Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Roundtable: New developments in source-critical and archival research on J. S. Bach

Participants: Christoph Wolff (Harvard University, USA and Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Germany), Kirsten Beisswenger (Dokkyo University, Saitama, Japan) and Yoshitake Kobayashi (Seijo University, Tokyo, Japan), Michael Maul (Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Germany), Peter Wollny (Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Germany), Anselm Hartinger (Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Germany)

This roundtable will explore the significance and various desiderata of source-related studies in the field of Bach scholarship near the end and beyond the completion of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (NBA). There will be six brief statements followed by a joint discussion.

Christoph Wolff

The Bach-Archiv and source-critical research: an introduction

This initial paper will give a description of the past, present and future role of the Bach-Archiv in collecting and making accessible musical and biographical sources relating to J. S. Bach and his family. In addition there will be an overview of the various projects undertaken by and affiliated with the Bach-Archiv.

Kirsten Beisswenger / Yoshitake Kobayashi

Work in progress: the copyists' catalogue of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe

The catalogue of J. S. Bach's copyists (NBA IX/3) belongs to the few remaining tasks before the NBA will be finally completed. Its aim is to present the results of the scribe research undertaken since the so-called new chronology by Alfred Dürr (1957) and Georg von Dadelsen (1958). Its main tasks are to register all the original Bach copyists and to furnish evidence for the scribe assignments in the Kritische Berichte of the NBA. This paper will present and illustrate the layout of the catalogue as well as show a selection of new results obtained from the source investigations in the context of this project.

Michael Maul

New Bach documents from central German archives

Closely related to the work on the Bach-Dokumente volumes, the Bach-Archiv in 2003 started a project to explore and evaluate the entire body of archival material relating to music history in the ca. 350 towns and cities belonging to the territories of the historical Saxony. The data about cantors, organists, and town and court musicians will be collected in a data bank; it is planned to publish eventually a comprehensive reference work. Of special interest are the activities of persons from Bach's immediate circle (personal acquaintances, former students, other family members), as here there is a good chance of finding new documents directly relating to him.

Peter Wollny

Archival research and the identification of copyists

The discussion of early manuscript copies of Bach's compositions is usually restricted to critical reports and their value as sources, but their significance as biographical documents is far from being exhausted. With the discovery of new archival material it has become possible to identify the copyists of a large number of these manuscripts. This allows us to reconstructthe network of Bach's personal relations and to recognize central figures and places of the early Bach reception. Three case studies will demonstrate the possibilities and methods employed.

Anselm Hartinger

Mendelssohn and early nineteenth-century Bach reception

Mendelssohn's efforts to revive Bach's music are usually discussed in the context of his famous performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1829 in Berlin. It is often overlooked, however, that Mendelssohn's Leipzig years (1835-1847) were equally, if not even more significant for popularizing Bach's music. A systematic exploration of newspapers, concert programmes and letters sheds new light on Mendelssohn's eminent role in bringing Bach back into the concert programmes and thus into the awareness of the musical audiences of his time.

Last updated on 29 May 2004