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BWV Numbering System
Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Deest

John Pike wrote (December 24, 2004):
Sorry to post to both lists but Bach Musicology seems to have died in infancy.

I frequently come across the term "deest" after pieces in books/papers about Bach, as if part of some classification. However, the term is not used in the BWV catalogue, which I bought on Amazon.de recently on Brad's helpful recommendation. However, it is used after a number of pieces at the end of the Haenssler catalogue (also helpfully recommended by Brad recently). I get the impression that it is some sort of Anhang IV (pieces not by Bach and never attributed to him but perhaps copied by him, perhaps for performance or in pedagogical material). Can someone shed some light on this term and its origins?

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 25, 2004):
[To John Pike] Doesn't it merely mean "uncatalogued" or similar?

Margaret Mikulska wrote (December 25, 2004):
John Pike wrote: < Sorry to post to both lists but Bach Musicology seems to have died in infancy. >
I have the same impression, unfortunately.

< I frequently come across the term "deest" after pieces in books/papers about Bach, as if part of some classification. However, the term is not used in the BWV catalogue, which I bought on Amazon.de recently on Brad's helpful recommendation. However, it is used after a number of pieces at the end of the Haenssler catalogue (also helpfully recommended by Brad recently). I get the impression that it is some sort of Anhang IV (pieces not by Bach and never attributed to him but perhaps copied by him, perhaps for performance or in pedagogical material). Can someone shed some light on this term and its origins? >
"Deest" means in Latin "not present" ("est" = is, "de" expresses negation). The plural is "desunt". A work is marked as, for instance, "BWV deest" if it has no BWV number, that is, it's not present in the Schmieder catalogue, which usually happens when it was discovered (or newly attributed to Bach) after the most current edition of BWV had been published. The terms deest and desunt are used not only on Bach literature, but generally in musicological literature. No, it's not a sort of Anhang. Nobody but the author of the paper or the book in question decides whether to use this term with respect to some specific composition. Furthermore, between one and another edition of the BWV (or another catalogue, as the case may be) there may be doubts as to its authenticity -- scholars who strongly believe the work is by Bach expect the work to be in the next edition of the catalogue and refer to it as BWV deest; those of differing opinion are more likely not to use this term. On the other hand, a work may be 100% certainly by Bach, but if it was discovered recently, it can't possibly be in the BWV yet, and it's also referred to as BWV deest.

There is usually a touch of tacit assumption here that deest/desunt means not only "not present in BWV", but also "not yet present there", but it really depends on the author.

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 25, 2004):
z.B. lower half of this page, listing Handel's "HWV deest" music: http://gfhandel.org/appendix.htm

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (December 25, 2004):
[To John Pike] Actually, John, those works with the BWV deest classification are not at all catalogued. The "deest" is to Bach's music as the "WoO" is to van Beethoven's, Brahms's, and many other composers' works. It simply means that these works have no catalogue number (even if some of them do have a BC [Bach Compendium] number).

Another interesting and tantalizing tidbit about the "deest" works. With the exception of BWV 244a and some of the BWV Anhang works, these works are the ones that either the text, the music, or both are lost.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (December 25, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Similar, but actually the word has no translation.

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 26, 2004):
'vel' [was: Deest]

Along with understanding what 'deest' means in the cataloging of Bach's works, list members who come upon such cataloging terminology when listening to, playing and/or simply studying Bach's works will very likely also encounter the term 'vel' and not be able to find it very easily explained in even some of the largest musical dictionaries.

For instance:

The Grove Music Online lists the following composition:

Matthias Weckmann: "Toccata vel praeludium (d)"

The article explains that this was a time when both terms had become synonymous. They are equivalents, hence 'vel' = 'or' in this instance.

What does 'vel' really mean to a cataloger, particularly one who has to list or create BWV numbers?

Origin: Like 'deest,' 'vel' is also a Latin term:

The Latin word 'vel' is an old imperative form of 'volo.' It means "if you wish" or "if you prefer" preceding or between two or more alternatives/options. Sometimes it can stand before a another option meaning "the following might also be thought of as an extreme possibility" or "you might want to go as far as to say that it could/might also be called.."

