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References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh
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Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Lute Works BWV 995-1000, BWV 1006a
Bach's Lute Compositions & Provenance

Compositions for Lute-type Instruments

Lute compositions comprise only a small portion of Bach’s oeuvre. There are seven solo lute compositions that have survived: Suite in G minor (BWV 995 – c. 1730), Suite in E minor (BWV 996 – 1714/1717), Suite in C minor (BWV 997 – c. 1740), and Suite in E major (BWV 1006a – 1736/1737), Prelude in C minor (BWV 999 – 1717/1723), Fugue in G minor (BWV 1000 – after 1720) as well Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in Eb major (BWV 998 – c. 1735). In addition, Bach also used the lute as an ensemble instrument in the Trauerode (BWV 198/1,4,5,7,8,10 – scored for two lutes in each of these mvts. - 1727) and in the Frühfassungen (early versions) of the St. Matthew and St. John Passions as well as the St. Mark Passion: (BWV 244a/1,7,15 – 1729 – music lost); (BWV 244b/56,57 – 1727?/1729); (BWV 245/19 – 1724); (BWV 247/1,9,24,46 – 1731 – music lost).

An approximate, chronologically arranged list would look like this:

1714/1717: Suite in E minor BWV 996
1717/1723: Prelude in C minor BWV 999
After 1720: Fugue in G minor BWV 1000
1724: St. John Passion BWV 245/19
1727: Trauerode “Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl” BWV 198/1,4,5,8,10
1727? or before 1736: Frühfassung St. Matthew Passion BWV 244b/56,57
1729: Trauermusik “Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt” BWV 244a/1,7,15 (music lost)
c. 1730: Suite in G minor BWV 995 (transcription of BWV 1011 for violoncello solo)
1731: St. Mark Passion BWV 247/1,9,24,46 (music lost)
c. 1735: Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in Eb major BWV 998
1736/1737: Suite in E major BWV 1006a (transcription of BWV 1006 for violin solo)
c. 1740: Suite in C minor BWV 997

Another list including only the solo compositions for lute begins with the entirely authentic compositions and ends with those that, although still attributable to Bach at this time, nevertheless remain in a somewhat questionable category:

BWV 995 (autograph)
BWV 998 (autograph)
BWV 1006a (autograph)
BWV 996 (copied by Johann Gottfried Walther)
BWV 997 (copied by Johann Friedrich Agricola)
BWV 999 (copied by Johann Peter Kellner)
BWV 1000 (copied by Johann Christian Weyrauch)

Arranged by the number of courses that a lute has, these compositions can be listed as follows:

10-course BWV 999
11-course BWV 245; BWV 996 (according to which tuning is used also 12-course)
12-course BWV 198; BWV 244b
13-course BWV 997; BWV 998; BWV 1000; BWV 1006a (depending on tuning use also 14-course)
14-course BWV 995

A bass clef is used in the lower staff in all but BWV 1000 of the above.
The upper staff clefs are as follows:
A soprano clef is used in BWV 996, BWV 998, BWV 999, BWV 1006a, BWV 245/19, BWV 244b/57
An alto clef is used in BWV 198/2,4,8; BWV 244b/56
A tenor clef is used in BWV 995
A treble clef with 8va is used in BWV 997/1-4 (sounding an octave lower than written)

Extensive discussion of the tunings used are found in the NBA KB V/10. A general statement from the Grove Music Online Dictionary (Lynda Sayce in her article on the lute – Oxford University Press, 2008) can serve as a background for this much debated topic:

“By the 1670s the 11-course single-pegbox lute in D minor tuning had emerged as the preferred norm throughout much of Europe, and remained so until the early years of the 18th century, when two further courses were added, extending the lute’s range down to A′.”


How the lute was used by Bach

Besides its use as a solo instrument, the lute was also employed in some of the large-scale Leipzig vocal compositions such as BWV 198, BWV 244a, BWV 244b, BWV 245, and BWV 247. Here it provided support and a special coloring to the continuo group. It is also conceivable that the lute functioned as a second ‘chording’ (playing the figured bass) instrument in Bach’s harpsichord concerti.

