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Bach Books

The Bach Reader
Edited by Hans T. David & Arthur Mendel

The New Bach Reader
Edited by Hans T. David, Arthur Mendel & Christph Wolff

Books

B-1

The New Bach Reader

-

Editors: Hans T. David, Arthur Mendel, Chirstoph Wolff

Language: English; ISBN: 0393319563

W.W. Norton & Company

1999

PB / 608 pp

Buy this book at: Amazon.com

B-2

The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents

Revised Edition

Editors: Hans T. David, Arthur Mendel, Christoph Wolff

Language: English; ISBN: 0393045587

W.W. Norton & Company

1998

HC / 551 pp

Buy this book at: Amazon.com

B-3

The Bach Reader - A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in letters and Documents

Editors: Hans David & Arthur Mendel

Language: English; ASIN: B000GWNAXG, B000GWZXVS

W.W. Norton & Company

1972

PB /

Buy this book at: Amazon.com | Amazon.com

B-4

The Bach Reader

A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents

Editors: Hans T. David & Arthur Mendel

J.M. Dent & Sons

1967

HC / 474 pp

 

B-5

The Bach Reader

Revised edition

Editors: Hans T. David & Arthur Mendel

Language: English; ISBN: 0393002594

W.W. Norton & Company

1966

PB / 80pp

Buy this book at: Amazon.com

B-6

The Bach Reader - A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents

1st Edition

Editors: Hans T. David & Arthur Mendel

Language: English; ASIN: B000GHC0E6, B000GP07NE

W.W. Norton & Company

1945

HC /

Buy this book at: Amazon.com | Amazon.com

Bach Reader

Anna Vriend wrote (April 9, 2005):
I am considering buying my own copy of the Bach Reader. I know there is the Bach Reader and the New Bach Reader. My questions are the following:

1) Are both essentially the same, except for the appendixes? Or is it worth buying both? Is one "better" or completer than the other?
2) Is there a same or similar book with the original texts in German?

I appreciate any suggestions.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 9, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
< I am considering buying my own copy of the Bach Reader. I know there is the Bach Reader and the New Bach Reader. My questions are the following:
1) Are both essentially the same, except for the appendixes? Or is it worth buying both? Is one "better" or completer than the other? >
Get both, if you have the chance. NBR is supposed to replace BR (2nd ed), but there are enough things that are only in BR that NBR doesn't give the whole picture. (For example, the thoroughbass lessons and the resolutions of canons, and the section of texts about Marpurg/Kirnberger. Some of the omissions are noted/explained in the preface of NBR.)

It's also instructive and interesting to compare the way the translations have changed between the two. Somewhere a few years ago, probably on BachRecordings, I wrote up a sample of some of these; check the archives.

< 2) Is there a same or similar book with the original texts in German? >
Yes, the three volumes of Bach-Dokumente started in the early 1960s. The texts there are (obviously) not colored by translation, and they're often quite a bit longer than the selective bits in NBR and BR.

But, on the other hand, NBR has some recent documents that didn't make it into BD; and it shows many photographic reproductions of manuscripts, not merely reducing everything to words as both BD and BR do. It's handy that NBR includes all the BD numbers where available; BR didn't, for the reason that not all of BD existed yet.

All three of these collections are monumental achievements, and all worth studying.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 9, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
>>I am considering buying my own copy of the Bach Reader. I know there is the Bach Reader and the New Bach Reader. My questions are the following:
1) Are both essentially the same, except for the appendixes? Or is it worth buying both? Is one "better" or completer than the other?<<
I do not own the old Bach Reader, but I can only surmise that the New Bach Reader (revised and enlarged by Christoph Wolff) would most likely be more worthwhile having.

For gaining quick access to important letters, documents and commentaries from the period in English, the New Bach Reader would probably be the best choice since there is nothing else comparable in English.

