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BWV2a Preface

Over the past decades, Bach research has developed into a specialized field almost too vast to be grasped. This growth covers all the fundamental aspects such as biography, source study, textual criticism, editorial techniques, authenticity critique, work chronology, etc., which all owe decisive impulses to the Neue Bach-Ausgabenote 1 (New Bach Edition). However, there are also many new findings in areas which had been hitherto considered as secondary, such as the politics of Bach's time, social and music history, theology (Bach's as well as that of the time in general), rhetoric, etc. And let us not forget the vast subject of numerical symbolism, which offers a virtually inexhaustible field of activity for those interested in this topic.

The result is that the work catalogues published in recent times the second edition of the Bach-Werke- Verzeichnis and the Bach Compendiumnote 2 - have assumed proportions which, though they may not deter the devoted scholar, make the volumes an unwieldy tool for Bach lovers and professional musicians with varied interests.

We are endeavoring to remedy this problem by issuing this "little" edition of the BWV It should be seen as a compromise between a simple work catalogue devoid of commentary, and a scholarly tool aiming for completeness. Inevitably, for some it will contain too little information, and for others too much. But this is something that must be accepted.

The basis for this volume is the second edition (1990) of the BWV. This means that we have consciously refrained from thoroughly revising all findings reported there. This will be the task of a third edition of the unabridged work catalogue. Nevertheless, acknowledged errors (which can never completely be eliminated in a work of such gigantic dimensions) were corrected, and new findings made prior to the copy deadline (1997) were also incorporated.

Somewhat more radical changes were made in the listing of the works of dubious authenticity in the main section and Appendix II (Anhang II) of the catalogue. In the BWV, the sections "Zweifelhafte Werke" (dubious works) (BWV1) and "Zweifelhafte, J.S. Bach nicht zuzusehreibende Werke" (dubious works not to be ascribed to J.S. Bach) (BWV2) in Appendix II contained almost exclusively works about which scholars were unanimous in judging spuriousnote 3. The genuinely "dubious" works had been left chiefly in the main section, often provided with a comment to the effect that the work in question would he left in the main section until its authorship had been clarified (e.g. BWV2 Nos. 834, 839, 844 and many others). By contrast, the editors of the present catalogue feel that such a system contradicts the self-imposed classification principle: a work does not first become "dubious" when it has been ascribed to another composer; it is already dubious when its authorship has not been ascertained. We feel that there is no other way to justify a distinction between "genuine" (main section) and "dubious" (Appendix II) works.

We have thus endeavored to leave in the main section only the works whose presumed authenticity is generally accepted by scholars, and to assign to Appendix II the works whose authenticity is either improbable or must still be cleared up - irrespective of the possibility that a work might later be relocated to the main section after further clarification of its authorship. This is the only way to signalize to scholars a task that remains to be fulfilled.

In principle, the distribution of the works among these two groups has been carried out analogously to the NBA, which best reflects the current status of the discussion on authenticity within Bach scholarship.
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This must be qualified, however, by the fact that several volumes of the main corpus, along with the supplementary volumes of the NBA which are to include primarily works of dubious authenticity, have yet to be published, and that, moreover, the previous investigations into questions of authenticity carried out by a number of different editors varied considerably in intensity; this means that there is as yet no definitive survey of this topic in the NBA. In this respect, the breakdown of the present catalogue must also be viewed as temporary; just as, moreover, the findings on what is "authentic" and "spurious" will vary as long as there are Bach scholars.

Caution is recommended with regard to the many "newly discovered" Bach works. Some, such as the four-part choralesnote 4 issued by Wolfgang Wiemer, are truly new discoveries; others, however, are works of uncertain provenancenote 5 which, owing to their inferior quality and unsubstantiated transmission, no one had even dared to claim as Bach's before. Notwithstanding the possibility that authentic works of Bach (most likely early works) might truly exist among them, such publications have been excluded from this catalogue for the time being inasmuch as no concordance exists for them in other, better authenticated sources. Here too, it will be the duty of a third edition of the unabridged BWV to decide on their inclusion or rejection.

We have a similar situation with respect to the documentation of lost works. Klaus Häfner (in his doctoral dissertation and several articles), in particular, has made extremely valuable contributions to this domain in the field of vocal works. But here too all attempts to draw conclusions about a lost original version of a (still extant) work on the basis of the fair-copy character of a Bach autograph would lead to an enormous amount of lost works if this path were pursued to its ultimate end.note 6 However, we feel that a conscientious listing of all of these hypothetical works would run counter to the intention of a work catalogue which must concern itself first and foremost with the classification of existing works. We must thus limit ourselves to a few general observations.

Finally, unlike our method of procedure in BWV2, we have decided to omit in the present catalogue any specific indication of reconstructions by adding the letter R to the BWV number. The eventuality of a reconstruction is not essential to establishing the proof of a lost work: an R number does not signalize a greater amount of credibility, but, at the most, supplies information about its performability (which would be treated in the section "Druckausgaben" [printed editions] if necessary; but see below). Here too, as in the cases mentioned previously, we have refrained from listing the lost works separately.


