sunday430 and again in that for Sexagesima in the same year.431 But the evidence is only inferential. That he collaborated with Bach on September 23, 1725 (?), is incontestable, and the work defines the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.
Spitta,432 who tells us all that is known of Picander, has sufficiently exposed his superficial literary facility. He commenced to write sacred poetry in 1724, and on Advent Sunday of that year began a cycle of “Profitable Thoughts,” so he termed them, upon the Sunday and Saints' Day Gospels. He published them in 1725, when the cycle was complete.433 Three years later he issued a cycle of Cantata texts for 1728-29 in the Neumeister form.434 That he intended them for Bach's use is apparent in the fact that he expressly dedicated them to the service of “our incomparable Capellmeister.” But Bach made the sparest use of them and of the earlier “Profitable Thoughts” alike. From the latter he took not one libretto.435 Of the 1728-29 cycle he used only eight texts.436 One more libretto can be referred to Picander's later publications,437 and of six others we can be sure that they are based upon his texts.438 In other words, of the original libretti of the Leipzig period we can trace Picander's hand positively in no more than fifteen.
It is necessary to emphasise this point. For Spitta439 has stated positively that Picander wrote “most” of the Leipzig libretti, and his opinion has been generally [pg 179] accepted. But its correctness may be contested. It is suspicious, to begin with, that Picander never published the texts which Spitta asserts him to have poured out in such profusion. “He placed no value,” Spitta answers readily, “on these manufactured compositions, put together hastily to please his friend.” But the argument cannot stand. Why should Picander have thought less of libretti actually used by his “incomparable Capellmeister” than of those published for and rejected by him?—for Spitta does not venture to declare that as literature the rejected were superior to the accepted texts. If out of a published cycle of libretti expressly written for him Bach chose only eight texts, are Picander's “manufactured compositions,” as Spitta calls them, likely to have attracted him to a greater degree? We can detect his hand perhaps in six Cantatas440 besides those already mentioned, and Bach relied on him exclusively for his secular texts. One concludes, none the less, that Bach rarely accepted an original Cantata libretto from Picander, and employed him chiefly on the Choral Cantatas of his latest period. Excluding them, and adding the probable to the actual original Picander texts, they total only twenty-one, a fraction inadequate to support Spitta's sweeping statement.
From the advent of Picander in 1725, to the end of the first Leipzig period nine years later, Bach does not seem to have gone outside the circle of familial authors for his regular Cantata texts. On October 17, 1727, however, he produced a funeral Cantata, or “Trauer-Musik,” in memory of the late Queen of Poland, the libretto of which was written by Professor J. C. Gottsched. The partnership, in fact, was accidental: the libretto was supplied to Bach with the commission to set it to music, and, so far as is known, Gottsched and he did not collaborate again.[pg 180]
So, reviewing Bach's activities during his first eleven years at Leipzig, we find that of the hundred libretti set by him to music Christian Weiss heads the list as the presumed author of twenty-nine. Bach follows him with eighteen.441 Picander's hand appears in fifteen, Franck's in eight,442 Neumeister's and Gottsched's in one each. Fifteen libretti are congregational hymns in their original or paraphrased form. One is the Gloria in Excelsis of the B minor Mass adapted as a Christmas Cantata (No. 190). Twelve are by authors not identified.
Passing to the later Leipzig period, seventy-two surviving Cantatas are attributed to the years 1735-50. They reveal one, perhaps two, new writers. The first of them, Marianne von Ziegler, was identified by Spitta in 1892. She was the widow of an officer, resident in Leipzig, a cultured woman, in touch with University life, her house a salon for music and musicians.443 There is no reason to suppose Bach to have been of her circle, or that he was acquainted with her literary gifts. Indeed the contrary is to be inferred from the fact that, though she published her poems in 1728,444 he does not seem to have known them until seven years later, when he used them for nine consecutive Sundays and Festivals in 1735, beginning on the Third Sunday after Easter, and ending on Trinity Sunday.
In addition to these nine libretti, both Spitta445and Schweitzer446 attribute to her the text of Bach's Cantata for the Second Sunday after Easter in the same year.447 It is uniform in construction with the authentic nine, but is not among the authoress's published works. Wustmann448 [pg 181] finds the tone of the libretto less ardent and its rhythm rougher than those published under her name. Admitting the soundness of Wustmann's criticism, one hazards the opinion that the challenged text was written at the period when Bach set it, namely, in 1735, eight years after the poetess published her earlier texts. The difference of time may account for the difference of texture to which Wustmann draws attention, but leaves undecided the question whether Bach was drawn to the earlier through the later and unpublished texts or vice versa. It is quite probable that he set other libretti by the same writer, though Schweitzer's449 attribution to her of a second text for Ascension Day, 1735, must be rejected.450
It is worth noticing, since it certainly reveals Bach's preference, that Marianne von Ziegler's libretti are constructed almost invariably in the Weiss form. Every one of them but three451 opens with a Bible passage, invariably taken from St. John's Gospel, which provides the Gospel for the Day from the First Sunday after Easter down to Trinity Sunday, excepting Ascension Day. All but one (No. 68) of the libretti conclude with a Choral, and their Arias are hymn-like in metre. The tone of them, however, is warmer, more personal, less didactic than the Weiss texts. That Bach regarded them with particular favour is apparent in the circumstance that he took the trouble to revise all but one of them.452 That they stirred his genius deeply is visible in the settings he gave them.
After 1735 the chronology of the Cantatas is not certainly ascertained. Of those that fall after the Ziegler year, as we may term it, the majority can only be dated approximately as circa 1740, that is, anywhere between 1735 and 1744. Nor, except rarely, can we detect in their libretti the work of those on whom Bach elsewhere [pg 182] relied. Weiss, who died late in 1737, is only an occasional contributor. The texts of this period, in fact, are the outcome of Bach's own experiments in libretto form. Thirty-three of them are Choral Cantatas, whose evolution it remains to trace concisely.
That Bach should have turned to Lutheran hymnody, chiefly of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and that the Cantatas built upon it should be his most perfect religious work is not surprising. The hymns and their melodies were the foundations upon which the temple of German Protestantism had been reared. They appealed vividly and powerfully to Bach's spiritual nature, and profoundly influenced his musical utterance. His whole career, as Sir Hubert Parry points out,453 was an effort to widen his means for self-expression. And the Choral Cantata, in effect, was the reconciliation or blending of this self-discipline. It was the supreme achievement of Bach's genius to assert the faith and idealism of Lutheran hymnody with the fullest resources of his technique.
It is not our task to consider the hymn libretto in its relation to the structure of Bach's latest Cantatas. Necessarily it tied him to a stereotyped design, which he clung to with greater persistency because it exactly fulfilled his devotional purpose. But experience compelled him, after a brief trial, to discard the simple hymn libretto. In the earlier Leipzig years as many as eight Choral Cantatas454 are set to the unaltered text of a congregational hymn. In the later Leipzig period only two455 libretti are of that character. Bach, in fact, soon realised that, while the unaltered hymn-stanza, with its uniform metre and balanced rhyme, was appropriate to the simple Choral or elaborate Fantasia, it was unmalleable for use as an Aria or Recitative. Hence, retaining the unaltered Hymn-stanza for the musical movements [pg 183] congruous to it, he was led to paraphrase, in free madrigal form, those stanzas which he selected for the Arias and Recitativi.
As early as September 16, 1725,456 Bach was moving towards this solution. And it is significant that Picander's hand is visible in the libretto. The next example457 occurs three years later, and again reveals Picander's authorship. Two other instances also occur in the early Leipzig period.458 To that point, however, it is clear that Bach was not satisfied as to the most effective treatment of the hymn-libretto. But in the second Leipzig period, after his collaboration with Marianne von Ziegler, he arrived at and remained constant to a uniform design. Of the thirty-nine Choral Cantatas of the whole period only two exhibit the earlier form. Of all the others the libretto consists partly of unaltered hymn-stanzas—invariably used for the first and last movements, and occasionally elsewhere—but chiefly of paraphrased stanzas of the hymn, whose accustomed melody, wherever else it may be introduced, is associated invariably with the hymn when the text is used in its unaltered form. We, to whom both words and melody are too frequently unfamiliar, may view the perfections of the Choral Cantata with some detachment. But Bach's audience listened to hymns and tunes which were in the heart of every hearer and a common possession of them all. The appeal of his message was the more arresting because it spoke as directly to himself as to those he addressed.
It would be satisfactory and interesting to point positively to Bach's own handiwork in these libretti, of which he set fifty-four in the period 1724-44. Unfortunately it is impossible to do so, except, perhaps, in a single case,459 [pg 184] where we can reasonably infer that the libretto is his. Of the rest, one is by Franck.460 In eighteen of them the hand of Picander is more or less patent.461 Nineteen462 we can only venture to mark “anonymous,” though Picander is probably present in most of them. Ten are unaltered congregational hymns.463 There remain, however, five464 in which, perhaps, we detect another, and the last, of Bach's literary helpers.
Wustmann draws attention465 to the libretto of Cantata No. 38, a paraphrase of Luther's Psalm 130. He finds in it, and reasonably, an expression of “Jesus religion” very alien to Picander's muse, and suggests the younger Christian Weiss as the author of it. Like his father, he was Bach's colleague, the godfather of his daughter, and undoubtedly on terms of close friendship with him. But if he wrote the libretto of Cantata No. 38, probably it is not the only one. The same note rings in four more of the Choral Cantatas,466 which may be attributed tentatively to Weiss, though their ascription to Bach would be equally congruous.
Returning, however, to the seventy-two libretti of the later Leipzig period we reach this result: More than half of them (thirty-nine) are congregational hymns, all but two of which are of the paraphrased type in which we detect the work of Picander, Bach himself, and perhaps the younger Weiss. Of the remaining thirty-three original libretti Marianne von Ziegler heads the list with nine, and perhaps ten.467 Bach follows with a problematical [pg 185] six,468 Picander with five,469 the elder Weiss with four,470 Neumeister with one.471 One text is taken from the Bible.472 Another consists of a single stanza of a hymn by Martin Behm.473 Five are by authors unknown or undetected.474
But, as was said at the outset, the attribution of particular libretti to individual writers is conjectural, except in comparatively few cases. Yet, unsatisfying as it is, this guess-work reveals with approximate correctness the extent to which Bach drew upon his own and other people's abilities for the texts he needed. Summarising our conclusions, we discover that about one-quarter (fifty-four) of the 202 libretti set by Bach between the years 1704 and 1744 were provided by the hymn-book. It is shown elsewhere475 that all but eleven of them are taken from Paul Wagner's volumes. The elder Weiss comes next with thirty-three libretti. Bach follows with thirty, Salomo Franck with twenty-one, Picander with twenty (exclusive of his arrangements of Choral Cantata texts). Marianne von Ziegler contributes ten, Neumeister seven, Eilmar and Helbig two each, Gottsched and Martin Behm one each. Three libretti are taken from the Bible or Church liturgy. Eighteen remain anonymous.
The literary qualities of the libretti are not under discussion here. They have a characteristic, however, on which one cannot forbear from remarking. Indifferent literature as, for the most part, they are—children of their period and blemished with its imperfections—they enshrine an extraordinarily interesting anthology of the religious poetry of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. They expose the evangelical thought of Germany from the age of Luther to that of Bach, [pg 186] and are particularly rich in the lyrical fervour of the Reformation itself. Of the seventy-seven hymn-writers whom Bach includes in his collection, so many as forty-four belong to the sixteenth century. Only thirteen of them touch Bach's own period. And a similar bias to the Reformation epoch is observable in his choice of the tunes of the Chorals, which are absent from only twenty-one of the Cantatas. By far the greater number of them are coeval with the hymns themselves; that is, they date from the Reformation and behind it.
Here clearly is the source of Bach's inspiration, the master-key of his art. He touches Luther, is in a sense his complement, his art builded on the foundations Luther laid, consecrated to the ends Luther vindicated, inspired by a dedication of himself to God's service not less exalted—a great artist, a great Protestant, a great man.476
NOTE.—Cantatas distinguished by an asterisk (*) are for Soli voices only (S.A.T.B. unless the particular voices are stated); those marked (†) include, in addtion, simple four-part Chorals: the rest contain concerted Choruses.
(1) COMPOSED AT ARNSTADT (see also Nos. 150, 189.)
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|15||1704. Easter Day (revised for subsequent performance).||Den du wirst meine Seele nicht in der Hülle lassen (Psalm xvi. 10).||?Bach||Part I. Psalm xvi. 10; St. Mark xvi. 6; Part II. seven (six) stanzas of the anonymous hymn, “Auf freue dich, Seele, du bist nun getröst”; Stanza iv. of Nikolaus Hermann's hymn “Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist.” The rest of the libretto perhaps is by Bach.|
(2) COMPOSED AT MÜLHAUSEN (see also Nos. 150, 189.)
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|131||1707. ? for llth, 19th, 21st, or 22nd S. after Trinity.||Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (Psalm cxxx.)||Georg Christian Eilmar.||Psalm cxxx.; Stanzas ii. and v. of Bartholomäus Ringwaldt's hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut.” T. B. Soli.|
|71||1708. Feb. 4. Town Council Inauguration.||Gott ist mein Konig (Psalm lxxiv. 12).||Bach (or Eilmar).||Psalm lxxiv. 12, 16, 17, 19; 2 Sam. xix. 35, 37; Deuteronomy xxxiii. 25; Gen. xxi. 22; Stanza vi. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “O Gott, du frommer Gott”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|196||1708. June 5. Wedding of Johann Lorenz Stauber (at Dornheim).||Der Herr denket an uns (Psalm cxv. 12).||Psalm cxv. 12-15.||The libretto consists exclusively of the Psalm verses. S. T. B. Soli.|
(3) COMPOSED AT WEIMAR. (See also Nos. 12, 72, 80, 164, 168, 186.)
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|*189||c. 1707-10. Visitation of the B.V.M.||Meine Seele rühmt und preist.||Author unknown. ?Composed at Muhlhausen.||A paraphrase of the “Magnificat.” Tenor Solo.|
|150||c. 1710. ?Occasion.||Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich (Psalm xxv. 1).||?Bach. ?Composed at Mühlhausen.||Psalm xxv. 1, 2, 5, 15; rest of libretto perhaps by Bach. See Bach-Jahrbuch for 1913, p. 39, on authenticity of Cantata.|
|106||?1711. Funeral of Rector Philipp Grossgebauer (Weimar); or ?1707 (Sept.) funeral of Thomas Lammerhirt (Erfurt).||Gottes Zeit ist die aller-beste Zeit (Actus tragicus).||?G. C. Eilmar (or Bach). ?Composed at Mühlhausen.||Acts xvii;. 28; Psalm xc. 12; Isaiah xxxviii. 1; Ecclesiasticus xiv. 17; Rev. xxii; 20; Psalm xxxi. 5; St. Luke xxiii. 43; Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin”; Stanza vii;. of Adam Reissner's hymn, “In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr.” A. B. Soli.|
|18||1714 (or 1713). Sexagesima.||Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (Isaiah lv. 10-11).||Erdmann Neumeister “Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten” (Leipzig, 1716) (Ser. iii.).||Isaiah lv. 10, 11; four clauses of the Litany; Stanza viii. of Lazarus Spengler's hymn, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt”; rest of libretto original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|*160||1714 (or 1713). Easter Day.||Ich weiss, dass mein Erlöser lebt.||Erdmann Neumeister (Ibid., Ser. I.). Slight verbal alterations by Bach.||Original throughout. Tenor Solo.|
|21||1714. Third S. after Trinity and General Use.||Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (Psalm xciv. 19)||Spitta (i. 531) attributes text to Salomo Franck.||Part I,: Psalm xciv. 19; Psalm xlii. 5. Part ii.: Psalm cxvi. 7; Rev. v. 12, 13; Stanzas ii. and v. of Georg Neumark's hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten”; rest of libretto original.|
|*199 N.B.G.||c. 1714. Eleventh S. after Trinity.||Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut.||The title is from a Neumeister text for this Sunday. ?By Bach.||Stanza iii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin”; rest of libretto original. Soprano solo.|
|61||1714. First S. in Advent.||Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.||Erdmann Neumeister, “Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten” (Leipzig, 1716), (Ser. IV).||Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”; Rev. iii. 20; part of stanza vii. of Philipp Nicolai's hymn, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”; rest original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|142||1714 (or 1712). Christmas Day.||Uns ist ein Kind geboren (Isaiah ix. 6).||Erdmann Neumeister (Ibid., Ser. I.). Textually, the last three movements are altered, perhaps by Bach, whose authorship of the Cantata, however, is questioned (Bach-Jahrbuch, 1912, p. 132).||Isaiah ix. 9; Psalm lxix. 30; Stanza v. of Caspar Fuger's hymn, “Wir Christenleut”; rest of libretto original (see Spitta i. 630 on Bach's emendations). A. T. B. Soli.|
|182||1715 (or l714).Palm Sunday (used also for the Annunciation).||Himmelskönig, sei wilkommen.||Spitta (i. 539) suggests Salomo Franck, whose characteristics it displays.||Psalm xl. 7, 8; Stanza xxxiii. of Paul Stockmann's hymn, “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|31||1715. Easter Day. Revised in ?1723. (Schweitzer, ii. 141n).||Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubiliret.||Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer” Weimar, 1715, p. 75).||Stanza v. (posthumous) of Nikolaus Herman's hymn, “Wenn mein Stündlem vorhanden ist”; rest of libretto original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|†l85||1716. Fourth S. after Trinity.||Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe.||Salomo Franck (Ibid.,p. 128).||Stanza i. of Johannes Agricola's hymn, “Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ”; rest of libretto original.|
|161||1715. Sixteenth S. after Trinity (also for Purification).||Komm, du süsse Todesstunde.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 162); verbal alterations by Bach.||Stanza iv. of Christoph Knoll's hymn, “Herzlich thut mich verlangen”; rest original. A. T. Soli.|
|†162||1715. Twentieth S. after Trinity.||Ach, ich sehe, jetzt da ich zur Hochzeit gehe.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 172).||Stanza vii. of Johann Georg Albinus' hymn, “Alle Menschen müssen sterben”; rest of libretto original.|
|†163||1715. Twenty-third S. after Trinity.||Nur Jedem das Seine.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 182).||Stanza xi. (suggested by Spitta i. 557) of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin”; rest of libretto original.|
|*132||1715. Fourth S. in Advent.||Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 8)||Stanza v. of Elisabethe Cruciger's hymn, “Herr Christ, der einig' Gott's Sohn”; rest of libretto original.|
|*152||1715 (or 1714). S. after Christmas||Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 19).||Original throughout. S. and B. Soli.|
|†155||1716. Second S. after the Epiphany.||Mein Gott, wie lang', ach lange.||Salomo Franck (Ibid., p. 32).||Stanza xii. of Paul Speratus' hymn, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her”; rest of libretto original.|
|†59||1716. WhitSunday Expanded in ?1736 (No.74 infra).||Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten (St. John xiv. 23).||Erdmann Neumeister (“Funffache Kirchen-Andachten,” Ser. IV.).||St. John xiv. 23; Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott”; rest of libretto original. S. and B. Soli.|
|70||1716. Second S. in Advent; later (c. 1723). Twenty-sixth S. after Trinity.||Wachet, betet, betet, wachet.||Salomo Franck (“Evangelische Sonn- und Fest-Tages Andachten,” Weimar, 1717, p. 4) (opening chorus and Arias only). Recitativi added by a later (c. 1723) hand (? Bach).||Part I.: Stanza x. of the anonymous hymn, “Freu' dich sehr, O meine Seele.” Part. ii.: Stanza v. of Christian Keimann's hymn, “Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht.” Rest of libretto, both parts, original.|
|147||1716. Fourth S. in Advent; later (c. ?1727). Feast of the Visitation.||Herz und Mund und That und Leben.||Salomo Franck (Ibid.). (Opening chorus and first three Arias only). Recitativi and fourth Aria added by a later hand (?Bach).||Part I.: Stanza vi. of Martin Janus' hymn, “Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne.” Part II.: Stanza xvii. of the same hymn. Rest of libretto, both parts, original.|
|†158||c. 1708-16. Purification of the B.V.M.; later (at Leipzig) adapted to Easter Tuesday||Der Friede sei mit dir.||Spitta (ii. 688) suggests Franck as author of the Aria and following Recitativo, both of which bear on the Gospel for the Purification. The opening Recitative and choice of the concluding Choral, both of which are relevant to the Gospel for Easter Tuesday, must be attributed to a later hand (?Bach).||Stanza i. of Johann Georg Albinus' hymn, “Welt, ade! ich bin dein müde”; Stanza v. of Luther's hymn, “Christ lag in Todesbanden”; rest of libretto original. S. and B. Soli.|
(4) COMPOSED AT CÖTHEN. (See also Nos. 22 and 23.)
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|173||c. 1718. Birthday Serenade; new text (c. 1730) for Whit Monday.||Erhötes Fleisch und Blut.||The music of the Cantata is that of the Birthday Serenade, “Durehlaucht'-ster Leopold” (omitting numbers 5 and 6). Cantata text probably by Bach.||Original throughout.|
|47||?1720. Seventeenth S. after Trinity.||Wer sich selbst erhöhet, der soll erniedriget werden (St. Luke xiv. 11).||Johann Friedrich Helbig (“Aufmunterung zur Andacht,” Eisenach, 1720, p. 114.||St. Luke xiv. 11; Stanza xi. of anonymous (?Hans Sachs) hymn, “Warum betrubst du dich, mein Herz”; rest original. S. B. Soli.|
|141||1721 or 1722. Third S. in Advent.||Das ist je gewisslich wahr (I. Timothy i. 15).||Johann Fr. Helbig Ibid., p. 5). Bach's authorship of the music is questioned (Bach-Jahrbuch, 1912).||1 Timothy i. 15; rest of libretto is original. The concluding Choral is omitted by Bach. It should be “Christe, du Lamm Gottes” (Spitta. ii. 15n.). A. T. B. Soli.|
|134||c. 1717-22. Secular Cantata; later adapted for Easter Tuesday (c. 1731).||Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss.||?Bach||Text original throughout. A. T. Soli.|
(5) COMPOSED AT LEIPZIG. 1723-34. (See also Nos. 31, 70, 134, 147, 158, 173.)