Some examples of 'vel' used by the NBA editors:

Chorale #315 of CPE Bach's collection of his father's 4-pt chorales is listed in the NBA as "BWV 282 vel 95/1." A comparison of the two versions (mvt. 1 of J. S. Bach's Cantata 95 and CPE's #315 4-pt. chorale) makes clear that they are alike in essence, but cannot be simply considered as equivalents: CPE, in his copy, has relied heavily upon this chorale from the first mvt. of a chorale cantata. This means, among other things, that the instrumental parts are dropped, but the note values have sometimes been changed and the short emphatic restatements at the end of a line in the cantata mvt. have been dropped. These are rather substantial changes, if both versions (CPE's and J. S. Bach's) are compared with each other. In the BWV catalog, CPE's version has been given a separate number, yet the music is only basically J. S. Bach's own composition with numerous modifications having been made by his son. The cataloger seems to be saying "If you wish, you may overlook the changes made by CPE and still consider both versions as being similar, as having arisen from a single source which originally was J. S. Bach's."

Chorale # 311 in the same collection is cataloged as "BWV 197a/7 vel 398." What this means is that the two versions before and after 'vel' are quite similar, but not quite. The original cantata version has a passage in the bass which is an octave higher than that of CPE's version #311 in his collection which has been assigned a separate BWV #: BWV 398, but this 2nd version related by CPE Bach, who is known to make his own changes in the original scoring, is not quite the same as the original J. S. Bach harmonization. What the cataloger is saying by using 'vel' is that BWV 197a/7 is the original, 'but you might want to go as far as to say that it could also be the same as" BWV 398 which is given a separate BWV # because of a significant difference in one of the voice parts. The two compositions are almost the same, but not quite.

If one of CPE Bach's 4-pt settings is exactly like his father's, then only the cantata # and mvt. Are indicated with the BWV #. This means that CPE Bach faithfully recorded his father's intentions without any additional changes of his (CPE) own.

CPE Bach has #263 in his collection representing his father's original which is cataloged as "BWV 227/1 vel 227/11." CPE faithfully reduced J. S. Bach's 4-pt. harmonization to appear on 2 staffs instead of 4, hence no addition BWV# is assigned. But are these two original J. S Bach 4-pt. harmonizations fully equivalent to each other? No, there the final bass note in BWV 227/11 sounds both at the same note as BWV 227/1 but also has a low note an octave lower not in the 1st mvt. This may be a minor difference, but significant enough that the catalogers can not simply state "BWV 227/1,11" which would mean that both mvts. are exactly the same. The 'vel' seems to be saying that they are 'almost exactly equivalent, but not quite if ywant to be really specific about this.'

 

BWV 80 question, and some more general questions

Tom Hens wrote (January 20, 2006):
Let me first explain why I'm asking these questions as my first message to this list:

A few months ago, I embarked on what was meant to be a little hobby project, involving nothing more than taking some of the summaries of the BWV available on the net and doing some cutting and pasting, and some reformatting, to make a list I could print out and use to keep track of my CD collection. I was tired of having to look in two or three places to find just which recordings of a particular cantata I had, or of a particular organ work (the two main problem areas for such questions).

Well, the project got seriously out of hand. I soon realized that once one gets into the finer detail of the BWV, the online resources I could find and the books I had in my small collection often didn't solve problems -- often obscure problems, but still, one has to make a judgement about what to put on paper. So I bought a copy of BWV 2a (the "Kleine Ausgabe"), and that solved most but not all of them. What's more, since Walter C. Bischof had already done such a great job of providing a text index to the first lines of all the cantata movements, I figured that would be a useful addition, for those occasions when I can remember an aria, usually with the beginning of the words, but can't remember where it came from. But to be complete I needed to add the first lines of all movements from vocal works other than cantatas, the four-part chorales, etc. And once I'd decided to do that, it seemed logical to also include the titles of organ works that use chorale melodies. Then I also had to work on the alphabetic order by hand, since Bischof's computer-generated index doesn't follow standard German conventions for such things. Well, that job is now largely finished, the index has a bit over 2000 entries (god, adding that very last entry felt good!). It still needs some finishing touches, and above all a final very thorough line-by-line check for errors before it's ready for release though.

I also began to realize that what I am putting together will probably interest other people as well, and it would be a shame to never let it travel outside my own home. So I've decided that, once finished, I will make it available to the rest of the world as a PDF file, so anyone can print it out for themselves. (And since it will be free, nobody can complain if they decide I've done a lousy job, that's a nice thing.)