It should be no surprise that there are only a few compositions for lute by Bach. The great period for the lute and the music written for it occurred before Bach’s time beginning in the 16th and culminating in the 17th century. During Bach’s lifetime, lute playing was already in a period of decline. Indications and causes of this change were very likely the construction of substitute instruments such as the Lautenklavier (also known as Lautenclavier, Lauten Werck, Lautenclavecin, Lauten Clavicymbel – Bach owned two of these) and the replacement of tablature with keyboard notation.

During the 16th and 17th centuries leading up to the time when Bach was a resident there (from 1723-1750), Leipzig had always had a strong lute tradition that was primarily connected with university students who went gassatim (wandering the streets of Leipzig as a group of serenaders consisting of singers, wind and string instruments and lutes, the latter often singled out for special praise) and provided Nachtmusiken or serenades in the streets before the homes of those of higher social standing. Numerous manuscripts written in lute tablature in Leipzig, M. Reyman’s Noctes musicae (1598) and his Cythara sacra (1612), and another manuscript from 1615 in the Leipzig City Library give evidence of these activities where numerous secular and sacred songs were intabulated so that one or more lutes could play along with the assembled musical group. The largest Leipzig collection of secular songs (intablulations) was prepared by a university student, J. Bude and was printed in Leipzig as a two-volume set entitled Flores musicae (1600). Numerous opportunities celebrating festivals, Leipzig fairs and city council events provided incentives for musical performances in which even amateurs participated. Depictions of lutes, often more than one, can be found in engravings, some of which are found on title pages as that from Ein neu künstlich Tabulaturbuch by Elias Nikolaus Ammerbach (c. 1530-1597 - organist at St. Thomas Church where Bach later was the cantor – here a positive and several lutes are playing at the same time), Leipzig, 1575; and others found in Andreas Bretschneider’s collection of pictures from 1617 Pratum emblematicum and in a famous circa 1625 presentation of student musicians performing on lutes in Auerbach’s Keller (a famous Leipzig location later used as a setting in Goethe’s Faust I).

While Nürnberg was famous for its lute makers in the 16th century (Hans Neusidler {1508/9-1563}; Hans Gerle {1500-1570}) and Hamburg could claim J. Tielke (1641-1719) in the 17th century, Leipzig also had a family of famous lute makers that existed from the late 16th to the middle of the 17th century (M. Hoffmann {1654-1719} and J. Chr. Hoffmann {1683-1750} – the latter also exported lutes to Holland, England and France).

Bach’s interest certainly received a strong impetus from his personal acquaintance with German lutenists such as Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) who is considered to be one of the last great lutenists. Only a year younger than Bach, Weiss, a lute virtuoso and composer at the Dresden Court, died the same year as Bach. Johann Elias Bach reports (Bach-Dokumente II, Item 448, dated August 11, 1739) that Wilhelm Friedemann Bach came on a visit from Dresden and was accompanied by Weiss and J. Kropffgans (1708-after 1769) both of whom were famous lutenists (nebst den beyden berühmten Lautenisten). They performed some great music (etwas feines von Music) several times in the home of Johann Sebastian Bach. Another lutenist, Johann Christian Weyrauch (1694-1771) wrote down BWV 997 and BWV 1000 in tablature form. The connections with J. S. Bach are quite interesting: In 1743 J. S. Bach and J. Chr. Hoffmann (the lute maker mentioned above) both served as godfathers at the birth of J. Chr. Weyrauch’s second son named Johann Sebastian. J. C. Gleditsch (died in 1747), who was one of the city pipers during Bach’s tenure in Leipzig, owned a lute as documented by the list of items in his (Gleditsch’s) estate. In Johann Sebastian Bach’s estate (1750) a very expensive lute (Laute) was listed and valued at 21 Reichsthaler (close equivalent to the cost of a small harpsichord).

Other contemporary lutenists with whom Bach did or could have conceivably had contact:

A. Falckenhagen (1697-1754) Weißenfels, Weimar, Bayreuth

Ernst Gottlieb Baron (1696-1760) Nürnberg *also famous for his primary source material, a book on lutes: Historisch- Theoretisch und Practische Untersuchung des Instruments der Lauten, Nürnberg, 1727 – a facsimile edition was printed in Amsterdam, 1965.

and the following students who received music instruction from Bach:

Maximilian Nagel (1712-1748)

Rudolph Straube (1717-?)