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|22||1723. Quinquagesima. (“Estomihi”).||Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (St. Luke xviii. 31). [See No. 31 (1715).]||?Bach (composed at Cöthen). Trial Cantata (February 7, 1723).||St. Luke xviii. 31, 34; Stanza v. of Elisabothe Gruciger's hymn, “Herr Christ, der einig' Gott's Sohn”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|75||1723 (May 30). First S. after Trinity.||Die Elenden sollen essen (Psalm xxii. 26).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Part I.: Psalm xxii. 26; Stanza v. of Samuel Rodigast's hymn, “Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan”; Part II.: Stanza v. of the same hymn (repeated); rest of libretto, both parts, original.|
|76||1723. Second S. after Trinity. Also for Reformation Festival.||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Die Himmel erzahlon die Ehre Gottes (Psalm xix. 1, 3).||Part I.: Psalm xix. 1,3; Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein”; Part II.: Stanza iii. of the same hymn; rest of libretto original. See Spitta ii. 357n.|
|24||1723. Fourth S. after Trinity.||Ein ungefarbt Gemüthe.||Erdmann Neumeister (“Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten”) (Ser. IV.).||St. Matthew vii. 12; Stanza i. of Johann Heer-mann's hymn, “O Gott, du frommer Gott”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|186||1723. Seventh S. after Trinity.||Aergre dich, O Seele, nicht.||The opening chorus and first two Arias are by Salomo Franck (“Evangelische Sonn- und Fest-Tages,” p. 6), written for the Third S. in Advent, perhaps composed by Bach at Weimar. The remainder of the libretto was added in 1723 for the Seventh S. after Trinity. Both Gospels relate Christ's miracles.||Part I.: Stanza xii. of Paul Speratus' hymn, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her.”|
|†164||1723 (or 1724). Thirteenth S. after Trinity.||Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet.||Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer,” 1715, p. 152).||Stanza v. of Elisabethe Cruciger's hymn, “Herr Christ, der einig' Gott's Sohn”; rest of libretto original. Perhaps written at Weimar.|
|119||1723. Inauguration of Town Council (Aug. 30).||Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn (Psalm cxlvii. 12.)||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm cxlvii. 12-14; clauses xxii. and xxiii. of the “Te Deum”; rest of libretto original.|
|194||1723. Opening of the Organ at Störmthal (November 2); later (1731) for Trinity Sunday. [See No. 70 (1716).]||Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest.||?Bach.||Part I.: Stanzas vi. and vii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Treuer Gott, ich muss dir klagen”; Part II.: Stanzas ix. and x. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe.” Rest of libretto original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|63||?1723. Christmas Day.||Christen ätzet diesen Tag.||?Bach. The opening two lines suggested by a poem in Joh. Jakob Bambach's “Geistliche Poesien” (Halle, 1720).||Original throughout.|
|40||?1723. Feast of St. Stephen.||Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes (1 John iii. 8).||Christian Weiss, senr. Wustmann (note 8) suggests Bach. Certainly same author as Nos. 64, 65 infra.||1 John iii. 8; Stanza iii. of Caspar Fuger's hymn, “Wir Christenleut'”; Stanza ii. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Schwing' dich auf zu deinem Gott”; Stanza iv. of Christian Keimann's hymn, “Freuet euch, ihr Christen alle”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|64||?1723. Feast of St. John the Evangelist.||Sehet, welch' eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget (1 John iii. 1).||Christian Weiss, senr. Certainly same author as Nos. 40 supra and 65 infra.||1 John üi. 1; Stanza vü. of Luther's hymn, “Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ”; Stanza i. of Georg Michael Pfefferkorn's hymn, “Was frag ich nach der Welt”; Stanza v. of Johann Franck's hymn, “Jesu, meine Freude”; rest of libretto original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|16||?1724. New Year's Day. Spitta (ii. 386, 413) regards No. 190 (infra) as Bach's first Leipzig New Year Cantata, and dates No. 16, 1723-27.||Herr Gott dich loben wir.||?Bach.||Clauses i. and ii. of Luther's “Te Deum”; Stanza vi. of Paul Eber's hymn, “Helft mir Gott's Güte preisen”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†153||1724. Sunday after the Circumcision.||Schau', lieber Gott, wie meine Feind'.||?Bach.||Stanza i. of David Denicke's (?) hymn, “Schau', lieber Gott, wie meine Feind'”; Isaiah xli. 10; Stanza v. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Befiehl du deine Wege”; Stanzas xi. and xii. (as three verses) of Martin Moller's (?) hymn, “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|65||1724. Feast of the Epiphany.||Sie werden aus Saba Alle kommen (Isaiah lx. 6).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Wustmann (note 23) attributes text to author of Nos. 40 and 64 supra, i.e. Bach.||Isaiah lx. 6; Stanza iv. of the anonymous hymn, “Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem”; Stanza x. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Ich hab' in Gottes Herz und Sinn”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†154||1724. First S. after the Epiphany.||Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren.||?Bach. Wustmann (note 25) attributes it to an anonymous author.||Stanza ii. of Martin Janus' hymn, “Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne”; St. Luke ü. 49; Stanza vi. of Christian Keimann's hymn, “Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†81||1724. Fourth S. after the Epiphany.||Jesus schlaft, was soll ich hoffen?||?Bach. Wustmann regards texts of Nos. 81 and 154 as being by the same hand (note 35).||St. Matthew viii. 26; Stanza ii. of Johann Franck's hymn, “Jesu, meine Freude”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†83||?1724. Feast of the Purification.||Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde.||?Bach.||St. Luke ii. 29, 30; Stanza iv. of Luther's hymn, “Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|23||1724. Quinquagesima (“Estomihi”). ?Composed at Cöthen. Spitta (ii. 679) holds this, and not No. 22, to have been Bach's first Quinquagesima Cantata at Leipzig.||Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn.||?Bach||Three stanzas of “Christe, du Lamm Gottes”; rest of libretto original. S. A. T. Soli.|
|4||1724. Easter Day (“Am Osterfeste”)||Christ lag in Todesbanden||Luther.||Choral Cantata. The seven stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form.|
|12||1724 (or 1725). Third S. after Easter||Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen.||?Salomo Franck.||Acts xiv. 22; Stanza vi. of Samuel Rodigast's hymn, “Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|172||1724 (or 1725). Whit Sunday. Perhaps revised c. 1727-30 (see Schweitzer, ii. 162).||Erschallet ihr Lieder.||?Salomo Franck (Spitta ii. 398). Wustmann (note 73) does not support the conjecture.||St. John xiv. 23 Stanza iv. of Philipp Nicolai's hymn, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”; rest of libretto original. Organ obbligato.|
|184||1724. Whit Tuesday.||Erwunschtes Freudenlicht.||?Bach. An adaptation of an earlier secular Cantata (Spitta, ii. 399).||Stanza vüi. of Anark of Wildenfeis' (?) hymn, “O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort”; rest of libretto original. S. A. T. Soli.|
|†165||?1724. Trinity Sunday.||O heil'ges Geist und Wasserbad||Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachte-Opffer”, 1715, p. 111)||Stanza v. of Ludwig Helmbold's hymn “Nun lasst uns Gott dem Herren”, rest of libretto original.|
|179||?1724. Eleventh S. after Trinity.||Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei (Ecclesiastes i. 28)||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Ecclesiastes i. 28, Stanza i. of Christph Tietze's hymn, “Ich armer Mensch, ich armer Sünder”, rest original S. T. B. Soli.|
|69||?1724. Twelfth S. after Trinity, c. 1730 adapted as a Ratswahl cantata.||Loben dem herren, meine Seele (Psalm cxlix. 1).||As extended in 1730 the text is in Picander's “Cantaten”, 1728-29. His authorship of the 1725 text is not therefore established.||Psalm cxlix. 1, Psalm cl. 4,6; Clauses i. and ii. of the “Te Deum”, Stanza ii. of Johann Hermann's hymn, “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|190||c. 1725 (or 1724). New Year's Day; revised to celebrate the Augsburg Confession Jubilee on June 25, 1730.||Singet dein Herrn ein neues Lied (Psalm cxlix. 1).||As extended in 1730 the text is in Picander's “Cantaten”, 1728-29. His authorship of the 1725 text is not therefore established.||Psalm cxlix 1; Psalm cl. 4,6; Clauses i. and ii. of the “Te Deum”; Stanza ii. of of Johann Hermann's hymn, “Jesu, nun se gepreiset”, rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†73.||c. 1725. Third S. after the Epiphany||Herr, wie du willt, so shick's mit mir.||Author unknown. Spitta's (ii. 414) attribution of the text to Picander is inadequately founded.||Stanza i. of Caspar Bienemann's hymn, “Herr, wie du willt, so shick's mit mir”; Stanza ix. of Ludwig Helmhold's hymn, “Von Gott will ich nich lassen”; rest original. S. T. B. Soli|
|144||c. 1725. Septuagesima||Nimm was dein ist, und gehe hin (St. Matthew xx. 14).||Wustmann (note 37) suggests Picander, with Bach's additions. Schweitzer (ii. 200) supposes that the music is adapted.||St. Matthew xx. 14; Stanza i. of Samuel Rodigast's hymn, “Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan”; Stanza i. of Albrecht of Brandenburg-Culmbach's hymn, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit”; rest of libretto original. S. A. T. Soli.|
|181||1725. Sexagesima.||Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister.||?Picander.||Original throughout.|
|67||c. 1725. First S. after Easter (“Quasi-modogeniti”).||Halt' im Gedachtniss Jesum Christ (2 Timothy ii. 8).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Certainly not Picander, as Spitta (ii. 417) suggests.||2 Timothy ü. 8; Stanza i. of Nikolaus Herman's hymn, “Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag”; Stanza i. of Jakob Ebert's hymn, “Du Friedenfürst, Herr Jesu Christ”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|104||c. 1725. Second S. after Easter (“Misericordias Domini”).||Du Hirte Israel, höre (Psalm lxxi. 1).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm lxxx. 1; Stanza i. of Cornelius Becker's hymn, “Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt”; rest of libretto original. T. B. Soli.|
|† 166||c. 1725. Fourth S. after Easter (“Cantate”).||Wo gehest du hin? (St. John xvi. 6).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. John xvi. 5; Stanza iii. of Bartholomäus Ringwaldt's hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiss gar wohl”; Stanza i. of Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt's hymn, “Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende”; rest of libretto original.|
|†86||c. 1725. Fifth S. after Easter (“Rogate”).||Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch (St. John xvi. 23).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. John xvi. 23; Stanza xvi. of Georg Grüenwald's hymn, “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn”; Stanza xi. of Paul Speratus' hymn, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her”; rest of libretto original.|
|44||c. 1725. Sixth S. after Easter (S. after the Ascension) (“Exaudi”).||Sie werden euch in den Bann thun (St. John xvi. 2)||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. John xvi. 2; Stanza i. of Martin Moller's(?) hymn, “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”; Stanza xv. of Paul Flemming's hymn, “In allen meinen Thaten”; rest of the libretto original.|
|20||c. 1725. First S. after Trinity. In its existing form the work is c. 1735.||O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort.||Johann Rist (arranged). (?Picander).||Choral Cantata (2 Parts). Stanzas i., xi., xvi. are retained in thoir original form. Stanzas ii.-x. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†167||c. 1725. Feast of St. John Baptist (MidsummerDay)||Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes liebe.||Author unknown. Spitta (ii. 423) remarks on the “vapid emptiness” of the text.||Stanza v. of Johann Graumann's hymn, “Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren”; rest of libretto original. The Choral is extended.|
|136||c. 1725 (or later). Eighth S. after Trinity.||Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz (Psalm cxxxix. 23).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Schweitzer (ii. 200) supposes that the music is adapted.||Psalm cxxxix. 23; Stanza ix. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†168||c. 1725. Ninth S. after Trinity. Perhaps composed at Weimar.||Thue Rechnung! Donnerwort!||Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer,” 1715, p. 141).||Stanza viii. of Bartholomaus Ringwaldt's hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, du hochstes Gut”; rest of libretto original.|
|105||c. 1725. Ninth S. after Trinity.||Herr, gehe nicht in's Gericht (Psalm cxliii. 2).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm cxliii. 2; Stanza xi. of Johann Rist's hymn, “Jesu, der du moine Seele”; rest of libretto original.|
|46||c. 1725. Tenth S. after Trinity.||Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei (Lam. i. 12).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Lamentations i. 12; Stanza ix. (apocryphal) of Balthasar Schnurr's hymn, “O grosser Gott von Macht”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|77||1725. Thirteenth S. after Trinity.||Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben (St. Luke x. 27).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. Luke x. 27; Stanza viii. of David Denicke's (?) hymn, “Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd” (posthumously added to Bach's text); rest of libretto original.|
|8||c. 1725. Sixteenth S. after Trinity.||Liebster Gott, wann werd' ich sterben?||Caspar Neumann (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and v. are retained in their original form. Stanzas ii.-iv. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|148||c. 1725. Seventeenth S. after Trinity.||Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens (Psalm xcvi. 8).||The groundwork is by Picander (“Sammlung Erbaulicher Gedancken,” Leipzig, 1725, p. 428), arranged by Bach. This is the earliest ascertained association of Bach and Picander (date ?Sept. 23, 1725).||Psalm xcvi. 8, 9; Stanza xi. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” (suggested by Spitta, ii. 694; wanting in the score); rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|72||c. 1726 (or earlier). Third S. after the Epiphany.||Alles nur nach Gottes Willen.||Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer,” 1715, p. 35).||Stanza i. of Albrecht of Brandenburg-Culmbach's hymn, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit”; rest original. A. S. B. Soli.|
|19||1726. Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.||Es erhub sich ein Streit.||The groundwork of the text is a libretto for the season published by Picander in 1725. The Cantata version probably is by Bach himself. Spitta's (ii. 344) attribution of it to Picander is ill-founded.||Stanza ix. of the anonymous hymn, “Freu' dich sehr, O meine Seele”; rest of libretto original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|195||?c. 1726. For a Wedding.||Dem Gerechten muss das Licht (Psalm xcvii. 11).||?Bach. Spitta (ii. 469) supposes that the music is adapted.||Psalm xcvii. 11, 12; Stanza i. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Nun danket all' und bringet Ehr'”; rest of libretto original.|
|†157||1727. Feast of the Purification. Also for a Funeral.||Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn (Gen. xxxii. 26).||Picander (“Satyrische Gedichte,” vol. i. p. 210).||Genesis xxxii. 26; Stanza vi. of Christian Keimann's hymn, “Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht”; rest by Picander. T. B. Soli|
|37||c. 1727. (Schweitzer ii. 260, dates it 1728-34). Ascension Day. [See Nos. 147 (1716) and 172 (1724).]||Wer da glaubet und getauft wird (St. Mark xvi. 16).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. Mark xvi. 16; Stanza v. of Philipp Nicolai's hymn, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”; Stanza iv. of Johann Kolross' hymn, “Ich dank' dir, lieber Herre”; rest of libretto original.|
|198||1727. October 17.||Trauer-Musik: for Queen Christiane Eberhardine of Poland 477||Prof. J. C. Gottsched. (d. Sept. 7, 1727).||Original throughout.|
|93||?1728. Fifth S. after Trinity.||Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten.||Georg Neumark (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata; Stanzas i., iv., v., vii. of Neumark's hymn are retained in their original form; Stanzas ii., iii., vi. are inserted or paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|†Incomplete||?1728. Christmas Day.||Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe (St. Luke ii. 14).||Picander (“Cantaten,” 1728-29, p. 71).||St. Luke ii. 14; Stanza iv. of Caspar Ziegler's hymn, “Ich freue mich in dir”; rest original. A. B. Soli.|
|†159||?1729. Quinquagesima (“Estomihi”).||Sehet, wir geh'n hinauf nach Jerusalem (St. Luke xviii. 31).||Picander (Ibid., p. 106).||St. Luke xviii. 31; Stanza vi. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden”; Stanza xxxiii. of Paul Stockmann's hymn, “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod”; rest original.|
|145||1729 (or 1730). Easter Tuesday (“Am Osterfeste”)||So du mit deinem Munde bekennest Jesum (Romans x. 9), or Auf, mein Herz! des Herren Tag, or Ich lebe, mein Herze.||Picander (“Cantaten,” 1728-29, p. 125), with the addition (by Bach) of the opening Choral and Bible verse. See Spitta, ii. 442 n.||Stanza i. of Caspar Neumann's hymn, “Auf, mein Herz! des Herren Tag”; Romans x. 9; Stanza xiv. of Nikolaus Herman's hymn, “Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag”; rest of libretto by Picander. S. T. B. Soli.|
|171||1730 (or 1731) Feast of the Circumcision (New Year's Day).||Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (Psalm xlviii. 10).||Picander (Ibid. p. 81).||Psalm xlviii. 10; Stanza iii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset”; rest of libretto original.|
|†156||1730 (or 1729). Third S. after the Epiphany. [See No. 173 (1718).]||Ich steh' mit einem Fuss im Grabe.||Picander (Ibid.Ibid., p. 91).||Stanza i. of Joh. Hermann Schein's hymn, “Mach's mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt'”; Stanza i. of Caspar Bienemann's hymn, “Herr, wie du will't, so schick's mit mir”; rest of libretto original.|
|120||1730. Inauguration of the Town Council (Aug. 24). Used also for Augsburg Confession celebration on June 26, 1730. [See Nos. 69 (1724), 190 (1725).]||Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille (Psalm lxv. 1).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm lxv. i.; clauses xx.-xxiii. of the “Te Deum”; rest of libretto original.|
|†l88||1730 (or 1731). Twenty-first S. after Trinity. Incorporates older instrumental material.||Ich habe meine Zuver-sicht.||Picander (“Cantaten,” 1728-29, p. 47). Music probably by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach to a large extent.||Stanza i. of Sigismund Weingärtner's (?) hymn, “Auf meinen lieben Gott”; rest of libretto original. Organ obbligato.|
|80||1730. Reformation Festival (c. Oct. 31). Composed mainly at Weimar (1716).||Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott.||Luther and Salomo Franck (“Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer,” p. 60).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., iii., iv. of Luther's hymn, “Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott,” are set in their original form; rest of libretto by Franck.|
|†89||c. 1730. Twenty-second S. after Trinity.||Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim? (Hosea xi. 8).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Hosea xi. 8; Stanza vii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin”; rest of libretto original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|†52||c. 1730. Twenty-third S. after Trinity. Incorporates older instrumental material.||Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht.||Author unknown.||Stanza i. of Adam Reissner's hymn, “In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr”; rest of libretto original. Soprano Solo.|
|36||c. 1730. First S. in Advent.||Schwingt freudig euch empor.||The opening Chorus and three Arias are adaptations by Bach of a secular Ode, having the same title, written by Picander and performed Nov. 30, 1720. The four Chorals replace Picander's original Recitativi. The music (excepting the Recitativi and final Chorus of the Ode) of the two works is identical.||Part I.: Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”; Stanza vi. of Philipp Nicolai's hymn, “Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern”; Part II.: Stanzas vi. and viii. of Luther's hymn; remaining movements adapted by Bach from Picander.|
|Incomplete||c. 1730? For a Wedding.||O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe.||Author unknown. See No. 34 infra (c. 1740).||Psalm cxxviii. 4, 5, 6; Benediction; rest of libretto original.|
|*82||c. 1731. Feast of the Purification.||Ich habe genug.||?Bach.||Original throughout. Spitta (ii. 346) points out that the Aria “Schlummert ein” seems to have been suggested by a text by Johann Jakob Rambach for the same season. Bass Solo.|
|†84||1731 (or 1732). Septuagesima.||Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke.||A revision (?by Bach) of a text by Picander (“Cantaten,” 1728-29, p. 101).||Stanza xii. of Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt's hymn, “Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende”; rest original. Soprano Solo.|
|66||1731 (not 1735). Easter Monday. [See No. 134 (1717-22).]||Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen.||?Bach.||Stanza iii. of the hymn, “Christ ist erstanden”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†42||1731 (not c. 1740). First S. after Easter. (“Quasi-modogeniti”).||Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbaths (St. John xx. 19).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Wustmann (note 37) suggests Bach.||St. John xx. 19; Stanza i. of Joh. Michael Altenburg's hymn, “Verzage nicht, du Hauflein klein”; Stanza i. of Luther's Antiphon, “Verleih' uns Frieden” and addendum; rest original.|
|112||1731. Second S. after Easter (“Misericordias Domini”).||Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt (Psalm xxiii.).||Wolfgang Meusel.||Choral Cantata. The five stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form.|
|†174||1731 (or 1732). Whit Monday. Incorporates older instrumental material. [See No. 194 (1723).]||Ich liebe den Hochsten von ganzem Gemüthe.||Picander (“Cantaten,” 1728-29, p. 147).||Stanza i. of Martin Schalling's hymn, “Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, O Herr”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|9||?1731 Sixth S. after Trinity||Es ist das Heil uns kommen her.||Paul Speratus (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and xii. are set in their original form. The intermediate stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|102||?1731. Tenth S. after Trinity.||Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben (Jeremiah v. 3).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Spitta (ii. 464) suggests Picander.||Part I.: Jeremiah v. 3; Romans ii. 4, 5; Part II.: Stanzas vi. and vii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “So wahrichlebe, spricht dein Gott”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|*35||?1731. Twelfth S. after Trinity.||Geist und Seele wird verwirret.||The probability that the Cantata is a converted chamber music composition supports the inference that Bach wrote the text. See Spitta, ii. 447.||Original throughout (2 parts). Alto Solo and Organ obbligato.|
|25||c. 1731. Fourteenth S. after Trinity.||Es ist nichts gesundes an meinem Leibe (Psalm xxxviii. 3).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm xxxviii. 3; Stanza xii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Treuer Gott, ich muss dir klagen”; rest of libretto original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|29||1731. Inauguration of the Town Council (Aug. 27). Incorporates older instrumental material.||Wir danken dir, Gott (Psalm lxxv. i).||?Christian Weiss, Sr.||Pslam lxxv. 1; Stanza v. (posthumous) of Johann Graumann's hymn “Nun lob' mein Seel' den Herren”, rest of libretto original. Organ obbligato.|
|*51||1731 (or 1732). Fifteenth S. after Trinity.||Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.||?Bach. A version for Michaelmas (?1737) also exists. See Spitta, ii. 473n.||Stanza v. of Johann Graumann's hymn, “Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren”; rest of libretto original. Soprano Solo.|
|†27||1731. Sixteenths, after Trinity.||Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende.||?Bach. The first Aria is suggested by a Neumeister stanza (“Kirchen-Andachten,” p. 294). See Spitta, ii. 451.||Stanza i. of Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt's hymn, “Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende”; Stanza i. of Joh. Georg Albinus' hymn, “Welt ade! ich bin dein müde”; rest of libretto original. Organ obbligato. Choral extended.|
|†169||1731 (or 1732). Eighteenth S. after Trinity.||Gott soll allein mein Herzehaben.||Author unknown.||Stanza iii. of Luther's hymn, “Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist”; rest of libretto original. Alto Solo and Organ obbligato.|
|149||1731. Feast of St. Michael the Arch-angel.||Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg (Psalm cxviii. 15).||Christian Weiss, senr. First Chorus borrowed from “Was mir behagt.”||Psalm cxviii. 15, 16; Stanza iii. of Martin Schalling's hymn, “Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, O Herr”; rest of libretto original.|
|†56||1731 (or 1732). Nineteenth S. after Trinity.||Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen.||?Bach, working on a Neumeister text (“Kirchen-Andachten,” p. 514).||Stanza vi. of Johann Franck's hymn, “Du, O schones Weltgebäude”; rest of libretto original. Bass Solo.|
|*49||c. 1731. Twentieth S. after Trinity. Incorporates older instrumental material.||Ich geh' und suche mit Verlangen.||Author unknown.||Stanza vii. of Philipp Nicolai's hymn, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”; rest of libretto original. S. B. Soli and Organ obbligato.|
|109||c. 1731. Twenty-first S. after Trinity.||Ich glaube, lieber Herre, hilf meinem Unglauben (St. Mark ix. 24).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||St. Mark ix. 24; Stanza vii. of Lazarus Spengler's hymn, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt”; rest original. A. T. Soli.|
|†55||1731 (or 1732). Twenty-second S. after Trinity.||Ich armor Mensch, ich Sündenknecht.||Author unknown.||Stanza vi. of Johann Rist's hymn, “Werde munter, mein Gemuthe”; rest of libretto original. Tenor Solo.|
|140||1731 (or later). Twenty-seventh S. after Trinity.||Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.||Philipp Nicolai (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. All three stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. The rest of the libretto is original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|129||1732. Trinity Sunday.||Gelobet sei der Herr.||Johannes Olearius.||Choral Cantata. The five stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. S. A. B. Soli.|
|39||1732 (not c. 1740). First S. after Trinity.||Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brod (Isaiah lviii. 7).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Schweitzer (ii. 343) attributes the text to Picander.||Part I.: Isaiah lviii. 7, 8; Part II.: Hebrews xiii. 16; Stanza vi. of David Denicke's hymn, “Kommt, lasst euch den Herren lehren”; rest of libretto original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|177||1732. Fourth S. after Trinity.||Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ.||Johannes Agricola.||Choral Cantata. The five stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. S. A. T. Soli.|
|†88||1732. Fifth S. after Trinity.||Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden (Jer. xvi. 16).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Part I.: Jeremiah xvi. 16; Part II.: St. Luke v. 10; Stanza vii. of Georg Neumark's hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten”; rest of libretto original.|
|*170||?1732. Sixth S. after Trinity.||Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust.||Author unknown.||Original throughout. See Spitta, ii. 453n. Alto Solo and Organ obbligato.|
|187||1732. Seventh S. after Trinity.||Es wartet Alles auf dich (Psalm civ. 27).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Schweitzer (ii. 343) attributes the text to Picander.||Part I.: Psalm civ. 27, 28; Part II.: St. Matthew vi. 31, 32; Stanzas iv. and vi. of the anonymous hymn, “Singen wir aus Herzensgrund”; rest original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|137||?1732. Twelfth S. after Trinity.||Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren.||Joachim Neander.||Choral Cantata. The five stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. S. A. T. Soli.|
|95||?1732. Sixteenth S. after Trinity.||Christus, der ist mein Leben.||Author unknown.||Stanza i. of the anonymous hymn, “Christus, der ist mein Leben”; Stanza i. of Luther's hymn, “Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin”; Stanza i. of Valerius Herberger's hymn, “Valet will ich dir geben”; Stanza iv. of Nikolaus Herman's hymn, “Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist”; rest original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|98||c. 1732. Twenty-first S. after Trinity.||Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan.||Author unknown.||Stanza i. of Samuel Rodigast's hymn, “Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan”; rest of libretto original.|
