N E W S L E T T E R              Fall 2002

News ·  CD Review ·  Book review ·  Naumburg organ conference


ABS 2002 Biennial Meeting Houston, Texas, April 26–28

J. S. Bach: Liturgy, Music, Theology, our twelfth meeting, jointly hosted by the University of Houston and Rice University, was attended by nearly 100 members. The papers for each of the four sessions— “Sacred Music,” (first session) chaired by Gregory Butler, “Bach and the Organ,” chaired by Daniel R. Melamed, “Instrumental Issues,” chaired by Mary Oleskiewicz, and “Sacred Music” (second session), chaired by Matthew Dirst—had lively and informative discussions that were limited in every case by time, but never by a shortage of insight or informed opinions (for the full program with abstracts, see the ABS website). In special sessions, William Scheide spoke on “Cantata or Collegium Musicum: Which Was Bach’s Preference,” and Yo Tomita demonstrated the many features of his online Bach Bibliography, which continues to be an invaluable aid to Bach research.

In addition to the papers, conference attendees enjoyed several musical performances of exceptional quality. At St. Anne Catholic Church on Friday, April 26, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, with Emma Kirkby, performed J. S. Bach’s cantata Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199, as well as concerti grossi and arias by G. F. Handel. The concert was sponsored by Houston Early Music in cooperation with the Society, and featured a pre-concert talk by Christoph Wolff. A lecture-recital on Saturday, April 27 at Christ the King Lutheran Church brought George B. Stauffer to the podium to speak on “Breaking New Ground: Bach’s Cantata Movements with Obbligato Organ.” Stauffer’s lecture was followed by a superb performance of movements of this type arranged as two concertos surrounding a sinfonia, by Ars Lyrica Houston, led by Matthew Dirst, and featuring organist Joan Lippincott of Princeton University and Westminster Choir College of Rider University. On Saturday, members also enjoyed a demonstration of the grand concert organ built by C. B. Fisk and Rosales Organ Builders for the Shepherd School of Music of Rice University. This remarkable instrument, based on French models but specifically designed for convincing performances of repertory from other countries as well as France, from the 17th century to the present, was demonstrated by the School’s professor of organ, Clyde Holloway.

On Saturday evening, the Society members had the privilege of hearing Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1789), H. 802, in a performance by the Bach Choir and Orchestra (Houston), directed by Robert Lynn and sponsored by the Bach Society of Christ the King Lutheran Church. The performance was preceded by a greeting from special guest and mayor of Leipzig, the Honorable Wolfgang Tiefensee, and a lecture by Ulrich Leisinger. Leisinger spoke on C. P. E. Bach’s responsibilities as Hamburg Town Music Director, which included liturgical performances of the older-style oratorio passions at the city’s principal churches on the Sundays preceding Easter. Leisinger also pointed out that many of the chorales, biblical recitatives, and choruses found in this work are from J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. In the course of the concert, these borrowed passages appeared like old friends in new settings. The Reverend and Mrs. Robert Moore of Christ the King Church very generously hosted a post-concert reception at their home.

For the great success of the meeting, the Society owes many thanks to Clyde Holloway of Rice University, Secretary-Treasurer Mary J. Greer, Vice-President Daniel R. Melamed, who served as program chair, and especially to Matthew Dirst. The next meeting of the Society will be held at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, April 16–18, 2004.

