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BACH, K. P. E.

The lost Passion according to St Mark must, judging by the movements preserved in the Trauer-Ode, have been larger than that according to St John.

Was there a genuine Lucas-Passion? If so, Forkel's report of five Passions would be explained. Several lost secular works are partly preserved in those portions of the Christmas oratorio of which the sources are not definitely known, but which, like the other duplicated numbers, are fair copies in the autograph.

B. Instrumental

Three violin concertos and one for two violins; known only from the wonderful clavier versions.

Most of the first movement of the A major sonata for clavier and flute which was written in the spare staves at the bottom of a larger score. Some of these have been cut off.

V.—Arrangements of Works by other Composers

Arrangements for harpsichord alone of 16 concertos, generally described as by Vivaldi, but including several by other composers.

4 Vivaldi concertos arranged for organ.

Many of these arrangements contain much original matter, such as entirely new slow movements, large cadenzas, &c.

Concerto in A minor for 4 claviers and orchestra, from Vivaldi's B minor concerto for 4 violins. This, though the most faithful to its original, is the richest and most Bach-like of all these arrangements, and is well worth performing in public.

2 sonatas from the Hortus Musicus of Reinken, arranged for clavier. (The ends of the slow movements are Bach.)

Finishing touches to cantatas by his uncle Johann Ludwig Bach. Also a very characteristic complete “Christe eleison” inserted in Kyrie of Johann Ludwig's.

VI.—Doubtful and Spurious Works

Bach's autographs give the name of the composer on the outside sheet only. He was constantly making copies of all that interested him; and where the outside sheet is lost, only the music itself can tell us whether it is his or not. The above-mentioned Passion according to St Luke is the chief case in point. The little music-books he and his second wife wrote for their children are full of pieces in the most various styles, and the editors of the Bach-Gesellschaft have not completely identified them, even Couperin's well-known “Les Bergeries” escaping their scrutiny. A sonata for two claviers by Bach's eldest son, Wilhelm Friedermann, was detected by the editors after its inclusion in Jahrgang xliv. The second of the 3 sonatas for clavier and flute is extremely suggestive of Bach's sons, but Philipp Emanuel ascribes it to his father. However, he might easily have docketed it wrongly while arranging copies of his father's works. It has a twin brother (B.-G. ix. Anhang ii.) for which he has not vouched.

Four absurd church cantatas are printed for conscience' sake in Jahrgang xliii. More important than these, because by no means too obviously ridiculous to deceive a careless listener, is the well-known 8-part motet, Lob, Ehr' und Weisheit (blessing and glory and wisdom). A closer acquaintance shows that it is really very poor stuff; and it was finally crowned with absurdity by the discovery that its composer was a contemporary of Bach,—and that his name was Wagner.

The beautiful motet, Ich lasse dich nicht, has long been known to be by one of Bach's uncles (Johann Christoph).


Almost the only works of Bach published during his lifetime were the instrumental collections, most of which he engraved himself. Of the church cantatas only one, Gott ist mein König (written when he was nineteen, but a very great work), was published in his lifetime.

Of modern editions that of the Bach-Gesellschaft is, of course, the only complete one. It is, inevitably, of very unequal merit. Its first editors could not realize their own ignorance of Bach's language; their immediate admiration of his larger choruses seemed to them proof of their competence to retain or dismiss details of ornamentation, figured bass, variants between score and parts, &c., without always stopping to see what light these might shed on questions of tempo and style—especially in the arias and recitatives, which they regarded as archaic almost in direct proportion to the depth of thought really displayed in them. In the 9th Jahrgang Wilhelm Rust introduced scholarly methods, with the happiest results. The Wohltemperirtes Klavier (Jahrgang xiv.) was edited by Kroll, who also made his text accessible in the Edition Peters (which till then had only Czerny's—an amazing result of corrupt tradition, still widely accepted). Kroll's and Rust's volumes are far the best in the B. G. On Rust's death the standard deteriorated; his immediate successor seems more interested in reprinting in full an early version of a work of which Rust had given only the variants, than in digesting his own materials (Jahrgang xxix.); and in his next volume (Jahrgang xxx. p. 109) the bass and violin are a bar apart for a whole line. The last ten volumes, however, are again satisfactory, and in Jahrgang xliv. the French and English suites are re-edited. Part of the B minor mass was also worked over again; and Kroll's text of the Wohltemperirtes Klavier was supplemented by the evidence of the British Museum autograph. The Steingräber edition of the clavier works, edited by Dr Hans Bischoff, is incomparably the best, giving all the variants in footnotes and clearly distinguishing the extremely intelligent nuances and phrasing signs of the editor from the rare but significant indications of Bach himself. Nor does this wealth of scholarship interfere with the presentation of a straightforward, single text; though in addition there is every necessary explanation of the ornaments and kindred matters.