|†60||1732. Twenty-fourth S. after Trinity.||O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort.||Author unknown.||Stanza i. of Johann Rist's hymn, “O Ewigkeit du Donnerwort”; Psalm cxix. 166; Revelation xiv. 13; Stanza v. of Franz Joachim Burmeister's hymn, “Es ist genug”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|102||c. 1733. Occasion not specified.||Nun danket alle Gott.||Martin Rinkart.||Choral Cantata. The three stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. S. A. B. Soli.|
|*58||1733. Sunday after the Circumcision.||Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid.||?Bach.||Stanza i. of Martin Moller's(?) hymn, “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”; Stanza ii. of Martin Behm's hymn, “O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht”; rest original. S. B. Soli.|
|99||c. 1733. Fifteenth S. after Trinity.||Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan.||Samuel Rodigast (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vi. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|191||c. 1733. Christmas Day (“Am Weinachtsfeste”).||Gloria in excelsis Deo.||St. Luke ii. 14.||The “Gloria” of the B minor Mass.|
|117||c. 1733. Occasion not specified.||Sei Lob und Ehr' dem hochsten Gut.||Johann Jakob Schütz.||Choral Cantata. The nine stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. A. T. B. Soli.|
|97||1734. ?For a Wedding, or general use.||In allen meinen Thaten.||Paul Flemming. See Schweitzer, ii. 242n.||Choral Cantata. The nine stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form.|
|*54||1723-34. Occasion not specified.||Wideratehe doch der Sunde.||Author unknown.||Original throughout. Alto Solo.|
|*53||1723-34. ?For a Funeral.||Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde.||?Salomo Franck.||A single eight-lined original stanza. Alto Solo.|
(6) COMPOSED AT LEIPZIG: 1735-50
|No.||Date.||Title.||Author of Libretto.||Composition of the Text.|
|43||1735. New Year's Day.||Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Psalm cxlvi. 1).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Wustmann (note 19) suggests Bach.||Psalm cxlvi. 1, 5, 10; Stanzas i. and iii. of Jakob Ebert's hymn, “Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ”; the rest of the libretto (two Arias) original. S. T. B. Soli.|
|14||1735. Fourth S. after the Epiphany.||War' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit (Psalm cxxiv.).||Luther (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and iii. are set in their original form. Stanza ii. is paraphrased in the intervening Arias and Recitativo. S. T. B. Soli.|
|†85||1735. Second S. after Easter. (“Misericordias Domini”).||Ich bin ein guter Hirt (St. John x. 11).||Spitta (iii. 71) and Schweitzer (ii. 331n) attribute the text to Marianne von Ziegler. Wustmann (note 60) disagrees.||St. John x. 11; Stanza i. of Cornelius Becker's hymn, “Derr Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt”; Stanza iv. of Ernst Christoph Homburg's hymn, “Ist Gott mein Schild und Helfersmann”; rest of libretto original.|
|103||?1735. Third S. after Easter (“Jubilate”).||Ihr werdet weinen und heulen (St. John xvi. 20).||Marianne von Ziegler (“Versuch in gebundener Schreibart,” Leipzig,1728). Emended by Bach.||St. John xvi. 20; Stanza ix. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Barmherzger Vater, hochster Gott”; rest of libretto original. A. T. Soli.|
|108||?1735. Fourth S. after Easter. (“Cantate”).||Es ist euch gut, dass ich hingehe (St. John xvi. 7).||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||St. John xvi. 7, 13; Stanza x. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†87||?1735. Fifth S. after Easter (“Rogate”)||Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen (St. John xvi. 24).||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||St. John xvi. 24,33; Stanza ix. of Heinrich Müller's hymn “Selig ist die Seele”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|43||1735. Ascension Day.||Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen (Psalm xlvii. 5).||?Bach. Schweitzer (ii. 331n) wrongly attributes text to Marianne von Ziegler.||Part I.: Pslm xlvii. 5,6; St. Mark xvi. 19; Part II.: Stanzas i. and xiii. of Johann Rist's hymn, “Du Lebenfüst, Herr Jesu Christ”, rest of libretto original, excepting the second, third, and fourth Arias. Original portion perhaps by Bach.|
|11||c. 1735. Ascension Day.||Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen.||Author unknown.||St. Luke xxiv. 50-52; Acts i. 9-11; Stanza iv. of Johann Rist's hymn, “Du Lebenfüst, Herr Jesu Christ”; Stanza vii. of Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer's hymn “Gott fähret auf gen Himmel”; rest of libretto original.|
|128||?1735. Ascension Day.||Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein.||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||Stanza i. of Josua Wegelin's hymn, “Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein”; Stanza iv. of Matthäus Avenarius's hymn, “O Jesu, meine Lust”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†183||?1735. Sunday after the Ascension (“Exaudi”)||Sie werden euch in den Bann thun (St. John xvi. 2)||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||S. John xvi. 2; Stanza v. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn “Zeuch ein zu deinen Thoren”; rest of libretto original.|
|74||?1735. Whit Sunday. An expansion of No. 59 (1716).||Wer mich liebst, der wird mein Wort halten (St. John xiv. 23).||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||St. John 23, 28; Romans viii. 1; Stanza ii. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” rest of libretto original.|
|68||?1735. Whit Monday. Contains old (1716) secular material.||Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt.||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach. See “Was mir behagt.”||Stanza i. of Salomo Liscow's hymn, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt”; St. John iii. 18; rest of libretto original. S. B. Soli.|
|†175||?1735. Whit Tuesday.||Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen (St. John x. 3).||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended slightly by Bach.||St. John x. 3, 6; Stanza ix. of Johann Rist's hymn, “O Gottes Geist, mein Trost und Rath ”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|176||?1735. Trinity Sunday. [See No. 20 (1725).]||Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding. (Cf. Jer. xvii. 9).||Marianne von Ziegler (Ibid.). Emended by Bach.||Stanza viii. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Was alle Weisheit in der Welt”; rest original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|107||c. 1735. Seventh S. after Trinity.||Was willst du dich betrüben.||Johann Heermann.||Choral Cantata. Six stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form. The final Choral is stanza xiv. of David Denicke's hymn, “Ich will zu aller Stunde.” S. T. B. Soli.|
|94||?1735. Ninth S. after Trinity.||Was frag ich nach der Welt.||Georg Michael Pfefferkorn (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iii., v., vii., viii. are set in their original form. Stanzas ii., iv., vi. are paraphrased in the Arias.|
|133||1735 (or 1737). Feast of St. John the Evangelist.||Ich freue mich in dir.||Caspar Ziegler (arranged by ?Christian Weiss, junr.).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and iv. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|100||c. 1735. ?Fifteenth S. after Trinity, for a Wedding.||Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan.||Samuel Rodigast.||Choral Cantata. The six stanzas of the hymn are set in their original form.|
|5||1735. Nineteenth S. after Trinity.||Wo soll ich fliehen hin.||Johann Heermann (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and xi. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening Arias and Recitativi are based particularly on stanzas iii., iv., vii., viii., ix.|
|79||1735. Reformation Festival (Oct. 30).||Gott, der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild (Psalm Ixxxiv. 11).||?Christian Weiss, senr.||Psalm lxxxiv. 11; Stanza i. of Martin Rinkart's hymn, “Nun danket alle Gott”; Stanza viii. of Ludwig Helmbold's hymn, “Nun lasst uns Gott dem Herren”; rest of libretto original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|41||?1736. New Year's Day.||Jesu, nun sei gepreiset.||Johann Heermann (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and iii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanza ii. is paraphrased in the intervening Arias and Recitativi.|
|†13||c. 1736. Second S. after the Epiphany.||Meine Seufzer, meine Thränen.||Author unknown.||Stanza ii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen”; Stanza xv. of Paul Flemming's hymn, “In allen meinen Thaten”; rest original.|
|[1736. Easter Day]||Kommt, eilet und laufet.||?Picander.]|
|6||1736. Easter Monday.||Bleib' bei uns, denn es will Abend werdeu (St. Luke xxiv. 29).||Author unknown. Wustmann (note 53) suggests Picander.||St. Luke xxiv. 29; Stanzas i. and ii. of Nikolaus Selnecker's hymn, “Ach bleib' bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ”; Stanza ii. of Luther's hymn, “Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort”; rest original.|
|28||c. 1736. Sunday after Christmas. Spitta, ii. 433, dates it 1725-27.||Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende.||Erdmann Neumeister (“Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten,” 1716. Ser. IV.||Stanza i. of Johann Graumann's hymn, “Nun lob', mein Seel', den Herren”; Jeremiah xxxii. 41; Stanza vi. of Paul Eber's hymn, “Helft mir Gott's Gütte preisen”; rest of libretto original.|
|17||c. 1737. Fourteenth S. after Trinity.||Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (Psalm 1., 23).||?Bach. Schweitzer (ii. 343) attributes the text to Picander.||Part I.: Psalm 1. 23; Part II.: St. Luke xvii. 15, 16; Stanza iii. of Johann Graumann's hymn, “Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren”; rest original.|
|118||c. 1737. ?For a Funeral.||O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht.||Martin Behm.||Stanza i. of Martin Behm's hymn, “O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht.” A Motet; cf. No. 50 (c. 1740.|
|197||?1737. For a Wedding. Contains older material (?1728).||Gott ist uns're Zuversicht.||?Bach. Pt. II.'s Arias are based on the Christmas Cantata “Ehre sei Gott” (?1728).||Stanza iii. of Luther's hymn, “Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist”; Stanza vii. (partly rewritten) of Georg Neumark's hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten”; rest original. S. A. B. Soli.|
|30||1738. Feast of St. John Baptist (Midsummer Day).||Freue dich, erloste Schaar.||Reconstruction, by ?Picander, of his “Angenehmes Wiederau,” 1737, from which the music also is in part borrowed.||Part I.: Stanza iii. of Johannes Olearius' hymn, “Tröstet, tröstet, meine Lieben”; rest of libretto original.|
|123||1740. Feast of the Epiphany.||Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen.||Ahasuerus Fritsch (arranged by ?Christian Weiss, junr.).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and v. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii., iii., iv. are paraphrased in the intervening Arias and Recitativi. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†32||c. 1740. First S. after the Epiphany.||Leibster Jesu, mein Verlangen.||?Picander.||St. Luke ii. 49; Stanza xii. of Paul Gerhardt's hymn, “Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken”; rest of libretto original. S. B. Soli.|
|124||c. 1740. First S. after the Epiph-any.||Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht.||Christian Keimann (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vi. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii.-v. are paraphrased in the intervening Arias and Recitativi.|
|3||c. 1740. Second S. after the Epiphany.||Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid.||Martin Moller (arranged by ?Christian Weiss, junr.).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., xii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas iv.-vi., ix., x. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativo.|
|111||c. 1740. Third S. after the Epiphany.||Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit.||Albrecht, Margrave of Brandenburg-Culmbach (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and iv. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii. and iii. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|92||c. 1740. Septuagesima.||Ich hab' in Gottes Herz und Sinn.||Paul Gerhardt (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., v., x., xii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas iii., iv., vi.-viii., ix. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativo.|
|125||c. 1740. Feast of the Purification.||Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin.||Luther (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii. , iv. are set in their original form. Stanza iii. is paraphrased in the second Aria and Recitative. A. T. B. Soli.|
|126||c. 1740. Sexagesima.||Erhalt' uns, Heir, bei deinem Wort.||Luther (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iii., and Luther's “Verleih' uns Frieden gnädiglich” are set in their original form. The other stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and second Recit. A. T. B. Soli.|
|127||c. 1740. Quinquagesima (“Esto-mihi”).||Herr Jesu Christ, wahr'r Mensch und Gott.||Paul Eber (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and viii. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Recitativi and Arias. S. T. B. Soli.|
|1||c. 1740. Feast of the Annunciation.||Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.||Philipp Nicolai (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii.-vi. are paraphrased in the intervening Recitativi and Arias. S. T. B. Soli.|
|146||c. 1740. Third S. after Easter (“Jubilate”). Incorporates older instrumental material.||Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen (Acts xiv. 22).||Author unknown. Schweitzer (ii. 343) names Picander.||Acts xiv. 22; excepting the concluding Choral (words wanting in the score) the rest of the libretto is original.|
|34||c. 1740 (or 1741). Whit Sunday (“Am Pfingst-feste”. Incorporates (modified) parts of the Wedding Cantata (c. 1730) bearing the same title||O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe.||?by Bach.||Original throughout. Movements 1, 3, 5, follow the Wedding Cantata, words and music. A. T. B. Soli.|
|2||c. 1740. Second S. after Trinity.||Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein.||Luther (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vi. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi. A. T. B. Soli.|
|135||c. 1740. Third S. after Trinity.||Ach Herr, mich armen Sunder.||Cyriacus Schneegass. Also attributed to Christoph Demantius (arranged by ?Christian Weiss, junr.).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vi. of the hymn (see Psalm vi.) are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi. A. T. B. Soli.|
|7||c.1740. Feast of St. John Baptist (Midsummer Day).||Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam.||Luther (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vii. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi. A. T. B. Soli.|
|10||c. 1740. Feast of the Visitation.||Meine Seel' erhebt den Herren. (St. Luke, i. 46).||St. Luke, i. 46-55 (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Verses 46-48, 54, and the Doxology, are set in their original form. The other verses are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativi.|
|45||c. 1740. Eighth S. after Trinity.||Est ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist (Micah vi., 8).||?Christian Weiss, senr. Schweitzer (ii. 343) attributes the text to Picander.||Part I.: Micah vi. 8; Part II.: St. Matthew vii. 22, 23; Stanza ii. of Johann Heermann's hymn, “O Gott, du frommer Gott”; rest original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|178||c. 1740. Eighth S. after Trinity.||Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt (Psalm cxxiv.).||Justus Jonas (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., iv., v., vii., viii., of the hymn are set in their original form. The other stanzas are paraphrased. A. T. B. Soli.|
|101||c. 1740. Tenth S. after Trinity.||Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott.||Martin Moller (arranged). Schweitzer (ii. 375) names Picander.||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iii., v., vii. are set in their original form. Stanzas ii., iv., vi. are paraphrased in the Arias.|
|113||c. 1740. Eleventh S. after Trinity.||Heir Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut.||Bartholomaüws Ringwaldt(arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., iv., viii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas iii., v.-vii. are paraphrased in the Arias and Recitativo.|
|193||c. 1740. Inauguration of the Town Council (c. August 24). Incomplete.||Ihr Pforten [Tore] zu Zion||Author unknown.||Original throughout. S. A. T. (or B.) Soli.|
|33||c. 1740. Thirteenth S. after Trinity.||Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ.||Johannes Schneesing. Attributed also to Conrad Hubert. Arranged.||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and iv. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased. A. T. B. Soli.|
|78||c. 1740 (or after 1734) Fourteenth S. after Trinity.||Jesu, der du meine Seele.||Johann Rist (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and xii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Four lines of Stanza x. are inserted into the last Recitativo.|
|138||c. 1740 (or earlier). Fifteenth S. after Trinity.||Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz.||?Hans Sachs and ?Picander.||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., iii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|114||c. 1740. Seventeenth S. after Trinity.||Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost.||Johannes Gigas (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iii., vi. of the hymn are set in their original form. The other stanzas are paraphrased in the remaining movements.|
|96||c. 1740. Eighteenth S. after Trinity.||Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn.||Elisabethe Cruciger (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and v. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased in the Recitativi and Arias.|
|130||c. 1740. Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.||Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir.||Paul Eber (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., xi., xii. (in score only) of the hymn are set in their original form. The remaining stanzas are paraphrased.|
|50||c. 1740. Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.||Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft.||Revelation xii 10.||Rev. xii. 10; a single Bible passage. A Motet. Cf. No. 118 (c. 1737).|
|48||c.1740. Nineteenth S. after Trinity.||Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlosen (Rom. vii. 24).||?Picander.||Romans vii. 24; Stanza iv. of the anonymous hymn, “Ach Gott und Herr”; Stanza xii. of the anonymous hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, ich schrei zu dir”; rest original. A. T. Soli.|
|180||c. 1740. Twentieth S. after Trinity.||Schmucke dich, O liebe Seele.||Johann Franck (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iv., ix. of the hymn are set in their original form. The remaining stanzas are paraphrased.|
|38||c. 1740. Twenty-first S. after Trinity.||Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Psalm cxxx.).||Luther (arranged by ?Christian Weiss, junr.).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and v. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased.|
|115||c. 1740. Twenty-second S. after Trinity.||Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit.||Johann Burchard Freystein (arranged by ?Picander.||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and x. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening ones are paraphrased.|
|139||c. 1740. Twenty-third S. after Trinity.||Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott.||Johann Christoph Rube (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and v. are set in their original form. The intervening ones are paraphrased.|
|26||c. 1740. Twenty-fourth S. after Trinity.||Ach wie fluchtig.||Michael Franck (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and xiii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii.-xii. are paraphrased.|
|†90||c. 1740. Twenty-fifth S. after Trinity.||Es reifet euch ein sohrecklich Ende.||?Picander.||Stanza vii. of Martin Holler's hymn, “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott”; rest of libretto original. A. T. B. Soli.|
|62||c. 1740 (after 1734). First S. in Advent.||Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.||Luther (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and viii. are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased.|
|91||c. 1740. Christmas Day.||Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ.||Luther (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., ii., vii. of the hymn are set in their original form. The remaining stanzas are paraphrased.|
|110||Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (Psalm cxxvi. 2).||After 1734. Christmas Day. Has older instrumental material.||?Christian Weiss, senr. Schweitzer (ii. 343) suggests Picander.||Psalm cxxvi. 2, 3; Jeremiah x. 6; St. Luke ii. 14; Stanza v. of Caspar Fuger's hymn, “Wir Christenleut'”; rest of libretto original.|
|†57||c. 1740. Feast of St. Stephen.||Selig ist der Mann (St. James i. 12).||?Picander.||St. James i. 12; Stanza vi. of Ahasuerus Fritsch's hymn, “Hast du, denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht gantzlich verborgen”; rest of libretto original. S. B. Soli.|
|121||c. 1740. Feast of St. Stephen.||Christum wir sollen loben schon.||Luther (arranged by ?Picander).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and viii. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanzas ii.-vi. are paraphrased. A. T. B. Soli.|
|†l51||c. 1740. Feast of St. John the Evangelist.||Süsser Trost, main Jesus kommt.||?Bach.||Stanza viii. of Nikolaus Herman's hymn, “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich”; rest of libretto original.|
|Incomplete||c. 1740 (after 1734). For a Wedding.||Herr Gott, Beherrseher aller Dinge.||?Bach.||Stanzas iv. and v. of Joachim Neander's hymn, “Lobe den Herren”; rest original. S. B. Soli.|
|122||c. 1742. Sunday after Christmas Day.||Das neugebor'ne Kindelein.||Cyriacus Schneegass and ?Bach.||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i., iii., iv. of the hymn are set in their original form. Stanza ii. is paraphrased in the first Aria. The two Recitativi are original.|
|116||1744 (Nov. 15). Twenty-fifth S. after Trinity.||Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ.||Jakob Ebert. Also attributed to Ludwig Helmbold (arranged).||Choral Cantata. Stanzas i. and vii. of the hymn are set in their original form. The intervening stanzas are paraphrased.|
APPENDIX III. THE BACHGESELLSCHAFT EDITIONS OF BACH'S WORKS
The Bachgesellschaft was founded on December 15, 1850, issued its first volume in 1851, and was dissolved on January 27, 1900, upon the publication of its sixtieth and concluding volume. The Society had fulfilled its fundamental purpose—the publication of Bach's works—and on the very date of its dissolution the Neue Bachgesellschaft was founded with the object of popularising Bach's music by publishing it in practicable form and by holding Bach Festivals. A secondary object, the foundation of a Bach Museum at Eisenach, in the house in which Bach was born, already has been achieved. Bach Festivals have been held at regular intervals—at Berlin in 1901, Leipzig in 1904, Eisenach—in connection with the opening of the Museum—in 1907, at Chemnitz in 1908, Duisburg in 1910, Breslau in 1912, Vienna in 1914. The publications of the new Society necessarily are unimportant by the side of those of its predecessor. It has, however, brought to light and published a Cantata overlooked by the old Bachgesellschaft. (See New B.G. XIII. (2).)
The publications of both Societies are quoted here by their year of issue—I., II., III., and so forth. When more than one volume has been published in a single year they are differentiated thus: XV.(1), XV.(2). When a volume appeared upon a date subsequent to the Vereinsjahr it [pg 226] bears, the date of the Preface is indicated in a bracket, e.g. 1872.
The editorial work of the original Bachgesellschaft was undertaken, in unequal proportions, by ten editors during fifty years. Of the Society's sixty volumes three were edited by Moritz Hauptmann (1851-58), one by Carl F. Becker (1853), two by Julius Rietz (1854-56), twenty-seven by Wilhelm Rust (1855-81), one by Franz Kroll (1866), eleven by Alfred Dörffel (1876-98), six by Paul Graf Waldersee (1881-94), five by Ernst Naumann (1886-94), two by Franz Wüllner (1887-92), and two by Hermann Kretzschmar (1895-1900).
(A) PUBLICATIONS OF THE BACHGESELLSCHAFT
|I.||1851. Kirchencantaten. Erster Band. Ed. Moritz Hauptmann.478
|II.||1852. Kirchencantaten. Zweiter Band. Ed. Moritz Hauptmann.
|III.||1853. Clavierwerke. Erster Band. Ed. Carl F. Becker.
|IV.||1854. *Passionsmusik nach dem Evangelisten Matthäus. Ed. Julius Rietz.|
|V(1).||1855. Kirchencantaten. Dritter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|V(2).||1855 . Weinachts-Oratorium. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.|
|VI.||1856. *Messe. H moll. Ed. Julius Rietz.|
|VI.||VII. 1857. Kirchencantaten. Vierter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|VIII.||1858. Vier Messen. F dur, *A dur, G moll, G dur. Ed. Moritz Hauptmann.|
|IX.||1859 [I860]. Kammermusik. Erster Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|X.||1860. Kirchencantaten. Fünfter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XI (1).||1861 . *Magnificat, D dur, und vier Sanctus, C dur, D dur, D moll, G dur. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XI (2).||1861 . Kammermusik für Gesang. Erster Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XII (1).||1862 . *Passionsmusik nach dem Evangelisten Johannes. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.|
|XII (2).||1862 . Kirchencantaten. Sechster Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XIII (1).||1863 . Trauungs-Cantaten. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XIII (2).||1863. Clavierwerke. Zweiter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XIII (3).||1863 . *Trauer-Ode. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.|
|XIV.||1864 . Clavierwerke. Dritter Band. Das wohltemperirte Clavier (P. bks. 2790 a-b.). Ed. Franz Kroll.484
|XV.||1865 . Orgelwerke. Erster Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XVI.||1866 . Kirchencantaten. Siebenter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XVII.||1867 . Kammermusik. Zweiter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XVIII.||1868 . Kirchencantaten. Achter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XIX.||1869 . Kammermusik. Dritter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
Six Concertos (“Brandenburg”) for Orchestra and Continuo:—
|XX (1).||1870 . Kirchencantaten. Neunter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XX (2).||1870 . Kammermusik für Gesang. Zweiter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXI (1).||1871 . Kammermusik. Vierter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXI (2).||1871 . Kammermusik. Fünfter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXI (3).||1871 . *0ster-0ratorium: “Kommt, eilet und laufet.” Ed. Wilhelm Rust.|
|XXII.||1872 . Kirchencantaten. Zehnter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXIII.||1873 . Kirchencantaten. Elfter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXIV.||1874 . Kirchencantaten. Zwölfter Band. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXV (1).||1875 . Die Kunst der Fuge: 1749-1750 Ed. Wilhelm Rust. (P. bk. 218)
|XXV (2)||1875 , Orgelwerke. Zweiter Band. Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXVI.||1876 . Kirchencantaten. Dreizehnter Band. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXVII (1).||1877 [18791. Kammermusik. Sechster Band. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXVII (2).||1877 . Thematisches Verzeichniss der Kirchencantaten No. 1-120. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
[Note.—The Thematic Catalogue is completed in B.G. XLVI. (P. bk. 270b).]
|XXVIII.||1878 . Kirchencantaten. Vierzehnter Band Ed. Wilhelm Rust.
|XXIX.||1879 . Kammermusik für Gesang, Dritter Band. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XXX.||1880 . Kirchencantaten. Fünfzehnter Band. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XXXI (1).||1881  Orchesterwerke. Ed. Alfred Dörffel. (P. bk. 219)
|XXXI (2).||1881  Musikalisches Opfer. 1747. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXXI (3).||1881 . Kammermusik. Siebenter Band. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XXXII.||1882 . Kirchencantaten. Sechzehnter Band. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|XXXIII.||1883 . Kirchencantaten. Siebzehnter Band: Ed. Franz Wülner.
|XXXIV.||1884 . Kammermusik für Gesang. Vierter Band. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XXXV.||1885 . Kirchencantaten. Achtzehnter Band. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXXVI.||1886 . Clavierwerke. Vierter Band. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|XXXVII.||1887 . Kirchencantaten. Neunzehnter Band. Ed. Alfred Dörffel.
|XXXVIII.||1888 . Orgelwerke. Dritter Band. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|XXXIX.||1889 . Motetten, Choräle und Lieder. Ed. Franz Wüllner.
|XL.||1890 . Orgelwerke. Vierter Band. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|XLI.||1891 . Kirchenmusikwerke. Erganzungsband. Ed. Alfred Döffel.
|XLII.||1892 . Clavierwerke. Funfter Band. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|XLIII(l).||1893 . Kammermusik. Achter Band. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XLIII (2).||1893 . Musikstücke in den Notenbüchen der Anna Magdalena Bach. Ed. Paul Graf Waldersee.
|XLIV.||1894 . Handschrift in zeitlich geordneten Nachbildungen. Ed. Hermann Kretzschmar. Contains facsimiles of Bach's handwriting and autograph MSS.|
|XLV(1).||1895 . Clavierwerke. Zweiter Band (neue berichtigte Ausgabe). Ed. Alfred Döffel.543
|XLV (2).||1895 . Passionsmusik nach dem Evangelisten Lucas. Ed. Alfred Döffel.