For serious Bach scholarship, however, the NBR is definitely lacking in one area: there are very few, if any, footnotes that give important background information about the quotations in question. This is a serious drawback.

>>2) Is there a same or similar book with the original texts in German?<<
Yes, the "Bach-Dokumente" Vols. 1-3 [Bärenreiter, Kassel, 1963-1972.] It is entirely in German and contains 1613 pages of information, much of it in fine print in the form of footnotes. The NBR with its 553 pages contains the most important quotations (devoid of almost all of the footnote material,) but it certainly can not be considered an equivalent to the BD.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 9, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>...it [the NBR] shows many photographic reproductions of
manuscripts, not merely reducing everything to words as both BD and BR do.<<
As far as actually viewing extended examples of Bach's normal handwriting in documents over his lifetime other than title pages, facsimiles of which are included at the beginning of each NBA volume, the NBR does very poorly indeed offering only a single half-page reduction of some outline notes that Bach recorded quickly regarding the order of services in Leipzig with which he was just becoming familiar (p. 114.) In order to see directly what Bach's handwriting is really like when writing letters, personal and formal, testimonies, or simply acknowledging the receipt of money, the BD is far superior in offering the following facsimiles:

Letter by Bach dated January 14, 1714 (2 full pages - complete text)
Letter by Bach dated March 15, 1722 (2 full pages - complete text)
Letter of Complaint by Bach November 3, 1725 (complete text)
Testimonial Letter by Bach dated May 13, 1744 (complete text)
Receipts of Money by Bach dated May 26, 1706 and October 14, 1734

If you can read old German handwriting script, there should be no problem in deciphering directly what Bach wrote without having to rely on translations which are interpretations of what someone thinks Bach was trying to say.

Anna Vriend wrote (April 9, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman & Thomas Braatz] Thanks, Brad and Thomas, for your prompt replies. That is very helpful indeed!

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 10, 2005):
< If you can read old German handwriting script, there should be no problem in deciphering directly what Bach wrote without having to rely on translations which are interpretations of what someonthinks Bach was trying to say. >
Presuming, of course, the requisite amount of MUSICAL BACKGROUND and hands-on experience in the music that Bach himself had and expected of his pupils.

Lacking that, interpretations of those materials to find out what "Bach was trying to say" (even if it's done directly from sources, and/or from excellent editions, and/or from excellent musicological writings) are nothing but armchair speculation and the recycling of other people's better qualified work.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 10, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Presuming, of course, the requisite amount of MUSICAL BACKGROUND and hands-on experience in the music that Bach himself had and expected of his pupils.<<
Musical background and hands-on experience in this music would certainly help but will not ensure that the results of such research and interpretation of the original sources will be entirely reliable unless the researcher is equipped with more than simply a smattering of German such as that required for passing the prerequisite language exam for a doctoral degree. There is a prejudiced misconception on the part of some scholars with degrees in musicology that relying on translations given by other musicologists will be more reliable because they understand music better. Why is it then, as was just recently pointed out, that the 'translations of the BR and the NBR differ because of the changing times?' Could it not be possible that musicologists responsible for rendering authoritative translations in both instances (separated by a half-century) examine the same words that Bach wrote but interpret them differently because each comes to the same original text with a particular bias? For this reason it would be advisable to consult with someone not necessarily connected with music, but with a greater knowledge of German as used during the Baroque era and with the ability to translate documents from Bach's time into English properly.

>>Lacking that, interpretations of those materials to find out what "Bach was trying to say" (even if it's done directly from sources, and/or from excellent editions, and/or from excellent musicological writings) are nothing but armchair speculation and the recycling of other people's better qualified work.<<
Bach himself studied carefully the music of other composers and there is sufficient evidence that he was not afraid to 'recycle other people's better qualified work' and there are a few instances where Bach made only few, rather insignificant, changes, if any at all. Bach, in these instances, figured out what the other composers were trying to say and recognized quality and attempted to learn from good examples, but also performed such compositions in public.