Brevity was our guiding principle in organizing this work catalogue both as a whole as well as in its individual parts. We would like to draw attention to the following decisions:

Work numbers. Obviously, the BWV numbers had to be retained (with only slight modifications), although they do not always do justice to the claim of a "systematic" catalogue. The original plan still emerges all too clearly at times: that of providing not a catalogue of works, but an index for the old Bach Gesamtausgabenote 7 (BG). This leads, for example, to the indiscriminate sequence of the cantatas as well as of many organ and keyboard works, etc. It is too late to remedy this today.note 8
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Nevertheless, it did seem advisable to at least simplify the complicated nomenclature of the numbersnote 9 newly added to BWV2 and which had been provided with slashes, arrows and the indication of the number after which the classification was made. This method has proven to be impracticable.note 10 Every work - whether new or already listed - now bears only one one-to-four-digit number with, at the most, an appended small-print letter to indicate a variant. Furthermore, whenever the consecutive numbering is interrupted, the work number is supplied with a page reference which, however, does not belong to its BWV number. We have retained the Roman numerals of the three appendices (Anh. I-III) which in BWV2 became part of the work number.note 11

The following changes have been made in the Appendix numbers newly added to BWV2 and not followed by a I, II or III:

BWV2 Anh. 190-Anh. 200 = Anh. I 190-Anh. 1 200
BWV2 Anh. 201-204 = Anh. II 201-204 after BWV Anh. II 31, p. 460
BWV2 Anh. 205 = BWV 1121 after BWV 569, p. 325
BWV2 Anh. 206 = Anh. II 206 after BWV 691a, p. 463
BWV2 Anh. 207 = Anh. II 207 after BWV 960, p. 465
BWV2 Anh. 208 = Anh. III 208 after BWV Anh. II 103-106, p. 468

The following work numbers have been newly assigned:
BWV 1121 instead of Anh. 205 (see above)
BWV 1122-1126: Four-Part Chorales:
BWV 1122: Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder
BWV 1123: Wo Gott zum Ilaus nicht gibt sein Gunst
BWV 1124: Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
BWV 1125: 0 Gott, du frommer Gott
BWV 1126: Lobet Gott, unsern Herrn
BWV Anh. I 209, p. 456, cantata: Liebster Gott, vergißt du mich
BWV Anh. I 210, p. 456, cantata: Wo sind meine Wunderwerke
BWV Anh. 1 211, p. 456, cantata: Der Herr ist freundlich
BWV Anh. 1 212, p. 457, cantata: Vergnügende Flammen
BWV Anh. 1 213, p. 457, Concerto in F for organ after G. Ph. Telemann

Printed editions. The original prints are listed under the heading "Quellen" (sources) (see below for further information). Evidence of extant copies can be found in BWV2 or the respective NBA volume. We have retained the indication of the location of every work within the two Complete Editions, but have omitted the names of the editors and the years of publication. Missing page references to the NBA volumes signify that the respective editions were not yet published at the time this volume went to print. We have refrained from listing other editions for reasons of space. The number of such editions is constantly growing, as is the number of editions which are out of print. The current status is best obtained from a specialized dealer.
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Sources. Inasmuch as they were available, we have indicated the original sources (original prints, autographs and copies made for Bach's personal use, e.g. parts). Wherever original sources are no longer extant, we have listed the sources considered by present-day scholarship to be the most important. For additional sources, one can consult the detailed listings of the Kritische Berichte (critical reports) of the NBA. If the name of the scribe is known, it is indicated; in the case of anonymous scribes, we have not listed any of the designations for them which are occasionally found in scholarly writing. Such sources are listed only as "Abschrift" (copy).


Bibliography. Save far a few standard works (Spitta, Schweitzer), we have taken the year 1950 as the starting point for our bibliography. Earlier literaturenote 12 can be found in the extensive bibliography of BWV1 or in the judiciously abridged listings of BWV2. However, we have not been able to offer more than a very limited selection of later works since the amount of Bach literature has become far too vast and its growth has taken a sharp upward curve since 1985. Although the editors' personal opinions often determined the selection, the following guidelines were observed whenever possible:

N o t   l i s t e d  are the Kritische Berichte of the NBA concerning the edition in question, dictionary articles, works of music history etc. since it can be assumed that they are known as sources. Articles which have appeared more than once are generally indicated only once, even if their wording differs. When in doubt, we have chosen the German-language version.

U n p u b l i s h e d  literature, e.g. typewriter-written or computer-printed dissertations, are mentioned only exceptionally in view of the fact that they are often followed by a brief printed summary (which is cited whenever possible). The m a i n   f o c u s  in our selection lies in the literature relating to compositions and, within this, to the writings which directly affect the contents of the present catalogue. Thus, for example, we have had to neglect practically all the literature bearing on theological matters - a field which has grown enormously in recent times - as well as the large number of work interpretations, whose number would burst the framework of this "little" BWV.