Though the Score is in Bach's autograph, the work is generally held not to be his.
|XLVI.||1896 .546 Schlussband. Bericht und Verzeichnisse. Ed. Hermann Kretzschmar.
The volume contains:—
(B) PUBLICATIONS OF THE NEW BACHGESELLSCHAFT
|1(1).||1901. Lieder und Arien. Fur eine Singstimme mit Pianoforte (Orgel oder Harmonium). Ed. Ernst Naumann
The seventy-eight Songs are those contained in B.G. XXXIX. secs. 3 and 4 (first three only) supra.
|I (2).||1901. Lieder und Arien. Furvierstimmigen gemischten Chor. Ed. Franz Wüllner.
The seventy-five Songs are those contained in I (1), omitting those in sec. 4 of B.G. XXXIX. supra.
|1(3).||1901. Erstes deutsches Bach-Fest in Berlin 21 bis 23 Marz 1901. Festschrift.
The frontispiece is Carl Seffner's bust of Bach.
|II (1).||1902. Orgelbüchlein. 46 kürzere Choralbearbeitungen für Klavier zu vier Handen. Ed. Bernhard Fr. Richter.
The original forty-six Organ Preludes, here arranged for two pianofortes (see B.G. XXV (2), sec. 1).
|II(2).||1902. Kirchen-Kantaten. Klavierauszug. Erstes Heft. Ed. Gustav Schreck and Ernst Naumann.
Contains Breitkopf and Haertel's vocal scores of—
|III (1).||1903. Kirchen-Kantaten. Klavierauszug. Zweites Heft. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
Contains Breitkopf and Haertel's vocal scores of—
|III(2).||1903. Drei Sonaten für Klavier und Violine. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|IV (1).||1904. Drei Sonaten für Klavier und Violine. Ed. Ernst Naumann.
|IV (2).||1904. Joh. Seb. Bach, Bildnis in Heliogravure.
A print of the portrait discovered by Dr. Fritz Volbach reproduced at p. 92 of this present volume.
|IV (3).||1904. Zweites deutsches Bach-Fest in Leipzig 1 bis 3 Oktober 1904. Festschrift.|
|V (1).||1905. Fest-Gottesdienst zum deutschen Bachfeste in der Thomaskirche zu Leipzig. Ed. Georg Rietschel.
Contains the order of service and music sung on the occasion.
|V (2).||1905. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitung.
I Abteilung: Arien für Sopran Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|V(3).||1905. Bach-Jahrbuch 1904. Herausgegeben von der Neuen Bachgesellschaft.
In addition to sermons and addresses on the occasion of the second Bach Festival at Leipzig in 1904, the volume contains the following articles:
|VI (1).||1906. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitung. II Abteilung: Arien für Alt. Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|VI (2).||1906. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- odor Orgelbegleitung. III Abteilung: Duette für Sopran und Alt. Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|VI (3).||1906. Bach-Jahrbuch 1905. Herausgegeben von der Neuen Bachgesellschaft.
Contains the following articles:
|VII (1).||1907. Kantate No. 88: “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden.” Partitur. Ed. Max Seiffert.|
|VII (2).||1907. Kantate No. 88: “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden.” Klavierauszug mit Text. Ed. Max Seiffert und Otto Taubmann.|
|VII (3).||1907. Bach-Jahrbuch 1906. Herausgegeben von der Neuen Bachgesellschaft.
Contains the following articles:
|VII (4).||1907. Drittes deutsches Bach-Fest zur Einweihung von Johann Sebastian Bachs Geburtshaus als BachMuseum [at Eisenach]. Fest- und Programmbuch [26-28 May 1907].
The frontispiece is Carl Seffner's bust of Bach.
|VIII (1).||1908. Violinkonzert No. 2 in E dur. Partitur. Ed. Max Seiffert.
See B.G. XXI (1) no. 2.
|VIII (2).||1908. Violinkonzert No. 2 in E dur fur Violine und Klavier. Ed. Max Seiffert and A. Saran.|
|VIII (3).||1908. Bach-Jahrbuch. 4 Jahrgang 1907: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering.
In addition to a sermon by Professor Georg Rietschel and an obituary notice of Joseph Joachim, the volume contains the following articles:
|IX (1).||1909. Kantate No. 85: “Ich bin ein guter Hirt.” Partitur. Ed. Max Seiffert.|
|IX (2).||1909. Kantate No. 85: “Ich bin ein guter Hirt.” Klavierauszug mit Text. Ed. Max Seiffert and Max Schneider.|
|IX (3).||1909. Brandenburgisches Konzert No. 3. Partitur. Ed. Max Seiffert.
See B.G. XIX. no. 3.
|IX (4).||1909. Brandcnburgisches Konzert No. 3 für Klavier zu vier Händen. Ed. Max Seiffert and Max Schneider.|
|IX (5).||1909. Viertes deutsches Bach-Fest in Chemnitz 3-5 Oktober 1908. Fest- und Programmbuch.
The frontispiece is a photograph of Carl Seffner's statue of Bach, unveiled at Leipzig May 17, 1908.
|IX (6).||1909. Bach-Jahrbuch. 5 Jahrgang 1908: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering.
Contains the following articles:
|X (I).||1910. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitung. IV Abteilung: Arien für Tenor. Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|X (2).||1910. Brandenburgisches Konzert No. 1. Partitur. Ed. Max Seiffert.
See B.G. XIX. no. 1.
|X(3).||1910. Brandenburgisches Konzert No. 1 fur Klavier zu vier Handen. Ed. Max Seiffert and Max Schneider.|
|X(4).||1910. Bach-Jahrbuch. 6 Jahrgang 1909: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering.
The volume contains the following articles:
|X (5).||1910. Fünftes deutsches Bach-Fest in Duisburg 4 bis 7 Juni 1910. Fest- und Programmbuch.
Frontispiece, St. Thomas' Church and School, Leipzig, in 1723. Reproduced at p. 28 of the present volume.
|XI (1).||1911. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duetto mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitung V Abteilung: Arien für Bass, Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|XI (2).||1911. Bach-Jahrbuch. 7 Jahrgang 1910: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Sobering.
The volume contains the following articles:
|XII (1).||1912. Ausgewahlte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitnng. VI Abteilung: Arien fur Sopran. 2 Heft. Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|XII (2).||1912. Bach-Jahrbuch. 8 Jaargang 1911: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering. Mit 2 Bildnissen und 8 Faksimiles.
The volume contains the following articles:
The illustrations are, portraits of W. Friedemann Bach (aet. 72) and Johann Sebastian Bach (son of Carl P. E. Bach); facsimiles of Bach's arrangement of the D minor Vivaldi Organ Concerto (attributed to W. F. Bach) and “Lukaspassion,” and of a letter written to J. G. I. Breitkopf by C. P. E. Bach, dated 28th February 1786.
|XII (3).||1912. Sechstes Deuteches Bach-Fest in Breslau 15 bis 17 Juni 1912. Fest- und Frogrammbuch.
Frontispiece, J. S. Bach after the oil-painting by G. Haussmann in possession of St. Thomas' School, Leipzig (see Spitta, vol. i. frontispiece and XVI (1) infra).
|XIII (1).||1913. Ausgewahlte Arien mit obligaten Instrumenten und Klavierbegleitung. VII Abteilung: Arien fur Sopran. 3 Heft. Weltliche Arien. Ed. Eusebius Mrmdyczewski.
|XIII (2).||1913. Solo-Kantate für Sopran, “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut,” ausgefunden und herausgegeben von C. A. Martiensen. Partitur.|
|XIII (3).||1913. Solo-Kantate für Sopran, “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut.” Klavierauszug mit Text von Max Schneider.|
|XIII (4).||1913. Bach-Jahrbuch. 9 Jahrgang 1912: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering. Mit 2 Noten-Anhängen.
The volume contains the following articles:
|XIV (1).||1914.548 Joh. Seb. Bachs Kantatentexte. Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellsehaft herausgegeben von Rudolf Wustmann.
Contains the literary texts of the Church Cantatas, with critical notes.
|XIV (2). 1914. Bach-Jahrbuch. 10 Jahrgang 1913. Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellsehaft herausgegeben von Arnold Sobering. Mit einem Titelbilde und einer Beilage.
The volume contains the following articles:
The frontispiece is a portrait of Bach, about thirty-five years old, after the original in the Eisenach Museum by Job. Jak. Ihle. See frontispiece of this volume.
|XIV (3).||1914. Fest- und Programmbuch zum 7 Deutschen Bachfest der Neuen Bachgesellschaft. Wien. 9 bis 11 May 1914.
The frontispiece is a picture of St. Thomas' Church and School in 1723 (see p. 28 supra).
|XV (1).||1914. Ausgewählte Arien und Duette mit einem obligaten Instrument und Klavier- oder Orgelbegleitung. VIII Abteilung: Arien für Alt. 2 Heft. Ed. Eusebius Mandyczewski.
|XV (2).||1915. Bach-Jahrbuch. 11 Jahrgang 1914: Im Anftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering (Leipzig). Mit einem Titelbilde und einer Bilderbeilage.
The volume contains the following articles:
The frontispiece is a picture of Bach by Daniel Greiner.
|XVI (1).||1916. Das Bachbildnis der Thomasschule zu Leipzig, nach seiner Wiederherstellung im Jahre 1913. Gemalt von E. G. Haussmanu 1746.
A print of the renovated picture is at p. 48 of this volume.
|XVI (2).||1916. Bach-Genealogie mit zwei Briefen von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Herausgegeben von Professor Max Schneider in Breslau.550|
|XVI (3).||1916. Bach-Jahrbuch. 12 Jahrgang 1915. Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Sobering (Leipzig). Mit dem Bildnisse J. S. Bachs nach der Gedenkbüste in der Walhalla.
The volume contains the following articles:
The frontispiece is a photograph of Professor F. Behn's bust of Bach in the Walhalla.
|XVII (1).||1916. Motette “O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht.” Nach Bachs Handschrift zum ersten Male herausgegeben von Max Schneider. Partitur, [See E.G. XXIV.]|
|XVII (2).||1916. Motette “O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht.” Klavierauszug mit Text von Max Schneider. [See B.G. XXIV.]|
|XVII (3).||1917. Bach-Urkunden. Ursprung der musikalisch-Bachischen Familie. Nachrichten über Johann Sebastian Bach von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Herausgegeben von Max Schneider.
The volume contains a facsimile of the Bach Genealogy compiled by Joh. Seb. Bach and formerly in Carl Philipp Emanuel's possession, and two letters from the latter to J. N. Forkel.
|XVII (4).||1917. Bach-Jahrbuch. 13 Jahrgang 1916. Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering (Leipzig).
The volume contains the following articles:
|XVIII (1).||1917. Konzert in D moll nach der ursprünglichen Fassung fur Violine wiederhergestellt von Robert Reitz. Partitur. [See B.G. XVII.]|
|XVIII (2).||1917. Konzert in D moll nach der ursprünglichen Fassung für Violine wiederhergestellt von Robert Reitz. Ausgabe fur Violine und Klavier. [See B.G. XVII.]|
|XVIII (3).||1918. Bach-Jahrbuch. 14 Jahrgang 1917: Im Auftrage der Neuen Bachgesellschaft herausgegeben von Arnold Schering (Leipzig). Mit einem Eildnis.
The volume contains the following articles :
The frontispiece is a copy of the oil portrait of Bach after Haussmann, copied by J. M. David in 1746.
APPENDIX IV. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BACH LITERATURE
The following list does not include magazine articles or technical works. A comprehensive bibliography, compiled by Max Schneider, will be found in the Bach-Jahrbuch for 1905 and 1910. Shorter lists are in C. F. Abdy Williams' Bach (1900) and Andre Pirro's J.-S. Bach (1906). Titles within square brackets in the following list are inserted upon the authority of the Bach-Jahrbuch, but are not discoverable in the annual Book Catalogues. Since the absence of an Italian section may be remarked, it should be said that the Catalogo generate della Libreria Italiana, 1847-1899 (published in 1910) contains no reference to Bach. Nor does the Supplement of 1912.
|Johann Christoph W. Kühnau, Die blinden Tonküstler. Berlin. 1810.|
|J. E. Grosser, Lebensbeschreibung des Kapellmeisters Johann Sebastian Bach. Breslau. 1834.|
|Albert Schiffner, Sebastian Bachs geistige Nachkommenschaft. Leipzig. 1840.|
|Johann T. Mosewius, Johann Sebastian Bach in seinen Kirch-Kantaten und Choralgesängen. Berlin. 1846.|
|Johann Carl Schauer, Johann Sebastian Bachs Lebensbild: Eine Denkschrift auf seinen 100jähringen Todestag. Jena. 1850.|
|C. L. Hilgenfeldt, Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Wirken und Werke. Leipzig. 1850.|
|[W. Naumann, Johann Sebastian Bach. Eine Biographie. Cassell. 1855.]|
|[Anon., Biographien und Charakteristiken der grossen Meister: Bach, Händel, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, mit Portrats. 2nd ed. Leipzig. 1860.]|
|C. H. Bitter, Johann Sebastian Bach. 2 vols. Berlin. 1865. 2nd ed. 1880.|
|C. Albert Ludwig, Johann Sebastian Bach in seiner Bedeutung für Cantoren, Organisten, und Schullehrer. Bleichroder. 1865.|
|Alfred Dörffel, Thematisches Verzeichniss der Instrumentalwerke von Joh. Seb. Bach. Auf Grund der Gesammtausgabe von C. P. Peters. Leipzig. 1867. 2nd ed. 1882.|
|Carl Tamme, Thematisches Verzeichniss der Vocalwerke von Joh. Seb. Bach. Auf Grund der Gesammtausgaben von F. Peters und der Bach-Gesellschaft. Leipzig, n.d.|
|C. H. Bitter, C. P. E. und W. F. Bach und deren Brüder. 2 vols. Berlin. 1868. New ed. 1880.|
|[Anon., J. S. Bach. Biographie. Leipzig. 1869.]|
|L. Ramann, Bach und Handel. Leipzig. 1869.|
|W. Junghans, Johann Sebastian Bach als Schuler der Partikularschule zu St. Michaelis in Lüneburg. Lüneburg. 1870.|
|Emil Naumann, Deutsche Tondichter von Sebastian Bach bis auf die Gegenwart. Berlin. 1871. 5th ed. 1882.|
|M. Schick, J. S. Bach: ein musikalisches Lebensbild. Reutlingen. 1873.|
|Philipp Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach. 2 vols. Leipzig. 1873-1880.|
|E. Frommel, Händel und Bach. Berlin. 1878.|
|Elise Polko, Unsere Musikklassiker. Sechs biographische Lebensbilder [Bach, etc.]. Leipzig. 1880.|
|[Anon., J. S. Bach. Biographie. [In Meister der Tonkunst, no. 2.] Leipzig. 1880.]|
|August Reissmann, Johann Sebastian Bach. Sein Leben und seine Werke. Berlin and Leipzig. 1881.|
|Otto Gumprecht, Warum treiben wir Musik? [Bach and others.] Leipzig. 1883.|
|C. H. Bitter, Die Söhne Seb. Bachs. Leipzig. 1883.|
|Jul. Schümann, Joh. Seb. Bach, der Kantor der Thomas-schule zu Leipzig. Leipzig. 1884.|
|A. L. Gräbner, Johann Sebastian Bach. Dresden. 1885.|
|Fr. Spitta, Haendel und Bach. Zwei Festreden. Bonn. 1884.|
|E. Heinrich, Johann Sebastian Bach. Ein kurzes Lebensbild. Berlin. 1885.|
|E. Naumann, Deutsche Tondichter von J. S. Bach bis Richard Wagner. Leipzig. 1886. 6th ed. 1896.|
|Paul Meyer, Joh. Seb. Bach. Vortrag. Basel. 1887.|
|Ludwig Ziemssen, Johann Sebastian Bach. Lebensbild. Glogau. 1889.|
|Richard Batka, J. S. Bach. Leipzig. 1893.|
|Wilhelm His, Johann Sebastian Bach. Forschungen über dessen Grabstätte, Gebeine und Antlitz. Leipzig. 1895.|
|Wilhelm His, Anatomisches Forschungen über J. S. Bach's Gebeine und Antlitz, nebst Bemerkungen über dessen Bilder. Leipzig. 1895.|
|Armin Stein, J. S. Bach. Ein Küntstlerleben. Halle. 1896.|
|Hans von Wolzogen, Bach [In Grossmeister deutscher Musik]. Berlin. 1897.|
|[W. Kleefeld, Bach und Graupner. Leipzig. 1898.]|
|[Fr. Thomas, Der Stammbaum des Ohrdruffer Zweigs der Familie von J. S. Bach. Ohrdruf. 1899.]|
|[Fr. Thomas, Einige Ergebnisse über J. S. Bachs Ohrdruffer Schulzeit. Ohrdruf. 1900.]|
|B. Stein, Johann Sebastian Bach und die Familie der “Bache.” Bielefeld. 1900.|
|Fr. von Hausegger, Unsere deutschen Meister [Bach and others]. Munich. 1901.|
|Arnold Sobering, Bachs Textbehandlung. Leipzig. 1901.|
|[W. Tappert, Sebastian Bachs Kompositionen für die Laute. Berlin. 1901.]|
|K. Söhle, Sebastian Bach in Arnstadt Berlin. 1902. 2nd ed. 1904.|
|Arthur Prüfer, Sebastian Bach und die Tonkunst des XIX. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig. 1902.|
|H. Barth, Joh. Sebastian Bach: Lebensbild. Berlin. 1902.|
|Gustav Höcker, Johann Sebastian Bach. Gotha. 1903.|
|Paul von Bojanowski, Das Weimar Johann Sebastian Bachs. Weimar. 1903.|
|Jul. Schumann, Bach, Händel, Mendelssohn. Die protestantische Kirchenmusik in Lebensbildern. Calw and Stuttgart. 1903.|
|[—. Weissgerber, J. S. Bach in Arnstadt. Arnstadt. 1904.]|
|[K. Storck, J. S. Bach: Charakter und Lebensgang. Berlin. 1905.]|
|[A. Pischinger, J. S. Bach. Munich. 1905.]|
|Philipp Wolfrum, Joh. Seb. Bach. Berlin. 1906.|
|Albert Schweitzer, J. S. Bach. Berlin. 1908.|
|Friedrich Hashagen, Joh. Sebastian Bach als Sänger und Musiker des Evangeliums. Wismar. 1909.|
|Max Trümpelmann, Joh. Sebastian Bach und seine Bedeutung für die Choralkomposition unserer Zeit. Magdeburg. 1909.|
|August Wildenhahn, Joh. Sebastian Bach. Eisenach. 1909.|
|Philipp Wolfrum, Johann Sebastian Bach. 2 vols. Leipzig. 1910.|
|André Pirro, Johann Sebastian Bach. Sein Leben und seine Werke. [Translated from the French by Bernhard Engelke.] Berlin. 1910.|
|Johannes Schreyer, Beiträge zur Bach-Kritik. Leipzig. 1911.|
|Martin Falck, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Sein Leben und seine Werke, mit thematischem Verzeichnis seiner Kompositionen und zwei Bildern. Leipzig, c. 1911-14.|
|K. Glebe, Johann Sebastian Bach. Halle. 1912.|
|La Mara, Johann Sebastian Bach. 5th edition. Leipzig. 1912.|
|H. Reimann, Johann Sebastian Bach. 1912.|
|Armin Stein, Johann Sebastian Bach. Halle. 1912.|
|Rudolf Wustmann, Joh. Seb. Bachs Kantatentexte. Leipzig. 1914.|
|Max Bitter, Der Stil Joh. Seb. Bachs in seinem Choralsatze. Bremen. 1913.|
|Ernst Kurth, Grundlagen des linearen Kontrapunkts. Einführung in Stil und Technik von Bachs melodischer Polyphonie. Bern. 1917.|
|Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Vie, talents et travaux de Jean Sébastien Bach. [Translated from the German by Felíx Grenier.] Paris. 1876.|
|Ernest David, La vie et les œuvres de J.-S. Bach, sa famille, ses élèves, ses contemporains. [An abridged translation of Spitta.] Paris. 1882.|
|William Cart, Un maitre deux fois centenaire: étude sur J.-S. Bach, 1685-1750. Paris. 1884. New ed. 1898.|
|André Pirro, L'Orgue de Jean-Sébastien Bach. Paris. 1895.|
|[G. Fink, Étude biographique sur Jean-Sébastien Bach. Angoulème. 1899.]|
|[—. Daubresse, Haendel et Bach. Paris. 1901.]|
|Albert Schweitzer, J. S. Bach, le musicien-poète. Leipzig. 1905.|
|André Pirro, J.-S. Bach. Paris. 1906. 4th edition. 1913.|
|André Pirro, L'Esthétique de Jean-Sébastien Bach. Paris. 1907.|
III. Great Britain
|Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Life of John Sebastian Bach. Translated from the German [by — Stephenson]. London. 1820.|
|C. H. Bitter, The Life of J. Sebastian Bach. An abridged translation from the German. [By Janet Elizabeth Kay Shuttleworth.] London. 1873.|
|R. Lane Poole, Sebastian Bach. London. 1881.|
|Sedley Taylor, The Life of J. S. Bach in relation to his work as a Church musician and composer. Cambridge. 1897.|
|Philipp Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach: His work and influence on the music of Germany, 1685-1750. Translated from the German by Clara Bell and J. A. Fuller Maitland. 3 vols. London. 1899.|
|C. F. Abdy Williams, Bach. London. 1900.|
|A. Maczewski and F. G. Edwards, art. Bach in Grove's Dictionary, vol. i. 1904.|
|E. H. Thome, Bach. London. 1904.|
|C. H. H. Parry, Johann Sebastian Bach. London and New York. 1909.|
|Donald F. Tovey, art. J. S. Bach, in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vol. iii. 1910.|
|Albert Schweitzer, J. S. Bach. With a Preface by C. M. Widor. English translation by Ernest Newman. 2 vols. London. 1911.|
|C. Sanford Terry, Bach's Chorals. 3 vols. Cambridge. 1915, 1917, 1920.|
|W. G. Whittaker, Fugitive Notes on certain Cantatas and Motets by J. S. Bach. London. 1920.|
IV. United States Of America
|André Pirro, Johann Sebastian Bach, the Organist, and his works. [Translated from the French by Wallace Goodrich.] New York. 1902.|
|Elbert Hubbard, Little voyages to the homes of great musicians. New York. 1902.|
|Ludwig Ziemssen, Johann Sebastian Bach. [Translated from the German by G. Putnam Upton.] Chicago. 1905.|
|Rutland Boughton, Bach. New York. 1907.|
|A. M. Oordt, Een koort woord over Bach. Leiden. 1873.|
|Charles Martens, Un livre nouveau sur J.-S. Bach. Brussels. 1905.|
|Victor Hallut, Les Maîtres classiques du dix-huitième siecle. [Bach and others.] Brussels. 1909.|
|[Kuschenaw Dmitrevsky, Das lyrische Museum (no. 25)]. [The oldest Russian biography of Bach.] Petrograd. 1831].|
|[W. Th. Odoewsky, Sebastian Bach. Petrograd. 1890.]|
|[G. M. Bazunow, J. S. Bach. Petrograd. 1894.]|
|[S. M. Haljutin, J. S. Bach. Minsk. 1894.]|
|[Adolf Chybinski, J. S. Bach. Warsaw. 1910.]|
APPENDIX V. A COLLATION OF THE NOVELLO AND PETERS EDITIONS OF THE ORGAN WORKS
|Novello: Book I. Eight Short Preludes And Fugues.
|Novello: Book II. Preludes, Fugues, And Trio.
|Novello: Book III. Fantasias, Preludes, And Fugues.
|Novello: Book IV. Sonatas Or Trios For Two Manuals And Pedal.
|Novello: Book V. Sonatas Or Trios For Two Manuals And Pedal (IV.-VI.).
|Novello: Book VI. Toccata, Preludes, And Fugues.
|Novello: Book VII. Preludes And Fugues.
|Novello: Book VIII. Preludes And Fugues.
|Novello: Book IX. Preludes And Fugues.
|Novello: Book X. Toccata, Preludes, And Fugues.
|Novello: Book XI. Four Concertos [after Antonio Vivaldi].
|Novello: Book XII. Preludes, Fantasias, Fugues, Trios, Etc.
|[Novello's Books XIII. and XIV. (Choral Preludes and Variations) are superseded by Books XV.-XIX.]|
|Novello: Book XV. Orgelbüchlein (little Organ Book).
|Novello: Book XVI. The Six “Schübler Chorale Preludes” And The “Clavierübung,” Part III.
|Novello: Book XVII. The Eighteen Chorale Preludes.
|Novello: Book XVIII. Miscellaneous Chorale Preludes (Part I.).
|Novello: Book XIX. Miscellaneous Chorale Preludes (part II.) And Variations.
