I finally took some time in the library today. For questions such as this, it is best to consult a
critical edition. There are critical editions of the "complete" works of most master composers.
There are two for J.S.Bach, the 19th-century Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe ("Bach Society
Edition"---->BGA) and the Neue Bach Ausgabe ("New Bach Edition"---->NBA).
In these "complete works" the editors will consult all of the available early sources for each
piece, such as the composer's autograph, first printed and other early editons, copies by
contemporaries, et cetera. Any variant readings will be reported in the Critical Notes, usually
called Critische Berichte, so that by consulting the critical notes, one could reconstruct any of
the early sources. In the BGA the critical notes are at the beginning of the volume, in the NBA
they come in a little booklet, usually shelved next to the appropriate volume of music. Thus one can
determine just what the editor may have changed. You might also find that you favor a variant
reading from the 18th century.
For the note in measure 23 bass clef, the BGA gives E flat. E Flat is the note in the earliest
source, a manuscript copied in the mid-1720s for his own use by a Bach associate (student?), the
organ virtuoso Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772). This is the only surviving original source for BWV
999. (Kellner copied several Bach works that are otherwise lost.)
The Neue Bach Ausgabe (the lute volume edited by Thomas Kohlhase) changes the Kellner E flat to D,
apparently believing Kellner's to be a slip of the pen. Kohlhase gives no reason for the change,
but it is strange to have the long D pedal note starting in bar 17 and continuing to bar 33, with
one adjacent note breaking the pedal near its midpoint. It creates a jarring effect, in my opinion,
particularly in the context of this supra-chromatic chord progression. Normally this kind of break
would appear towards the end of the pedal, if at all.
Bar 42: Kellner has a D instead of E Flat, RH note 9.
Bar 17, RH notes 5 and 7 read D in Kellner, rather than C.
The Kellner manuscript has a page with blank staves following the prelude. Since it ends on a
dominant chord, Kellner probably planned on adding the successive piece. Alas he didn't.
So take your pick, Yves. E flat? D? At least now you'll know who did what to whom.
Post by Sybrand Bakker
On Sun, 27 Jul 2003 22:10:39 +0200, "Yves C."
Post by Yves C.
I have two different piano scores for BWV 999.
- on the first one (a french reprint, given by my piano teacher), in
measure 23 the first note is a E (flat)
- on the other one (found on the web) it is a D
My copy (out of an old book my former teacher loaned me) has the E
flat (assuming we are talking about the first note of the measure for
the left hand in the bass clef). The measures before and after have a
D. This sounds correct with the C# that follows, but see below.
Post by Yves C.
Which one is the right one ?
I'm pretty sure the second one is the right one, but I'll have to prove
this to my piano teacher. How can I prove it? Is it possible to find a
manuscript? This piece was originally written for the lute, and is often
played on a guitar
I also have a lute/guitar version edited by Jerry Willard). I believe
the lute version was derived from the keyboard version. Mr. Willard
transposed the piece from C minor to D minor to better suit the modern
guitar. The lute/guitar version has the same E (natural) for the
first (bass) note in measures 22, 23 and 24, which is consistent with
the web version you have and inconsistent with my piano version and
your French reprint.
My guess at this point is that the D appears in the original version,
and some editor at some point in time changed it to an E flat because
he thought it sounded better.
<ajn:> The E flat is in the earliest source for the prelude.
Post by Sybrand Bakker
I will take a peek at my teacher's
Urtext edition at my next lesson. If someone has an Alfred edition
edited by Willard Palmer, then that may shed some light on the
subject, as the Palmer editions usually discuss these sorts of
Reply to the newsgroup only