For the main works list, I'm currently about half-way, and adding and correcting the very last bits about the vocal music before embarking on the second half with the instrumental works (although some of the sections for that are already done). To give you an idea what it looks like: I'm currently working on a first version on A4 size paper. Once the whole thing is finished, I might consider making variants in smaller formats, but first I need to get the basic text finished. The concept is that the right-hand pages have the works list in BWV order, with some additional information (vocal and instrumental strength, day in the church year for cantatas and the like, place and time of composition, and depending on the work things like re-use of parts in other works, parody relationships, doubts about authenticity, etc.) The left-hand pages only have the corresponding numbers and are otherwise blank, so one can write down which recordings one has. If someone doesn't want to do that but is only interested in what one might informally call a poor man's version of the BWV, they can of course only print out the right-hand pages. To give an idea of the size of the resulting booklet: all the vocal works will come in at just over 40 pages, or 80 if you count the largely blank note-taking pages on the reverse side. I'm projecting a slightly lower number for the second half with the instrumental music. Then there is the index with 18 pages. Of course there will also be an introduction explaining some of the typographical conventions used and editorial decisions involved. (Maximum typographical clarity and consistency has been my main objective.) There will probably also be an appendix. A brief summary of the structure of the Lutheran church year might be nice, and I'm also considering adding a brief timeline of Bach's life, for which I've already made some notes.

<>

I also have two more general questions.

First, for every work, I give the place and time of composition, and I've used the label "Composed:" for that. But I'm not really happy with it, because in many cases it doesn't refer to a new composition, but to a re-use of (parts of) earlier works. What I really want is the concept expressed by the German word "Entstanden", but for the life of me I can't think of an English equivalent that carries the same meaning, so I've stuck with "Composed" so far. Does anybody has any better idea?

Secondly, does anybody have a bright idea for a snappy title? When I started out, I was thinking of using A5 landscape format, about the same size of paper Bach used for the Orgelbüchlein, and call it the "Bach-Büchlein", but I discovered someone had already used that title for a book. What's more I decided to drop the small size for now, and at a projected size of at least 120 A4 pages, I don't think the diminutive is appropriate anymore. As a working title, I'm using the pedestrian "Johann Sebastian Bach. A Works List". But maybe somebody has some creative idea for a nicer one.

I've set March 21 as an arbitrary deadline for myself to have the whole thing finished (I hope the instrumental part will take less time than the vocal music did, so it might be earlier), but of course it depends on how much time I can spend on it, and whether or not I run into unforeseen problems. Or of course, if I run into resounding indifference among anyone except myself about ever seeing the finished product.

Leonardo Been wrote (January 20, 2006):
[To Tom Hens] Marvelous.

'Entstanded' -> Created

Personally, I would be most interested in a computer-readable version of your work, which means, adding to the beauty of a PDF print-out, the convenience of having an arrangement (format) of it in a database or spreadsheet, as the data-part, forming a computer-readable and computer-searchable index.

Again, thank you for a marvelous job.

Santu de Silva wrote (January 20, 2006):
Tom.Hens askes:
"Secondly, does anybody have a bright idea for a snappy title? ... As a working title, I'm using the pedestrian "Johann Sebastian Bach. A Works List". But maybe somebody has some creative idea for a nicer one."
Call it an index. A list of works is always useful, but if there are indexes (or even if the works were listed in alphabetical order, or as you suggest, every first line of every movement is listed in alphabetical order) then it is much more useful. So I suggest saying something on the lines that it is a indexed list, or an index into, vocal or sacred music of JSBach.

Obviously others have done similar things; our Bach Cantatas website has something very similar. Most scholars will suggest that you should compare with that resource, as well as Schmeider and other standard sources (which you have done, I believe) and provide references to them, as appropriate.

Have you considered inserting hyperlinks? This is possible in pdf, and even if you don't do it right away, you could do it when you get a second wave of energy!

Arch, full of admiration

Tom Hens wrote (January 21, 2006):
Santu de Silva wrote:
< Call it an index. A list of works is always useful, but if there are indexes (or even if the works were listed in alphabetical order, or as you suggest, every first line of every movement is listed in alphabetical order) then it is much more useful. So I suggest saying something on the lines that it is a indexed list, or an index into, vocal or sacred music of JSBach. >
The provisional title page (it's pretty pointless having a title page for something that so far nobody except myself has seen and is only half finished, I know, but it's nice to see one when I open my working copy of what I've so far) says: "JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH / A Works List / With a First-Line Index to the Vocal & Organ Works". I've tried to make it look somewhat like a pastiche of an eighteenth century title page, without descending into kitsch. But that isn't really a title, is it? Making the index was an afterthought to the works list, and they will also be in separate PDF files, because there are no doubt people who are interested in the index, but have no need for yet another rehashing of a works list following the BWV. (The finished product will require some self-assembly anyway, on purpose, and allow for personal choices in how it is put together by each individual user. Some people might like to put it in a loose-leaf ring binder for instance, and insert tab sheets between sections, others might like to have the whole thing bound together. This will all be catered
for.)