Reginald L. Sanders

News from Members

Mark Bangert, Eric Chafe, Don Franklin, Jason Grant, Renate Steiger, and Isabella van Elferen will participate in an interdisciplinary conference “Passion, Affekt, und Leidenschaft in der Fröhen Neuzeit” at Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, April 2–5, 2003 (details, p. 9). Mary Jane Corry was harpsichordist for a three-day Bach festival in Hudson Valley, New York. Stephen Crist, Robin Leaver, Michael Marissen, and Masaaki Suzuki will participate in the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship symposium Bach: The Preacher at Calvin College and Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 10–12, 2003 (contact info, p. 11). Matthew Dirst led Ars Lyrica Houston in a premiere performance of a Concerto for Violin and Viola reconstructed from movements from the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244/13, 39, and 42) by violist-publisher Robert Bridges. Richard D. Erickson celebrates the 35th anniversary of Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, New York, with a performance of the B-minor Mass on March 23, 2003, and further performances at the national convention of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, June 29–July 3. Mary Greer was named Christopher Hogwood Research Fellow for the 2002–2003 season by the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston. Riyehee Hong performed the complete Art of Fugue at the organ of Christ the King Church, Houston. Doris Powers has completed a volume on C. P. E. Bach for Routledge Music Bibliographies (formerly Garland Composer Resource Manuals), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: A Guide to Research (New York: Routledge, 2002). Harold Rutz performed all-Bach (BWV 541, 615, 695, 727) for the 317th anniversary of Bach’s birth. Alexander Silbiger’s ABS 1998 paper “Bach and the Chaconne” was recently published in Journal of Musicology 17 (1999): 358–85. George B. Stauffer will be heading a symposium Re-imagining Bach for the 21st Century on April 4, 2003, as part of the Spring 2003 Bach Variations festival at Lincoln Center, New York.

Riemenschneider Bach Institute Fellowships

The Riemenschneider Bach Institute announces the winners of the 2002–03 Martha Goldsworthy Arnold Fellowship. The recipients are Federico Celestini (Graz University, Austria), for a proposal to examine Bach’s Italian Concerto in the context of the convergence of different stylistic traditions and their synthesis in the music of Bach; and Yo Tomita (Queen’s University, Belfast), for a proposal to continue his work on developing a new theory regarding the reception history of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2.

New Video Documentary

MOSAIC, the video magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is producing a 30-minute video documentary J. S. Bach, A Lutheran Treasure. The video will be released on December 1, 2002.

The video will focus on the relationship between Bach’s faith and work. “Many people don’t know who Bach was,” said producer Tim Frakes. “We want to introduce, or re-introduce J. S. Bach and his music to an entirely new generation of Christians in America who may not be familiar with the rich musical heritage that exists in the body of work J. S. Bach left for future generations.”

“Today we think secular and sacred music are different, like fire and water. . .” says Christoph Wolff in an excerpt from his interview for the program. “For Bach, the music was alike—whether it was made to praise the king of Poland or praise the King of Heaven.”

The video features original footage shot on location in Eisenach, Ohrdruf, Weimar, Cöthen, Mühlhausen, and Leipzig. Frakes says that, while the video was produced with a Lutheran audience in mind, it will have much wider appeal and is appropriate for anyone with an interest in Bach, or in religious or classical music.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church represents 11,000 congregations in the U.S. and the Caribbean. MOSAIC is a documentary video series distributed nationally on VHS videotape to subscribing congregations on a quarterly basis. Info: 800-638-3522 (x-6009 or 2962),,

Leipzig Bach Archive

The Leipzig Bach Archive has received substantial news coverage through the German Press Agency in connection with its recent initiatives toward greater public access. Established in 1950 to collect, preserve, and register documentary and literary material on Bach and his family, it is located in the Bose House, just across from the St. Thomas Church. The research institute library is second only to the Berlin Staatsbibliothek in the extent of its holdings of original Bach sources, which currently comprise some 7,300 books, 8,300 printed scores, 4,115 sound recordings, 500 graphic sheets, and 91,500 photocopies of Bach source materials, as well as special collections of Bach manuscripts and prints.

The Bach Archive is a repository for public information as well as scientific work, a major venue for over 50 concerts a year, and organizer for the biennial International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition for young musicians and (since 1999) the annual Leipzig Bach Festival.

In his role as director, Christoph Wolff has sought to establish the Bach Archive as a pre-eminent fixture in Leipzig cultural life, as a focal point for international Bach research, and as a full participant in bibliographic data-sharing worldwide, through newly-implemented computer applications.

“The groundwork has been laid for a better and more versatile presence on the net. Internet programs are being set up for the research, library, and museum departments. . . . The long-term target is Internet access to the library catalogs,” Wolff stated in remarks to the press distributed in July.

The Bach Archive also bears primary responsibilities in the promulgation of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, Bach-Jahrbuch, Leipziger Beiträge zur Bach-Forschung, Bach-Dokumente, Bach Compendium, and Bach-Repertorium, as well as for the complete editions of the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.

