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Bach's Chorale Preludes


Richard McVeigh
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Does anyone have or know where i can get a list of the seasons in which each individual Choral Prelude is written for?? I'm fed up not knowing which season to play some of them in!! It would help if the Choral titles were in German too.

 

Ta

 

Try Book XV of the Novello Bach Organ Works. I don't us it to play from these days - I'm a fully paid up Breitkopf fan - but it is indispensable containing as it does an indication of the season it was written for, a harmonisation of the Choral and translation of the first verse (usually Catherine Winkworth). One caveat however, like the anglican church, some Chorals often doubled up as tunes for two or more texts (eg BWV 601 which has two titles) and only one text is included. You only get the translation of the first verse too - so chorale preludes with more than one verse still leave the other verses up for conjecture. Hope that this helps.

 

Charles

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You could also try Prof. Peter Williams' "The Organ Music of J S Bach", published by Cambridge University Press. The text of the chorales is discussed, and from this it's often possible to pinpoint exactly where each chorale belongs in the church year.

 

Graham

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Try Book XV of the Novello Bach Organ Works. I don't us it to play from these days - I'm a fully paid up Breitkopf fan - but it is indispensable containing as it does an indication of the season it was written for, a harmonisation of the Choral and translation of the first verse (usually Catherine Winkworth). One caveat however, like the anglican church, some Chorals often doubled up as tunes for two or more texts (eg BWV 601 which has two titles) and only one text is included. You only get the translation of the first verse too - so chorale preludes with more than one verse still leave the other verses up for conjecture. Hope that this helps.

 

Charles

 

I'm too a Breitkopf fan! I prefer the layout to the Barenreiter edition, and some accidentals in the Barenreiter are just plain wierd. I only have one Novello book (book 8) as for my first lesson with John Scott Whiteley I played the 'Little' fugue in G minor from Novello and he said he didn't want me to use Novello ever again, and now I would never turn back from Breitkopf (even if their covers and bindings are useless!!).

 

Thanks for the tips though, my colleagues here at Chester will certainatly have Book XV and maybe even the other book that was mentioned. There must be a website somewhere though...

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Does anyone have or know where i can get a list of the seasons in which each individual Choral Prelude is written for?? I'm fed up not knowing which season to play some of them in!! It would help if the Choral titles were in German too.

 

Ta

 

===================

 

You have quite a problem on your hands, because the Lutheran lectionary used during Bach's tenure at Leipzig would be a Latin lectionary, which could either have been the Augustinian one or some other (perhaps more local) used by the particular Electorate.

 

The church calenders tended to vary between countries and districts before the Council of Trent circa.1550, and even after that date, local custom and practice may well have slowed down the introduction of anything uniform such as the well-known catholic Tridentine Lectionary.

 

After all, the Latin Mass was retained at Leipzig for some 30 years after the death of Bach.

 

It doesn't help very much that Lutheran "anything" was banned from use in the Anglican church for quite a few centuries, and it is perhaps only in the last 100 years that Lutheran hymnody has become acceptable at all.

 

However, such problems aside, there are one or two sources which may help.

 

There is the "Lutheran Book of Worship" available from Augsburg Fortress, and "Lutheran Worship" from Concordia, which include a list of "Hymns for the church year" in the first, and "Hymn of the day" in the latter.

 

There is also "The liturgical year" (Ed:Albert Riemenschneider) published by Presser, in which there is an index of all the 164 chorale tunes which Bach INTENDED to use in the Orgelbuchlein, even though he only managed to write 45. Of the 45, only 33 are specifically for the "Church Year", and 12 are more general songs of praise etc.

 

Did you ever wonder why you wanted to become a church musician?

 

MM

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