< Obviously others have done similar things; our Bach Cantatas website has something very similar. >
I think I've probably seen all on-line versions of BWV summaries that are around, in PDF or HTML format, have had them stored on my own computer and used printouts of them (with hand-written additions) for years. That's how this all started: I thought it wouldn't be too much work to assemble those into something that suited my purposes (I was wrong). I would never have embarked on this project if there wasn't already such a wealth of information out there available to be cut and pasted. In fact, I'm using a printout of the list that is on the Bach Cantatas website daily. It's very useful to have a reliable list of things to do where you can cross out things you've finished. If what I'm putting together was similar to those, I wouldn't be wasting any time on it.

< Most scholars will suggest that you should compare with that resource, as well as Schmeider and other standard sources (which you have done, I believe) and provide references to them, as appropriate. >
Whenever I have the slightest doubt about anything, I check with as many authorative sources as I can. When any differences of opinion among authorities remain, I use BWV 2a as the ultimate arbiter. Except of course when they're caught in a mistake, such as not listing the strings in BWV 80. Or of course when I unilaterally decide they're just plain wrong, such as in eliminating question marks at the end of first lines of cantatas that are quite clearly questions. Or when something isn't yet in any printed edition of the BWV, such as BWV 1187.

< Have you considered inserting hyperlinks? This is possible in pdf, and even if you don't do it right away, you could do it when you get a second wave of energy! >
The whole purpose of the project was to produce something on paper. I'm a great fan of paper. The problem with hyperlinks is their ephemeral nature. I don't want to create a PDF version of a webpage that calls itself, say, "Links to the 100 Best Sites About J.S. Bach!", where 85 of those links don't point to a live webpage anymore. I think everybody with some internet experience has seen pages like that.

 

BWV Numbering System (was BWV 083)

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 83 - Discussions Part 2

Neil Halliday (March 2, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<<<Can anyone provide a link or reference as to the structure (or lack) in the BWV numbering sequence? >>>
Questions such as this can usually be answered by using the search facility at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/BWVSystem-2.htm
(from Uri Golomb and Thomas Braatz):

Uri Golomb wrote: AS far as I'm aware (and if anyone here knows differently, I'd welcome the correction), the BWV order of the sacred cantatas simply reflects the order in which the cantatas were published in the 19th century by the Bach Gesellschaft -- which is a rather arbitrary way of arranging things. The order certainly has nothing to do with Bach. (I suppose the BG's own order might reflect, among other things, the order in which they succeeded in obtaining manuscripts and authenticating them -- though some of their authentications have since been questioned; hence the omission of several cantatas from current complete cycles).

Thomas Braatz wrote: Yes, Uri, I can confirm this and can remember reporting about this on this list quite a while back. I don't have the sources and my statement before me now (I could not find it on Aryeh's site under the article on the numbering system used by the BWV, otherwise I would have included the link.) I would strengthen Uri's statement "I suppose the BG's own order might reflect" to read "This is actually what happened."

The original plan of the BG's publishing project was to begin the entire series with BG #1 being the B-minor Mass (BWV 232). Had the editors succeeded, we would now most likely be referring to the the latter composition as Opus 1 or BWV 1. The hang-up came about when Nägeli (a Swiss publishing firm and, at that time the current owner of the key autograph manuscript) refused to share this absolutely essential source with the BG for careful study before publishing it. After the negotiations for inspecting the autograph had failed, the BG began publishing Bach's complete works with no definite plan in mind other than getting the cantatas published (a certain number of these had already begun appearing in print after 1800.) As Uri indicated correctly, the order of publication reflects primarily the order in which the BG was able to access the key source materials with no attempt being made to order the cantatas chronologically. Sometimes a batch of cantatas seems to reflect the beginning of a series lifted out of a certain part of a particular yearly church cycle, but this may simply be this way because they had been either passed on as a group of compositions by one owner to another or that some collector had procured from various auctions certain cantatas that might be more valuable as a set (like a set of stamps.) The BG editors probably recognized some of these possible 'orderings'/'groupings' and decided to maintain these 'mini-cycle' orderings since they had already abandoned the two most important systems: chronological or according to the church calendar.