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780), studied under Bach and received from him a testimonial (Bach-Dokumente I, item 71, p. 139) in which Bach praises Krebs musical abilities generally by singling out among other things his mastery of the lute.

“…daß ich persuadiret sey aus Ihme ein solches subjectum gezogen zu haben, so besonders in Musicis sich bey uns distinguiret, indeme Er auf dem Clavier, Violine und Laute, wie nicht weniger in der Composition sich also habilitiret, daß Er sich hören zu laßen keinen Scheu haben darff….Ich…recommendire demselben hiermit nochmahligst bestens. Leipzig, den 24. Aug. 1735. Joh: Seb: Bach. Capellm. u. Direct. Musices.”
[“…that I am convinced that I have taught him so that I have made of him someone who has been able to distinguish himself here among musicians by proving [to me] that he has attained mastery in playing keyboard instruments, the violin and the lute as well as in composition so that he need not be afraid of performing anywhere for anyone.…Herewith I once again heartily recommend him highly.
Leipzig, August 24, 1735. Johann Sebastian Bach, Capellmeister and Director of Music.”]

It is this documentary evidence that has led some experts to claim that Bach also played the lute well enough to perform his own compositions. Many others claim that this evidence by itself is insufficient to come to this conclusion. Thus far, no other solid documentary evidence has been forthcoming to further substantiate this claim; however, Bach’s ownership of a rather expensive lute and his ability and to compose idiomatically for this instrument as well as being able to help Krebs attain true proficiency in performance on it also seem at least to point toward some degree of mastery of this instrument on Bach’s part although not to the level perhaps of a true virtuoso.

Lute Pitch in Bach’s Time and Geographical Area:

According to E. G. Baron (p. 116 – see source above dated 1727), the pitch for lutes was originally Chorton and then shifted to Kammerton later. Baron does not assign any specific dates to this shift.

Printed Editions of Bach’s Lute Compositions:

In the literature and critical editions from the 19th century, Bach’s compositions for lute had received little attention. Philipp Spitta only mentions them in passing. The first critical edition of Bach’s works, the BG, does not include the Suite in G minor BWV 995 and the Fugue BWV 1000. The other compositions (the BG version of the Suite in C minor BWV 997 presented there is highly corrupt) were presented in volumes 36, 42, and 45/1 by Alfred Dörffel and Ernst Naumann as keyboard pieces or instrumental compositions of an undetermined origin without indicating for which instruments they may have been scored.

Among the outstanding scholarly contributions in the 20th century are those that were presented by Wilhelm Tappert (1900), Hans Dagobert Bruger (1920/1921), Hans Neemann (1931) and Hans-Joachim Schulze (1966). These were able to answer many questions about the provenance and specific assignment of these pieces to the lute. Until 1982, when the critical edition of the NBA appeared in print, there had been no complete, critical edition of Bach’s compositions for lute. The previous, well-known complete editions of these works were adaptations or arrangements made for modern lute-type instruments or guitars. The first of these appeared in 1921.

1. Johann Sebastian Bach | Kompositionen für die Laute | Erste vollständige und kritisch durchgesehene Ausgabe | Nach altem Quellenmaterial für die heutige Laute übertragen und herausgegeben von Hans Dagobert Bruger. (In the third edition, dated 1925, Bruger has a revised version of the Suite in G minor BWV 995 based on Bach’s autograph and adds a facsimile of the first page of this manuscript. It is this edition which still appears today unchanged without a date published by the Möseler-Verlag, Wolfenbüttel and Zürich. With the exception of BWV 996 and BWV 1006a, all the compositions have been transposed to a different key and in some instances passages have been removed and/or simplified.)

2. Denkmäler alter Lautenkunst | herausgegeben von Fritz Jöde | Band 1 | Julius Zwißlers Verlag (Inh. Georg Kallmeyer)

3. Another edition which departs so far from the originals that the NBA does not even discuss it was published by Anton Stingl in 1957 by the VEB Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag Leipzig.