The Peters volumes 244, 245, 246, 2067 contain movements excluded from the Novello edition, viz.:—
|Book 244: the figured Choral (Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn) on p. 107, and the Variant texts on pp. 108-112.|
|Book 245: the Variant texts on pp. 96-113.|
|Book 246: the Variant texts on pp. 86-103 (excepting the B version of “Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist”).|
|Book 2067: the Choral Preludes on pp. 39 (Auf meinen lichen Gott), 40 (Wir glauben all' an einen Gott), 42 (Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod), 44 (Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein), 54 (Aus der Tiefe ruf ich), 56 (Christ lag in Todesbanden), and the “Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth” on p. 16.|
“Seiner Excellenz dem Freyheren van Swieten ehrerbietigst gewidmet von dem Verfasser.”
So far the New Bachgesellschaft has published only a single Cantata overlooked by the old Society. See infra, p. 280.
In The News of January 4, 1829, he is described as the second son of the late John Stephenson of Great Ormonde Street, Queen Square, whom he had succeeded in the partnership of the firm. His wife was dead, and of his eight children the eldest was also in the Bank.
Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, third son of Johann Sebastian Bach, b. 1714; Kammermusikus to Frederick the Great of Prussia (1746), Kapellmeister at Hamburg (1768); d. 1788.
Johann Friedrich Agricola, of Dobitsch, b. 1720; studied composition with Bach at Leipzig; Court Composer (1751) and, after Carl Heinrich Graun's death (1759), Kapellmeister to Frederick the Great of Prussia; d. 1774. See Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach, iii. 243 ff.
Lorenz Christoph Mizler (1711-78), a pupil of Bach, founded at Leipzig in 1738 the “Sozietat der musikalischen Wissenschaften,” of which Bach and Handel were members. Mizler's journal, the Neueröffneter Musikalischer Bibliothek, was its organ. It appeared from 1736 to 1754. In Part I. of vol. iv. (1754) C. P. E. Bach and Agricola collaborated in the obituary notice, or “Nekrolog,” which is almost the earliest literary authority for Bach's life. It covered less than twenty pages. (See Schweitzer, J. S. Bach (trans. Ernest Newman), i. 189 ff. and Spitta, i. Pref.) Agricola's association with Bach's son in the preparation of the obituary notice is explained by the fact that for the last ten years of Sebastian's life Agricola was in closer relations with him than Carl Philipp Emmanuel, who no longer was resident in Leipzig.
Forkel's Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (2 vols. 1788-1801) had only come down to the sixteenth century when its author diverted his pen to a biography of Bach.
The firm of Hoffmeister and Kühnel was founded at Leipzig in 1800 by Franz Anton Hoffmeister, who started, in 1801, a subscription for the publication of Bach's works, to which Forkel alludes. The scheme failed to mature, and its accomplishment was reserved to C. F. Peters, who purchased Hoffmeister's “Bureau de Musique” in 1814. See articles on Hoffmeister and Peters in Grove's Dictionary.
Though Bach never ventured upon such tours as Mozart or Berlioz, for instance, undertook, he loved travelling, and his artistic journeys made him famous throughout Germany, at least as an organist. Forkel himself describes (infra, pp. 19, 23) his notable visits to the Courts of Berlin and Dresden.
In 1802, it must be remembered, not a note of Bach's concerted Church music was in print except the tunes he wrote for Schemelli's Hymn-book (1736) and the vocal parts of an early Cantata (No. 71). Of his instrumental works engraved by 1802 Forkel gives a list infra, p. 137. It was hardly until the foundation of the Bachgesellschaft in 1850, to celebrate the centenary of Bach's death, that the systematic publication of his concerted Church music began. Before that date, however, Peters of Leipzig had taken in hand the abandoned scheme of Hoffmeister and Kühnel, to which Forkel alludes, and in which he participated.
It is notable that Forkel makes no mention of Haydn, Mozart, or Handel, whose English domicile had divorced him from Germany's service. Forkel's pessimism is the more curious, seeing that Beethoven was already thirty years old, and that Mozart in 1786, after giving him a subject to extemporise upon, had remarked, “Listen to that young man; he will some day make a noise in the world” (Holmes, Life of Mozart, Dent's ed., p. 223). Forkel, in fact, appreciated neither Mozart nor Beethoven and thoroughly detested Gluck.
As has been pointed out in the Introduction, Forkel stood almost alone in 1802 in his opinion of Bach's pre-eminence. Even Beethoven placed Bach after Handel and Mozart, but knew little of his music on which to found a decision.
The anonymous article in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, to which Forkel alludes, deals with Bach's Clavier and Organ works and upon them asserts Bach's superiority over Handel. The judgment was unusual. Bach's fame was gravely prejudiced by German Handel-worship, which the first performance of the Messiah at Leipzig in 1786 stimulated. Johann Adam Hiller, Bach's third successor in the Cantorate of St. Thomas', was largely responsible. He neglected, and even belittled, the treasures of Bach's art which the library of St. Thomas' contained. See Schweitzer, i. 231.
The Nekrolog. See supra, p. xxiv.
Carl Philipp Emmanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann. The latter was born in 1710, and after holding Organistships at Halle and Dresden, died at Berlin in 1784, leaving his widow and daughter in great poverty. The former received a grant from the receipts of the Messiah performance alluded to in note 1, supra. A man of brilliant musical attainments, Wilhelm Friedemann's character was dissolute and unsteady. See Schweitzer, i. 146 ff.
Two letters written by C. P. E. Bach to Forkel in 1775, conveying a good deal of information reproduced by Forkel in this monograph, are printed in facsimile by Dr. Max Schneider in his Bach-Urkunden (N.B.G., XVII. (3)).
Forkel's statement is entitled to respect. On the other hand there is nothing in the recorded careers of either of Bach's sons that bears him out on this point. Schweitzer (i. 229) endorses Elinor's judgment: “Bach's sons were the children of their epoch, and never understood their father; it was only from piety that they looked at him with childlike admiration.” Dr. Charles Burney spent several days with Carl Philipp Emmanuel at Hamburg in 1772, but during the whole time the son never played to him a note of his father's music.
i.e. Hoffmeister and Kühnel's project.
The accuracy of this statement is apparent from the Genealogy appended to this volume. Bach's sons represented the sixth generation from Veit Bach, the sixteenth century ancestor of the family. Veit himself was not a professional musician; one of his sons was a Spielmann; thereafter for the next 150 years all but seven of his descendants, whose professions are known, were Organists or Cantors or Town Musicians. Many of them, moreover, were men of the highest attainments in their profession.
He took his name from St. Vitus (Guy), patron saint of the church of Wechmar, a fact which sufficiently disproves Forkel's statement that his original domicile was in Hungary. The Bachs were settled in Wechmar as early as circ. 1520. Veit migrated thence to Hungary, though there is no adequate foundation for the statement that he settled at Pressburg. He returned to Wechmar during the beginning of the Counter-Reformation under the Emperor Rudolph II. (1576- 1612), and died at Wechmar, March 8, 1619. See Spitta, i. 4.
Apart from church and town registers, laboriously consulted by Spitta in tracing the Bach genealogy, we owe our knowledge of it to an MS. drawn up by Bach in 1735 which is now in the Berlin Royal Library after being successively in the possession of Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Forkel, and G. Pölchau, the Hamburg teacher of music.
The original entries in it are stated by Carl P. Emmanuel to be by his father. Forkel also owned a Bach genealogical tree, given him by Carl Philipp Emmanuel; it has disappeared. Traces of it exist in a work published at Pressburg by Johann Matthias Korabinsky in 1784, its insertion being due to the assumption that the Bachs were a Hungarian family. Forkel shared that error. See Spitta's Preface on the whole question. The MS. genealogy of 1735 is published by the New Bachgesellschaft (XVIII. 3) in facsimile.
Veit, in fact, returned to his native village. His name, as has been pointed out, implies a connection with Wechmar that must have dated from infancy. Moreover, there was living there in 1561 one Hans Bach, an official of the municipality, who may be regarded confidently as Veit's father.
It has been suggested that the name Bach is the sole authority for the statement that Veit was a baker. But Spitta points out that the vowel in the name is pronounced long and was frequently written BAACH in the seventeenth century, a fact which makes it difficult to associate the word with “Backer” (Baker).
In the Genealogy Johann Sebastian calls the instrument a Cythringen.
Hans Bach (d. Dec. 26, 1626) and (?) Lips Bach (d. Oct. 10, 1620). See infra, Genealogical Tables I. and II. and note to the latter.
The “Stadt Pfeiferei,” or official town musical establishment, descended from the musicians' guilds of the Middle Ages and was presided over by the Stadt Musiker, who enjoyed certain ancient privileges and the monopoly of providing the music at open-air festivities. Johann Jakob Brahms, the father of Johannes, was a member of such a corporation at Hamburg, after having served his apprenticeship for five years elsewhere. See Florence May, Johannes Brahms, vol. i. pp. 48 ff.
See Genealogical Table II. The three young Bachs were the sons of Lips Bach and, presumably, nephews of Hans the “Spielmann.” The youngest of them was named Jonas; the name of another was certainly Wendel. It is remarkable, in a period in which Italy was regarded as the Mecca of musicians, that exceedingly few of the Bach family found their way thither. Besides the three sons of Lips Bach, only Johann Nikolaus, 1669-1753 (see Table VI.), Johann Sebastian Bach's son Johann Christian, 1735-82 (see Table VIII.), and Carl P. E. Bach's son Sebastian (see Table VII.) seem to have visited Italy.
i.e. from Veit Bach. Of the three names Forkel mentions the first two were a generation before Johann Sebastian; the third, Johann Bombard, was of the same generation as Johann Sebastian; none of the three belonged to Johann Sebastian's branch.
Eldest son of Heinrich Bach (see Table VI.). Whether he was Court as well as Town Organist at Eisenach cannot be stated positively.
The Alt-Bachische Archive is a collection of the compositions of various members of the family, before and after Johann Sebastian, formed largely by the latter. From C. P. E. Bach it passed to G. Pölchau and from him to the Berlin Royal Library.
Johann Christoph composed several Motets (see them discussed in Spitta, i. 75 ff.). The daring work to which Forkel alludes was written about 1680 and is lost. Though the augmented sixth was then and remained unusual, Johann Christoph's is not the earliest use of it. Spitta finds it in Giacomo Carissimi (1604-74).
The Cantata (“And there was war in heaven”) is analysed by Spitta (i. 44). The score is unusually full: two five-part choirs; Vn. 1 and 2, 4 Violas, Contrabasso, Fagotto, 4 Trombe, Timpani, Organ. In 1726 Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a Cantata for Michaelmas on the same text (Rev. xii. 7).
Spitta (i. 101 n.) characterises the statement as “a mythical exaggeration.” In a chapter devoted to the instrumental works of Johann Christoph and his brother he instances a collection of forty-four Organ Chorals by the former, not one of which is in five parts.
In the Bach genealogy already referred to C. P. E. Bach designates Johann Christoph a “great and impressive composer.”
A Lamento published under Johann Christoph's name seems actually to have been composed by his father Heinrich (see Pirro, J.-S. Bach, 9 n.). Johann Christoph, however, is the composer of the Motet Ich lasse dich nicht, so often attributed to Johann Sebastian.
See Table VI. He was the father of Johann Sebastian's first wife.
See note, p. 4 supra.
Spitta (i. 59 ff.) mentions twelve Motets by Michael Bach. Several of them are for eight voices. Forkel probably refers to the most remarkable of Michael's Motets, in which he detects the romantic spirit of Johann Sebastian. It is set to the words Unser Leben ist ein Schatten, (Life on earth is but a shadow). The first choir consists of 2 S., A., 2 T., B., and the second choir of A. T. B. only. Spitta analyses the work closely (i. 70-72). Novello publishes his five- part Motet Christ is risen with an English text.
He succeeded his cousin Johann Christoph at Eisenach in 1703.
Spitta (i. 24 ff.) mentions four Suites, or Overtures, Clavier pieces, and Organ Chorals as being by him. That Johann Sebastian Bach highly esteemed the Suites is proved by the fact that he copied the parts of three of them with his own hand at Leipzig.
It is a curious fact that, prior to the career of Johann Sebastian Bach, the composers of the Bach family occur invariably in other branches than his. With two exceptions, the gift of composition appears to have been possessed, or exercised, solely by Heinrich Bach (see Table VI.), his two sons Johann Christoph and Johann Michael, already discussed, and his grandson, Johann Nikolaus (son of Johann Christoph). Heinrich Bach was a very productive composer in all forms of musical art employed at that time in church (Sp. i. 36). His grandson, Johann Nikolaus, composed a Mass and a comic operetta (ib., 132 ff.). The only other Bach composer known to Spitta is Georg Christoph, founder of the Franconian Bachs (see Table IV.) and Cantor at Themar and Schweinfurt (ib. 155). The other Bach composer outside Heinrich Bach's branch is Johann Bornhard, already mentioned by Forkel.
In the Quodlibet different voices sang different well-known melodies, sacred and profane, and sought to combine them to form a harmonious whole. For an example see Variation 30 of the Aria mit 30 Veranderungen (Peters' ed., bk. 209 p. 83). In it Bach combines two popular songs of his period.
See article “Quodlibet” in Grove.
The date is conjectural, and is deduced from the fact that the infant was baptized on March 23. The Gregorian Calendar was not adopted in Germany until 1701. Had it been in use in 1685 Bach's birthday would be March 31.
Johann Ambrosius' Court appointment is to be inferred from the fact that in 1684 the Duke refused him permission to return to Erfurt.
See Table IV.
Johann Ambrosius survived his brother by nearly eighteen months.
His mother died in May 1694, and his father in January 1695. At the latter date Johann Sebastian was three months short of his tenth year.
Excepting Johann Jakob, a lad of thirteen years, Johann Christoph was Bach's only surviving brother, and the only one of the family in a position to look after him. Johann Jakob accompanied Sebastian to Ohrdruf (Pirro, p. 13) and afterwards apprenticed himself to his father's successor as Town Musician at Eisenach. One of the daughters was already married. What became of the other is not stated. See Table V.
It is difficult to believe this statement. That the boy was destined for a musical career by his father hardly can be doubted. That he was of unusual precocity, the story told by Forkel in the text proves. His father's asserted neglect to instruct him is therefore hardly credible.
Johann Jakob Froberger, born at Halle (date unknown); Court Organist at Vienna, 1637-57; d. 1667.
Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, c. 1660-1738 (actual dates of his birth and death unknown); Kapellmeister to Markgraf Ludwig of Baden at Schloss Schlackenwerth in Bohemia. His Ariadne Musica Neo-Organoedum (1702) was the precursor of Bach's Das wohltemperirte Clavier.
Johann Caspar Kerl, b. 1628; Kapellmeister in Munich, 1656-74; Court Organist at Vienna, 1677-92; d. 1693.
Johann Pachelbel, b. 1653, d. 1706. In 1695 he was Organist of St. Sebald's Church, Nürnberg. His influence upon the organ playing of his generation was enormous. Bach's brother, Johann Christoph, was his pupil.
Dietrich Buxtehude, b. 1637, d. 1707; Organist (1668) of the Marienkirche, Lübeck, and the chief musical influence in North Germany.
Nikolaus Bruhns, b. circ. 1665, d. 1697; a. pupil of Buxtehude; Organist at Husum; the greatest organist of his time after Buxtehude.
Georg Böhm, b. 1661; date of death uncertain (c. 1739); from 1698 Organist of the Johanniskirche, Lüneburg.
In fact, Johann Christoph did not die until 1721, more than twenty years after Sebastian ceased to be under his roof.
The fact that Johann Christoph survived till 1721 disproves Forkel's statement. The youthful Bach, aged fifteen in 1700, no doubt seized the earliest opportunity to relieve his brother of the charge of him. Moreover, Johann Christoph's family was increasing (see Table V.). In spite of the story of Bach's midnight copying, it cannot be questioned that he owed a good deal to his brother, who not only taught him but, presumably, maintained him at the Ohrdruf Lyceum, where Bach acquired a sound education and a considerable knowledge of Latin. See Pirro, pp. 14-16, on Bach's education at Ohrdruf. He left the Lyceum in March 1700.
Georg Erdmann, Bach's fellow-pupil at the Lyceum.
Bach's entry into the choir of St. Michael's Convent, Lüneburg, took place about Easter 1700. The step was taken upon the advice of Elias Herda, Cantor at the Ohrdruf Lyceum, himself a former member of St. Michael's. Bach remained at St. Michael's for three years, till 1703. The choir library was particularly rich in the best church music of the period, both German and Italian. Spitta is of opinion that Bach's talents as a violinist and Clavier player were also laid under contribution. His voice, as Forkel states, soon ceased to be serviceable. His maximum pay was one thaler (three shillings) a month and free commons.
Probably Georg Böhm, who had relations with the Convent choir, inspired Bach to make the pilgrimage. Böhm, then at St. John's, Lüneburg, was a pupil of Reinken of Hamburg. Spitta (i. 196) suggests that Bach's cousin, Johann Ernst (see Table IV.), was at this time completing his musical education at Hamburg, a fact which may have contributed to draw Bach thither. He made more than one visit, on foot, to Hamburg. F. W. Marpurg published, in 1786, the story, which he received from Bach himself, that on one of his journeys from Hamburg, Bach sat down outside an inn and hungrily sniffed the savours from its kitchen. His pockets were empty and there seemed little prospect of a meal, when a window was opened and two herring heads were thrown out. Bach picked them up eagerly, and found in each of them a Danish ducat. Who was his benefactor he never discovered; the gift enabled him to satisfy his hunger and pay another visit to Hamburg.
Johann Adam Reinken, b. 1623, became Organist of St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg, in 1664, and held the post until his death in 1722.
His introduction to French music marked another step in Bach's progressive education. The reigning Duke of Celle (father-in-law of George I. of Great Britain and Ireland) had married a Frenchwoman. See Pirro, J. S. Bach, pp. 24-27.
He entered the Weimar service on April 8, 1703 (Pirro, p. 29).
Bach's engagement was in the private band of the younger brother of the Duke. He remained in his new post only a few months. He was engaged as a Violin player, and since his interests were towards the Organ and Clavier, it is clear that he accepted the engagement as a temporary means of livelihood.
He is, however, described in July 1703 as Court Organist (Pirro, p. 30). Bach was drawn to Arnstadt chiefly by the fact that the New Church recently had been equipped with a particularly fine Organ (specification in Spitta, i. 224), which existed until 1863. Bach inaugurated it on July 13, 1703, and entered on his duties as Organist of the church in the following month (Pirro, p. 30).
His earliest Church Cantata (No. 15) was composed here in 1704. To the Arnstadt period (1703-7) also must be attributed the Capriccio written on the departure of his brother, Johann Jakob (Peters bk. 208 p. 62), the Capriccio in honour of his Ohrdruf brother, Johann Christoph (Peters bk. 215, p. 34), the Sonata in D major (Peters bk. 215, p. 44), the Organ Prelude and Fugue in C minor (Novello bk. 2 p. 48), and the Organ Fugue in C minor (Novello bk. 12 p. 95).
In the Nekrolog C. P. E. Bach and Agricola remark of the Arnstadt period, that Bach then “really showed the first-fruits of his industry in the art of Organ-playing and composition, which he had in great measure learnt only from the study of the works of the most famous composers of the time, and from his own reflections on them” (quoted in Spitta, i. 235).
Bach's stipend at Arnstadt was not inconsiderable, and his duties engaged him only at stated hours on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. He, therefore, had leisure and the means to employ it. In October 1705 he obtained four weeks' leave of absence and set off on foot to Lübeck, after leaving an efficient deputy behind him. He stayed away until February 1706. On his return the Consistory demanded an explanation of his absence, and took the opportunity to remonstrate with him on other matters. They charged him “with having been hitherto in the habit of making surprising variationes in the Chorals, and intermixing divers strange sounds, so that thereby the congregation were confounded.” They charged him with playing too long preludes, and after this was notified to him, of making them too short. They reproached him “with having gone to a wineshop last Sunday during sermon,” and cautioned him that, “for the future he must behave quite differently and much better than he has done hitherto” (see the whole charge in Spitta, i. 315 ff.). Bach also was on bad terms with the choir, whose members had got out of hand and discipline. Before his Lübeck visit he engaged in a street brawl with one of the scholars. Then, as later, he was a choleric gentleman. In November 1706 he got into further trouble for having “made music” in the church with a “stranger maiden,” presumably his cousin Maria Barbara Bach, then on a visit to Arnstadt; he married her a year later. Clearly the relations between the Consistory and the brilliant young Organist were becoming difficult, and Bach's migration to Mühlhausen no doubt was grateful to both. His resignation was made formally on June 29, 1707.
Bach was appointed on June 15, 1707, to succeed Johann Georg Able. Mühlhauson prided itself upon its musical traditions. Bach's Cantata, No. 71, written in February 1708 for the inauguration of the Mühlhausen Town Council, was engraved (the parts only), the only one of the 206 Cantatas which have come down to us which was printed during Bach's lifetime. He also composed Cantatas 131 and 196 at Muhlhausen, and perhaps three others. See infra, p. 188.
Bach's petition to the Mühlhausen Consistory for permission to resign his post is dated June 25, 1708, and is printed in full by Spitta, i. 373. Bach mentions the Weimar post as having been offered to him, but bases his desire to resign the organ of St. Blasius, partly on the ground that his income was inadequate, partly because, though he had succeeded in improving the organ and the conditions of music generally, he saw “not the slightest appearance that things will be altered” for the better. Mühlhausen, in fact, was a stronghold of Pietism and unsympathetic to Bach's musical ideals.
He was Court Organist and Kammermusikus. In the latter post Bach was of use as a Violinist and Clavier player. The Court band, or Kapelle, on special occasions appeared in Hungarian costume, which Bach presumably donned. His income began at a sum nearly double that he had received at Arnstadt and Mühlhausen.
The character of his employer, Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, must be reckoned a factor in the development of the youthful Bach. The Duke was not only a cultured artist, but was also a man of genuine piety.
Though Bach retouched them in later years and wrote others, it may be stated in general terms that his Organ works were the fruit of the Weimar period, which lasted from 1708 till 1717.