Too bad that Wolfgang Schmieder, who worked on this system, which was based upon previous efforts made by Johannes Wolgast and Paul Ruthardt, from 1937 until 1950 when it was published, did not consider for his BWV system a more sensible system more in line with those used to catalogue other composer's works! Schmieder, by the way, was a musicologist and a librarian.

Alain Bruguieres (March 2, 2006):
[To Neil Halliday] Thanks to Thomas, Uri, Neil and all involved for this interesting piece of information!

To me it is very significant news that the Bach Gesellschaft planned to begin its numbering with BWV = the B Minor Mass, since my 'Bach apocalypsis' came when I first heard the first notes of this very work, as I explained some time back in my introductory message on the list...

Any plans of retaliation against Nägeli?

Bradley Lehman (March 2, 2006):
< Too bad that Wolfgang Schmieder, who worked on this system, which was based upon previous efforts made by Johannes Wolgast and Paul Ruthardt, from 1937 until 1950 when it was published, did not consider for his BWV system a more sensible system more in line with those used to catalogue other composer's works! Schmieder, by the way, was a musicologist and a librarian. >
Well, it was a sensible and useful system in a straightforward way: a handy cataloguing index into the Bach-Gesellschaft, which itself had been intended to enshrine all the known works of Bach. Somewhat obsolete now, yes, given later deletions and insertions and alternate readings clamoring for enshrinement. Part of the difficulty was, and remains, the tricky business of dating so many of Bach's compositions accurately. Eventually one has to pick an arbitrary system somewhere, and stick with it more or less. They picked instrumentation, more or less.

Reality defies such rigid clasand pigeonholing...especially in the case of music that continued to evolve through revisions all through a composer's lifetime. The whole notion of "Urtext" is a chimera anyway: a librarian's or taxonomist's need to affix a rigid label to an entity (music) that is always a dynamic process.

And the pigeonholing leads to inevitable confusions caused by the cataloguing system itself. Example: thinking of some of the keyboard works of Bach as non-organ-music, just because they don't have an independently notated pedal part and because the BGA stuck them into non-organ volumes. Another example: sticking Bach's solo violin music and his own keyboard transcriptions of same so far apart in the catalogue (1003 & 964), when they're essentially the same music in some sense. Who would know from a batch of catalogue numbers that BWV 208 (Hunt cantata) is largely similar to most of an early version of BWV 1046 (Brandenburg #1)? The cataloguing system has artificially created a vast gulf on these...while well serving an entirely different set of premises.

With the BGA neatly arrayed on a shelf, already a classic piece of musicology by that point, it sure is a natural thing to do to prepare a thematic index of it in serial sequence! (Which, as I recall, its own volume 46 itself starts to do quite well.... As a student I always ran to volume 46 first whenever I wanted to dig up whatever obscure Bach piece, and started leafing through it from there.)

Jean-Pierre Grivois (March 2, 2006):
[To Alain Bruguieres] I am looking for information about the number of times JSB wrote SDG on his cantatas manuscripts. I read it somewhere but i Cannot find it again. Can somebody help me ?

Thomas Braatz (March 2, 2006):
Jean-Pierre Grivois wrote:
>>Hello !I am looking for information about the number of times JSB wrote SDG on his cantatas manuscripts. I read it somewhere but i Cannot find it again. Can somebody help me?<<
A search on the BCW (Aryeh Oron's Bach Cantata Website) for "JJ", for instance, would turn up the following link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/Manuscripts.htm

Ed Myskowski (March 3, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<<<Can anyone provide a link or reference as to the structure (or lack) in the BWV numbering sequence? >>>
Neil Halliday (March 2, 2006) wrote:
< Questions such as this can usually be answered by using the search facility at the BCW: >
Thanks for the guidance, Neil, and also thanks to Uri Golomb and Thomas Braatz for the scholarly comments. As a newcomer, I have been mostly scanning discussions to get up to date, and had not yet realized the wealth of information filed in Articles and General Topics sections. I was aware of the search function, but did not think to try it for this question. Your patient response noted and appreciated. Civilization endures, at least on BCW.

Tom Hens (March 4, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Well, it was a sensible and useful system in a straightforward way: a handy cataloguing index into the Bach-Gesellschaft, which itself had been intended to enshrine all the known works of Bach. Somewhat obsolete now, yes, given later deletions and insertions and alternate readings clamoring for enshrinement. >
I've never heard the BWV described as "obsolete" before. Whatever other method of classification Schmieder had chosen, those problems would have been exactly the same. And let's all be very, very grateful that he didn't attempt a chronological list. We'd be faced with the same horror story as the KV but much more so, with the same works not only appearing under different numbers in different editions, but the same number applying to different works in different editions. At least in the BWV, while some works have gone through more than one number, any number has only ever applied to one work.