Taking seriously, for a moment, the above-stated presumption that only 'the requisite amount of musical background and hands-on experience in music' would qualify anyone to render decisions about music or statements made about it in any given language, consider Bach's involvement in examining and dictating to organ builders what they needed to do and how they should accomplish this task. Did Bach ever have any training at all as an organ builder? Did he pass through the requisite stages of development: apprentice, journeyman, master? No. How did he accumulate his knowledge about these things? He accomplished this essentially the same way that gained his knowledge as a musician and composer: as an autodidact. Just because someone can become an excellent driver of a vehicle does not mean that this individual has the necessary 'know-how' to recommend and have implemented changes to the equipment. Also, 'the requisite amount of musical, or in this case, organ-building, background' does not come by Bach's attending classes and attaining a university/college degree, but rather through sheer individual effort in 'sifting and winnowing' all the best information available, observing carefully (but without building any instrument (organ, for example) and then coming to commonsense conclusions on his own. This would, according to the quoted statement above, have us believe that Bach was really an 'arm-chair speculator' who may have read a book or two on organ-building (Werckmeister, for instance), observed for a few hours an organ builder at work, and then presumed to 'recycle other peoples' better qualified work.'

Re: the New Bach Reader vs. the BD

I had recently compared and presented information regarding the NBR's paucity of any extended facsimiles of Bach's handwriting in document form, after a claim had been made to the contrary.

On second glance at the NBR, it appears not only that the footnotes for these important documents from Bach's life are almost non-existent, but that 138 pages of the total number of pages (553) in the NBR are devoted to an extensive quotation from Forkel's Bach Biography, a book that is available in another form. The BD does not, with good reason, include any documents/excerpts/books after 1800 which is its 'cut-off' date. So now we can compare the BD with its 1613 pages in rather small print (the footnotes in even smaller type) with the NBR with only 415 in fairly large type and wide borders. This information is important to consider before attempting to equate the NBR and the BD. Certainly, comparing these two reference books, the latter is without doubt the more scholarly and thorough treatment of a 'life in letters and documents.'

Anna Vriend wrote (April 10, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
<< If you can read old German handwriting script, there should be no problem in deciphering directly what Bach wrote without having to rely on translations which are interpretations of what someone thinks Bach was trying to say. >>
and then Brad Lehman wrote:
< Presuming, of course, the requisite amount of MUSICAL BACKGROUND and hands-on experience in the music that Bach himself had and expected of his pupils. Lacking that, interpretations of those materials to find out what "Bach was trying to say" (even if it's done directly from sources, and/or from excellent editions, and/or from excellent musicological writings) are nothing but armchair speculation and the recycling of other people's better qualified work. >
I agree with that. My point is just trying to get the original text. Translations are always different from the original, because the vocabulary is different. Nuances can change the whole meaning of a sentence, the emphasis can be different etc., but also, a translation could help understanding -or make one think about different options in-the original. It does help. (I am currently "living" in CPE Bach's Versuch, in facsimile, and I do refer to the English translation when I need to overthink a particular bit.)

I'll probably start trying to get hold of both Bach Readers anyway and later build up with the BD.

According to my information (Baerenreiter catalogue and online info), the Bach Dokumente I, II, and IV adds up to 1485 pages.
Band I 288p 1982
Band II vergriffen
Band iii 750p 1984
Band IV 447p -1979

where Band II is sold out, and that part IV (Bilddokumente zur Lebensgeschichte J.S. Bachs) is an extension unknown to both of you. See: http://www.baerenreiter.com/ for details.

Thanks

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 10, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
>>My point is just trying to get the original text.<<
This is an excellent, scholarly procedure to follow since translations almost always represent something less than the original. Imagine two overlapping circles, each one representing a similar word, one circle for the German and the other for the English word. Realistically the overlapping portion where one circle covers the other tends to be small, certainly covering less than half the space of the other equivalent word in the other language.

