Johann Ernst Bach: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke

Bach-Repertorium: Werkverzeichnisse zur Musikerfamile Bach, Band VI
168pp.
Carus-Verlag 24.206/00
ISBN 978-3-89948-284-3 €78.00

Published in collaboration with the Research Project of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig, located at the Bach Archive Leipzig”, this latest instalment of the 11-volume series of “thematic-systematic” catalogues of the known works of the members of the Bach family other than Johann Sebastian (1695-1750) breaks the output of Johann Ernst (his nephew, 1722-77) into nine categories: keyboard works, chamber music, symphonies, oratorios and passions, liturgical church music, church cantatas, secular cantatas, songs and motets (which are labelled A–H, with the suffix “-inc” if there is reason to doubt the attribution), and spurious works (Y). There is not a huge amount of music (although he was Kapellmeister and organist at Eisenach, he seems to have been more active as the court lawyer), so – for example – Section C: Symphonies has an introductory page (quoting Gerber’s assertion that Bach wrote “many symphonies”) and a second page with a single entry, detailing its unique source (currently in North America!) The Passionsoratorium entry is based on the modern edition, since the whereabouts of the original has been unknown since 2007. Liturgical church music covers a Missa brevis  on the melody “Es woll uns Gott genädig sein” (mistakenly catalogued elsewhere as TVWV 9:8), and three settings of the German version of the Magnificat text. As one would expect from such a prestigious line-up of musicologists and publishers, the book is both packed with immense amounts of information that will undoubtedly contribute to a wider understanding of JEB’s output (and facilitate the identification of further works by him!) and a beautiful object in its own right. At around 1cm thick, its modest appearance belie the enormous value of its contents.

Brian Clark

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