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Dimension (box): 30.8 x 24.0 x 1.4 cm

TITLE 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. Faksimile und Übertragung hrsg. von Michael Maul und Peter Wollny
PUBL. DETAILS Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag (2007) 18, 85p. Price: Euro 89,00
ISBN 978-3-7618-1957-9
TO ORDER Bärenreiter-Verlag, Heinrich-Schütz-Allee 35, D-34131 Kassel, Germany.
SUMMARY
DESCRIPTION Colour facsimile of the newly-rediscovered manuscripts in 2006, attesting the earliest  known handwriting of J. S. Bach.
WORKS COVERED It does not contain Bach's works.
READERSHIP All serious Bach scholars and enthusiasts.
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION The accompanying commentary discusses a range of issues that prompt us to revise our previous understanding of Bach's early development.

I n the summer of 2006, Michael Maul and Peter Wollny discovered four manuscripts of organ tablature in the theological section of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar. They contain the following works:

According to Maul and Wollny, the first two were copied by Bach c.1700 in Georg Böhm’s residence in Lüneburg and c.1697 in Bach's brother’s house in Ohrdruf respectively. Reinken’s "An Wasserflüssen Babylon" is familiar in Bach’s biography as the chorale upon which Bach extemporised in the presence of Reinken in Hamburg in 1720. The second, a fragment of the chorale prelude by Buxtehude, is often regarded as one of the most demanding organ chorales of the time. The remaining two tablatures are in the hand of Bach's long-time pupil from both his Mühlhausen and Weimar years, Johann Martin Schubart (1690-1721). Although none of these are Bach’s own composition, they present an important source in that they attest to Bach’s early development as organist as well as teacher.

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. Faksimile und Übertragung hrsg. von Michael Maul und Peter Wollny.
Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag (2007) 18, 85p. Price: Euro 89,00
It comes in the form of a boxed set of five books

The facsimile is accompanied by a critical commentary written by Maul and Wollny. It explores nearly every aspect of this source in great depth, and is both very informative and extremely interesting. While it confirms that Bach was already an earnest copyist as well as an ardent student of organ at a tender age of thirteen, it also offers a much clearer idea than ever before about the role Böhm played in Bach’s education in Lüneburg. More importantly, it provides us with new information which helps us to comprehend how Bach grew up with specific reference to how his handwriting was formed and changed gradually as he studied under different teachers. The rediscovery of these manuscripts also has significant repercussions in our understanding of how this compositional genre was transmitted in Germany. It is astonishing to read that this young man was probably solely responsible for introducing one of the longest and most demanding chorale fantasias of the north-German organ school to Thuringia. Doubtless there will be further discoveries of primary sources of this magnitude in the future. But the information we acquired from the ‘Weimarer Orgeltabulatur’ is so important that every Bach scholar needs to review their knowledge about Bach’s early days.

The publication comes in the form of a boxed set of five books, each fascicle of the manuscript reproduced in the original form of gathering. The colour print is of such fine quality that it could almost be mistaken for the original. Water stains and the librarian’s pencil annotations appear as they are in the original. The fifth volume contains the scholarly preface, followed by the transcription of the tablature in three staves.

Published online on 19 April 2008