Bach, Johann Sebastian
Weimarer Orgeltabulatur. Die frühesten Notenhandschriften Johann Sebastian Bachs sowie Abschriften seines Schülers Johann Martin Schubart
Mit Werken von Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Adam Reinken und Johann Pachelbel
Edition no.
BVK 1957
Volume / Series
Documenta musicologica II/39 / Bärenreiter Facsimile
Maul, Michael / Wollny, Peter
Product format
Übertragung siehe BA 5248
in a case
Pages / Format
XXXV, 48/8/2/4/4 S. - 31,0 x 24,0 cm
In contrast with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, very little was known about Johann Sebastian Bach’s early years until recently. His early works, such as the Easter cantata “Christ lag in Todesbanden ” or the “ Actus tragicus ”, reveal a composer who achieved mastery at a young age, but not the route to this status.  
In Weimar , Peter Wollny and Michael Maul have discovered copies of works by Dietrich Buxtehude (chorale fantasia “Nun freut euch , lieben Christen gmein ”) and Johann Adam Reinken (chorale fantasia “An Wasserflüssen Babylon”) in the hand of the twelve- to fifteen-year-old Bach. They are in the usual tablature notation of the period, which enabled keyboard music to be written out making the most economical use of space on the page.

Corrections in Bach’s own hand show that he played these extremely demanding works at an early age. A further annotation reveals that he was a pupil of the Lüneberg organist Georg Böhm by 1700. Altogether, this discovery represents new material of fundamental importance for Bach research.

The full-colour facsimile reproduces the manuscripts in their original form, as separate leaves and folded sheets. Bach’s transcriptions are accompanied by the copies made by his pupil Johann Martin Schubart , which include some unknown works by Johann Pachelbel . Faithful transcriptions of all the works into modern notation facilitate study of the manuscripts and also enable them to be performed.

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