4. Johann Sebastian Bach | Lautenmusik | für die Gitarre neu bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Edmund Wensiecki | mit einer kurzen Einführung in die Lautentabulatur. Friedrich Hofmeister, Hofheim am Taunus, 1965. (There are changes from the original and simplification. These are described in the foreword and given in detail in the editor’s report. A critical assessment of the sources is missing completely and some of the references are incorrect.)

Some editions such as those by Franz Julius Giesbert and Josef Klima exist in manuscript or as limited photocopies and have not yet been available in print (as of 1982 when the NBA KB V/10 was published).
There are some important publications of individual lute compositions by Bach. These are treated separately in the NBA KB.


The Provenance of Individual Lute Compositions:

BWV 995 Suite in G Minor

1. Autograph. Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels. Call # II. 4085 (Fétis-Catalogue Nr. 2910)
François-Joseph Fétis (1784-1871) apparently purchased this manuscript in Leipzig in 1836. Fétis states that he acquired “quelques manuscrits originaux et importants de J.–S. Bach à la vente de l’assortiment de la maison Breitkopf et Härtel de 1836.” It remained in his possession until 1907 when it came to the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique in Brussels where it is still located today.

Bach’s autograph title on the title page reads: Pièces pour la Luth | Monsieur Schouster | par | J. S. Bach
On top of the first page Bach wrote: Suite pour la Luth par J. S. Bach and Prelude. At the places the names of the remaining movements are indicated and after the final mvt., Gique, Bach writes Fin.

This is a composing copy with Bach’s handwriting after the second page becoming more fleeting and prone to more errors.

The watermarks place the time of this composition between the fall of 1727 and the winter of 1731.

BWV 995 is an arrangement of the Suite in C Minor for Violoncello BWV 1011, which, along with the Sonatas and Partitas for Violin, was probably composed c. 1720. There is no doubt that the BWV 1011 is the work upon which BWV 995 is based. (More correctly, as pointed out in the NBA KB VI/2, Anna Magdalena Bach’s copy of the Suites for Solo Violoncello looks back to a posited original α (alpha), the same original version from which Bach arranged BWV 995 directly (he was not working from A. M. Bach’s copy).

There was a Josef Schuster who was active as a lutenist in Dresden from 1741 to 1784. He may have been the dedicatee referred to by Bach as “Monsieur Schouster”. Since the title page on which Bach wrote the dedication does not have an identifiable watermark, it is possible that Bach added it later sometime during 1741 or before his death in 1750. In any case, it would not be very likely that Bach would consider this ‘composing’ score with its numerous corrections worthy of being presented directly as a dedication copy soon after he had completed it.

Another contemporary copy of this work (c. middle of the 18th century) was completed by an unknown copyist, possibly from the circle of Dresden lutenists associated with Silvius Leopold Weiß, using the French-style tablature.

Printed Editions of BWV 995

Antonio Tirabassi, Edition Fernand Lauweryns, 1913, Brussels (although the title states “Transcrite pour Clavecin par M. Antonio Tirbassi” Although notated an octave higher than the original autograph and with minimal additions (tempo indications, metronome markings and some marks of articulation), the editor remains true to the original and even has some critical annotations explaining any deviations from the original.
In 1921, Hans Dagobert Bruger, in his first edition of Bach’s lute compositions, edited the suite based upon the second source (without examining the autograph) and transcribed it for a modern 10-course bass lute. In his third edition (1925), he finally used the autograph source. Mvts. 4 and 6 are transposed to A minor.
The complete facsimile of the autograph was published by Ch. van den Borren in 1936 as the third issue of the journal, Musica viva.

The NBA published the first critical edition of this work in 1982.

BWV 996 Suite in E Minor

The primary source here is a copy of the work made by Johann Gottfried Walther, a copy found in a collection of manuscripts in the possession of Johann Ludwig Krebs at the time of his death.

Walther’s title is: Praeludio – con la Svite | da | Gio: Bast. Bach

below this title in a different and still unidentified handwriting, the following is written:

aufs Lauten Werck or, because of the difficulty of deciphering this correctly, the last two words could be read as one: Lautenwerck.

