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HPSCHD-L  February 2016

HPSCHD-L February 2016

Subject:

Pedal-Flügel and Bach's Passacaglia

From:

"J. Claudio Di Veroli" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Harpsichords and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 21 Feb 2016 22:23:43 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (101 lines)

Bach's Passacaglia in c minor for manuals and pedals BWV 582 is often stated
to have been composed for "organ or pedal harpsichord". The work was
discussed in the PIPORG-L and other online lists, but I cannot recall any
detail about the instrument attribution. This is what I can find so far:
 
1. Oldest extant manuscript: 

http://imslp.org/wiki/Passacaglia_in_C_minor,_BWV_582_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastia
n)

undated, "ca.1720-1739, by Carl August Hartung, organist in Cöthen; Bach's
manuscript is lost". The title, in an admixture of Italian and French with
errors (not unlike a few autograph titles by JSB) reads: 
"Passacalia en C. b. con Pedale di Givo. Bast. Bach".
The only other text in the manuscript is the fugue's title:
"Fuga con Supjectis".
The score is in two staves, the left one using the F clef and including both
the l.h. and the pedal part.

2. Bach-Gesellschaft: (also IMSLP)

Breikopf und Härtel, 1867, vol. 15.
There are quite a few differences with Hartung's manuscript, the most
visible ones being: 
	- The general title: "Passaglia für Orgel. C moll".
	- The Pedal part in a separate F clef stave, entitled : "Pedal"
	- The manual part in G and F clefs, entitled: "Cembalo ossia
Organo".
	- The fugue bears the title: "Thema fugatum". 
	- At the beginning of the penultimate bar we have 
	- In the fugue's first few bars the countersubject has some slurs.
	- The fugue's penultimate bar reads: "Adagio". 
Guess there must be some explanation (not included in the IMSLP scan) for
the "Cembalo ..." in the B-G edition.

3. Griepenkerl and Roitzsch edition:

Peters, c.1900, vol. I pp. 76ff. 
Score, titles and markings are identical to the  Bach-Gesellschaft edition.
The preface states that the Bach's own manuscript titles were
"Passaglia"(sic)  and "Thema fugatum": it includes suggestions for playing
on piano 3 hands, no suggestions about the original instrument being
anything other than the organ. From Basso we know that this edition (and
thus presumably also the B-G) originates in a now-lost autograph by Krebs. 

4. Schmieder's Bach-Werke Verzeignis ("BWV") lists it among organ works of
the 1708-17 period.
 
5. Basso's monumental treatise on J.S.B., EDT/MUSICA 1979-83 (in Italian):
other than the details about the Peters edition above and the details from
Schmieder, mentions a first edition by Dunst 1834. Basso does not add
anything about the type of instrument. 

6. In Kipnis's "Harpsichord Encyclopedia", a short entry by Anthony Newman
states that the work was composed for the pedal harpsichord. Newman does not
give any evidence for this.

6. In A. Newman's "Bach and the Baroque" book, 2nd 3d. 1995, this
Passacaglia is not mentioned.

7. Little and Jenne's "Dance and the Music of J.S. Bach" book, 2nd. ed.
2001, mentions it on p.203 as "Passacaglia for organ".

Different authors comment the derivation of the theme from a Passacaille for
organ by Raison.

Was the cembalo the instrument the work was conceived for?
The only evidence for this I can see so far is that, MAYBE, in one of the
now-lost contemporary manuscripts, somebody who was NOT Bach wrote "Cembalo
ossia Organo". 
Contrary evidence is pretty obvious:
- Hartung found that this was an organ work,
- in an environment with harpsichords having a compass GG-d''', which Bach
used in full in many of his harpsichord works, it is difficult to understand
why would he compose a harpsichord work using the smaller classical German
organ compass CC-c''',
- also, but this is no serious evidence and I understand that some will
disagree, I find that the style of both Passacaglia and Fugue resembles much
more Bach's organ works than his harpsichord works.
 
I would be grateful to know any details about the evidence (that A. Newman
obviously found convincing) for the "Cembalo" attribution. Thanks!

CDV

http://play.braybaroque.ie/





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