< Reality defies such rigid classification and pigeonholing...especially in the case of music that continued to evolve through revisions all through a composer's lifetime. The whole notion of "Urtext" is a chimera anyway: a librarian's or taxonomist's need to affix a rigid label to an entity (music) that is always a dynamic process. >
Thank heavens for taxonomists and librarians. The problem isn't with them, it's with people who want to assign a much greater weight to the labels that have been assigned for purely practical purposes than was ever intended.

< And the pigeonholing leads to inevitable confusions caused by the cataloguing system itself. Example: thinking of some of the keyboard works of Bach as non-organ-music, just because they don't have an independently notated pedal part and because the BGA stuck them into non-organ volumes. Another example: sticking Bach's solo violin music and his own keyboard transcriptions of same so far apart in the catalogue (1003 & 964), when they're essentially the same music in some sense. Who would know from a batch of catalogue numbers that BWV 208 (Hunt cantata) is largely similar to most of an early version of BWV 1046 (Brandenburg #1)? >
Who would be silly enough to think this kind of information can be derived from catalogue numbers?

BTW, you're wrong about the relationship between BWV 208 and 1046, they don't share any music. Maybe you're thinking of BWV 207, which borrows from two movements of 1046 (not the earlier version 1046a), but that's not the Hunt Cantata, and it's only one and a half movements in a 9-movement cantata, borrowed from a 4-movement concerto. Not "largely similar" at all.

Bradley Lehman (March 4, 2006):
<< some sense. Who would know from a batch of catalogue numbers that BWV 208 (Hunt cantata) is largely similar to most of an early version of BWV 1046 (Brandenburg #1)? >>
< BTW, you're wrong about the relationship between
BWV 208 and 1046, they don't share any music. Maybe you're thinking of BWV 207, which borrows from two movements of 1046 (not the earlier version 1046a), but that's not the Hunt Cantata, and it's only one and a half movements in a 9-movement cantata, borrowed from a 4-movement concerto. Not "largely similar" at all. >
Straight from Hyperion 66169, "Bach's Hunt Cantata" (Was mir behagt...) BWV 208 : Parley of Instruments, Roy Goodman, Emma Kirkby et al. Granted, I didn't have my copy of the BWV open at the moment while typing my remark above, but just the CD here on the desk....

Bradley Lehman (March 4, 2006):
<< Well, it was a sensible and useful system in a straightforward way: a handy cataloguing index into the Bach-Gesellschaft, which itself had been intended to enshrine all the known works of Bach. Somewhat obsolete now, yes, given later deletions and insertions and alternate readings clamoring for enshrinement. >>
< I've never heard the BWV described as "obsolete" before. >
My hasty writing that day dropped an antecedent and became confusing, sorry. I meant: the Bach-Gesellschaft (BGA) is the thing that is "somewhat obsolete now".... Not the BWV.

Margaret Mikulska (March 4, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< I've never heard the BWV described as "obsolete" before. Whatever other method of classification Schmieder had chosen, those problems would have been exactly the same. And let's all be very, very grateful that he didn't attempt a chronological list. We'd be faced with the same horror story as the KV but much more so, with the same works not only appearing under different numbers in different editions, but the same number applying to different works in different editions. At least in the BWV, while some works have gone through more than one number, any number has only ever applied to one work. >
This is true for the Köchel Catalogue, too. The same number was NEVER applied to different works of Mozart in different editions of the Köchel. All the renumberings were made so as to avoid such "horror".

Tom Hens (March 4, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Straight from Hyperion 66169, "Bach's Hunt Cantata" (Was mir behag...) BWV 208: Parley of Instruments, Roy Goodman, Emma Kirkby et al. Granted, I didn't have my copy of the BWV open at the moment while typing my remark above, but just the CD here on the desk.... >
Goodman et. al. simply play the first movement of BWV 1046a before BWV 208, and the third movement (with their own changes in scoring) after it. There is no indication that 1046a was ever intended or used this way by Bach. Peter Holman explains why they did this in the booklet (in print so teeny it ought to be outlawed).

