INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: UNDERSTANDING BACH'S B-MINOR MASS
Belfast, 2-4 November 2007
Manuscript Score No. 4500 in St. Petersburg: A New Source of the B-minor Mass
(St. Petersburg State Conservatoire «Rimsky-Korsakov», Russia)
In his article ‘Friedrich Smend’s edition of the B-minor Mass by J.S. Bach’, Georg von Dadelsen points out that ‘the investigation of the principal sources A, B, A1, B1, C, and D leads us to findings that deviate significantly from those of Smend ... But Smend’s classification of secondary sources and his ordering of lost sources (KB, pp. 17—54) remain of fundamental importance’. However, new research of the sources not mentioned in the Neue-Bach-Ausgabe shows that there is a hitherto neglected branch of the source tradition of BWV 232. Among these sources is a manuscript score of the B-minor Mass which is preserved at the Research Music Library in St. Petersburg State Conservatoire ‘Rimsky-Korsakov’, shelfmark No. 4500. It was mentioned briefly in Ludmilla A. Fedorowskaja’s article published in volume 76 of the Bach-Jahrbuch (1990), but has not yet been studied by the researchers and editors of any recent editions including the Neue-Bach-Ausgabe and Joshua Rifkin’s Breitkopf edition of 2006. The manuscript contains the Symbolum Nicenum, Sanctus, Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem. The general title given to the volume is ‘Missa in h moll / II’. Although there are no owners’ notes, dated signatures, or stamps in the whole manuscript that suggest its origin and previous ownership, all its peculiarities point to the period from the end of the eighteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The present paper contains a detailed description of this manuscript, including its size, watermarks, peculiarities of the musical script, and examines its correlation with the other manuscript sources of BWV 232.
A comparison between J.S. Bach’s autograph score Mus. ms. Bach P 180 and No. 4500 reveals many common features, which suggest that No. 4500 was either copied directly from P 180 or from the Berlin circle of sources which are very closely associated with the autograph P 180. It is pointed out that No. 4500 contains mistakes and variant readings in those places that are unclear or ambiguous in P 180. Some of them (especially those where the autograph is not now in good condition) can be taken into consideration in modern editions. Further, it is demonstrated that No. 4500 mainly reflects J.S. Bach’s autograph with all the corrections inserted by C.P.E. Bach and others. However, a number of readings in No. 4500 represent the text of P 180 ante correcturam. In connection with these cases, the problem of differentiating secondary sources by studying various corrections in P 180 that were reflected in these manuscripts is discussed.
A comparison between No. 4500 and the other secondary sources of BWV 232 (Am.B.3, P 23, P 14, St 118, P 1212, P 22, P 7, Halle Ms. 174, Warsaw manuscript RM 5943, and the score of the Symbolum Nicenum from the private collection of Michael D’Andrea) demonstrates that the St. Petersburg copy has a majority of features in common with the Halle manuscript Ms. 174 (a score of the Symbolum Nicenum — Dona nobis pacem made by the copyist Franz Xaver Gleichauf in the first half of the nineteenth century, nowadays kept in the library of the Martin-Luther-Universität, Institut für Musikwissenschaft in Halle). The most significant common errors and variant readings from both manuscripts (No. 4500 and Ms. 174) are given in the paper. On this basis, it is concluded that the St. Petersburg score and the Halle manuscript form a ‘new’ group of sources which have not been accounted in the Neue-Bach-Ausgabe and are an essential addition to the stemma of extant sources of BWV 232. In the last part of the paper it is shown that the value of No. 4500, besides many other features, lies in the fact that, unlike many other sources, it contains several corrected variant readings of the text of P 180.
Despite the fact that the St. Petersburg copy is a secondary source of relatively late origin, it must be studied by the editors of future critical editions of the B-minor Mass, as well as by scholars who investigate the work’s dissemination across Europe.
Last updated on 12 October 2007