>>Translations are always different from the original, because the vocabulary is different. Nuances can change the whole meaning of a sentence, the emphasis can be different etc.,<<
The nuances you speak of are the other possible words which might come relatively close in meaning, yet differ substantially in other ways. A translator is forced make a choice and by eliminating some possibilities from consideration has already lost some of the full import of the original word meaning.

>>but also, a translation could help understanding -or make one think about different options in- the original. It does help.<<
Yes, but this is the hard way (finding various translations and attempting to reconcile the differences.) A much superior method is to work directly with very good dictionaries, after which it is possible to return to a translation to check its validity and/or discover a certain bias on the part of a translator.

>>I am currently "living" in CPE Bach's Versuch, in facsimile, and I do refer to the English translation when I need to overthink a particular bit.)<<
This 'living in' the environment of an entire book or series of books, thus establishing one's own bearings first, is the best way to make reliable discoveries; this is certainly better than blindly following any particular English translation, as good as it may be. If it is a good one, then you will be better able to judge its worth properly and come to respect the translator's achievements.

>>I'll probably start trying to get hold of both Bach Readers anyway and later build up with the BD.<<
These readers are only a stop-gap, temporary measure for gaining only partial access to the full range of what is available in scholarly research as presented in the BD.

>>According to my information (Baerenreiter catalogue and online info), the Bach Dokumente I, II, and IV adds up to 1485 pages.
Band I 288p 1982
Band II vergriffen
Band iii 750p 1984
Band IV 447p -1979
where Band II is sold out, and that part IV(Bilddokumente zur Lebensgeschichte J.S.
Bachs) is an extension unknown to both of you. See: http://www.baerenreiter.com/ for details.<<
I did not realize that the extension, part IV, belonged to this set since it is entirely different in many ways: its format is quite different and while the other volumes are clearly marked 'Band I, II, III,' this volume (Band IV) does carry any such marking on the spine or the cover. I do possess this volume as well. Now the total number of pages of the BD is suddently increased to 2060 with numerous additional facsimiles of Bach's letters included. In contrast the NBR offers a single, miniscule outline of the Order of Services as its only example of Bach's normal handwriting (handwritten title pages by Bach are essentially calligraphic and for that reason 'not completely normal.')

Are you using the Bärenreiter facsimile edition of CPE Bach's 'Versuch'?

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 10, 2005):
Late last night I included a sentence that was not fully 'fleshed out' or integrated into the paragraph I was writing. The statement was:
>>Just because someone can become an excellent driver of a vehicle does not mean that this individual has the necessary 'know-how' to recommend and have implemented changes to the equipment.<<

Understood correctly in the context of the paragraph which points to Bach's numerous testimonials (assessments of organs that had been newly built, modified or extended), the inference of the above statement was meant to set side-by-side Bach's experience in organ-building and the construction and maintenance of a vehicle in modern times. Just as Bach was an acknowledged expert in playing organs, and, in comparison, just as one could today become very proficient in driving a vehicle, so the argument that only musicologists can judge and translate properly original documents in a foreign language would then, following this line of thinking, force Bach to be less than knowledgeable and certainly not fully certified to pass judgement on what is considered quality and what is needed to accomplish corrections since Bach had no regular training in building organs or undertaking serious modifications of such instruments. And yet Bach did just that as an autodidact, just as expert drivers could, if they studied with great interest the mechanics of a vehicle. Bach's 'arm-chair speculations' were grounded in a knowledge which he assembled without ever having built a single organ pipe or having constructed organ bellows. The same would apply to the 'outsiders' in any profession or expertise: they may have very important information or insights that a 'professional' may have overlooked or simply have not considered possible.