Bradley Lehman (March 4, 2006):
BWV 208 and Brandenburg #1

<<< some sense. Who would know from a batch of catalogue numbers that BWV 208 (Hunt cantata) is largely similar to most of an early version of BWV 1046 (Brandenburg #1)? >>>
<< BTW, you're wrong about the relationship between
BWV 208 and 1046, they don't share any music. Maybe you're thinking of BWV 207, which borrows from two movements of 1046 (not the earlier version 1046a), but that's not the Hunt Cantata, and it's only one and a half movements in a 9-movement cantata, borrowed from a 4-movement concerto. Not "largely similar" at all. >>
< Straight from Hyperion 66169, "Bach's Hunt Cantata" (Was mir behagt...)
BWV 208 : Parley of Instruments, Roy Goodman, Emma Kirkby et al. Granted, I didn't have my copy of the BWV open at the moment while typing my remark above, but just the CD here on the desk.... >
Now I see what happened. I listened to that fine recording a few weeks ago without reading all the 6-point type in the booklet. Apparently this recording is an attempt to reconstruct the initial conditions of performance, way back to 1713 Weissenfels and
omitting some of the changes from Weimar.

Using research by Thurston Dart, Stephen Daw, and others, they have brought in several movements from the early version of Brandenburg 1: pointing out that the instrumentation and style and key all fit appropriately. They also cited the reuse of the B1 first movement in cantata BWV 52.

Sorry about my confusion....

Raymond Joly (March 6, 2006):
[To ed myskowski] What is wrong with [...]?
Use (...) if you cannot locate the square brackets on your keyboard, but [...] is preferable, since (...) possibly belongs to the quoted passage.

Ed Myskowski (March 6, 2006):
[To Raymond Joly] OK, I will use [...] until advised otherwise. But what do all those <snip>s mean?

Aryeh, you are a candidate for Sainthood, if that suits your spiritual beliefs!

John Pike (March 6, 2006):
Ed myskowski wrote:
< Aryeh, you are a candidate for Sainthood, if that suits your spiritual beliefs! >
I agree. The BCW certainly meets the condition about there needing to have been a miracle associated with the candidate for sanctification. I would nominate Aryeh as patron saint of Bach Cantatas.

Raymond Joly (March 6, 2006):
[To Ed myskowski] Why <snip>? This is just a guess, but I suppose it has to do with comic strips being on the rise as a canon in matters of style.

Zwooingly yours.

John Pike (March 7, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I recall reading years back that the BG compilers chose their favorites for BWV 1 to 20, and the rest is more or less random. I am unable to recover the reference, only possibility on my shelf is Schweitzer and doesn't seem to be there. >
Mmmmm. Dunno about that. There are certainly some gems in those first 20, but most of MY favourites are scattered elsewhere, and there may even be a preponderance at the other end...BWV 198 and BWV 199 are great loves of mine, and I also love the fragment BWV 200, but that turned up much later of course.

Margaret Mikulska (March 8, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<<Can anyone provide a link or reference as to the structure (or lack) in the BWV numbering sequence? >>
< I recall reading years back that the BG compilers chose their favorites for BWV 1 to 20, and the rest is more or less random. I am unable to recover the reference, only possibility on my shelf is Schweitzer and doesn't seem to be there. >

The cantatas are numbered in the order the editors submitted them, so it is quite possible that at least some of them started with their favourite cantatas.

< Follow-up questions for scholars (all welcome): does not seem like random coincidence that BWV 22 and BWV 23 (Leipzig auditions?) and BWV 75 and BWV 76 (Leipzig premiers) are paired. >
Again, if Prof. X edited one cantata, it could have been convenient for him to edit at the same time or immediately afterwards a somewhat related cantata -- preferably related by the available source material. So such pairings are probably not completely random, but consistent with the preferred order of editing.

Ed Myskowski (March 8, 2006):
[To ] Thank you for the response, Margaret, which I am repeating in its entirety for clarity, followed by another question.
<>
Can you reconcile this with the following:

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 28, 2006):
As Uri indicated correctly, the order of publication reflects primarily the order in which the BG was able to access the key source materials with no attempt being made to order the cantatas chronologically. Sometimes a batch of cantatas seems to reflect the beginning of a series lifted out of a certain part of a particular yearly church cycle, but this may simply be this way because they had been either passed on as a group of compositions by one owner to another or that some collector had procured from various auctions certain cantatas that might be more valuable as a set (like a set of stamps.) The BG editors probably recognized some of these possible 'orderings'/'groupings' and decided to maintain these 'mini-cycle' orderings since they had already abandoned the two most important systems: chronological or according to the church calendar.