Contrary to popular perception, official city and state funding does not enable the Bach Archive to pursue its purposes and goals to the extent desired. For this reason, a charitable circle of friends has been providing financial support since June 2001. For further information, visit the Bach Archive website at

Passion, Affekt, und Leidenschaft

“Suffering, Emotion, and Passion in the Early Modern Period” is a conference to be held at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, April 2–5, 2003, in conjunction with the 11th triannual meeting of the Wolfenbütteler Arbeitskreises für Barockforschung. The conference chair is Johann Anselm Steiger (Hamburg).

The conference aims to engage scholars in cultural and literary history, historical theology, music history, medical history, art history, and the history of science, in interdisciplinary discussion on the connections between suffering, emotion, and passion, with a major emphasis on the Passion Jesu Christi. Four paper sessions have been scheduled: Suffering, Emotion, and Passion in (1) theology, sermons, rhetoric, devotions and sacred poetry, (2) the musical Passion tradition of the baroque, (3) theatre, opera, ballet, and festival culture, and (4) the passions as they intersect between culture and inner experience. To be considered are the common and specific features of the arousal of affectus fidei (compassion/grief, hope/joy, etc.) within the multimedia characteristic of the era, that is, through the medium of language, rhetoric, homiletics, and poetic strategies, as well as in the use of new methods of hermeneutics in music.

Also to be discussed is the stimulation of emotions and the role of passion in the pictorial media, in art, in school and court drama, and opera, broadening the scope to a European dimension including French and Italian sources and their intercultural influences. Beyond this, the conference will highlight the philosophical, aesthetic, medical, and scientific treatment of the topic of emotion and passion. How, for example, did science and the arts react to signs of changes in modes of expression of emotions? How were the physiology of the emotions and the interaction between the senses and the brain described in the early modern physiology of the senses and in early theories of sense perception? What gender attributions were employed? On what anthropological, philosophical, and medical premises are early modern theories of style, art, and music based?

Despite the diversity of its many aspects, the aim of the conference is to focus on unknown or little-used sources, and to encourage innovative aspects of inquiry that will forge transdisciplinary links in the study of baroque culture, and that will highlight both its many perspectives and its international nature.

Further information is available from Dr. Jill Bepler, Geschäftsstelle des Wolfenbütteler Arbeitskreises für Barockforschung, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Postfach 1364, D-38299 Wolfenbüttel, Germany (

The complete program can be accessed at

William H. Scheide Prize

The William H. Scheide Prize is awarded every two years to honor a publication of exceptional merit by a member of the Society on Bach or figures in his circle. It is named for William Scheide, who is both the donor of the award and a significant contributor to Bach research himself.

In the wake of the Bach year in 2000, this year’s committee—consisting of Jeanne Swack, Michael Marissen, and Daniel R. Melamed—had a rich field from which to choose. We are grateful for the nominations we received, including self-nominations from authors who were justifiably proud of their writings on Bach.

From among the books, articles, and editions that appeared in 2000 and 2001, the committee settled on one study of particular merit. Like so much of the best work in recent Bach studies, the book we chose is not just about Bach, but seeks to place him and his music in context.

In particular, the study we honor takes the musical type perhaps most closely associated with Bach and traces two centuries of writing and theorizing about it. Stretching back to the Renaissance and the age of Josquin, in this book the author explores writings on fugue as a discipline and a musical type.

For its command of writings extending over several centuries and for the light it casts on J. S. Bach’s cultivation of the fugue, the American Bach Society is pleased to present the Scheide Prize for 2002 to Paul M. Walker for Theories of fugue from the age of Josquin to the age of Bach, Eastman Studies in Music 13 (Rochester, 2000).

William H. Scheide Research Grant

The William H. Scheide Research Grant, a stipend ordinarily ranging from $500 to $4000 will be awarded to one or more recipients in 2003 to support research projects on Bach or figures in his circle. If you have a project that could benefit from a grant, please look for details here; if you have questions, please write to .

