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On-line Book Review


Music: 25.5 x 32.9 x 1.2 cm
Krit.Ber: 24.6 x 17.6 x 0.6 cm
TITLE Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelchoräle der Neumeister-Sammlung. Herausgegeben von Christoph Wolff. (Neue Ausgabe Sämtlicher Werke. Serie IV: Band 9)
PUBL. DETAILS Music volume: Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag (2003) xx + 77 pp. Serial No. BA 5097. Hardback, Euro 65,00; Kritischer Bericht:  Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag (2003) 90 p. Paperback, Euro 23,00.
ISMN M-006-54501-8 (music); M-006-54503-2 (Kritischer Bericht)
TO ORDER Bärenreiter-Verlag, Heinrich-Schütz-Allee 35, D-34131 Kassel, Germany.
DESCRIPTION the official imprint of Neue Bach Ausgabe that was previously published by Yale University Press in 1985.
WORKS COVERED BWV 714, 719, 737, 742, 957, 1090-1020
READERSHIP all organists who are seeking the definitive text as well as musicologists specialised in the manuscript sources
a definitive reference volume of all the pieces it represents; most detailed and comprehensive discussion on the sources for these pieces ever produced

n the mid 1980s there was a series of exciting source finds that coincided with the ongoing Bach Compendium project. One of these was LM 4708 of the Yale University Library, which contained 82 organ chorales by various composers including J. S. Bach.
According to Christoph Wolff who carried out the first detailed study on this manuscript, the compiler was Johann Gottfried Neumeister (1756-1840), hence it being generally known as the ‘Neumeister Chorales’. Following its rediscovery in 1984 and subsequent studies of its contents, its significance and implication to scholarship are quickly recognised. In 1985 appeared the printed edition containing 35 of the 38 chorale preludes by Bach, which is soon followed by the facsimile edition of the entire volume in 1986. The former, which was published jointly by the Yale University Press and the Bärenreiter Verlag, was then called “the first edition” of the official NBA edition; this edition under review was published in autumn 2003, some eighteen years after its initial publication.
For those who waited patiently for the publication of the accompanying critical report, it must be an absolute delight that the significance of the manuscript is assessed at last from a wider context of sources. Wolff’s reconstruction of the stemma (consisting of seven extant and five inextant sources) suggests that we are indeed very fortunate to have found such a large collection as LM 4708, which contains 30 preludes by J.S. Bach that are not represented by any other sources.   
this is not a plain reprint of 1985 version -- it is a carefully revised edition

As for the edition itself, this is not a plain reprint of 1985 version. It now include BWV 737, which was omitted from the first edition as it is already published in NBA IV/3 in 1961. (In this volume, BWV 737 is laid out in 2/2 (cf. 4/2 in NBA IV/3) and there are many fascinating variants when compared with the previously-published version.) As usual with the convention of the NBA, this imprint also includes the chorale tunes with the text as well as selected facsimile images in the front matter. The music itself was re-typeset, although the copyright notice appears at the bottom of every page (viz. ‘© 1985 by Yale University, New Haven’, except that of BWV 737, which bears the year ‘2003’). The edition is revised as well: many more ties are now in dotted lines than in the first edition; the application of accidentals and ornaments are also revised fairly extensively; in BWV 1090, the reading of the bass melody in bars 3 and 6 is given differently, which looks as if the examinatio was carried out rigorously. The owners of the first edition (BA 5181) are urged to get hold of this copy.

Published online on 18 March 2004