I will try to be brief:

The most basic question is: Has the history of editing and publishing of BG volumes been done, is it a work in progress, or an idea waiting to happen? I do not find anything clear in a web search. In fact, most Bach inquiries lead to BCW as the best source. So here we are.

A related question, re Thomas Braatz post: was the publication related to order that the manuscripts were acquired, or simply to the sequence that editors selected them (as you suggest), or some combination of both factors.

I like your name, BTW. A little more than a hundred years ago, we were Myszkowski. My great-grandfather came to America for a better life, and not long afterward was killed in a coal mining accident. My father dropped the z because he thought it would be easier for English speaking folks. What do you think, John Pike, is Myskowski easier than Myszkowski. Maybe I should go for Edward Mike? Too late now.

And to M. Joly, zwooingly yours. I know I will regret adding that.

Alain Bruguieres (March 8, 2006):
<<<Can anyone provide a link or reference as to the structure (or lack) in the BWV numbering sequence? >>>
<< I recall reading years back that the BG compilers chose their favorites for BWV 1 to 20, and the rest is more or less random. I am unable to recover the reference, only possibility on my shelf is Schweitzer and doesn't seem to be there. >>
< The cantatas are numbered in the order the editors submitted them, so it is quite possible that at least some of them started with their favourite cantatas. >

Things may be even more complicated, considering the fact that there are basically two kinds of people :
- those who prefer to begin with the task they find most enjoyable;
- those who prefer to begin with the task they find least enjoyable.
I might add a third category : those who prefer not to begin at all, but we're not concerned with them .

John Pike (March 8, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< What do you think, John Pike, is Myskowski easier than Myszkowski. Maybe I should go for Edward Mike? Too late now. >
The former looks easier but I guess, as an uninformed Englishman, that i would pronounce them just the same.

Ed Myskowski (March 8, 2006):
[To John Pike] I didn't necessarily expect you to answer that question, John, I just picked on the most most contrasting name that came to mind. But thanks for the response, I am sure my father would feel justified. I do not speak any more Polish than you do, but I do know that s and sz have distinctly different pronunciations, rather like but not exactly the same as s and sh in English. Probably much more than you want to know, but I occasionally have to endure some teasing for not spelling my name correctly.

Tom Hens (March 9, 2006):
Margaret Mikulska wrote:
< This is true for the Köchel Catalogue, too. The same number was NEVER applied to different works of Mozart in different editions of the Köchel. All the renumberings were made so as to avoid such "horror". >
Remind me again: how many unrelated works have to share, for instance, no. 385? (That's just one I picked at random on the basis of a bit of leafing through the Mozart Compendium, I'm by no means an expert on the topic.)

The various revisions of the KV have "renumbered" by adding alphabet soup behind numbers intended for quite different compositions. That can work one time only, of course -- if yet another round of revision thanks to new insights into chronology becomes necessary, they're really in trouble.

But the KV is also a good illustration of how futile such attempts at revision really are: in practice, almost everybody just keeps on using the numbers from the first edition. The numbers from later revisions tend to be added between brackets, if at all. Once a numbering scheme has come into general use, the inertia is such that it will stay forever. I think this is why it was wise that Schmieder adopted the random BG cantata numbering system as the start of the BWV. The editors of BWV 2a also acknowledge that the numbers are now pretty much set in stone, whatever the deficiencies and inconsistencies.

Ed Myskowski (March 14, 2006):
I am writing a note to myself, but perhaps worth sharing, regarding systematic groupings within the original BG publications. N.B. I have not scanned BCW for information on specific cantatas listed, so maybe these comments are trivial and well known. The following are not random groupings, in any shape, manner or form:

BWV 22 and BWV 23, Leipzig auditions, Feb. 1723
BWV 75 and BWV 76, Leipzig premiers, May/June 1723
BWV 81 to BWV 90 (BG XX) various dates, cantatas without opening chorus.
BWV 98 to BWV 100, various dates, all based on Chorale "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan". Sadly, Rilling's set is organized so that BWV 97 to BWV 99 are grouped, which I have. Missing BWV 100 at the moment. Life is like that. "Don't grumble, Dear Christian."

Historical curiosity or learning opportunity? Add your observations.

 

BG Thematic Catalogue of Cantatas

Douglas Cowling (May 28, 2007):
I just ran across the BG Thematic Catalogue online as a PDF download: http://imslp.org/wiki/Thematic_Catalogue_of_BWV_1-120_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastian

Is this information on this website? I couldn't find it when I did an internal Google (hmm .. That sounds a little rude)

 

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Last update: żAugust 7, 2007 ż23:24:29