Anna Vriend wrote (April 11, 2005):
CPE's Versuch

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Are you using the Bärenreiter facsimile edition of CPE Bach's 'Versuch'? >
Yes, although I have sometimes been disappointed by Bärenreiter, which I esteemed very highly for their sheetmusic until fairly recently. This edition is the first edition (1753 and 1762 respectively for both essays), while there also was a 2nd edition that has different bits. In this edition, the later pieces (or at least some) are in the appendix. Wouldn't it be better to take an author's own revised version as the better one?

Also it has "modern geschlüsselten Beispiele" (music examples with modern clefs), but this appears only to apply to part I of the Essay, and not to part II.

Likewise I have a facsimile of Hotteterre's Principes de la Flute, reprint from 1728, but this date is nowhere to find on the facsimile; it comes with a german translation that I frankly don't need at all.(I would on the other hand have appreciated having just a clean transcription of the german characters of CPE's essay.)

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 11, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
>>Yes, although I have sometimes been disappointed by Bärenreiter, which I esteemed very highly for their sheetmusic until fairly recently. This edition is the first edition (1753 and 1762 respectively for both essays), while there also was a 2nd edition that has different bits. In this edition, the later pieces (or at least some)are in the appendix. Wouldn't it be better to take an author's own revised version as the better one?<<
No, I don't think so because it is very important from the standpoint of historical development of musical styles to pin down precisely when, in which edition, CPE first made certain statements regardings style and performance practice. Anyone doing serious scholarly research with proper documentation would need to know from which edition a quotation was taken.

>>Also it has "modern geschlüsselten Beispiele" (music examples with modern clefs), but this appears only to apply to part I of the Essay, and not to part II.<<
Part II has all the original examples in bass clef which should be no problem to read as is.

>>Likewise I have a facsimile of Hotteterre's Principes de la Flute, reprint from 1728, but this date is nowhere to find on the facsimile; it comes with a german translation that I frankly don't need at all.<<
Dover Publications has a relatively cheap English translation by Paul Marshall Douglas. This would be a great help for you.

>>(I would on the other hand have appreciated having just a clean transcription of the german characters of CPE's essay.)<<
Ah, but there is a great pleasure to be derived from reading the original Frakturschrift [German Gothic type.] It gives a special 'flavor' to the reading process, even if to make the reader slow down a bit to decipher an occasional badly printed character. Bärenreiter has, for instance, printed Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister in the original Frakturschrift with original notation of musical examples, but it has also published a version with Roman type and modern notation. Sometimes it is easier for me to use the latter because I can skim read and find things faster(übersichtlicher) but more importantly it has not only Mattheson's rather short index, but a thorough, rather complete modern index as well. That is a great help when trying to find something quickly.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 11, 2005):
>>Just because someone can become an excellent driver of a vehicle does not mean that this individual has the necessary 'know-how' to recommend and have implemented changes to the equipment.<<
Another analogy from the same line: just because an individual eats organically grown carrots and enjoys them, but doesn't do any manner of farming himself/herself, he/she isn't qualified by that mere enjoyment of carrots to offer practical advice to working organic farmers. Even more so, there's no qualification to present critical surveys of 18th century methods of farming, or to assess any past or present methods, or to broadcast his/her evaluations of current practitioners of organic farming (making such evaluations look professional and expert, on the surface, when this is all really just guesswork from the enjoyment of the carrots and from a couple of factoids drawn from books).

The only thing such a critic really knows is that he/she personally likes carrot X and dislikes carrot Y; not the causes why X and Y are different, necessarily, and not the processes involved in producing either carrot X or Y.

Real organic farmers--still within this analogy--have every right to be upset when reading the critical "work" of such an individual who's hardly grown so much as a potato on his/her own. Who wants to be told how to do a job--any job that requires skill and training and experience and dedication--by a person who's never really done it at all or received practical training in it?

Anyway, I have a friend who's a full-time professional organic farmer. Since I know nothing about the process, personally, I wouldn't dream of lecturing him (especially in public!) how to produce even a single item from his farm.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 11, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
< (I would on the other hand have appreciated having just a clean transcription of the german characters of CPE's essay.) >
Is that a gap well-filled by the web site version that you helpfully pointed me to last year? (Thanks again!)