This manuscript can be dated to the period from 1710 to 1717.

Another source is a copy of this work made by Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber (1702-1775) circa 1725 when he was in Leipzig as one of Bach’s music students. This manuscript, which at the time belonged to Dr. Erich Prieger, Bonn, was sold in 1924 at auction. Its present owner is unknown. It was used as a primary resource for Hans Bischoff’s edition of J. S. Bachs Klavierwerke, vol. 7, Steingräber, Leipzig, 1888.

A third source is a copy contained in a collection that included keyboard and organ works by Bach. Fétis (see above) purchased this believing it to be an autograph, but, unfortunately, it was not. The entire collection is dated as coming from the 2nd half of the 18th century. It is located today at the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels. Call # II. 4093 (Fétis-Catalogue Nr. 2960). Even as late as 1970 (Thurston Dart: “Bachs Early Keyboard Music: A neglected source {Brussels, B. R., Fétis 2960}”), the entire collection was still considered to be a collection of very early works that Bach had assembled for himself. This opinion is no longer tenable.
In this source the work is given in A minor, while the first two sources are in E minor.

Which instrument was intended?

There is no doubt that BWV 996 was an original composition, that is, based upon the provenance and manner of setting, there is no reason to suspect that it might have been composed for a different instrument or group of instruments. The Gerber’s copy does not designate any specific instrument while the last source indicates a keyboard instrument. Despite this latter designation, the NBA KB gives a number of reasons why this work was composed for the Baroque lute specifically.

Printed Editions of BWV 996

1. Friedrich Conrad Griepenkerl (early 19th century) the old Peters Edition of Bach’s Instrumental Works
2. F. A. Roitzsch (1837) Peters Nouvelle Edition
3. Hans Bischoff (1888) Steingräber, Leipzig
4. Alfred Dörffel (1897) BG 45, 1
5. Franz Julius Giesbert (1969), intabulation, private printing
6. Hans Dagobert Bruger (1921) and Emund Wensiecki (1965) arrangements for a modern 10-course bass lute or guitar.
7. Mvts. 3-5 appeared in year 4 of the journal “Die Laute”, edited by Fritz Jöde, Wolfenbüttel (1920-1921)

BWV 997 Suite in C Minor

There are at least 20 sources for this suite. Only a few of the most important ones will be reported here.

1) This copy was made by Johann Friedrich Agricola (1720-1774) while he was a student of Bach’s from 1738-1741). The title was added much later by C.P.E. Bach during his last period of life in Hamburg:
C moll | Praeludium, Fuge, Sarabande | und Gique | furs Clavier, | Von J. S. Bach
2) From the Hauser collection of manuscripts of Bach’s works (some genuine, others not) dating from 1836.
3) A copy by Anton Werner from the Fischhof collection (not before 1836).
4) A copy by Johann Christian Weyrauch (1694-1771) of mvts. 1, 3, and 4 in French tablature. The title page reads: Partita | al | Liuto. | Composta dal | Sigre J. S. Bach
5) A copy by Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721-1783) contained in the Poelchau collection of Bach manuscripts. The title reads: Klavier=Sonate | von | Joh. Sebastian Bach.

Many of the remaining manuscript copies are from the late 18th or early 19th century.
There is a complicated stemma to explain all the possible relationships between the various copies. There are two versions of the fugue that had to be resolved.

The earliest version is Agricola’s (1738-1741) while the attempt to place Weyrauch’s copy as circa 1730 lacks sufficient substantiation, also, there are no solid indications of a stylistic connection with Bach’s keyboard compositions from the Cöthen period. BWV 997, however, can be compared favorably as based upon its superior musical quality with another work from the same period (not much earlier than 1740), BWV 998. Some experts have held that there originally was a 3-mvt. version of this work, but this contention has not been borne out by any further evidence; hence, the NBA KB maintains that the original form of this work consisted of 5 mvts. Some questions regarding the unusual notation (irregularity in the range of notes used, etc., ) have not yet been resolved, while others, like which of the two versions of the fugue (mvt. 2) is authentic have been. A very detailed and complicated discussion follows.

