Early Posthumous Printed Editions

Authored by: Matthew Dirst

The Routledge Research Companion to Johann Sebastian Bach

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409417903
eBook ISBN: 9781315452814
Adobe ISBN: 9781315452807


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During the 100 years between Bach’s death in 1750 and the founding of the Bach Gesellschaft in 1850, most of his keyboard and organ music and a number of the chamber and church works appeared in print from a variety of publishers across Europe. With a few exceptions, these editions followed the pattern set by Bach himself with his four-volume Clavier-Übung series—that is, with works demonstrating the utter mastery of didactic or domestic genres like the dance suite and variations—and in a series of highly learned publications from his last decade. Bach’s posthumous editors and publishers followed suit with the Well-Tempered Clavier, the organ trio sonatas, the “French” and “English” Suites, the sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord, and new editions of most of the Clavier-Übung volumes, among other works. The sustained focus on Bach’s keyboard and organ works reflects both the marketplace for musical editions during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when German church works had little potential outside their immediate locale, and the longstanding preference among Bach devotees for works that could be studied and savored on one’s own and shared with like-minded enthusiasts.

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