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Spurious Bach Works



Spurious (?) Bach Work

Steven Foss
wrote (October 26, 2005):
This is taken from a post of mine on another forum as to identified works still being in another composers catalog, however, it illustrates what I was speaking of as to my response on musicologists.

A number of works in the Bach catalog that still have their BWV catalog even after they have been shown to be by others, or my pet peeve, after the work has been discredited without a manuscript to establish the reasoning behind this.

In his organ works there is:

587 · Aria in F Major
Based on "L'impériale" (4th movement) of "Les Nations" by François Couperin, although this may be an arrangement as in the Organ Concertos (Really more of an arrangement parady)

589 · Allabreve in D Major ( c. 1709 ) ( doubtful )

591 -- Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth (probably spurious) (And its modulations are amongst the most adventuresome to be found.)

553-560 · Eight Short Preludes and Fugues (Generally accepted as work by Ludwig Krebs)

576 · Fugue in G Major ( spurious )

577 · Fugue in G Major ( spurious ) (I take issue on this one)

580 · Fugue in D Major ( spurious )

581 · Fugue in G Major ( spurious )

584 1725 Trio in G minor (spurious)

598 · Fragment Pedal-Exercitium (that has at one time thought to be spurious, but isn't now)

584 · Trio in G minor ( 1725 ) ( spurious )
Basé sur l'Aria # 2 (Adagio) de BWV 166 (Its based on a piece in the Bach catalog but is questioned

585 · Trio in C minor
Basé sur 2 mouvements d'une sonate à 3 de J.F. Fasch

586 · Trio in G Major
Transcription of a Trio Sonata by Georg Philip Telemann

and now the immortal

565 · Toccata and Fugue in D minor ( b.1708 ) (its questioned authorship has not been acknowledged by the Bach Geschellschaft)

571 · Fantasia ( Concerto ) in G Major ( spurious )

567 · Prelude in C Major ( spurious )

561 · Fantasia and Fugue in A minor ( Spurious )

692 · Ach Gott und Herr in C Major (spurious)

692a · Ach Gott und Herr in C Major (spurious)

693 · Ach Gott und Herr in C Major (spurious) by J. G. Walther

In Keyboard pieces

836 · Allemande [1] in G minor by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach?

837 · Allemande [2] in G minor (incomplete) by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach?

924a · Praeludium ex c-nat by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach?

932 · Praeludium ex e-nat (incomplete) by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach?

931 · Praeludium composer unknown

824 · Suite, Allemande in A Major by G. Ph. Teleman

834 · Allemande in C minor (spurious)

835 · Allemande in A minor (spurious)

838 · Allemande and Courante in A Major by C.Graupner

844 · Scherzo in D minor (spurious) by W. F. Bach arr 844a

844a · Scherzo in D minor (spurious) Variant

845 · Gigue in F minor (spurious)

840 · Courante in G Major

by Telemann Extrait de: Notenbuch der Zeumerin

838 · Allemande and Courante in A Major by C.Graupner

834 · Allemande in C minor (spurious)

835 · Allemande in A minor (spurious)

Other Works

1020 · Sonata in G minor (spurious) also for Flute and Harpsichord

1022 · Sonata in F Major (spurious)

1025 · Suite in A Major (spurious)

1026 · Fugue in G minor (doubtful)

Vocal works

BWV 242 · Christe Eleison in G minor for Mass in C minor / by J.L.Krebs?

BWV 217-224 · Spurious Cantatas of which only half have identified authors

BWV 231 · Nun lob mein Seel' den Herren Part of a cantata or motet by Telemann

BWV 229 · Komm, Jesu, komm, mein Leib ist müde ( ?1730 ) by P. Thymich

BWV 1088 · So heb ich denn mein Auge sehnlich auf Arioso in G minor / Es-dur aus einem Passions-Pasticcio nach Carl Heinrich Graun

And I have not gotten into the 2nd Anna M Bach Note book.

There is also the BWV Anh. 24-189 · Doubtful Works and Falsely Works But are listed in an seperate Index

My point is these works above are still in the catalog, and although not all the spurious pieces have a reason why, I can think of very few legitmate reasons except discovered authorship of an earlier work by another composer.

Of the above 59 pieces, 22 were disqualified by identified composers works(I have tried to leave out the Harpsichord Concerto arrangements, Organ and Harpsichord Transcriptions as these are are arrangements by Bach), 5 with composers being guessed (?), the rest just listed as spurious.

This is not meant to be a complete list, rather, to show that once a piece of music is shown to be by another author, it still remains in the catalog as a reference (someone can look up BWV and find it is really a work by Telemann), or does not become purged from the list.

To which I add; is a Bach Work spurious just because it was an early work or he was having a bad day? Obviously that is a small number from his output, however, how much was subjectively branded as spurious if now author could be found?

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 26, 2005):
< 591 -- Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth (probably spurious) (And its modulations are amongst the most adventuresome to be found.) >
Probably not spurious. It's in the NBA now (as of 2003), and see the researches of Craig Wright on it. I used this piece in my paper, after carefully checking this out.

Here's what it sounds like in Bach's tuning:
among other samples at:

The portion of my paper directly analyzing this piece is downloadable through:
the "case study supplement" at the right side of the page, after you've clicked through.

Steven Foss wrote (October 26, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thank you for all the urls to the Music Sound Bytes, I do enjoy these immensely. The Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth has been a favorite for over 30 years from the first time I sat down to read it through at the organ. The c# minor chord with the b# used as an enharmonic common tone with C nat to modulate to C major made a great impression (I thought of "stealing" this type of modulation it was that good) and the overall piece was the work of genius which in the old Kalmus edition (I could not afford anything else) I was convinced by Bach.

Always has been a favorite, IMHO, infrequnetly played piece.

Jack Botelho wrote (October 26, 2005):
[To Steven Foss] Granted, works by students of Bach could have been included in the earlier catalogue, but as hinted previously here, it could be that the entire early period of JSB's creativity as a young organist could be underappreciated, with all the spills and accidents of composition which parallels that of the enjoyments of a young marriage bed which he may have undoubtedly enjoyed during this period.

Thanks for this impressive list!

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Last update: żNovember 21, 2005 ż12:54:51