Printed Editions of BWV 997

Robert Franz, Suite for Piano (1881)Breitkopf & Härtel, “with the missing chords filled out”
Alfred Dörffel (1897), BG, vol. 45,1
Wilhelm Tappert (1906), “Sang und Klang” collection (only the first part of the gigue)
Howard Ferguson (1949) Schott and Co, London: J. S. Bach Lute Suite in C minor

BWV 998 Präludium, Fuge und Allegro in Eb Major

The autograph is owned by Ueno-Gakuen Music Academy (Tokyo, Japan)
It was inherited by C.P.E. Bach after the death of his father. It is not mentioned in C.P.E. Bach’s estate (1790). Thus, it could have been given to someone else before the latter’s death. It is not certain that it was included in the collection of the Three Partitas for Lute mentioned in the Breitkopf catalogues of 1761 and 1836. When the new Peters Edition of Bach’s instrumental works was being edited, it appears to have been used by the editors. Philipp Spitta (1880) confirms that the autograph belonged to Henry Huth in London. Since this point in time the provenance remains quite clear: from Huth’s collection it went to the Musikhistorische Museum Wilhelm Heyer in 1911. In 1926 it was purchased by Karl Vietinghoff from Berlin. Since 1962 it has appeared at various times and places where autographs were being sold and purchased: J. A. Stargardt (Marburg), 1962, Sotheby (London), 1968, and on November 28, 1969 the Nippon-Gakki-Seizo AG (Tokyo) sold it to the Ueno-Gakuen Music Academy (Tokyo) where it is located today.

Bach’s title reads: Prelude pour la Luth. ò Cembal, par J. S. Bach.
To save space writes mm. 88-96 of mvt. 3, Allegro, in organ tablature after which he writes Fin.

The time of composition can only be limited to the period from 1734-1747. This is based upon watermark analysis which compares the same type of paper used by one of Bach’s students, possibly Gottfried Heinrich Bach. The music involved is an incomplete copy made from a printed copy of “Acroama Missale” by Giovanni Battista Bassani. J. S. Bach made some additions to this copy. By examining Bach’s handwriting, this autograph of BWV 998, classified as a ‘composing’ copy, can be specified more closely to the period from the beginning to the middle of the 1740s. With the exception of the first mvt., the remaining mvts. appear quite clearly to be original compositions with no precursors. Stylistically, the da-capo fugue also points to the time circa 1740; cf. BWV 997/2 and BWV 548/2. Technical compositional aspects as well as the range (from a low Eb to a high Ab) demonstrate that, despite the fact that Bach wrote “for lute or harpsichord”, this work was primarily intended to be played on a lute.

Printed Editions of BWV 998

This piece first appeared in print in the old Peters Edition of Bach’s Instrumental Works
F. A. Roitzsch revised this edition based on the autograph for the new Peters Edition.
Alfred Dörffel based the BG 45/1 (1897) on Roitzsch’s edition because the autograph was not available to him at the time. Other editions referred to earlier are mentioned only in passing here: Breitkopf & Härtel both by Reinecke and Busoni and Bischoff’s Steingräber edition, and arrangements by Bruger for the modern 10-course lute and Wensiecki’s (Hofmeister) arrangement for guitar.

BWV 999 Präludium in C Minor

Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Mus. ms. Bach P 804.
The only source is a copy by Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772) contained in a collection of manuscripts from his estate. This copy is dated based upon the other dated manuscripts in the collection. This would put the date of this copy, and very likely the date of actual composition, at the middle of the 1720s. Characteristics of Bach’s Cöthen period (1717-1723) are present here. The style of this piece gives evidence of Bach’s authorship and its authorship has no longer been doubted since Hans Neemann’s argumentation and conclusions reached in his J. S. Bachs Lautenkompositionen, Bach-Jahrbuch, 1931, pp. 83ff.

Printed Editions of BWV 999

This work first appeared as a piano composition in the Peters Edition nouvelle (1837-1851) edited by Friedrich Conrad Griepenkerl. Here it was No. 3 of the “12 Little Preludes for Beginners”. The BG 36 (Ernst Naumann) also presented this piece as a work for piano. Bruger, Giesbert and others eventually published it as a composition for lute (see above).

