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List of compositions by johann sebastian bach

The meaning of «list of compositions by johann sebastian bach»

Johann Sebastian Bach's vocal music includes cantatas, motets, masses, Magnificats, Passions, oratorios, four-part chorales, songs and arias. His instrumental music includes concertos, suites, sonatas, fugues, and other works for organ, harpsichord, lute, violin, viola da gamba, cello, flute, chamber ensemble and orchestra.

There are over 1000 known compositions by Bach. Nearly all of them are listed in the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV), which is the best known and most widely used catalogue of Bach's compositions.

Some of the early biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach contain lists of his compositions. For instance, his obituary contains a list of the instrumental compositions printed during the composer's lifetime, followed by an approximate list of his unpublished work.[1] The first separately published biography of the composer, by Johann Nikolaus Forkel, follows the same approach: its ninth chapter first lists printed works (adding four-part chorales which had been published in the second half of the 18th century), followed by a rough overview of the unpublished ones.[2] In the first half of the 19th century more works were published, so the next biographies (Schauer and Hilgenfeldt in 1850) had more elaborate appendices listing printed works, referring to these works by publisher, and the number or page number given to the works in these publications. So, for example, the Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major can be indicated as "C. F. Peters Vol. III No. 1", or any of the variants ("Griepenkerl and Roitzsch Vol. 3 p. 2", "Peters Book 242 p. 2", "P. S. V., Cah. 3 (242), No. 1", etc.)

In the second half of the 19th century the Bach-Gesellschaft (BG) published all of Bach's works in around 50 volumes, the so-called Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA).[3] This offered a unique identification of all of Bach's known works, a system that was quickly adopted, for instance by the biographers: Philipp Spitta used it complementarily to the Peters edition numbering for the BG volumes that had appeared when he was writing his Bach-biography in the second half of the 19th century (e.g. "B. G., III., p. 173" for the above-mentioned Prelude in E-flat major), and Terry used it in the third Appendix to his 20th-century translation of Forkel's biography.[4]

But there was still a lot of confusion: some authors preferred to list Bach's works according to Novello's editions, or Augener's, or Schirmer's,... giving rise to various conversion tables at the end of books on Bach's compositions (e.g. Harvey Grace's in a 1922 book on Bach's organ compositions).

In 1900 the BG published its last volume, and dissolved itself, as its primary goal, publishing all of Bach's known works, was accomplished. The BG was succeeded by the Neue Bachgesellschaft (NBG), with a new set of goals (Bach yearbook, Bach festivals, and a Bach museum). Occasionally however the NBG published newly discovered works, or variants not published in the BGA. For instance the 1740s version of O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht was published in NBG XVII1 in 1916 (the 1730s version of the same piece, with a different orchestration, had been published in BG 24, pp. 185–192).[4]

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List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach printed during his lifetime
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