The s y s t e m .  If a publication concerns a specific work, it is listed under the respective work number with its full title and bibliographic details (sometimes abbreviated). If a publication concerns several works, it is listed under all relevant work numbers in an abbreviated form (short title). Literature pertaining to a genre and referring to a number of works within a group are listed in a bibliographical survey placed before the group in question. The long form of the short titles is found in the listing of bibliographical abbreviations (Literatur-Abkürzungen). In the case of collected publications (periodicals, reports, Festschriften, etc.), the short titles are preceded by the name of the author. Page numbers are omitted whenever the publications have an index.note 13


Index. The editors hope that users will understand that it was impossible to maintain the number and detail of the original indices. The list of chorale text incipits which had hitherto preceded BWV numbers 253-438 has been newly compiled and expanded to include all the chorale melodies found in Bach's works in the alphabetical order of their hymnologically correct titles.note 14


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The editors wish to express their warmest thanks to all libraries and private owners mentioned for the information they kindly supplied. We also wish to thank the staff of the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut in Göttingen and its Deputy Director Professor Dr. Klaus Hofmann. And we are particularly grateful to Dr. Frieder Rempp and Mr. Michael Meyer-Frerichs for having examined the hymnological data. We also wish to extend our thanks to the publishers Breitkopf & Härtel, whose management always strove to comply with the editors' wishes, and, above all, to the firm's in-house editor Ms. Eva-Maria Hodel, who always had an open ear for all our problems, oversaw the production with unflagging commitment and was always available for support and advice whenever we needed it.

We can only hope that even in this reduced form the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis will be able to do justice to its goal of being a source of information on Johann Sebastian Bach and his works and thus continue to keep alive, as it deserves, the eminent and overwhelming achievement of its initiator Wolfgang Schmieder.

Fall 1997The editors

Johann Sebastian Bach. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, Kassel 1954ff. (= NBA). [back]
Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Jnhann Sebastian Bach. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV). ed. by Wolfgang Schmieder. Second, revised and expanded edition, Wiesbaden, 1990. - Bach Compendium. Analytisch-bibliographisches Repertorium der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (BC) by Hans-Joachim Schulze and Christoph Wolff, Leipzig 1986ff. [back]
Even works unanimously viewed by scholars as spurious, e.g. the St. Luke Passion BWV 246, have a work number listed in the main section of the BWV. [back]
Johann Sehastian Bach und seine Schule. Neu entdeckte Choral- und Liedsätze, Kassel 1985. [back]
For example: Orgelchoräle aus der Rudorff-Sammlung. First edition by Franz Haselböck. Kassel 1994. The statement that the chorales were originally in the "former autograph collection" of Ernst Rudorff falsely suggests to the user that the chorales were edited from the Bach autographs. Such reliable sources, however, are totally lacking. [back]
If one wanted to comply with Häfner's request, for instance, to assign BWV numbers to the Bach compositions on texts from the Picander Jahrgang (annual cycle) - the existence of which is no longer documented today -, then, for the sake of consistency, one would also have to give BWV numbers from Anhang I to the fifth Jahrgang, which is mentioned in the Nekrolog (obituary) but is no longer extant today. [back]
See BWV1 p. VII, and BWV2 p. XXVf. [back]
We can only know if the nomenclature of the Bach Compendium, which is unconditional and thus based on a clearly systematic principle, will gain universal acceptance after the work is completed. Skepticism seems justified in view of the massive changes this would entail for publishers and in the media. [back]
See BWV2, p. XLV for their explanation. [back]
Both because of the complexity of the numbers as well as because of the often considerable number of added works, which requires frequent page turning (for example, BWV 221/Anh. II 23-> does not come directly after Anh. II 23, but five pages later, i.e. after the four other, newly inserted numbers BWV 142, 189, 217 and 220). [back]
It is precisely in the Anhang that the originally Consecutive numberlng of BWV1 shows its weak points: the number of certifiably lost works (Anh. I) will continue to grow in the future; the problems concerning Anhang II have been mentioned above; and we can only hope that further composers of dubious works will be identified in the future (Anhang III). This is why further regraupments are inevitable. [back]
Also see the bibliographies published regularly in the Bach-Jahrbuch as well as their summary up to 1984 in: Bach Bibliographie, ed. by Christoph Wolff, Berlin 1985. [back]
This also applies to Albert Schweitzer's Bach biography, whose "Register der Bachschen Kompositionen" (edition of 1908: pp. 834-839) is compiled in a rather perfunctory manner which would not justiry the extravagance or providing page references in view or its various editions. [back]
According to Zahn (see Literatur-Abkürzungen), whose findings will be due for a revision upon the publication or Das Deutsche Kirchenlied, Kassel 1993ff. [back]

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