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Canons BWV 1072-1078, BWV 1086
General Discussions

Canon BWV 1078

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 24, 2004):
Apropos of alchemy, et al, and the unknown "FABER" (Latin for "smith"):

Anybody have a recording of Bach's obscure little canon BWV 1078, from March 1st 1749? It's a little piece that proposes to encapsulate "all of music" into the motion of the notes Fa and Mi.

And, any reactions to my analysis of the piece, at: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/1078.htm
(Print out both pages, and stare at them next to one another.)

[The note "Bb" in English is "B" in German.]

The ostinato is four notes, and goes perpetually: "F, A, B, E, Repetatur". Seven other parts are in canon against it. A score realization of it is available in the old Bach Reader. The facsimile shown here is Kirnberger's copy; there's also one by Marpurg. (They're the two main guys who had a heated debate about tuning, after Bach's death....)

The dedicatee "FABER" has been unknown, and the mundane possibilities of a friend really named Faber (e.g. Benjamin Gottlob Faber, medical student), or Balthasar Schmid (Bach's publisher, who died soon after this), or Johann Michael Schmidt (theologian) are all on the table. But, I suspect, it's maybe any or all of these or (maybe and) smith-art-craftsmanship-refinement-alchemy itself, as much as any mundane person...especially from the way Bach signed BACH into it in as an acrostic similar to FABER. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Bach had no particular human person in mind here.

That date of March 1st has me suspicious, too, as that's the classical New Year's Day...which always (among other things) maps Christmas onto day 300, and any leap days of the year are seen as the end of the old. This piece looks to me to be more about cycles of life than about mundane temporal existence: hence the shape I chose to use in the analysis.

I have my suspicions about the way all this stuff interacts (inextricably?) with Bach's tuning, also--with its properties that seem almost mystical in themselves--but, for now, the analysis shown here isn't dependent on that.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Riccardo Nughes wrote (May 24, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Anybody have a recording of Bach's obscure little canon BWV 1078, from March 1st 1749? >
I got it from this cd: Amazon.de

Charles Francis wrote (May 24, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Yes, I have this CD and also a nice one from MAK: Amazon.de

Peter Bright wrote (May 24, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes] This Hänssler CD is one of my favourites - Behringer et al. present the canons (BWV 1072-1078, 1086, 1087) as a wonderfully unified series.Really well worth a listen.

Mats W wrote (May 25, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Apropos of alchemy, et al, and the unknown "FABER" (Latin for "smith"):
Anybody have a recording of Bach's obscure little canon BWV 1078, from March 1st 1749? It's a little piece that proposes to encapsulate "all of music" into the motion of the notes Fa and Mi.
And, any reactions to my analysis of the piece, at:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/1078.htm
(Print out both pages, and stare at them next to one another.) [...] >
Yes, here: http://www.classicalarchives.com/m/1/bwv1078.mid

(The music starts when you choose save to harddisk, although you can abort the saving afterwards.)

Smoovus wrote (May 25, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Apropos of alchemy, et al, and the unknown "FABER" (Latin for "smith"):
Anybody have a recording of Bach's obscure little canon BWV 1078, from March 1st 1749? It's a little piece that proposes to encapsulate "all of music" into the motion of the notes Fa and Mi.
And, any reactions to my analysis of the piece, at:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/1078.htm
(Print out both pages, and stare at them next to one another.) >
I have the musica antiqua koln recording. can you explain your diagram to the laysmoovus?

 

The other Canons BWV 1072-1078, BWV 1087 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 30, 2006):
I would like to thank all members who responded to my announcement of the 14 Canons BWV 1087 discography. Following your feedback, I have added a complementary discography, which includes the other Canons BWV 1072-1078 & BWV 1086. Two of them are later versions of canons from the BWV 1087 collection: BWV 1077 of the 11th and BWV 1076 of the 13th. The latter is included in the famous portrait of Bach painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in 1746.

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection. In my searches I have found 4 more recordings of BWV 1087. The discography of the 14 Canons was updated accordingly. In an old German catalogue I found that the recording by Jörg Ewald Dähler and his ensemble, mentioned by Brad, is actually of the Canon BWV 1076 and not of 14 Canons BWV 1087.

You can find the 6 recordings of the other canons, through the main page of BWV 1072-1078 & BWV 1086 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV1087.htm
This page includes as usual internal links to reviews & discussions, as well as external links to other pages about this work.

If you are aware of a recording of the other canons not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all,

 

Canons BWV 1072-1078, BWV 1086: Details | Recordings | General Discussions
14 Canons BWV 1087: Details | Recordings | General Discussions

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