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 11, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Who wants to be told how to do a job--any job that requires skill and training and experience and dedication--by a person who's never really done it at all or received practical training in it?<<
But that is exactly what Bach did in writing up his assessment of an organ-builder's work. In the case of Scheibe, sr., did not Bach's criticism of Scheibe, sr.'s organ-building partially lead to his son's criticism of Bach later on?

>>Anyway, I have a friend who's a full-time professional organic farmer. Since I know nothing about the process, personally, I wouldn't dream of lecturing him (especially in public!) how to produce even a single item from his farm.<<
But this is where the difference between Bach, the autodidact, and Brad, the degreed individual, lies. Bach would speak up and make specific recommendations, yet he never, as far as anyone knows, worked a day as an organ-builder, nor did he go through even the beginning stages (apprentice, for instance) of gaining some practical application in this area.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 11, 2005):
< But this is where the difference between Bach, the autodidact, and Brad, the degreed individual, lies. >
Wait, this is becoming confusing and it's also starting to sound too personal here. Is the attack here against Bach being (allegedly) too knowledgeable, to some alleged chagrin of the organbuilders of his milieu; or is it a deploration of the fact that some people here in the present forum are degreed individuals in musicology and music performance, i.e. that earned degrees actually mean something as to the understanding of the material? Is this just some general spraying of shrapnel all around, where it doesn't matter who gets hurt even if it's Bach, just so the person doing the spraying can put down the value of expertise all round and thereby pat his own back as an autodidact? (More general question for some other time: WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING FORMALLY EDUCATED anyway? Education is worth a lot more to a person who has earned one than merely being a sour-grapes annoyance to people who didn't choose to go that route. Education in direct work with qualified teachers is about understanding the material as background, and understanding how to think about new things that there are to be learned. It's understanding how to find and resolve problems without running into easily avoided dead-ends. It's work with experts who already know the types of questions that are relevant, and who are willing to share the ongoing *process* of learning along with the students, as a model of how to learn.)

As for Bach and the instrument-builders around him: expert instrument-builders and expert musicians work co-productively as colleagues, with the work of each informing the excellence of the other. Bach DID NOT have to be a pipe-maker (or whatnot) himself to know very well what an organ should sound like integrated with the acoustics of a room, and to know how the action best serves both the music and the player's physique, and to know how the tuning suits the music to be played, and to know the tonal resources that serve both the music and the liturgy, and to know how to say technically appropriate (and appropriately respectful) things to organbuilders so they'll do their job better. Likewise, organbuilders (both then and now) do not have to be organ-performance virtuosi themselves to be able to build outstanding instruments; they had (and have) expert musicians they can ask for advice, and invite to play in-progress instruments. It's a symbiotic thing. And people hired Bach as a professional organ inspector, multiple times, because they knew he would do an exacting and ruthlessly honest job at it, to get the instrument to be the best it could be. That's what expertise is. A focus on GETTING THE WORK DONE RIGHT.

If I may venture a personal anecdote, along the organbuilder line: one of my uncles, brother to my father, has just completed a 40-year career as a pipe-maker for a major organbuilding shop, working both at the home factory and traveling for some installations. He did good work and earned a good living at it. My uncle does not play even a single note of organ music himself, and he scarcely reads musical notation. He did his job as instructed by the experts around him, and according to the specs drawn up in design by those who are qualified to do so. He himself never became qualified to design an entire organ or build one all by himself; but he knows a heck of a lot more about pipe construction, voicing, maintenance, etc than people who have only read a couple of books about organs. Hands-on experience with the work is paramount.