Membership Gift for 2002

The membership gift for 2002 will be a copy of Bach Perspectives 5: Bach in America, edited by Stephen Crist, published by the University of Illinois Press. Members who were not at the Houston meeting may be surprised at the change of publisher. Toward the end of last year it became clear that the University Press of Nebraska would not be able to publish Bach Perspectives 5 until the middle of 2003 at the earliest. The Editorial and Advisory Boards considered the prospect at their meetings held during the Atlanta American Musicological Society in November. It was decided that we should look for another publisher. While we were very appreciative of the University of Nebraska for working with us in creating Bach Perspectives, especially for the quality product in terms of design and format, it was important for ABS to secure regular publication of future volumes in the series.

Discussions were held with possible publishers during and following the Atlanta AMS meeting. Willis Regier of the University of Illinois Press made a strong argument that his press should take over the publication of the series, and expressed the view that there was a good possibility that Bach Perspectives 5 could be published by this year’s AMS meeting at the end of October. Negotiations continued and, in December, University of Illinois Press formally accepted the series into their catalog. At this point the agreement with University of Nebraska Press was terminated—with goodwill on both sides—and a new general contract was drawn up.

Stephen Crist, the editor of BP 5, is to congratulated on the extra editorial work he had to undertake—such as securing permissions for the different publisher—and also the contributors who speedily attended to various matters made necessary by the change in publisher. The editorial deadlines were met but pressure at the press has meant that the hoped-for publication date of the end of October will not be achieved. However, the delay should only be a month and copies should be sent out to members by early December. Although the delay is a little frustrating the volume is well worth waiting for. It continues the high standard of scholarship established in the previous volumes and contains some groundbreaking studies of Bach reception in America. Our thanks go to Willis Regier of the University of Illinois Press, Stephen Crist, the editor of BP 5, together with the contributors to the volume, who made it possible for BP 5 to be published in 2002 rather than later in 2003. BP 6 is currently being assembled—much of it already written—by its editor, Gregory Butler, and we are on track for publication in the first half of 2004.

Robin A. Leaver

Bach Festivals

    Listed here.

CD Review

Bach at Naumburg. Robert Clark, organist. Calcante Recordings, Ltd., CAL CD041. (Available from or Calcante Recordings, Ltd., 209 Eastern Heights Drive, Ithaca NY 14850.)

Regarding Zacharias Hildebrandt’s organ in the Wenzelskirche at Naumburg, organist-scholar Jacob Adlung, writing in 1758, said “This is one of the best organs I have ever heard.” (Anleitung zu der musikalischen Gelahrtheit, p. 522.) Anyone listening to Robert Clark’s splendid new recording is bound to agree.

Although the organs played by Bach in his regular positions are no longer extant and might well not have represented his ideals, the Naumburg organ is one he is known to have played and admired. It is generally agreed today to be the best instrument for the performance of the Bach organ works. The council of this city, about 30 miles southwest of Leipzig, asked Bach and Gottfried Silbermann to examine it; their report of September 27, 1746 is completely favorable. Even though significant mechanical and tonal modifications occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries, this organ survived essentially intactóa testament to the quality of its construction. The church was spared from the Allied bombing during World War II and, after the reunification of East and West Germany, a complete restoration by the Hermann Eule firm of Bautzen commenced in 1993. The $2.5 million job was completed when the instrument was rededicated in December 2000, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the death of Bach.

The three-manual organ of 52 stops exhibits many of the characteristics of organ design Bach is thought to have embraced. Each division is distinguished by the scaling of the principal choruses, rather than by Werkprinzip placement. Each manual division has a 16-foot stop as well as several 8-foot stops, and there is a 32 in the pedal division. There are both flute and string registers at unison and octave pitches. The Rückpositiv is larger and more complete than was typical of Central German organs of the 18th century. Perhaps the most unusual feature is the presence of an Unda maris, a celeste stop more frequently associated with the 20th century.

