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Johann Ludwig Dietel (Bach's Pupil, Copyist)

Born: December 23, 1713 - Calbitz, near Oschatz, Saxony, Germany
Died: December 22, 1773 - Falkenhain, Saxony, Germany

Johann Ludwig Dietel attended the Thomasschule in Leipzig and did some copy work for J.S. Bach. He then studied theology at the University of Leipzig and later became Kantor in Falkenhain where he remained until his death in 1773. He married Dorothea Caroline Beyer from Freiberg on November 6, 1742, who died after the birth of their fourth child. He later married Christina Magdalena Ruhland from Oschatz on May 18, 1751.

Johann Ludwig Dietel attended the Thomasschule in Leipzig as a fully-enrolled Thomaner from 1727 to 1735. Early on during this period, Dietel began serving as a copyist for the Leipzig Neukirche. A detailed list of his copyist services for J.S. Bach is given below. Dietel is perhaps best known for his important contribution to the transmission of J.S. Bach’s compositions with his collection of Bach’s 4-part chorale settings. Although Dietel’s handwriting had not yet been identified, Friedrich Smend, by the middle of the 20th century, had already recognized the importance of this collection containing 149 chorales located in the City of Leipzig Music Library. Fifty of the 149 chorales could not be traced to any of the extant vocal compositions by J.S. Bach. Strictly speaking six of these 50 chorales still do not have a BWV # assigned. Two of these six appear to be variants of already existing settings and the other four are entirely unique so that Smend came to the conclusion that these ‘were apparently not by J.S. Bach’. The NBA editors think that this matter has not yet been conclusively settled and have published them for the purpose of further study.

Johann Ludwig Dietel worked as a copyist for J.S. Bach from June 6, 1729 until January 6, 1735 with particular emphasis on two time spans: 1729/30 and 1734/35. He was first identified by his handwriting by Andreas Glöckner in 1981. Before that point in time he was listed by Alfred Dürr as J.S. Bach’s main copyist F and Anon IVb.


Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (June 2014)

Bach's Pupils: List of Bach's Pupils | Actual and Potential Non-Thomaner Singers and Players who participated in Bach’s Figural Music in Leipzig | Bach’s Pupils - Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

Copyist of J.S. Bach's Works

BWV 29 Basso Continuo part (all but movement 8)
BWV 100 String Group II and Organ part (figured bass added by J.S. Bach)
BWV 112 Transposed Basso Continuo part (figured bass begun by Dietel, but completed by J.S. Bach)
BWV 120a Transposed Basso Continuo part, mvts. 6, 7, 8
BWV 174 Violino concertante II, mvts. 4, 5; Violino concertante III, mvts. 4, and the beginning of mvt. 5
BWV 201 Basso Continuo (entire)
BWV 213 Violino II doublet mvt. 1 mm. 112-166
BWV 214 Viola part (entire)
BWV 248/IV Soprano, Soprano (echo), A, T, B parts, Oboes, Strings, Basso Continuo (figured bass begun by Dietel, finished by J.S. Bach)
BWV 248/VI S, A, T, Trombas I, II, III, Timpani, Oboes, Strings, Basso Continuo (entire)

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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 08:02