Frank Green wrote (April 11, 2005):
When ANY of you people get to a topic even remotely related to the initial query, please alert the rest of us. Until then, we remain unimpressed by your verbose digressions.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 11, 2005):
[To Frank Green] You are right. To put it very succinctly regarding the merits and deficiencies of the BR and NBR, the specific topic being discussed in this thread:

<part of the message was deleted>

The contents of both the NBR and BD have been compared with the NBR evidently found lacking in a number of respects:

1. Amount of content

NBR contains a little more than 400 pages (discounting the Forkel biography and other 19th-century secondary sources.)

The NBR's type is larger, pages smaller

BD has over 2000 pages with the pages larger in volumes 1, 2, and 3. The format of volume 4 is much larger yet, about the size of an expensive art book.

2. Scholarly footnotes

Footnotes, if they exist at all in the NBR, are extremely few and very short.

The BD has copious footnotes which fill in necessary background regarding each document presented. The section of footnotes associated with any particular document is often much longer than the document itself.

3. Inclusion of facsimiles of Bach's normal handwriting

The NBR has only one rather short outline of the Order of Services in Leipzig

The BD has at least a dozen or more complete
facsimiles of Bach's letters, etc.

4. Original wording of historical sources

The NBR offers only English translations of the original German-language sources

The BD reproduces accurately the original German-language sources

Anyone doing serious, scholarly work where these sources need to be quoted would have to give both the English translation and the Goriginal sources.

John Pike wrote (April 11, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< For this reason it would be advisable to consult with someone not necessarily connected with music, but with a greater knowledge of German as used during the Baroque era and with the ability to translate documents from Bach's time into English properly. >
This is, indeed, what Andrew Parrott did. He lists the German experts that he consulted for his translation. They include German lecturers at Oxford University.

Anna Vriend wrote (April 11, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote about Bärenreiter's CPE Bach's Versuch:
>>Also it has "modern geschlüsselten Beispiele" (music examples with modern clefs), but this appears only to apply to part I of the Essay, and not to part II.<<
and Thomas Braatz replied:
< Part II has all the original examples in bass clef which should be no problem to read as is. >
Not all of it. I have come across several parts where a tenor clef was used, hence my complaint.

Then I wrote:
>>Likewise I have a facsimile of Hotteterre's Principes de la Flute, reprint from 1728, but this date is nowhere to find on the facsimile; it comes with a german translation that I frankly don't need at all.<<
and you replied:
< Dover Publications has a relatively cheap English translation by Paul Marshall Douglas. This would be a great help for you. >
I don't need a translation. I am fluent in French. Eighteenth-century french is not very different from modern French, it has some different usages, but it is substantially the same (and very cute) language. Occasionally, of course, a period dictionary would clarify, but it is not absolutely necessary.

and I wrote:
>>(I would on the other hand have appreciated having just a clean transcription of the german characters of CPE's essay.)<<
and Thomas Braatz replied:
< Ah, but there is a great pleasure to be derived from reading the original Frakturschrift [German Gothic type.] It gives a special 'flavor' to the reading process, even if to make the reader slow down a bit to decipher an occasional badly printed character. Bärenreiter has, for instance, printed Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister in the original Frakturschrift with original notation of musical examples, but it has also published a version with Roman type and modern notation. Sometimes it is easier for me to use the latter because I can skim read and find things faster(übersichtlicher) but more importantly it has not only Mattheson's rather short index, but a thorough, rather complete modern index as well. That is a great help when trying to find something quickly. >
I agree with you that the characters give a special flavour etc., but if I buy an edition that presents some extra's, that would be one of the extra's I would appreciate. Otherwise, then I only need the plain facsimile. I have read Goethe and Schiller that way years ago for secondary school, of course it can be done, it is a matter of getting used to it. If the Mattheson is done witht he modern notation as well, I'll consider getting that one.