Bach's promotion to the position of Concertmeister had taken place certainly before March 19, 1714, on which date Spitta (i. 517) prints a letter in which Bach gives himself the title. The increase in his income early in 1714 also supports the conclusion, while a letter of January 14, 1714, written by Bach, is not signed by him as Concertmeister. It would seem that his promotion took place in the interval between the two letters. As Concertmeister it was part of his duty to provide Cantatas for the church services. Twenty-two were written by him at Weimar. See infra, p. 188, for a list of them.
Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau died on August 7 or 14, 1712.
Spitta (i. 513) infers that, in the later years of the Weimar period, Bach spent part of the autumn of every year in visits to the Courts and larger towns of Germany in order to give Organ recitals and to conduct performances of his Cantatas. Besides the visit to Halle, in 1713, to which Forkel alludes, Bach performed at Cassel in 1713 or 1714 before the future Frederick I. of Sweden, who presented him with a ring which he drew from his finger. Bach's feet, an admirer recorded, “flew over the pedal-board as if they had wings.” In December 1714 he visited Leipzig and performed Cantata No. 61, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland. In 1716 he was again invited to Halle, and at about the same time performed at Meiningen. Forkel records the famous contest with Marchand, the French Organist, at Dresden in 1717.
Forkel's brief account follows the Nekrolog. Bach was in Halle in the autumn of 1713, a year after Zachau's death. The latter's post was still vacant and a new and particularly large Organ (sixty-three speaking stops) was being erected. The authorities pressed Bach to submit himself to the prescribed tests, and he complied so far as to compose a Cantata and to conduct a performance of it. On his return to Weimar he received a formal invitation to accept the post. After some correspondence Bach refused it, partly, perhaps chiefly, on the ground that the income was inadequate. The refusal was answered by the groundless accusation that he had merely entertained the Halle proposal in order to bring pressure upon Weimar for a rise of salary. The misunderstanding was cleared away by 1716, when Bach visited Halle again. In the interval Zachau's post had been given to his pupil, Gottfried Kirchhoff. The whole matter is discussed at length in Spitta, i. 515 ff.
Frederick Augustus I. of Saxony was elected, as Augustus II., to the throne of Poland in 1697. He died In 1733.
Louis Marchand, b. 1669, d. 1732; Organist to the French Court and later of the Church of St. Honoré, Paris. His arrival in Dresden was due to his being in disgrace at Versailles. Whether or not he was offered a permanent engagement at the Saxon Court, he was regarded as the champion of the French style, and as such the challenge was issued to him by Bach.
Francois Couperin, b. 1668, d. 1733; Organist of St. Gervais, Paris. Forkel's judgment upon his art is not supported by modern criticism.
Bach, however, admired Marchand's compositions sufficiently to give them to his pupils. See Pirro, p. 52.
Jean-Baptiste Volumier, an acquaintance of Bach, according to Spitta (i. 583). Eitner, Quellen Lexikon. says that he was born in Spain and educated in France. Grove's Dictionary declares him a Belgian. In 1709 he was appointed Concertmeister to the Saxon Court. He died at Dresden in 1728.
It is more probable that Bach was at Dresden either expressly to hear Marchand or upon one of his autumn tours.
Some years earlier Flemming had witnessed Handel's triumphant descent on the Saxon Court, but had failed to establish friendly relations with him. See Streatfield's Handel, p. 87.
The article on Marchand in Grove gives a different version of the affair, based upon Joseph Fétis (1784-1871). According to this story of the event, Bach, summoned from Weimar, attended Marchand's concert incognito, and after hearing Marchand perform, was invited by Volumier to take his seat at the Clavier. Bach thereupon repeated from memory Marchand's theme and variations, and added others of his own. Having ended, he handed Marchand a theme for treatment on the Organ and challenged him to a contest. Marchand accepted it, but left Dresden before the appointed hour.
The Prince was brother-in-law of Duke Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar. Bach was, therefore, already known to him and showed the greatest regard for him both at Cöthen and after he had left his service.
The reason for Bach's migration from Weimar to Cöthen was his failure to obtain the post of Kapellmeister at the former Court upon the death of Johann Samuel Drese in 1716. The post was given to Drese's son. On August 1, 1717, just before or after his Marchand triumph, Bach was appointed Kapellmeister to the Court of Cöthen. Duke Wilhelm Ernst refused to release him from his engagement, and Bach endured imprisonment from November 6 to December 2, 1717, for demanding instant permission to take up his new post. Probably his last work at Weimar was to put the Orgelbüchlein into the form in which it has come down to us (see articles by the present writer in The Musical Times for January-March 1917).
With his departure from Weimar in 1718 Bach left behind him the distinctively Organ period of his musical fertility. Though his compositions were still by no means generally known, as a player he held an unchallenged pre-eminence.
He was appointed to Cöthen on August 1, 1717, and was inducted at Leipzig on May 31, 1723.
The date actually was November 1720. At Cöthen Bach had an inferior Organ and little scope for his attainments; his chief duties were in connection with the Prince's band. The yearning to get back to the Organ, which eventually took him to Leipzig in 1723, shows itself in his readiness to entertain an invitation to Hamburg in 1720.
Three Organ movements by Bach upon Wolfgang Dachstein's melody, An Wasserflüssen Babylon, are extant. See notes upon them and their relation to the Hamburg extemporisation in Terry, Bach's Chorals, Part III.
As at Halle in 1713, Bach does not appear to have gone to Hamburg specially to compete for the post of Organist to the Church of St. James, vacant by the death of Heinrich Friese in September 1720. He was not able to stay to take part in the final tests, nor was he asked to submit to them, since his visit to Hamburg had given him an opportunity to display his gifts. In the result the post was given to Johann Joachim Heitmann, who acknowledged his appointment by forthwith paying 4000 marks to the treasury of the Church. See Spitta, ii. 17 ff.
Johann Kuhnau died on June 25, 1722.
On the title-pages of his published works Bach describes himself as “Capellm. und Direct. Chor. Mus. Lips.”
Forkel has practically nothing to say regarding the Leipzig period of Bach's musical life. That a professed historian of music, setting before the public for the first time the life of one whom he so greatly extolled, and with every inducement to present as complete a picture of him as was possible, should have taken no trouble to carry his investigations beyond the point C. P. E. Bach and Agricola had reached in the Nekrolog of 1754 is almost incredible. The only reason that can be adduced, apart from the lack of a really scientific impulse, is that Forkel was almost entirely ignorant of the flood of concerted church music which poured from Leipzig from 1723 to 1744. His criticism of Bach as a composer is restricted practically to Bach's Organ and Clavier works.
On November 19, 1728. Latterly his interest in music had waned. The fact, along with Bach's concern for the education of his sons and his desire to return to the Organ, explains his abandonment of the more dignified Cöthen appointment.
The score of this work was in Forkel's possession, but was missing from his library in 1818 and was assumed to be lost until, in 1873, Rust was able to show that Bach used for the occasion certain choruses and Arias from the St. Matthew Passion, which he was then writing, with the first chorus of the Trauer-Ode as an opening of the extemporised work. See Spitta, ii. 618; Schweitzer, ii. 208.
In 1723 he received the title Hochfürstlich Weissenfelsische wirkliche Kapellmeister and retained it till his death. He retained also his Cöthen appointment.
Augustus III. Bach had petitioned for the appointment in a letter dated July 27, 1733 (Spitta, iii. 38), forwarding a copy of the newly-written Kyrie and Gloria of the B minor Mass.
There does not appear to be any ground for the suggestion that the post of Hofcomponist to the Dresden Court was attached ex officio to the St. Thomas' Cantorate. Bach applied for it in 1733, taking advantage of the recent accession of the new sovereign, Augustus III., in February 1733.
Friedemann was then at Halle.
May 7, 1747, according to Spitta, quoting Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg's Historisch-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik, which appeared in 5 vols. between 1754-1778. On the other hand, Spener, who first records the event, states briefly: “May 11,1747. His Majesty was informed that Kapellmeister Bach had arrived in Potsdam, and that he was in the King's ante-chamber, waiting His Majesty's gracious permission to enter, and hear the music. His Majesty at once commanded that he should be admitted” (Spitta, iii. 231 n.). If the Marpurg and Spener dates are reliable, it looks as though Friedemann's story of his father, travel-stained and weary, being hurried incontinent into the presence of the King is a piece of picturesque embroidery.
Clearly this was a story that Wilhelm Friedemann prided himself on the telling, and Forkel's remark suggests the need for caution in accepting all its details. Frederick's courtesy to Bach, however, tends to discredit the story that ten years earlier (1737) Handel deliberately refused to meet the King at Aix-la-Chapelle owing to the peremptoriness of his summons. Mr. Streatfleld (p. 145) also shows that Frederick was not at Aix until 1741, when Handel was writing the Messiah in London.
Gottfried Silbermann, a pioneer of the modern pianoforte. Bach was already familiar with his Claviers with hammer action, and indeed had offered useful criticism of which Silbermann had taken advantage. See Spitta, ii. 46.
* The pianofortes manufactured by Silbermann, of Freiberg, pleased the King so much, that he resolved to buy them all. He collected fifteen. I hear that they all now stand, unfit for use, in various corners of the Royal Palace. [Robert Eitner, in 1873, found one of the pianos in Frederick the Great's room at Potsdam.]
According to another account, which Spitta (iii. 232) follows, Bach played before a large congregation in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Potsdam. The King does not appear to have been present. The extemporisation of the six-part Fugue took place in Frederick's presence on the evening of that day.
Bach's letter to Frederick accompanying the gift is dated 7th July 1747. He calls it “a musical offering, of which the noblest portion is the work of Your Majesty's illustrious hand.” In addition to Forkel's analysis it contains a Sonata for Flute, Violin, and Clavier, and a canon perpetuus for the same three instruments.
John Taylor (1703-72), oculist to George II. The operation took place in the winter of 1749-50. Taylor is said to have operated on Handel in 1751 (see the article on him in the Dict. Nat. Biography.). Streatfield (Handel, p. 212), however, does not mention Taylor, and his account suggests that Samuel Sharp, of Guy's Hospital, was the operator in Handel's case.
The actual date was July 28, at 8.45 P.M. Bach was working to the very moment of his collapse on July 18. Probably his last work was the Choral Prelude (Novello bk. xvii. 85) on the melody Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein. Facing eternity, he bade his son-in-law, Altnikol, inscribe the movement with the title of the Hymn, Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiemit, whose first stanza filled his mind:Before Thy throne, my God, I stand,Myself, my all, are in Thy hand.
An addendum to the Genealogy, in C. P. E. Bach's hand, gives July 30 as the date of his father's death.
See Genealogical Tables VII. and VIII.
The statement is misleading. Of the five sons of the first marriage, two were famous, two died in infancy, and the fifth abandoned a promising musical career for the law. Of the six sons of the second marriage, one was imbecile, three died in infancy, two were famous.
See Introduction, p. XXI, supra.
In view of Bach's memorial of August 23, 1730 (infra), this seems to be the meaning of the resolution.
Steigt freudig in die Luft, first performed at Cöthen, set to a new text, Schwingt freudig euch empor.
The well-known portrait by C. F. Rr. Liszewski in the Joachimsthal Gymnasium, Berlin, was painted in 1772, twenty-two years after Bach's death. It represents him at a table with music-paper before him and an adjacent Clavier. Pirro uses for his frontispiece a portrait by Geber, which bears no resemblance whatever to the Haussmann or Volbach pictures. Mention must also be made of a singularly engaging picture of Bach at the age of thirty-five. It hangs in the Eisenach Bach Museum and is by Johann Jak. Ihle. It is reproduced as the frontispiece of this volume.
His Versuch über die wahre Art des Klavier zu spielen was published (Part I.) in 1753.
Forkel's meaning can be made clear in the following manner: place the thumb and fingers of either hand upon the notes C D E F G of the pianoforte so that the three middle fingers lie more or less flat upon the keys; then draw back the three middle fingers until they form an arch having their tips approximately in a straight line with the tips of the thumb and little finger upon the keys.
It must be remembered that Forkel is speaking of the Clavier and not of the Pianoforte.
The Harpsichord, as its name implies, was an instrument whose strings were plucked by a plectrum. Bach preferred the older Clavier, or Clavichord, which could be regulated, as the other could not, by nicety of touch. See note, p. 68, infra.
Schweitzer (i. 208) points out that Bach's touch was modern, in that he realised that “singing tone” depends not only upon the manner in which the keys are struck, but, to a great extent, on the regulation of their ascent.
Of Handel's touch, Burney writes (quoted by Rockstro, p. 349): “His touch was so smooth, and the tone of the instrument so much cherished, that his fingers seemed to grow to the keys. They were so curved and compact when he played, that no motion, and scarcely the fingers themselves, could be discovered.”
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, as Spitta points out (ii. 34), the art of fingering had not developed. Speaking generally, neither thumb nor little finger was employed. It was not until the beginning of the eighteenth century that a scientific method emerged, a development rendered necessary by the advance in the modes of musical expression. C. P. E. Bach, quoted by Schweitzer (i. 206), puts this concisely: “My late father told me that in his youth he had heard great men who never used the thumb except when it was necessary to make big stretches. But he lived in an epoch when there came about gradually a most remarkable change in musical taste, and therefore found it necessary to work out for himself a much more thorough use of the fingers, and especially of the thumb, which, besides performing other good services, is quite indispensable in the difficult keys, where it must be used as nature intends.”
According to Mr. Arnold Dolmetsch, Clavichords with special strings for each note (bundfrei) were known in Bach's time.
In the Essay already referred to. For a discussion of Couperin's method see Spitta, ii. 37 ff.
For instance, the Rondeau in B flat in Anna Magdalena's Noten- buch (No. 6) (1725) is by Couperin.
No doubt the friend who prepared this trap for Bach was Johann Gottfried Walther. His compositions frequently were characterised by intricacy.
Mozart had the same gift. When visiting St. Thomas' School in 1789, he heard with astonishment a performance of Bach's Motet, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied. “At the conclusion he expressed his delight, and said, ‘Now that is something from which a man may learn.’ On being informed that Bach was Cantor to this school, and that his Motets were venerated there as reliques, he was eager to see them. No score being to be obtained, they handed him the separate parts, and it was interesting to observe his manner of reading them, holding some in his hands, some on his knees, placing some on chairs around him; seeming thoroughly lost to everything, and not rising till he had thoroughly satisfied his curiosity” (Holmes, Life of Mozart, ed. Dent, p. 251).
There were in Bach's time three “Clavier” instruments in use. The oldest, the Clavichord, as a rule, had two strings to every note, set in motion by a “tangent” striking them from below. Its advantage was that it permitted the tone to be regulated by the touch. For that reason, though its tone was weak, Bach preferred it. The Clavicembalo, or Harpsichord, as it is called in the text, was in general known as the “Flügel,” the strings being plucked, or flipped by a quill or metal pin, after the manner of the modern mandoline. The third instrument was the “piano e forte,” or Hammerclavier. The Clavicembalo was also built with two keyboards, like an Organ, and a pedal-board provided with strings. It was for this instrument that the so-called Organ Sonatas of Bach were written. He possessed five Clavicembali, but not a single Clavichord at the time of his death. For that reason it has been questioned whether Forkel is accurate in stating that Bach preferred the latter instrument. See Schweitzer, i. 200 ff.
Peters bk. 207 p. 4.
The truth of this remark is very evident in the Orgelbüchlein.
Forkel writes as though he were in a position by personal knowledge to compare the gifts of Bach and his son. In fact he was born in 1749 and was less than two years old when Bach died.
On Bach's use of the stops see Spitta, i. 394 ff., and Pirro's L'Orgue de J.-S. Bach.
Johann Joachim Quantz, b. 1697; flute player and composer; taught Frederick the Great the flute; settled at Berlin as Kammer-musikus and Court Composer; d. 1773.
The Nekrolog sums up more briefly than Forkel, in a judgment which, without doubt, is the very truth: “Bach was the greatest Organ player that had yet been known.”
Johann Adolph Scheibe, a native of Leipzig, was an unsuccessful candidate for the Organistship of St. Thomas' Church in 1729. Bach was one of the judges. In 1737 Scheibe published in the “Kritische Musikus” a criticism of Bach which, while doing justice to his powers as an organist, characterised his compositions as “turgid and confused in character.” Bach was incensed by the criticism and asked his friend, Professor Birnbaum of Leipzig, to answer it. Scheibe replied in 1739, with a wholly unjustified challenge of Bach's general education and culture. In his “Phoebus and Pan,” performed in 1731, Bach had already had the satisfaction of representing Scheibe as “Midas” and calling him an ass. On the whole matter see Schweitzer, i. 178 ff. and Spitta, iii. 252. Scheibe conducted the Court orchestra at Copenhagen from 1742-49 and died there in 1776.
Georg Andreas Sorge, “Court and Town Organist to the Count of Reuss and Plau at Lobenstein,” in his dedication thus commended Bach: “The great musical virtue that Your Excellency possesses is embellished with the excellent virtue of affability and unfeigned love of your neighbour.” See Schweitzer, i. 155.
The following passage from the Autobiography of Hector Berlioz (ed. Dent, p. 11) is relevant: “My father would never let me learn the piano; if he had, no doubt I should have joined the noble army of piano thumpers…Sometimes I regret my ignorance, yet, when I think of the ghastly heap of platitudes for which that unfortunate piano is made the daily excuse—insipid, shameless productions, that would be impossible if their perpetrators had to rely, as they ought, on pencil and paper alone—then I thank the fates for having forced me to compose silently and freely by saving me from the tyranny of finger-work, that grave of original thought.”
Antonio Vivaldi, A. 1743; a master of form. That fact turned the attention of German composers to him; while the popularity of his Violin Concertos also attracted musicians, like Bach, whose work at Cöthen was in close association with the Court Kapelle or band.
Bach re-wrote sixteen Vivaldi Violin Concertos for the Clavier, four of them for the Organ, and developed one into a Concerto for four Claviers and a quartet of strings which Forkel enumerates ( infra, p. 132) as a composition of Bach's (Peters bk. 260). Bach learnt from Vivaldi “clearness and plasticity of musical structure.” See article Vivaldi in Grove; Spitta, i. 411 ff; Schweitzer, i. 192 ff. The Vivaldi Clavier Concertos are in Peters bk. 217; the Organ Concertos in Novello bk. 11. Not all these transcriptions are based on Vivaldi. See Schweitzer, i. 193.
Girolamo Frescobaldi, b. 1583, d. 1644; Organist of St. Peter's, Rome.
Delphin Strungk, b. 1601, d. 1694; Organist of St. Martin's, Brunswick; composed for the Organ.
Purcell should be added to those whom Forkel mentions as Bach's models. See infra, p. 261.
* See Kirnberger's “Kunst des reinen Satzes,” p. 157. [The work was published in two volumes at Berlin in 1771, 1776.]
Transitus regularis= a passing note on the unaccented portions of the bar; transitut irregularis=a passing note on the accented part of the bar.
Spitta (iii. 315 ff. ) prints a treatise by Bach, Rules and Instructions for playing Thorough-bass or Accompaniment in Four Parts, dated 1738. Rule 3 of chap. vi. states: “Two fifths or two octaves must not occur next one another, for this is not only a fault, but it sounds wrong. To avoid this there is an old rule, that the hands must always go against one another, so that when the left goes up the right must go down, and when the right goes up the left must go down.”
Actually the third beat of the fourth bar from the end. P. bk. 1 p. 37 Fugue no. 9.
Forkel edited the Wohltemperirte Clavier for Hoffmeister in 1801.
The rule is not in the Rules and Instructions already referred to.
Suite No. 6, in D minor (P. bk. 204 p. 84).
* Many people hold the opinion that the best melody is one which the largest number of persons can understand and sing. But this cannot be admitted, for if it were true, popular airs which are sung up and down the country by all classes, even the lowest, must be accounted the finest and best. I should be inclined to state the proposition conversely: a melody which attracts everybody is invariably of the most ordinary kind. In that form the statement might, perhaps, pass as a principle.
Forkel alludes to the Goldberg Variations (P. bk. 209).
P. bks. 205, 206.
P. bks. 203, 204.
P. bk. 207.
Bach wrote three Suites (Partita) and three Sonatas for Solo Violin. They date from about 1720 and are in the keys of G minor, B minor, A minor, D minor, C major, and E major (P. bk. 228). The six Violoncello Suites date from the same period and are in G major, D minor, C major, E flat major, C minor, and D major (P. bks. 238a, 238b).
Reinhard Keiser, b. 1673, d. 1739; scholar of the Leipzig Thomas-schule; settled at Hamburg, 1694; composed a number of Operas, and for a time had a great vogue.
It was precisely his agreeable operatic Arias that expressed Handel's genius in the eyes of his generation. With rare exceptions that branch of his work is obsolete and his cult survives mainly in the Messiah, which supports his quite posthumous reputation as “musician in ordinary to the Protestant religion.” See Mr. R. A. Streatfield's Handel, Introduction.
Schweitzer advances the opinion, which may perhaps be challenged, that inevitable and natural as Bach's melodies are, they do not give the impression of “effortless invention.” Bach, he holds, worked like a mathematician, who sees the whole of a problem at once, and has only to realise it in definite values. Hence, he agrees with Spitta, Bach's way of working was quite different from Beethoven's. With Beethoven the work developed by means of episodes that are independent of the theme. With Bach everything springs with mathematical certainty from the theme itself. See Schweitzer (i. 211) on Bach's methods of working.
Johann Sebastian Bach's Vierstimmige Choralgesänge were published in 1765 and 1769. C. P. E. Bach was concerned only with the first volume. Forkel perhaps refers to an edition of the Choralgesänge issued by Breitkopf in four parts at Leipzig in 1784, 1785, 1786, and 1787, and edited by C. P. E. Bach.
Forkel indicates the period 1720-1750. But in 1720 Bach had already completed the Orgelbüchlein and the greater part of his Organ works.
* There are people who conclude that Bach merely perfected harmony. But if we realise what harmony is, a means to extend and emphasise musical expression, we cannot imagine it apart from melody. And when, as in Bach's case, harmony is actually an association of melodies, such a view becomes the more ridiculous. It might perhaps be reasonable to say of a composer that his influence was restricted to the sphere of melody, because we may get melody without harmony. But there cannot be real harmony without melody. Hence the composer who has perfected harmony has influenced the whole, whereas the melodist has left his mark only on a fraction of his art.
As has been pointed out already (supra, p. 14) Bach's earliest church Cantatas date from the Arnstadt period.
The statement certainly needs a caveat. No composer of his period studied his text more closely or reverently than Bach. No one, on the other hand, was more readily fired by a particular word or image in his text to give it sometimes irrelevant expression.
Of Bach's church Cantatas 206 have survived. In only 22 of them does Bach fail to introduce movements based upon the Lutheran Chorals.
We must attribute to Forkel's general ignorance of Bach's concerted church music his failure to comment upon a much more remarkable feature of the recitatives, namely, their unique treatment of the human voice as a declamatory medium, a development as remarkable as Wagner's innovations in operatic form a century later.
It was not the imperfections of the choir but the indifference of Bach's successors at St. Thomas', Leipzig, that was chiefly responsible for the neglect of his Cantatas in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Johann Friedrich Doles (1716-89) was the only Cantor who realised the greatness of his predecessor's concerted church music.
The Trauer-Ode was performed on October 17, 1727. Bach finished the score two days before the performance! A parallel case is that of Mozart, who finished the overture of Don Giovanni on the morning of the first performance of the Opera, and actually played it unrehearsed that evening.
It has been pointed out already that Bach used the St. Matthew Passion music, set to other words, for the occasion. No. 26 (“I would beside my Lord be watching”) was sung to the words “Go, Leopold, to thy rest”!
Of the 206 surviving Cantatas, 172 were written for the Leipzig choir.
Forkel's knowledge is very incomplete.
Elsewhere Forkel mentions only one of the secular Cantatas.
There is a tradition that Bach wrote a comic song, Ihr Schönen, höret an, which was widely current about the time of his death (Spitta, iii. 181 n.). The Aria, So oft ich meine Tabakspfeife, in A. M. Bach's Notenbuch of 1725, should be mentioned. See B. G. xxxix. sec. 4.
Bach's method has come down to us in treatises by two of his pupils, C. P. E. Bach's Essay and Kirnberger's Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik, to which reference has been made already.
Supra, p. 60.
Bach wrote eighteen Preludes for Beginners. They are all in P. bk. 200.
Most of these movements, which Bach called indifferently “Inventions” (ideas) and “Praeambula” (Preludes), were written in 1723. They are in P. bk. 201.
Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber, who was Bach's pupil from 1724 to 1727, particularly emphasises this feature of Bach's teaching.
See on the whole matter Spitta, iii. 117 ff. Bach's method is illustrated by his Rules and Instructions (1738) printed by Spitta, iii. 315 ff., and also by the Einige höchst nöthinge Regeln at the end of A. M. Bach's Notenbuch (1725).
Mozart wrote as follows to a correspondent who asked him what his method of composition was: “I can really say no more on this subject than the following; for I myself know no more about it, and cannot account for it. When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer—say, travelling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them. Those ideas that please me I retain in memory, and am accustomed, as I have been told, to hum them to myself. If I continue in this way, it soon occurs to me how I may turn this or that morsel to account, so as to make a good dish of it, that is to say, agreeably to the rules of counterpoint, to the peculiarities of the various instruments, etc. All this fires my soul, and, provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges itself, becomes methodised and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statue, at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as it were, all together. What a delight this is I cannot tell!…When I proceed to write down my ideas, I take out of the bag of my memory, if I may use that phrase, what has previously been collected into it in the way I have mentioned. For this reason the committing to paper is done quickly enough, for everything is, as I said before, already finished; and it rarely differs on paper from what it was in my imagination” (Life, ed. Dent, p. 255).
Wagner, writing in 1851 to Uhlig, who could not understand how the libretto of Young Siegfried could be set to music, expresses the same idea as Mozart: “What you cannot possibly imagine is a-making of itself! I tell you, the musical phrases build themselves on these verses and periods without my having to trouble at all; everything springs as if wild from the ground” (Life, trans. Ellis, iii. p. 243).
Schumann writes in 1839: “I used to rack my brains for a long time, but now I scarcely ever scratch out a note. It all comes from within, and I often feel as if I could go on playing without ever coming to an end” (Grove, vol. iv. p. 353).
Angela Berardi's Documenti armonici. Nelli quali con varii discorsi, regole, ed essempii si dimonstrano gli studii arteficiosi della musica was published at Bologna in 1687.
Giovanni Maria Buononcini, b. c. 1640, d. 1678; Maestro di Capella at Modena; published his Musico prattico at Bologna in 1673, 1688.
Johann Joseph Fux, b. 1660, d. 1741; Kapellmeister at Vienna; published his Gradus ad Parnassum at Vienna in 1725.
See supra, p. 74.
* I speak here only of those pupils who made music their profession. But, besides these, Bach had a great many other pupils. Every dilettante in the neighbourhood desired to boast of the instruction of so great and celebrated a man. Many gave themselves out to have been his pupils who had never been taught by him.
See Spitta, i. 522; Schweitzer, i. 214 for farther details regarding Vogler, who died circ. 1765.
Gottfried August Homilius, b. 1714, d. 1785; pupil of Bach, circ. 1735. Cantor of the Kreuzschule, Dresden.
Christoph Transchel (1721-1800) taught music at Leipzig and Dresden; Bach's pupil and friend, circ. 1742. See Spitta, iii. 245.
Johann Gottlieb (or Theophilus) Goldberg, clavicenist to Count Kaiserling (infra, p. 119) for whom Bach wrote the so-called Goldberg Variations. He was born circ. 1720 and was a pupil of Bach from 1733-46.
Johann Ludwig Krebs, b. 1713, d. 1780; Bach's pupil, 1726-35. Bach said of him that he was “the best crab (Krebs) in the brook (Bach).”
Johann Christoph Altnikol, d. 1759.
Johann Friedrich Agricola, b. 1720, d. 1774; pupil of Bach circ. 1738-41; Director of the Royal Chapel, Berlin.
Pier Francesco Tosi, b. circ. 1650; singing master in London. His Opinioni de' canton antichi e moderni, o sieno osservazioni sopra il canto figurato was published at Bologna in 1723.
Johann Gottfried Müthel, b. circ. 1720, d. circ. 1790; pupil of Bach in 1750 and resident in his house at the time of his death; organist of the Lutheran Church, Riga.
Johann Philipp Kirnberger, b. 1721, d. 1783; Bach's pupil, 1739-41.
Louisa Amalia, of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, wife of Frederick the Great's brother, and mother of his successor, Frederick William II. (1786-97).
The second work was published in 1773 at Berlin. For the first, see supra, p. 74.
Johann Christian Kittel, b. 1732, d. 1809; one of Bach's latest pupils; Organist of the Predigerkirche, Erfurt. He is said to have possessed a portrait of his master and to have rewarded his pupils for good playing by drawing the curtain which usually covered the picture and permitting them to look upon it. It is, perhaps, the portrait, recently discovered by Dr. Fritz Volbach, which is reproduced at p. 92 of this volume.
Nothing seems to be known of him.
Johann Martin Schubart succeeded Bach at Weimar in 1717. He was born in 1690 and died in 1721. See Spitta, i. 343.
In addition to those mentioned by Forkel, the following pupils of Bach are known: Johann Gotthilf Ziegler, of St. Ulrich's Church, Halle; J. Bernhard Bach, of Ohrdruf; Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber, Organist at Sondershausen; Samuel Anton Bach, of Meiningen; Johann Ernst Bach, of Saxe-Weimar; Johann Elias Bach, Cantor at Schweinfurt; Johann Tobias Krebs, organist at Buttelstädt, and his sons, Johann Ludwig, Johann Tobias, and Johann Carl; Johann Schneider, organist of St. Nicolas', Leipzig; Georg Friedrich Einicke, Cantor at Frankenhausen; Johann Friedrich Doles, Bach's second successor in the Cantorate of St. Thomas'; Rudolph Straube, who afterwards settled in England; Christoph Nichelmann, cembalist to Frederick the Great; Christian Gräbner, and Carl Hartwig.
For full information upon Bach's pupils see Spitta, i. 522 ff., ii. 47 ff., iii. 116 ff., 239 ff., and the relative articles in Grove's Dictionary.
Forkel does not do justice to his friend. C. P. E. Bach is recognised as the immediate precursor of Haydn and as the link between the latter and J. S. Bach.
Mozart had a very particular regard for him. See Schweitzer i. 220 on his brothers' abilities as composers.
Spitta (iii. 262) quotes a characteristic anecdote. To some one who praised his skill on the Organ Bach replied: “There is nothing wonderful about it. You merely strike the right note at the right moment and the Organ does the rest.”
See supra, p. 19. Bach himself certainly was the challenger.
When Handel was at Venice in 1708, Domenico Scarlatti, hearing a stranger touching the Harpsichord at a masquerade, exclaimed, “That must either be the famous Saxon or the Devil” (Rockstro's George Frederick Handel, p. 48). Streatfield (p. 145) mentions a similar event which took place in 1737. Hearing a stranger playing a Fugue in one of the Flemish churches, the organist embraced him, saying, “You can be no other but the great Handel.”
Heinrich Lorenz Hurlebusch was organist of three churches in Brunswick. His visit to Bach took place in 1730, seemingly. See Schweitzer, i. 154.
Schweitzer prints an appreciation of Hurlebusch which suggests that he was a man of distinct ability and “a paragon of politeness.”
Antonio Caldara, b. circ. 1670; vice-Kapellmeister at Vienna, 1716-36; d. 1736.
Johann Adolph Hasse, b. 1699, d. 1783; Kapellmeister and Director of the Opera, Dresden.
Johann Gottlieb Graun, b. circ. 1698, d. 1771; conductor of the royal Kapelle, Berlin.
Carl Heinrich Graun, b. 1701, d. 1759; like his brother, in Frederick the Great's service.
Georg Philipp Telemann, b. 1681, d. 1767; Cantor and Musik-direktor in Hamburg.
Johann Dismas Zelenka, b. 1679 or 1681, d. 1745; Court Composer at Dresden.
Franz Benda, b. 1709, d. 1786; Concertmeister to Frederick the Great upon the death of J. G. Graun.
On Telemann's influence on Bach see Spitta, ii. 437.
Handel's second visit to Halle took place in June 1729. His mother's illness detained him. See Streatfield, p. 110.
Handel's third visit took place in July-August 1760. He was laid up by a severe accident in the course of it, and appears to have not recovered from it at the time of Bach's death.
Faustina Bordoni, b. 1693, d. 1783; m. Hasse in 1730. She was one of the most famous singers of the day.
The original has “Liederchen.”
See supra, p. 37. Compare Handel's case. He received a royal pension of £600 per annum, and though he was twice a bankrupt, left £20,000.
The Duke was the nephew of, and succeeded, Duke Wilhelm Ernst in 1728.
The Canonic Variations on the melody are published by Novello bk. 19, p. 73. For the Mizler Society, see supra, p. xxiv.
Spitta (iii. 294) regards the statement as incorrect and holds that the work was engraved before Bach joined Mizler's Society in June 1747. Pirro (p. 215) supports Spitta and regards the Variations as having been engraved at Nürnberg “vers 1746.”
The first of Bach's works to be engraved was the Mühlhausen Cantata, Gott ist mein König, (parts only). It was published in 1708, when Bach was twenty-three years old. Forkel refers to Partita I. in the first Part of the Clavierübung (P. bk. 205 p. 4). It was engraved in 1726, when Bach was forty-one years old. In 1731 he republished it, with five others that had appeared in the interval, in the first Part of the Clavierübung (P. bks. 205, 206).
Forkel's rather casual critical axioms seem to be as follows: “Publication postulates excellence”; “An amended MS. implies that the original text was not a finished work of art.”
It was the first work engraved by Bach himself, though the parts of the Cantata Gott ist mein König had been published by the Town Council at Mühlhausen in 1708.
The work was published at Leipzig “in Commission bey Boetii Seel, hinderlassenen Tochter, unter den Rath-hause.” The Suites, or Partitas (P. bks. 205, 206), are in B flat major, C minor, A minor, D major, G major, E minor.
In 1801 Hoffmeister and Kühnel unsuccessfully attempted to publish Bach's works by subscription.
The Partita in B minor (P. bk. 208 p. 20).
The work was published in 1735. The Italian Concerto in F major is published by Novello and P. bk. 207.
The work appeared in 1739. It was intended to contain works for the Organ only; the four Duetti are incongruous and seem to have crept in by mistake. See the scheme of the work discussed in Terry, Bach's Chorals, Part III. The Choral Preludes are in Novello's ed., bk. xvi.
The work was published circ. 1747-50. Five of the six movements certainly, and the sixth with practical certainty, are adaptations to the Organ of movements out of Bach's Church Cantatas. See Parry, Bach, p. 535. The Chorals are in Novello's ed., bk. xvi.
See supra, p. 65.
Thus the pedal sounds above the part given to the second manual and is often the topmost part. See Novello's ed., bk. xvi. 4.
Published circ. 1742; the so-called “Goldberg Variations.” They are in P. bk. 209.
Variation No. 10 is a Fughetta in four parts.
Ten of the Variations are marked “a 2 Clav.,” that is, for two keyboards or manuals: Nos. 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 28. Nos. 5, 7, 29 are marked “a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.”
The movement is constructed upon two merry folk-songs, Kraut and Rüben haben mich vertrieben, and Ich bin so lang nicht bei dir gewirt.
See supra, p. 101.
In fact Bach wrote the early Aria variata alla maniera Italiana (Peters bk. 215, p. 12) for the Clavier. For the Organ he wrote four sets of Variations upon as many Choral melodies (Novello bk. xix.). But all except the Goldberg Variations are youthful works, and in his maturity Bach clearly had no liking for the form. The theme of the Goldberg Variations, moreover, is itself a youthful idea; at least it dates back to as early as 1725, and is found in A. M. Bach's Notenbuch (No. 26, Aria in G major).
There is no reference to these corrigenda in the B. G. edition.
The work has been referred to already in connection with Bach's membership of Mizler's Society (supra, p. 112). It was composed presumably circ. 1746 and in point of technical skill is the most brilliant of Bach's instrumental works. Forkel states that it was engraved after June 1747, when Bach joined Mizler's Society. Spitta (iii. 295) is of opinion that it was already engraved by then. It is in bk. xix. of Novello's edition.
Supra, p. 25.
The presentation copy of the work, which Bach sent to Frederick along with a dedicatory letter (July 7, 1747), is in the Berlin Amalienbibliothek and proves that only the first third of the work, as far as the “Ricercare a sei voci” (see B.G. XXXI. (2)) was sent then. The latter and the remaining canons were dispatched subsequently probably by the hand of C. P. E. Bach. The six-part Ricercare was a particular compliment to the King. Frederick had desired Bach on his visit to play a Fugue in six parts but left it to the player to select his theme. Bach now employed the thema regium for the purpose. The first reissue of the work was by Breitkopf and Haertel in 1832. Peters (bk. 219) brought it out in 1866. See Schweitzer, i. 417 IV. and Spitta, iii. 191 ff. and 292.
In C minor (P. bk. 237 p. 3).
The statement is inaccurate. The work was written for the most part in 1749 and the greater part of it was prepared for engraving by Bach himself during his last illness. None of his elder sons was with him at his death, and the blunders that disfigure the engraved copy show that they clumsily finished their father's work. It is in P. bk. 218.
Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, b. 1718, d. 1795.
The work was published shortly after Bach's death, but had no sale. C. P. E. Bach then commissioned Marpurg to write a preface, and the new edition was published at the Leipzig Fair, Easter, 1762. In four years only about thirty copies were sold. See Spitta, iii. 197 ff. and Schweitzer, i. 423 ff.
In 1756. See C. P. E. Bach's advertisement in Felix Grenier, p. 232.
The work contains six Fugues and four canons upon the same theme; an unfinished Fugue “a tre soggetti,” the first four notes of the third of which spell B A C H; and the Choral Prelude “Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein.”
Schweitzer explains: “His purpose in this work being a purely theoretical one, Bach writes the Fugues out in score, and calls them ‘counterpoints’ ”
Supra, p. 27. The movement is in N. bk. 17 p. 85. It is not certain that Bach intended the Prelude or the unfinished Fugue to be included.
C. P. E. Bach was only concerned with the first volume. Erk, in his edition of the Choralgesänge, conjectures that Kirnberger was responsible for the second.
The four volumes were published at Leipzig between 1784-87. Spitta states that C. P. E. Bach was the editor. Erk joins Kirnberger with him in that position. As C. P. E. Bach died in 1788 Kirnberger's association with the work is probable, especially if he had already been responsible for the 1769 volume.
Bach's Clavier school consisted of eighteen Preludes for beginners (all in B.G. XXXVI.); the two-part and three-part Inventions; and the Well-tempered Clavier. The six Preludes mentioned by Forkel, and which alone he knew, were published by him for the first time. Seven more are found in Wilhelm Friedemann's Clavierbüchlein (B.G. XLV. (1)), and the remaining five have survived in texts handed down by others of Bach's pupils. The eighteen are in P. bk. 200.
The Autograph was written at Cöthen and is dated 1723. It also contains the fifteen Symphonies, or three-part Inventions mentioned in paragraph 3. Both Inventions and Symphonies are in F. bk. 201. According to Spitta (ii. 57 n.) the Inventions were published at Leipzig in 1763. See also Schweitzer, i. 328 ff.
See the previous note.
The second Part was compiled in 1744 and Bach's Autograph of it, though not the earliest Autograph, is in the British Museum. See Schweitzer, i. 331 ff. and Spitta, ii. 161 ff. The whole work is in P. bks. 1, 2; or 1a, 1b; or 2790a, 2790b.
No. 20. Spitta (ii. 164) attributes it to the years 1707 or 1708. Schweitzer (i. 332) also regards it as a youthful piece written, moreover, for the pedal Clavicembalo.
Nos. 15 and 16. Spitta, admitting that the two do not rank with the most interesting in the collection, finds no indication of their being of different date from the best movements.
No. 1. Here Spitta (ii. 165 n.) challenges Forkel.
Nos. 11 and 12. In regard to No. 12 (F minor) Spitta holds Forkel to be in error. As to No. 11, he expresses the same opinion as in note 3, supra.
The date 1744 places the second Part among Bach's latest compositions. On the other hand, like the first Part, it contained work of earlier date.
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor (P. bk. 207 p. 4). It probably dates from circ. 1720-23.
The MS. was discovered in 1876 and is now at Dresden. It was written circ. 1738 and disproves Forkel's conjecture that the fugue did not belong to the Fantasia and is only partially by Bach. The Fugue contains forty-seven bars. As the Autograph is a fair copy the Fugue cannot be called unfinished. See Spitta, iii. 182. The Fantasia is in P. bk. 207 p. 50; the Fugue in P. bk. 212 p. 88. See B.C. xxxvi., xxxviii., and xlii. for other Clavier Fantasias.
The true explanation seems to be that the Prelude of the first Suite (A major) is based upon a Gigue by Charles Dieupart (d. circ. 1740), a popular teacher and composer in England. The words fait pour les Anglois, which head the A major Suite in an early MS., have been wrongly interpreted as applying to the whole set of six. They merely indicate Dieupart's borrowed Gigue. See Grove, vol. i. 701, and Parry, J. S. Bach, p. 463. A copy of the work exists, of date 1724-27, made by one of Bach's pupils. But the composition of the Suites may certainly be assigned to the Cöthen period. They are published in P. bks. 203, 204.
The French Suites undoubtedly date back to the Cöthen period, since they figure, though incomplete, in the Notenbuch of A. M. Bach (1722). They are published in P. bk. 202.
Forkel's incomplete catalogue may be compared with the Bachgesellschaft volumes III., XIV., XXV. (1), XXXI. (2), XXXVI., XLIL, XLIII. (1 and 2), XLV. (1). See generally Schweitzer, ch. 15, and Pirro, pp. 218 ff.
P. bks. 205, 206, 208, 212 (fragment in F minor), 214, 215, 1959.
P. bks. 200, 210, 211, 212, 214, 215, 1959.
For the most part these youthful works will be found in B.G. XXXVI.
P. bk. 207 p. 16.
In C minor (P. bk. 200 p. 10).
In P. bks. 232, 233.
Suite in A major (P. bk. 236), Sonata in E minor (P. bk. 236), Fugue in G minor (P. bk. 236), four Inventions (P. bk. 2957), Sonata in G minor (BG. ix. 274; not in P.), Sonata in C major for 2 Violins and Clavier (P. bk. 237).
There are six Sonatas for Flute and Clavier, in B minor, E flat major, A minor, C major, E minor, E major (P. bks. 234, 235).
There are three Sonatas for Clavier and Gamba, in G major, D major, G minor (P. bk. 239).
Forkel omits two Sonatas for Violin, Flute, and Clavier, in G major and C minor (both in P. bk. 237).
As Forkol mentions in secs. 4, 5, 6 the Concertos for two, three, and four Claviers, perhaps he had in mind here seven Concertos for Clavier and Orchestra (P. bks. 248-254). A Concerto for Clavier, Violin, Flute, and Orchestra (P. bk. 255 p. 4) in A minor also should be mentioned. Also an Overture, in G minor, for Clavier and Strings (B.G. XLV. (1) p. 190; not in P.)
P. bk. 257 p. 4.
P. bk. 256 p. 4.
There are, in fact, three Concertos for two Claviers and Orchestra: two in C minor and one in C major. Forkel refers to only one of the former and regards it as antiquated by comparison with the one in C major. Spitta (iii. 144) attributes the C major to 1730. Forkel's C minor in its original form was a Concerto for two Violins, now lost. The other C minor Concerto is identical with the Concerto in D minor for two Violins and is in P. 257b. Spitta (iii. 138) dates it 1736. See Schweitzer, i. 413.
In D minor and C major (P. bks. 258, 259). The tradition is that Bach wrote these two Concertos in order to play them with his elder sons. Spitta (iii. 144) finds the tradition trustworthy. Hence the two works must have been written by c. 1733 at latest, before the sons left home. See also Schweitzer, i. 414.
In A minor (P. bk. 260). This is not an original composition, but is an arrangement by Bach of a Vivaldi Concerto for four Violins. Spitta (iii. 149) assigns it to the same period as the Concertos for three Claviers, c. 1733. See B.G. XLIII. (1) infra.
The pedal on the small German Organ had only the compass of an octave.
The Great Preludes and Fugues are, with one exception, in B.G. XV. The Prelude and Fugue in E flat was published by Bach in the third Part of the Clavierübung. Its Fugue is known as the “St. Anne's.”
From the figures printed by Forkel the twelve can be identified as follows (the references in parentheses are to the Novello edition of Bach's Organ works):
Prelude and Fugue in C minor, the “Great” (bk. vii. 64). Prelude and Fugue in A minor, (bk. vii. 42). Prelude and Fugue in G major, (bk. viii. 112). Prelude and Fugue in E minor, (bk. viii. 98). Prelude and Fugue in B minor, (vii. 52). Prelude and Fugue in C major, (bk. ix. 156). Prelude and Fugue in D minor, (bk. ix. 150). Prelude and Fugue in C major (bk iii. 70). Tocatta and Fugue in D minor (bk. x. 196). Tocatta and Fugue in F major (bk. ix. 176). Prelude and Fugue in G minor (bk. viii. 120). Prelude and Fugue in E minor (bk. ii. 44).
The Passacaglia in C minor (Novello bk. 10 p. 214) was written originally for the Clavicembalo and pedal. It belongs to the later Weimar period, i.e. circ. 1715. See Spitta, i. 588 and Schweitzer, i. 280.
They are all printed in Novello bk. 19, and are three in number, on the melodies “Christ, der du bist der helle Tag”, “O Gott, du frommer Gott,” and “Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig.” The pedal is only required in one movement of the first, in none of the second, and considerably in the third. Without question all three date from Bach's earliest period, but whether they were written at Arnstadt or Lüneburg cannot be stated.
The fullest collection of these miscellaneous Organ Choral Preludes is in B.G. XL. Not counting variant readings they number fifty-two, besides two fragments and thirteen of doubtful authenticity, of which two are sets of Variations. The Novello edition contains fifty-two in bks. 18 and 19. To these must be added the “Eighteen” Preludes on Choral Melodies, which Forkel nowhere mentions, as well as the third Part of the Clavierübung, the Schübler Chorals, and the Variations on Vom Himmel hoch, to which he has already made reference in the first section of this chapter. As he does not mention it specifically, it is to be inferred that Forkel was ignorant of the existence of the Orgelbüchlein; otherwise he could hardly have failed to introduce it in this section. All Bach's Choral Preludes, miscellaneous and in collections made by himself, are in Novello's edition, bks. 15-19. A useful key to their melodies is provided by bk. 20. For more detailed information see Terry, Bach's Chorals, Part III.
The large number of MSS. of many of the miscellaneous Preludes is made evident in the introduction to B.G. XL.
The Sonatas in E flat major, C minor, and D minor are in N. bk. 4; E minor, C major, G major in N. bk. 5.
The so-called “Sonatas” were actually written for a Clavicembalo with two manuals and a pedal. Bach's Autograph of them belonged to his second son and an earlier copy of them to Wilhelm Friedemann. Both are now in the Berlin Royal Library. Friedemann went to Dresden as Organist in 1733 and Spitta is of opinion that the whole of the six Sonatas were in existence by or soon after 1727. If so, they must be regarded as the outcome of Bach's early years at Leipzig. See Spitta, iii. 212 ff. and Schweitzer, i. 278.
None are extant. Spitta, iii. 213 n., conjectures that Forkel refers to the Trios in D minor and C minor (N. bks. 2 p. 54, 12 p. 108) and the Pastorale in F major (N. bk. 12 p. 102.) His incomplete knowledge of the Organ works is revealed by Appendix V. infra.
This is a pure conjecture and Schweitzer scouts it (i. 416 n.).
The oldest copy of them dates from circ. 1720; they belong therefore to the late Cöthen period. The 1720 MS. is in A. M. Bach's handwriting and was discovered in 1814 at Petrograd among old papers about to be sent away to a butter dealer. The Sonatas are in P. bk. 228.
They also date from the Cöthen period and are in P. bk. 238a, 238b.
Forkel omits to mention the Brandenburg Concertos (P. bks. 261-266); the Overtures in C major (P. bk. 267), B minor (P. bk. 268), D major (P. bk. 269), D major (P. bk. 2068); and the Violin Concertos in A minor (P. bk. 229), E major (P. bk. 230), and (for two Violins) in D minor (P. bk. 231). In B.G. XXI. (1) is a Symphonic movement, in D major, for Violin and orchestra. A Sinfonia in F major (B.G. XXXI. 96) is another version of the first Brandenburg Concerto. The Clavier Concertos have been mentioned supra.