This two-CD set, the first made on the restored organ, contains a cornucopia of Bach organ works: 17 chorale settings (representing the “Great 18,” Clavierübung III, the Neumeister collection, miscellaneous pieces, and the partita Sei gegrüsset), the D-minor Concerto after Vivaldi (BWV 596), the “Dorian” Toccata and Fugue (BWV 538), and the Preludes and Fugues in C major (BWV 545), B minor (BWV 544), and E minor (“Wedge,” BWV 548). Together they comprise a representative cross-section of the composer’s forms and styles from youth to maturity.

Robert Clark, formerly of the organ faculty at the University of Michigan, and now recently retired from Arizona State University, is well-known as a recitalist, teacher, and scholar (a definitive performing edition of the Orgelbüchlein). All the appropriate considerations of performance practiceófingering, articulation, ornament- ation, tempo, registration, etc.óhave obviously been taken into consideration for this recording, but the essence of the performance is the inherent musical quality of each piece: aural beauty precedes scholarship. Each example of Mr. Clark’s elegant playing seems more beautiful than the last, so it is difficult to single out particular renditions. However, the Allein Gott (BWV 676) and Ach Gott und Herr (BWV 714) with celeste reminiscent of an Italian elevation toccata are worthy of special mention, as is the Schmücke dich (BWV 654) with its cantus firmus played on the 8-foot Rohrflöte and Quintadehn of the Rückpositiv. The three settings of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 659–661) make an exquisite set, with the trio texture of the second being remarkably transparent. The tenor cantus firmus of An Wasserflüssen Babylon (BWV 653) on the combined Oberwerk Principal and Vox humana is noteworthy. Among the large ensemble sonorities, the last variation of Sei gegrüsset is surely one of the grandest examples of recorded organ sound. Grandeur and gravity are also evident in the Prelude and Fugue in C major, and the addition of the 32-foot Pedal Contra Posaune at the conclusion of the B-minor and E-minor Fugues is thrilling. The place of honor probably should go to the Prelude and Fugue in E minor (BWV 548), the last work on the recording and possibly the composer’s last in this form. The chromatic fugue subject is enhanced by the mildly unequal temperament of the organ. However, to this reviewer, the most remarkable overall qualities of the recording are the beauty of the individual stops and the splendor of the ensembles.

The recording is flawless from a technical standpoint, neither too close nor too distant, allowing the listener to be transported to the nave of the church. The 32-page program booklet contains excellent commentaries on the organ and the music by Quentin Faulkner and Robert Clark, the registrations used in the recording, and the organ specifications. The covers sport handsome color photographs of the case and console.

Those wishing to read more about the organ are referred to two articles in The American Organist, February 2002: “Naumburg Restored!” by Quentin Faulkner (pp. 67–68) and “Discovering Bach and Hildebrandt in Naumburg,” Douglas Reed, compiler and editor (pp. 68–72).

In the fall of 2002, Mr. Clark’s closing comments resonate: “For many of us, the tragic events of September 11, 2001, in the United States have brought us back to the music of Bach as a towering witness of what is lasting and eternal in times of anguish.”

Arthur Lawrence

Book Review

Jane R. Stevens. The Bach Family and the Keyboard Concerto: Evolution of a Genre. Detroit Monographs in Musicology, No. 31. (Warren MI: Harmonie Park Press, 2001). xviii + 169 pp.

Jane Stevens’s latest study of the keyboard concerto in the 18th century is a closely focused examination of the genre in the hands of J. S. Bach and his sons Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christian. Johann Christoph Friedrich, who composed five solo keyboard concertos, is excluded, since his works, derivative of Johann Christian’s concertos, “do not contribute in any significant way to the mid-18th-century developments that form the central focus of this study.” [xvi]

There is a thorough, wide-ranging bibliography, a text thick with citations, and footnotes that are rich in provocative sub-argument as well as concise summaries of secondary sources. The most recent items included date from the mid-1990’s; excluded are such relevant sources as Konrad Kuster’s Bach-Handbuch (1999), the Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach (1999), and Werner Brieg’s edition of BWV 1052–59 (NBA VII/4, 1999). The valuable introduction contains a high-level consideration of the concerto genre in the 18th century. Her preliminary discussion concludes with a provocative exploration of how contemporary 18th-century listeners may have understood the genre.