Thanks

Anna Vriend wrote (April 11, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote:
<< (I would on the other hand have appreciated having just a clean transcription of the german characters of CPE's essay.) >>
Bradley Lehman wrote: < Is that a gap well-filled by the web site version that you helpfully pointed me to last year? (Thanks again!) >
it is! But, by the way, I didn't point that out to you, somebody else must have, or you found it as result of the topic we were discussing then.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 11, 2005):
Anna Vriend wrote about Bärenreiter's CPE Bach's Versuch:
>>Also it has "modern geschlüsselten Beispiele" (music examples with modern clefs), but this appears only to apply to part I of the Essay, and not to partII.<<
and I replied:
>>Part II has all the original examples in bass clef which should be no problem to read as is.<<
Anna Vriend replied:
>>Not all of it. I have come across several parts where a tenor clef was used, hence my complaint.<<
Yes, I found them quickly when I looked more closely at Part II. Perhaps the editors will catch this the next time they reprint the facsimile.

Anna Vriend wrote:
>>Likewise I have a facsimile of Hotteterre's Principes de la Flute, reprint from 1728, but this date is nowhere to find on the facsimile; it comes with a german translation that I frankly don't need at all.<<
and I replied:
>>Dover Publications has a relatively cheap English translation by Paul Marshall Douglas. This would be a great help for you.<<
to which Anna Vriend replied:
>>I don't need a translation. I am fluent in French. Eighteenth-century french is not very different from modern French, it has some different usages, but it is substantially the same (and very cute) language. Occasionally, of course, a period dictionary would
clarify, but it is not absolutely necessary.<<
Sorry, I misunderstood the thrust of your observation. Both the Dover English translation with the title page given in facsimile and the Bärenreiter facsimile reprint are based on the 1728 publishing date. But as you correctly observe, no printing date is given. This is not very unusual. Certainly you have held other books in your hands where no recognizable publishing date is given?

Anna Vriend commented:
>>If the Mattheson is done with the modern notation as well, I'll consider getting that one.<<
Yes, the 1999 Bärenreiter edition of Mattheson's "Der vollkommene Capellmeister" does include modern (Roman)type and modern notation all the way through.

 

The Bach Reader

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 12, 2007):
< You might want to pick up a copy of the older Bach Reader sometime, too; easy to do for just a couple of bucks on the used-book market. >
Here you go, 81 copies of it for prices ranging from $1.00 to $50.00. As fine and indispensable as Wolff's newer edition (1997) is, there's no excuse not to have the earlier version also.
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?y=0&kn=mendel+bach+reader

Mine says in the front that I paid $4.50 for it. That was at least a dozen years ago, at some used-book shop. Some of the signatures have broken out through overuse and due to bad glue, but the pages are all still there.... The sections "BACH ON THOROUGH-BASS REALIZATION" (Anna Magdalena's document and some Thieme/Kellner excerpts and exercises, arranged conveniently together) and "SOLUTIONS OF BACH'S CANONS" are worth the $4.50 and more, right there, as they're not in Wolff's remake. Similarly valuable is the big SUPPLEMENT (1965) section from pp 422-462, tipping in the new stuff since 1945 and showing the dynamic process of Bach research during those 20 years.

Whenever I want to look even more closely into the sources on some particular Bach topic, I go request the Bach-Dokumente from interlibrary loan and spend some weeks with those volumes (German). The sections are longer than in the more selective Bach Reader and New Bach Reader, the editorial commentary is different, and it's interesting to compare the sometimes differing translations of these latter two against the original German. On the other hand, the New Bach Reader has some sources that Bach-Dokumente doesn't: anything newly found since the early 1970s (when BD ended), and anything that oversteps the BD's arbitrary cutoff date of 1800.

The French version of all this is also worth a serious look: doing the same type of thing as these English editions, but with a different selection and yet again different commentary. Bach en son temps by Gilles Cantagrel. As I recall from spending some weeks with it about a year ago, it gives longer quotations like the BD does, & beaucoup de detailles. 752 pages crammed full, with a small typeface...!
http://www.fnac.com/shelf/Article.asp?PRID=855891

 

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Last update: ýSeptember 22, 2006 ý00:02:45