The set of five is complete only for Christmas Day, Feast of the Circumcision, Whitsunday (one of the five is of doubtful authenticity), Purification of the B.V.M., and Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. See Terry, Bach's Chorals, Part II. 2 ff.
In giving the number of Passions as five, Forkel repeats the statement of the Nekrolog. The number corresponds with the five sets of Church Cantatas which Bach is known to have written. It is, however, exceedingly doubtful whether Bach wrote more than four Passions. Only those according to St. Matthew and St. John have come down to us from C. P. E. Bach, who was left the Autographs of both by his father. The St. John Passion was first performed in 1724 and the St. Matthew Passion in 1729. Picander, Bach's librettist, certainly wrote two other Passion texts, one of which was written for Good Friday 1725, and the second, based on St. Mark's Gospel, was actually performed at St. Thomas', Leipzig, on Good Friday 1731. Spitta (ii. 505) gives good reason to hold that Bach's music for this Passion was adapted from the Trauer-Ode, which he had written in 1727 in memory of Queen Christiane Eberhardine. But of the 1725 Passion there is no trace. If it ever existed, its loss probably may be assigned to Wilhelm Friedemann's carelessness, to whom presumably it was assigned in the division of Bach's property after his death. But even so, we have no more than four Passions. There exists, however, a fifth Passion according to St. Luke, which is undoubtedly in Bach's Autograph, and which Spitta is inclined to attribute to Bach himself. It is published by Breitkopf and Haertel, but is generally regarded as being by another composer than Bach, who probably copied it for use at Leipzig. On the whole matter see Spitta, ii. 504 ff., Schweitzer, chap. xxvi., and the Bach-Jahrbuch for 1911 (Publications of the New Bachgesellschaft XII. (2)).
Other than the Passions, the only Oratorios are the Christmas Oratorio, (1734), the Easter Oratorio (c. 1736), and Ascension Oratorio (c. 1735).
Besides the B minor Mass (1733-? 38) Bach wrote four miscalled “short” Masses, in F major, A major, G minor, and G major. They all belong to the Leipzig period (c. 1739).
Besides the setting of the Sanctus in the B minor Mass there are four detached settings, in C major, D major, D minor, and G major. Of these only that in D major is probably by Bach (c. 1723).
The music for Saints' Days is included in the church Cantatas. For the Birthday Odes see supra, Chap. IIA.
Besides the Trauer-Ode, three or four of the church Cantatas and certainly three of the Motets were written for funerals. See Terry, op. cit., pp. 24, 44.
Among the church Cantatas there are at least five for use at weddings. Bach wrote also three secular wedding Cantatas: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (c. 1730); O holder Tag (11749); the third (1728) has disappeared.
Two Italian Cantatas—Amore traditore and Non sa che sia dolore—have come down to us. A third, Andro dall colle al prato, is lost. See B.G. XI. (ii.), XXIX.
Only six are genuine. See infra, p. 141.
Of the Motets that have come down to us as his, only six are Bach's. Forkel mentions five of them in secs. 7 and 3 of the next paragraph; he omits Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden. In 1802-3 Breitkopf and Haertel published six Motets—the five mentioned by Forkel and another, Ich lasse dich nicht, of which Bach made a copy, but whose composer actually was Johann Christoph Bach. We know that Bach composed at least one Latin Motet for double chorus, and Friedemann's share of his father's autographs may have contained it and others known to Forkel but no longer extant.
The Amalienbibliothek of the Joachimsthal Gymnasium, Berlin, contains one of the most important Bach collections, but it has long been superseded by the Royal Library there as the chief repository of Bach's Autographs.
The Amalienbibliothek has only one Autograph, namely, Cantata 34, O ewiges Feuer. The rest are early copies.
Cantata 53. No Autograph of this Cantata exists, and the copies from which the B.G. edition was printed are in the Amalienbibliothek.
On the contrary, the Cantata belongs to the Leipzig period, 1723-34.
None of the four “short” Masses is in five parts. All have instrumental accompaniments. The autograph scores of the Masses in A major and G major are in Messrs. Breitkopf and Haertel's possession. Copies of the other two scores, in Altnikol's handwriting, are in the Berlin Royal Library. See Introduction to B.G. VIII.
An eight-part Mass in G was performed at a Leipzig Gewandhaus Concert on March 7, 1805, and was published later in the year by Breitkopf and Haertel. The score is admittedly, for the greater part of the work, in Bach's hand and is in the Berlin Royal Library. The publication of the work was under consideration by the Bachgesellschaft in 1858. That it is not by Bach is generally held. It has been attributed to Johann Ludwig Bach (d. 1741). See Genealogical Table II.
The St. Matthew Passion.
A nom de plume for Christian Friedrich Henrici (1700-64), who wrote a large number of Bach's Leipzig texts.
Perhaps Forkel indicates the short Sanctus in Richter's edition of the Choralgesänge, No. 123, or that in B.G. XLI. p. 177.
This is the first Chorus of Cantata No. 38. It is printed as a separate Motet in Erk, No. 150.
Forkel's list is complete except for Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden.
The opening Chorus of Cantata 144.
Forkel refers to the Peasant Cantata, or Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet, performed on August 30, 1742. Forkel clearly was not familiar with Bach's other secular Cantatas. See B.G. XI. (ii.), XX. (ii.), XXIX. The Autograph score of the Peasant Cantata is in the Berlin Royal Library.
Forkel's suggestion was carried out, with varying thoroughness, in the Bachgesellschaft edition.
Forkel's judgment is at fault. See Schweitzer, i. 336.
Also in Wilhelm Friedemann's Clavierbüchlein. See Schweitzer, i. 279; Spitta, ii. 166.
“Since you cannot please everybody by your actions and work, strive at least to satisfy a few; popular appreciation encourages bad art.”—Schiller's Votiftafeln
The Cantatas are classified under Appendix II.
The references are to Peters' edition. Excepting bk. 1959, which contains pieces of doubtful authenticity, every number printed by Peters is entered in the Chronological Catalogue.
There are three other Sonatas, in A minor, C major, D minor, none of which is an original composition. They are printed in P. bk. 213. The first and second are adaptations of material in Reinken's Hortus Musicus. The third is a transcription of the second Solo Sonata for Violin.
The references are to Novello's twelve Books of Bach's Organ Works, edited by J. F. Bridge and J. Higgs. The edition is complete, and contains every movement included in Alfred Dorffel's “Thematisohos Verzeichniss” (second edition, 1882) except his No. 24 on p. 72; Nos. 6 and 8 on page 85; the “Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth” (Dörffel, p. 88, tigs. 131-33), the genuineness of which is questioned by Spitta (ii. 43); and figs. 136-37 on p. 88. The Novello edition also follows Rust, against Spitta's judgment, in printing the “Fantasia con Imitazione” (bk. 12 p. 71) as an Organ instead of as a Clavier piece. Books 15-19 print the Choral Preludes. See the Peters and Novello editions collated in Appendix V.
Printed as a “Toccata” in E major in B.G. XV. p. 276.
Spitta (ii. 620, 718) mentions a Birthday Cantata written in 1717-1721(?), the title of which is lost.
The references are to Peters' edition.
The D minor contains the famous Chaconne.
The references are to Peters' edition. In the B.G. edition the Orchestral music is included in the Chamber Music volumes.
Pirro, p. 228, holds that the first two (C major and B minor) were written at Cöthen and the last two (D major and D major) at Leipzig. Schweitzer (i. 402) regards it as not clear in which period the Overtures were written.
In A minor, E major, G major. The G major figures as the fourth Brandenburg (bk. 264) and as the Clavier Concerto in F major (bk. 248). The A minor and E major were also converted into Clavier Concerti (G minor and D major) (bks. 249, 251). The D minor Clavier Concerto (bk. 264) preserves a lost Violin Concerto in the same key, and the one in F minor (bk. 250) corresponds with a lost Violin Concerto in G minor (bks. 3068, 3069).
Also arranged as a Concerto for two Claviers (C minor) in P. bk. 257b.
Bach wrote another Magnificat, the music of which is lost. See Spitta, ii. 374.
All except the Sanctus in D major are of doubtful authenticity. See Schweitzer, ii. 328 and Spitta, iii. 41 n.
The Concerto in C minor (P. bk. 257) is an arrangement of one for two Violins now lost. The third, also in C minor, is identical with the D minor Concerto for two Violins and is published in that key in the Peters edition. The remaining Concerto, in C major, is the only one originally written for the Clavier. See Schweitzer, i. 413.
The work is an amplification of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, already catalogued among the Clavier works of the Cöthen period. Schweitzer (i. 340) concludes that it was rearranged as an orchestral Concerto early in the thirties, when Bach needed Concertos for the Telemann Society's Concerts.
The scheme of the G major and C major Preludes and Fugues dates back to the Weimar period. See Spitta, iii. 208; Parry, p. 67.
These so-called “Organ” Sonatas were written for the Pedal Clavicembalo.
The Clavier Suites in E minor, E major, and C minor are arrangements of these, otherwise lost, Lute Partitas. See Schweitzer, i. 344.
In Mizler's Nekrolog.
Supra, p. 138.
See the present writer's Bach's Chorals, Part II. p. 1.
Ibid., p. 4. Four more Cantatas, of doubtful authenticity, are published by the Bachgesellschaft, Jahrgang XLI.
See the Table of Cantatas set out in chronological order.
Nos. 18, 24, 28, 59, 61, 142, 160.
Nos. 31, 70, 72, 80, 132, 147, 152, 155, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166, 168, 185, 186 (part).
Nos. 145, 148 (part), 156, 157, 159, 171, 174, 188, 190 (one version), Ehre sei Gott (incomplete).
Nos. 68, 74, 87, 103, 108, 128, 175, 176, 183.
Nos. 47, 141.
Nos. 50, 191, 196.
Nos. 4, 97, 100, 107, 112, 117, 118, 129, 137, 177, 192.
No. 15: Denn du wirst meine Seele nichfc in der Hölle lassen.
The intimate personal note of the opening words of the Recitative—“Mein Jesus ware tot”—reveals him.
Spitta, i. 231.
Schweitzer, i. 103.
No. 131: Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir.
No. 71: Gott ist mein Küonig.
No. 196: Dorr Herr denket an uns.
See Spitta, i. 359 ff.
Ibid., i. 374. On the other hand, Baoh's art was visibly affected by Pietistic influences, as Schweitzer, i. 169, shows.
Eilmar died in 1715 (Spitta, i. 361).
No. 189: Meine Seele rühmt und preist.
No. 150: Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich.
Vol. i. 456.
J.S. Bach, p. 87.
The conclusion is based on letters printed by Spitta, i. 517.
Nos. 18, 61, 142, 160, and 69. See Table.
He was born May 12, 1671 (Spitta, i. 470).
The volume is entitled Erdmann Neumeisters Geistliche Cantaten statt einer Kirchen-Musik. Die zweyte Auflage.
Entitled Herrn Erdmann Neumeisters Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten, Leipzig, 1716.
Spitta, i. 474.
Vol. i. 466 ff.
See the Aria (Duetto) of Cantata No. 28.
See particularly the Litanei in Cantata No. 18.
Telemann was Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach's godfather (Spitta, i. 486).
Nos. 24, 28, 69, 61.
Nos. 142, 160.
See Spitta, i. 630.
His influence is also detected in Nos. 27, 56, 199.
Telemann also set the libretti of Bach's Nos. 18 and 142. See Spitta, i. 487.
Vol. i. 530.
Wustmann, Joh. Seb. Bach's Kantaten-Texte (1913), p. xxii n. The cycle is entitled Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer.
Only Nos. 70, 147, and 186 are taken from it.
Entitled Evangelische Sonn- und Fest-Tages Andachten.
Vol. ii. 131.
For instance, the Aria in Cantata No. 168, beginning:Kapital und Interessen Meiner Schulden gross und klein, Mussen einst verrechnet sein.
Spitta, ii. 5; Schweitzer, i. 106.
Spitta, ii. 3.
The two Cantatas are Nos. 47 and 141.
Wustmann, p. xxiii.
Spitta, ii. 12 n.
The Choral is absent from No. 141. It should be “Christe, du Lamm Gotten.”
Schweitzer, ii. 147. The Cantata is No. 47, Wer sich selbst erhöhet.
Vol. ii. 13.
Vol. ii. 147.
No. 141: Das ist je gewisslich wahr.
Vol. ii. 15.
Vol. ii. 148.
Johann Sebastian Bach, p. 108.
Op. cit., Note 195.
Spitta, ii. 147.
Nos. 134 and 173.
No. 134: Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss.
No. 173: Erhötes Fleisch und Blut.
No. 75: Die Elenden sollen essen, sung on May 30, the day preceding Bach's formal induction.
For instance, Nos. 67 and 102.
Wustmann, by implication, only associates eight libretti (Cantatas Nos. 37, 44, 75, 76, 86, 104, 166, 179) with Weiss. All of them belong to the early years, 1723-27.
See Nos. 75 and 105.
See Nos. 25, 42, 77. As an extreme illustration, the first Recitative of No. 25 begins with the words, Die ganze Welt ist nur ein Hospital.
Vol. ii. 388.
Cantata No. 65: Sie werden aus Saba Alle kommen.
Vol. i. 361.
Wustmann, p. xxiv.
See the Table.
They ore Nos. 6, 17, 22, 43, 48, 57, 144, 148, 157, 159,171, 190,195, and the incomplete Cantata, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe.
Nos. 16, 23, 63, 81, 83, 153, 154, 184, 194. See the Table.
No. 4: Christ lag in Todesbanden.
Vol. ii. 393.
See the Table: No. 112, Derr herr ist mein getreuer Hirt.
Nos. 8, 20, 93.
No. 148: Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens.
No. 8: Liebster Gott, wann werd' ich sterben.
No. 181: Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister.
Vol. ii. 340 ff.
The volume is entitled Sammlung Erbaulicher Gedancken, Bey und über gewohnlichen Sonn- und Festtags-Evangelien, Leipzig.
Cantaten auf die Sonn- und Fest-Tage durch das gantze Jahr, Leipzig, 1728. He reprinted them in 1732 in his Satyrische Gedichte.
But see Cantata No. 148 and Spitta, ii. 693. Also No. 19.
Cantatas Nos. 145, 156, 159, 171, 174, 188, 190 (one version), and the Cantata Ehre sei Gott.
Nos. 19, 30, 36, 84, 148, 197.
Vol. ii. 346.
Nos. 32, 48, 67, 90, 144, 181.
Nos. 16, 22, 23, 27, 35, 51, 56, 58, 63, 66, 81, 82, 83, 153, 154, 194, 195. No. 184 is an adaptation. See also Nos. 19, 36, 84, 144, 145, 148, for Bach's collaboration with Picander.
Besides No. 80, a Choral Cantata.
Schweitzer, ii. 332 ff.
Entitled Versuch in gebundener Schreibart.
Vol. iii. 71.
Vol. ii. 331 n.
No. 85: Ich bin ein guter Hirt.
Vol. ii. 331 n.
No. 33: Gott färet auf mit Jauchzen.
Op. cit., p. 377.
Nos. 100 and 107, both of them c. 1735.
No. 8, for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.
No. 93, for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity (1728).
Nos. 9 (? 1731), 99 (c. 1733).
Nos. 1, 2, 5, 8, 20, 26, 62, 78, 91, 92, 93, 96, 115, 121, 124, 127, 138, 140.
Nos. 7, 9, 10, 14, 33, 41, 94, 99, 101, 111, 113, 114, 116, 125, 126, 130, 139, 178, 180.
Nos. 4, 97, 100, 107, 112, 117, 129, 137, 177, 192.
Nos. 3, 38, 123, 133, 135.
Nos. 3, 123, 133, 135.
See supra, p. 180.
Nos. 17, 34, 43, 151, 197, and Herr Gott, Beherrsoher aller Dinge.
Nos. 30, 32, 48, 57, 90.
Nos. 45, 79, 110, 143.
Nos. 6, 11, 13, 146, 193.
See Bach's Chorals, Part II., Introduction.
The above article and the Table that follows were communicated originally to the Musical Association on March 28, 1918.
- General mourning for the Queen lasted from Sept. 7, 1727, to Jan. 6, 1728. No Cantatas were sung in the period.
The Church Cantatas are published by Peters and also by Breitkopf and Haertel. A prefixed asterisk indicates that an English edition of the Cantata or Oratorio is published by Novello or Breitkopf and Haertel.
The Organ music is published by Novello, to whose edition references are given (N.), Peters, and Breitkopf and Haertel. collation of the Peters and Novello editions is given in Appendix V.
The Clavier and Instrumental music is published by Peters, to whose edition references are given (P.).
A Variant of the first Invention is on p. 342 of the volume. A Variant of Sinfonia ix. is on p. vi. of the Nachtrag.
A Variant is in B.G. XI.
A Variant is in P. bk. 244 p. 109.
“If genuine, the Sonata is a youthful work,” remarks Schweitzer, i. 401 n.
Additional movements of the second, third, and fourth Suites are in Appendix II. of B.G. XXXVI.
The volume contains an Appendix of Variants, etc. See also B.G. XLV. (1) Appendix. Variants of Nos. 1, 3, 6 of Part II. are in Appendix I. of B.G. XXXVI.
See publications of the N.B.G. xiv. (2) no. 5.
See publications of the N.B.G. vii. (3) no. 3.
For this work, in its original form as a Violin Concerto, see N.B.G. XVIII. (1 and 2).
The D major (No. 3) and G minor (No. 7) Concertos are identical with the Violin Concertos in E major and A minor. See B.G. XXI. (1). No. 6 (F. major) is the fourth Brandenburg Concerto (in G.). See B.G. XIX. no. 4.
In a shortened form this work appears also as a Sinfonia in F major. See B.G. XXXI. (1) no. 5, and N.B.G. X. (2).
Identical with the G minor Clavier Concerto. See B.G. XVII. no. 7, and also B.G. XLV. (1), Appendix, p. 233.
Identical with the D major Clavier Concerto. See B.G. XVII. no. 3, and N.B.G. VIII. (1)
Identical with the Concerto for two Claviers in C minor. See B.G. XXI. (2) no. 3.
The movement is described as being from “einer unbekannten Kirchencantate” for four voices and Orchestra. The Autograph is incomplete. The movement is not published elsewhere than in the B.G. edition.
Identical with the Concerto for 2 Violins, in D minor. See B.G. XXI. (1) no. 3. Also pp. 131, 158, 160, supra.
Also in N.B.G. XVII. (1 and 2).
For an exposition of Bach's design in the “Orgelbüchlein,” see the present writer's articles in “The Musical Times” for January_March 1917, and “Bach's Chorals,” Part III. See N.B.G. II. (1) for an arrangement of the Preludes for two pianofortes.
See B.G. XLII. for a Clavier version.
See B.G. XLII. for a Clavier version.
Boosey and Co. also publish an English edition.
This is a shortened form of the first Brandenberg Concerto (see B.G. XIX. no. 1). It consists of the Allegro, Adagio, Minuet, Trio I. and Trio II. of the latter, and omits its second Allegro and Polacca.
The Appendix contains Joh. Philipp Kernberger's solutions of the Canons and his expansion of the figured bass of the Clavier part of the Sonata.
See publications of the N.B.G. XIV. (2) no. 2.
See publications of the N.B.G. XIV. (2) no. 2.
Text and music are identical with the version in B.G. XX. (2).
Another Allemande to the Suite is in B.G. XXXVI. 217 (also in P.).
The subject of the Fughetta is the same as that of Fugue No. 17 in the second part of the “Well-tempered Clavier.”
The Prelude is No. 11 in Peters (B.G. xxxvi. 220). The Fughetta is his No. 10. It is the same subject an that of Fugue 16 in the second part of the “Well-tempered Clavier.” An alternative Prelude (P. 214 p. 78) is in the Appendix (p. 220).
They are described as “zur vierten französischen Suite.” The Prelude is in P. bk. 1959 p. 67.
Written respectively for the second and third French Suites (not in P.).
A fingered exercise.
The Appendices of the volume contain variant readings of movements elsewhere contained in it, and of the first, third, and sixth Preludes and Fugues in the second part of the “Well-tempered Clavier.”
See B.G. XLV. (1) Appendix.
Only nos. 2 and 3 are derived from Vivaldi.
A variant text is in B.G. XLII. 282.
Vivaldi's text of the first movement is in the Appendix (p. 229).
See B.G. XLIII. (2) sec. 1 no. 2.
The fugal subject is taken from the Allabreve.
Bach's instrumental accompaniments are in the Appendix (p. 143).
C. P. E. Bach's collection of his father's Choral settings was published by Immanuel Breitkopf in four volumes between the years 1784-87. They are all inoluded in Breitkopf and Haertel's edition (1898) of Bach s “Choralgesänge”; the numerals in brackets in the above list indicate the position of each Choral in that collection. The latter includes also the simple four-part Chorals from the Oratorios and Cantatas; hence the numeration of that volume and B.G. XXXIX. is not uniform.
The bracket states the title by which the tune is better known.
The Chorals are taken from two sources, Anna Magdalena Bach's “Notenbuch” (1726; see B.G. XLIII. (2)), and Schemelli's “Musicalisches Gesang-Buch” (1736), of which Bach was the musical editor. The latter contains sixty-nine melodies (with figured bass), the former seven: one melody (No. 14) is in both collections. The Schemelli tunes are indicated by an S within a bracket after the numeral. One melody (No. 71) is indubitably by Bach himself. It, and others, which may be attributed to him on good evidence, are marked by an asterisk. The seventy-five settings are published in practicable form by the N.B.G. I. (1) and I. (2).
Nos. 22 and 23 are the same tune.
For a discussion of Bach's original hymn-tunes see the present writer's “Bach's Chorals,” Part II. Introduction, pp. 67 ff. Six more of Bach's original hymn-tunes are printed there.
The first three Arias are published by Novello, and also by the N.B.G. I. (1).
In the Royal Library, Berlin. Kirnberger was a pupil of Bach. See section on Variants infra.
Novello omits the concluding four-part Choral.
The Prelude is also attributed to J. L. Krebs, a pupil of Bach.
See section on Variants infra.:
Variant, P. bk. 245 p. 106.
Ernst Naumann remarks, “Das Stück kann recht gut von Seb. Baoh herrühren.” The text is complete, and the omission of the Prelude from the Novello edition is to be regretted.
A transcription of the second Sonata for Solo Violin, in A minor, See B.G. XXVII. (1).
A transcription of the third Partita, in E major, for Solo Violin. See ibid.
From the third Sonata for Solo Violin, in C major. See ibid.
Both Sonatas are arrangements of instrumental Sonatas in J. A. Reinken's “Hortus Musicus.” See Spitta, i. 430.
Both Sonatas are arrangements of instrumental Sonatas in J. A. Reinken's “Hortus Musicus.” See Spitta, i. 430.
After a Sonata movement by J. A. Reinken.
After a Fugue by J. C. Erselius. The original is given in Anhang II. of the volume.
Only Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 14 are derived from Vivaldi. The others are founded on Benedetto Marcello (No. 3), Duke Johann Ernst of Weimar (Nos. 11, 16, and perhaps 13).
The Toccata is by Henry Purcell. See Grove, vol. iii. p. 857.
The volume also contains a Variant of the first Organ Concerto (B.G. XXXVIII.).
The Concerto is an arrangement of one by Antonio Vivaldi for four Violins, the original of which (in B minor) is given in the Appendix to the volume.
Omitting the vocal numbers, movements printed elsewhere, and the “Menuet fait par Mons. Böhm,” Peters' Bk. 1959 contains the remaining twenty numbers of the Notebook. They are indicated in the above index by a P in a bracket.
A separate Preface to the reprinted Suites is by Ernst Naumann. It is dated 1895.
Perhaps an arrangement of an orchestral piece. See Schweitzer, i. 342 n.
The Appendix to the volume contains addenda to the Violin Concerto in A minor (see B.G. XXL. (1)) and Cantata 188 (see B.G. XXXVII.). Also the Zurich and London texts of the “Welltempered Clavier” (B.G. XIV.), with critical notes.
The Preface is dated 1899. The volume was issued in 1900.
The original words are “Die Schätzbarkeit der weiten Erden.”
The title-page is dated 1913 and the Preface “Im Advent auf 1914.”
The Aria is no. 20 of A. M. Bach's “Notenbuch” for 1725. See E.G. XLII. (2) no. 20.
This publication, announced for 1916, appears under a different title as the third issue for 1917. See infra, XVII. (3).