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Lew George wrote (April 30, 2006):
Re Julian Mincham's recent post "Numbers such as 7 and 14 clearly had symbolic interest for him as did the number obtained by adding up those associated with letters of a person's name (A=1, B=2 etc). Consequently he fashioned various compositions around such numbers which gave the works a sort of numerical complexity which many other composers may not have applied to the same degree."

Schumann was perhaps the most famous of composers who built their music around a text fashioned from the notes themselves, with Eric Sams's "deciphering" being quite an event when he did it. Did Bach go to this extent at all? Even if in only further praise of his redeemer? Has anyone looked at this?

By the way, an interesting news flash on Aussie radio the other day to the effect that Martin Jarvis gave a paper in which he claimed to prove, using hand writing comparisons and other hi tech detective work more commonly used by police, that Anna Magdalena wrote the 'cello suites. Jarvis is on the music staff at Charles Darwin Uni in Northern Territory, whose website provides his details, but only passing reference to his Bach research. Now we know how Bach knocked out so many cantatas so quickly. He ran a studio just like the great renaissance painters, with all these lesser fry filling the blank staves, in return for a decent meal, clothes washed and pressed, children toiletted, bathed, fed, entertained, taught, shopped for etc etc. Or did he?

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 30, 2006):
AMB as copyist, not composer [was: Hidden text]

Lew George wrote:
>>By the way, an interesting news flash on Aussie radio the other day to the effect that Martin Jarvis gave a paper in which he claimed to prove, using hand writing comparisons and other hi tech detective work more commonly used by police, that Anna Magdalena wrote the 'cello suites.<<

Yes, the NBA KB VI/2 p. 12ff., using the title page written by the violinist G. H. L. Schwanberg/Schwanenberg most likely at the time when he was visiting or living in Leipzig between late fall of 1727 until at least October of 1723 and having determined that the paper upon which Anna Magdalena Bach copied the violoncello suites has a watermark that existed only in Bach's manuscripts from October 17, 1727 until December 2, 1731, and based upon the dating of AMB's handwriting, has determined that this copy of the violoncello suites BWV 1007-1012 dates from between 1727 and 1731.

The Schwanberg title indicates that at this point in time both AMB's copy of both the sonatas and partitas for violin solo (BWV 1001-1006) and the solo cello suites were still combined as one with a division into two parts as follows:

Pars 1. | Violino Solo | Senza Basso | composée | par | Sr. Jean Seb: Bach.

Pars 2. | Violoncello Solo. | Senza Basso. | composée | par | Sr. J. S. Bach. | Maitre de la Chapelle | et | Directeur de la Musique | a | Leipzic. | ecrite par Madame | Bachen. Son Epouse.

[Note the distinction Schwanberg makes between "composée" and "ecrite"!]

It is uncertain just when both parts as copied by AMB were separated, but Schwanberg, more interested in keeping the solo violin music probably gave the cello suites away, or sold them, and provided for them a new title in his hand that can be found on the first page [not a separate title page as before]:

6 | Suites a | Violoncello Solo | senza | Basso | composées | par | Sr. J. S. Bach. | Maitre de Chapelle.

Since AMB's copy of the solo violin sonatas and partitas represents a faithful copy of the autograph copy of these pieces from 1720, it can be assumed that likewise the cello suites came from a similar source composed by J. S. Bach during the same period in Cöthen. It is unfortunate that this autograph has been lost.

[There is an older copy of the violoncello suites by Johann Peter Kellner which dates from the first half
of 1726. This was before the time when AMB could have made her copy of them.]

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 30, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
>>the violinist G. H. L.Schwanberg/Schwanenberg most likely at the time when he was visiting or living in
Leipzig between late fall of 1727 until at least October of 1723<<

Schwanberg's stay in Leipzig was from late fall of 1727 until at least October of 1728.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 30, 2006):
[To Lew George] We have factual evidence that various family members did act as copyists and musical secretaries for him ---and the evidence comes from the last work that he wrote when he was totally blind which he dictated from his deathbed.

Yes, Bach probally ran his music business like Painters did during the time of Rembrant. It was common practice. Oh now don't go off on some alarm like the art history community did lately when it was proven that Leonardo da Vinci and others such as Raphael traced the beginnings of their paintings with a Camera Obscura. Artists have been doing this for centuries. Just because you traced something does not mean that you can not draw. It is just a short cut that allows more time for other endeavors. Just a tracing by itself is meaningless---it is what is done after the tracing that makes the difference.

I also paint and learn this technique simply by using a projector and pencil shading everything in black and white. Then going over it in thin washes of paint thus developing the painting as if it were a photograph.

Bach probally sketched out his melodies as painters did above and the rest was filled in by helpers. We must remember that he had to compose one Cantata a week which is not an easy thing under the pressures of teaching school, choir rehearsals, political intriques, playing at the coffee house (today's equivalent of a night club) and all the other things like changing diapers (or whatever they used back then) for all those 23-26 children and excuse me but with all those children it sounds like he spent a lot of time having sex with his wives---that killed one of them(common back then) ---so he had to have some help somewhere to get all that work done--even the most severely organized person would have to have not been able to get all this work done. At the least; he had to have someone to sharpen quills for him so that he was not stuck doing that task wasting valuable time doing it.

As a composer, myself, the flow comes and goes but sometimes when it flows---it flows like a mighty Amazon River at times that is difficult to turn off and even writing as fast as one can and sometimes with help---I can not get the quantity of work out that Bach and Mozart seemed to in such as short space of time. Most of my colleagues can not either. Oh we can do a lot of trite hackwork but most of us care more about our craft and profession than to do that.

One thing that could have helped ease the situation but we can not prove is if Bach had a slave as many of the founding American Fathers did. Or Bach had paid servants. He certainly made enough money to have servants by the standards of the day which would be in the neighborhood of 100K US dollars today per annum.

You must remember that Bach did not have the use of computers which does make things quicker to get things on paper. I myself had almost totally stopped writing by hand because it take too long and when working quickly it is often a mess that even I sometimes can not read. Still writing music with a computer has it's own problems. For instance if one has a dotted note that is tied to another note in another bar and there is say an eight rest remaning---the computer will not allow one to write the note simply tied to the next but will insist that the note be dotted note tied to the eight note then tied to the next bar note. A copyist would have normally write this as an eight note tied to the dotted note tied to the note in the next bar.

Chris Rowson wrote (April 30, 2006):
using a microfona oscura?

Ludwig wrote: ...with a Camera Obscura. ...
Bach probally sketched out his melodies as painters did above ...

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 30, 2006):
[To Chris Rowson] LOL! no he probally wrote skeletal form downor sang it to someone who then filled in the details.

Alain Bruguieres wrote (April 30, 2006):
[To Chris Rowson] I'm beginning to wonder, what with Thomas' wormholes and suchlike cosmological shortcuts... isn't there a remote possibility that Bach came across a copy of his complete works, thereby sparing himself the trouble of composing it?

Julian Mincham wrote (May 11, 2006):
Hi and Bi--have been up here in brisbane for some days--superb weather and made contact withe a couple of people on the list. One, Neil Mason runs a Bach choir up here and grew up in Liverpool in the
same class as Simon Rattle!!

Flying home tomorrow--ready to go back now. A few days kip and catching up with news and papers seems to be top of the agenda.

Best to you both


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Last update: ýMay 11, 2008 ý14:14:23