Return to Homepage

On-line Book Review



Dimension: 24.2 x 16.4 x 1.4 cm


"Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht". Zur Chronologie des Schaffens von Johann Sebastian Bach. Bericht über das Internationale wissenschaftliche Collequium aus Anlaß das 80. Geburtstages von Alfred Dürr. Hrsg. von Martin Staehelin. (Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse; Folge 3, Bd.240)

PUBL. DETAILS Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001, 218p. Price: Euro 49,00.
ISBN 3-525-82512-9
TO ORDER Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 37070, Göttingen, Germany. Tel: 0551/5084-466; Fax: 0551/5084-477. Email:, website:
DESCRIPTION Report of an international conference on the chronology of Bach's works, held in Göttingen in March 1998 to mark the 80th birthday of Alfred Dürr.
WORKS COVERED Numerous works by Bach, which are impossible to list here.
READERSHIP Scholars specialised in the field of chronology.
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION This book will doubtless be remembered as a comprehensive account of Bach research in the second half of the 20th century on the issue of chronology.

T his book is a collection of twelve papers read at the colloquium in honour of Alfred Dürr on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The event took place in Göttingen from 13 to 15 March 1998.
The theme of the meeting was ‘chronology’, which cannot be more suitable for the occasion, as Dürr himself was the pioneer in the subject, who for many decades led the team of musicologists at the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institute, Göttingen, to produce the Neue Bach Ausgabe. It is no surprise, therefore, that the authors are strongly represented by his former colleagues and successors at Göttingen.

Schulze, Hans-Joachim. ‘Probleme der Werkchronologie bei Johann Sebastian Bach.’

Bartels, Ulrich. ‘"Zur Entstehung der Komposition". Forschungsergebnisse zu Chronologie und Werkentstehung in den Kritischen Berichten der Neuen Bach-Ausgabe.’

Wolf, Uwe. ‘Eine zukünftige "elektoronische NBA" als Arbeitsmittel werkchronologischer Forschung.’

Glöckner, Andreas. ‘Bachs vor-Leipziger Kantaten -- zwei Exkurse.’

Krummacher, Friedhelm. ‘Chronologie und Interpretation. Chorsätze in Bachs erstem Kantatenjahrgang.’

Kobayashi, Yoshitake. ‘Bachs Eingriffe in wiederaufgeführte Werke. Aufführungspraktische Aspekte.’

Emans, Reinmar. ‘Gedanken zu Bachs Accompagnato-Rezitativ.’

Breig, Werner. ‘"[...] das Fehlerhafte gut, das Gute besser und das Bessere zum Allerbesten machen". Zum Umarbeitungeprozeß in einigen Orgelkompositionen Bachs (BWV 535, 572 und 543)’

Zehnder, Jean-Claude. ‘Auf der Suche nach chronologischen Argumenten in Bachs Frühwerk (vor etwa 1707).’

Hofmann, Klaus. ‘Die Klangflächenpräludien des "Wohltemperierten Klaviers" I. Überlegungen zur Frühgeschichte der Sammlung.’

Rempp, Frieder. ‘Überlegungen zur Chronologie der drei Fassungen der Sonate G-Dur für Violine und konzertierendes Cambalo (BWV 1019).’

Heller, Karl. ‘Zur Chronologie des Bachschen Konzertschaffens. Versuch einer Bestandsaufnahme.’


Staehelin, 'Laudatio auf Alfred Dürr, anläßlich der öffentlichen Feierstunde für Alfred Dürr

Die Texte zur Aufführung von Bachs Kantate "Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht", BWV 134a, anläßlich der öffentlichen Feierstunde für Alfred Dürr

 comprehensive account of Bach research on 'chronology' in the 2nd half of the 20th century

‘Chronology’ is a big theme, as one is expected to take into account a complex set of facts and circumstances that are different from one work to another. It is naturally anticipated, therefore, that papers cover a broad range of topics, each being very detailed and highly specialised, covering from a broader survey of the inherent problems in ascertaining accurate chronology of Bach’s works (Schulze) to specific works or genre (Glöckner, Emans, Breig, Hofmann, Rempp and Heller), as well as the problems associated with specific period of Bach’s life (Zehnder). There are also papers relating to the Neue Bach Ausgabe project (Bartels and Wolf) and the performance practice (Kobayashi).

All the papers are well written and very valuable, as can be expected from both the international profile of the contributors and the event itself. While there is general tendency to summarise the achievement of the past research (and naturally dwell on Dürr’s achievements, which is perfectly legitimate considering the occasion of this colloquium), there are selective others focusing more sharply on the future direction of research. Doubtless many readers may find the former the most valuable part, as this book will be certainly remembered as a book giving a comprehensive summary of Bach research in the second half of the 20th century on the issue of chronology. But I am particularly intrigued by Uwe Wolf's paper, in which he outlines his thoughts on the online version of the Kritischer Bericht of the Neue Bach Ausgabe. Let us hope that this updated version will be made available free of charge.

When used as a reference (which many readers will presumably do at some point), its lack of index--particularly that of Bach's works--may irritate some readers. The editor cannot be blamed for this, for it seems almost impossible produce a practical index, since many papers focus on research methods (rather than the actual works themselves) for which the extensive citation of Bach's works is essential.
Published online on 4 December 2002

Return to the previous page