We have seen no other editions that distinguish Bach's text from the editor's taste—the disappointing publications of the Neue Bachgesellschaft[1] by no means excepted. We may remark that the older vocal scores of cantatas in the Edition Peters are, though unfortunately but a selection, far better than the complete series issued by Breitkopf and Härtel in conformity with the Bach Gesellschaft, and therefore accepted as authoritative (see Instrumentation). The English vocal scores published by Novello are generally very good though covering but small ground. The Novello score of the Christmas oratorio contains a fine analytic preface by Sir George Macfarren.

Bibliography.—J. N. Forkel, Über Bach's Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke, translated (London, 1820); C. H. Bitter, John Sebastian Bach (Berlin, 1865); Ernest David, La Vie et les œuvres de Bach (Paris, 1882); P. Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1873 and 1880); E. Heinrich, Sebastian Bach's Leben (Berlin, 1885); A. Pirro, L'Esthétique de Jean Sebastian Bach (Paris, 1907); and L'Orgue de Jean Sebastian Bach (Paris, 1907); A. Schweitzer, J. S. Bach: Le Musicien poète. Spitta's biography superseded everything written before it and has not since been approached. With corrections in the light of Rust's B. G. prefaces it contains everything worth knowing about Bach, except the music itself.  (D. F. T.) 

BACH, KARL PHILIPP EMANUEL (1714–1788), German musician and composer, the third son of Johann Sebastian Bach, was born at Weimar on the 14th of March 1714. When he was ten years old he entered the Thomasschule at Leipzig, of which in 1723 his father had become cantor, and continued his education as a student of jurisprudence at the universities of Leipzig (1731) and of Frankfort on the Oder (1735). In 1738 he took his degree, but at once abandoned all prospects of a legal career and determined to devote himself to music. A few months later he obtained an appointment in the service of the crown prince of Prussia, on whose accession in 1740 he became a member of the royal household. He was by this time one of the first clavier-players in Europe, and his compositions, which date from 1731, included about thirty sonatas and concerted pieces for his favourite instrument. His reputation was established by the two sets of sonatas which he dedicated respectively to Frederick the Great (1742) and to the grand duke of Württemberg (1744); in 1746 he was promoted to the post of Kammermusikus, and for twenty-two years shared with Karl Heinrich, Graun, Johann Joachim, Quantz and Johann Gottlieb Naumann the continued favour of the king. During his residence at Berlin he wrote a fine setting of the Magnificat (1749), in which he shows more traces than usual of his father's influence, an Easter cantata (1756), several symphonies and concerted works, at least three volumes of songs,—Geistliche Oden und Lieder, to words by Gellert (1758), Oden mit Melodien (1762) and Sing-Oden (1766), and a few secular cantatas and other pièces d'occasion. But his main work was concentrated on the clavier, for which he composed, at this time, nearly two hundred sonatas and other solos, including the set mit veränderten Reprisen (1760–1768) and a few of those für Kenner und Liebhaber. Meanwhile he placed himself in the forefront of European critics by his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (first part 1753, second, with the first reprinted, 1762), a systematic and masterly treatise which by 1780 had reached its third edition, and which laid the foundation for the methods of Clementi and Cramer. In 1768 Bach succeeded Georg Philipp Telemann as Kapellmeister at Hamburg, and in consequence of his new office began to turn his attention more towards church music. Next year he produced his oratorio Die Israeliten in der Wüste, a composition remarkable not only for its great beauty but for the resemblance of its plan to that of Mendelssohn's Elijah, and between 1769 and 1788 added over twenty settings of the Passion, a second oratorio Der Auferstehung

  1. The object of the Neue Bachgesellschaft is to render the completed results of the first Bachgesellschaft generally accessible by holding frequent Bach festivals and issuing cheap and practical editions. The activities of this society, together with the new movement to restore Bach's vocal music to its place in the Lutheran Church, cannot fail to have a salutary effect on the future of music.