BWV 1000 Fugue in G Minor

A copy by Johann Christian Weyrauch (1694-1771) in French lute tablature along with a transcription by Karl Ferdinand Becker (1804-1877) in modern notation (part of the Becker Collection III, 11.4, Leipzig City Music Library and the transcription is in the same library in the Pölitz Collection: Poel. mus. Ms. 30,2).

This music exists in three different forms in Bach’s oeuvre:

1. The original source is BWV 1001/2, the fugue from the 1st Sonata for Violin Solo

2. An arrangement for organ is BWV 539/2 is considered a mediocre arrangement, very likely not by Bach

3. An arrangement for lute is BWV 1000 is considered of higher quality and appears to be more genuinely a Bach arrangement, although it is likely that Weyrauch may well have played a role in the transcription.

The only thing that can be stated as a certainty is that date of this lute arrangement and its copy would have to be after 1720, the date for the original violin solo source.

Printed Editions of BWV 1000

The first printing was Bruger’s edition (1921) – see above.

BWV 1006a Suite in E Major

The autograph is at the Musashino-Music Academy, Nerima-ku, Tokyo : Littera rara vol. 2-14.
The history of this autograph can only be traced back to the 19th century when is form part of Franz Hauser’s Bach manuscript collection. In 1859 Hauser gave it to Otto Scherzer as a present. From the estate of the Scherzer Family it went to Apollo Klinckerfuß. It was then acquired by the Musashino Music Academy, Tokyo, from the estate of Martha Klinckerfuß at an auction conducted by the Antiquariat Schneider, Tutzing, on September 27, 1967.

A misleading title was added on the title cover page apparently during the 19th century:
Suite | pour le Clavecìn | compose par | Jean Sebast. Bach. | Original.

The watermarks indicate that Bach used this type of paper from 1735 to 1740. The handwriting is in the category of a ‘clean’ copy.

There are two copies from the 19th century. Both were copied from the autograph.

Bach based his arrangement for lute on the third partita for violin solo, BWV 1006.

Original composition (1720): BWV 1006 Partita No. 3 for Violin Solo

Other arrangements based on BWV 1006/1:
1) Sinfonia for Organ and Orchestra from the wedding cantata BWV 120a/1 “Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge” (1729)

2) Sinfonia for Organ and Orchestra from the Ratswahl cantata BWV 29/1 “Wir danken dir Gott, wir danken dir” (1731)

Ulrich Siegele, in his doctoral dissertation (contained in the Tübinger Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, ed. Georg von Dadelsen, Vol. 3, Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1975) compares the lute transcription of BWV 995 based on the Suite for Violoncello BWV 1011 with this transcription of BWV 1006a and comes to the conclusion that BWV 1006a had been “rein handwerks- und schulmäßig gefertigt” (“completed simply as a tradesman or a student completing an assignment would”) while BWV 995 was “etwas starker durchgebildet und ausgeführt” (“shows a somewhat greater ability to develop and execute this task”).

Many arguments for assigning this arrangement to other instruments (harpsichord, harp, pianoforte) are discussed, but the main conclusion reached at the end of a long discussion is the lute is the most likely instrument that was intended (despite the fact that the first mvt. calls for an open e string as the uppermost course while the tuning method in Bach’s time calls for this open string to be f and not e.) The latobjection has been overcome by proposing different solutions. As far as awkward passages that are difficult to play on a Baroque lute, BWV 995 can serve as an example that it also contains similar passages.

Printed Editions of BWV 1006a

The BG, vol. 42 (Ernst Naumann) was the first edition to be based on the autograph.


Based upon pp. 90-193 of NBA KB V/10 and pp. 640-645 of Ulrich Prinz’ Johann Sebastian Bachs Instrumentarium, Stuttgart, 2005]
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (November 17, 2008)

Lute Works BWV 995-100o, BWV 1006a: Details
Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
Lute - E. Fernandez
General Discussions - Part 1 | Lute - R. Hill | Lute - L. Kirchhof | Lute - L. Pianca

References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh
BGA | NBA | BC: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Sources
Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


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Last update: Thursday, June 01, 2017 11:42