The chief value of the volume is to be found in the detailed, well-informed surveys of each composer’s output of keyboard concertos, with detailed summaries of source problems, chronology, and compositional processes and procedures. Each work considered is diagrammed and closely analyzed; the analyses draw upon one another freely. What emerges is a well-articulated, taxonomical overview of works that lie at the core of the North German concerto tradition, together with Stevens’s detailed account of how these works fit within the solo keyboard concerto genre in its early stages.

Since Johann Sebastian is commonly understood to have “invented” the genre of the keyboard concerto, Stevens begins her consideration of his concertos by confronting questions about the repertory itself. She challenges commonly-held conceptions of the genre within his oeuvre, showing why the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto (BWV 1050)—often considered the first solo keyboard concerto because of the elaborate cadenza at the first movement’s closeóin fact falls outside the parameters of the genre:

The Fifth Brandenburg Concerto has particular significance as Bach’s initial attempt to give a solo role in a concerto to the harpsichord, yet without expecting it to fulfill that role all alone. It thus establishes an important precedent for a prominent, virtuoso keyboard part; but it lacks elements that would be essential to the new genre of the solo keyboard concerto. [22–23]

More significantly, she contends that our understanding of Bach’s solo keyboard concertos should not begin with the transcriptions of his own works for other instruments at Leipzig, but with his much earlier transcriptions of concertos by Vivaldi and others at Weimar for unaccompanied solo keyboard. She maintains that, whether transcribed from a string piece or newly composed, the concerto for unaccompanied keyboard preceded the concerto for cembalo with accompaniment, “both in Bach’s oeuvre and in German musical life.” [32] Indeed, she hints at a forthcoming reappraisal of P234—the holograph source of the seven solo harpsichord concertos BWV1052–59—suggesting that some of these works may have originated as unaccompanied concertos:

If [unaccompanied concertos] were actually the predecessors of the concertos [Bach] copied out in the late 1730’s . . . many elements of the pieces we have received, and of later solo keyboard concertos, would be more easily explained. Sebastian Bach’s keyboard concertos . . . are most importantly pieces for the keyboard solo, which plays the principal role and usually projects in its own part the alternation of tutti and solo sections. [62-63]

Although she refers to Bach’s Italian Concerto as well as his transcriptions of Vivaldi concertos for organ and/or solo harpsichord, Stevens excludes from her study the preludes to the English Suitesóworks that certainly would have enriched her discussion.

Stevens provides a good survey of the obscure and highly idiosyncratic concertos of Friedemann Bach, none of which were widely disseminated; there is no evidence of their influence on other composers. Even as she demonstrates the strong continuities these works share with his father’s concertos, she concludes that “the formal rationale of his concerto movements is essentially different . . . conforming instead to modern Italian practices.” Her sensitive critique concludes that, even as they fail to project clear and coherent large scale schemes, Friedemann’s concertos excel in a “special kind of expressivity, a skillful fondness for the small-scale gesture that seizes the listener’s attention at a single moment and pulls at his feelings,” a technique Stevens also finds in the works of Tartini.

Two chapters are devoted to the keyboard concertos of C. P. E Bach, the dominant figure in the North German school. The first treats works composed at Berlin until 1755, when Christian Bach left his older brother’s household for Italy. The 32 concertos are examined in an extensive and detailed discussion that considers shifting relations between solo and tutti, and development of formal structures, and contrasts Emanuel’s concertos of the period with his published solo sonatas. The second chapter follows an intervening chapter on Christian’s concertos; briefer and not as wide-ranging, Emanuel’s second chapter considers his concertos in Berlin from 1755 until his departure in 1767, together with his keyboard concertos composed at Hamburg until his death in 1788.

It may be that Stevens decided on this separation in order to juxtapose her discussion of Christian’s period of study with his older brother with Emanuel’s own work during that period. The somewhat awkward result is that the last six of the Berlin concertos are lumped in with the Hamburg worksóeven as Stevens takes pains to show how different the cosmopolitan Hamburg milieu was from the stifling atmosphere of the Prussian court.

Stevens’s discussion of Johann Christian’s concertos is composed of three sections: the five-year period of study with his brother Carl; his seven-year sojourn in Italy, and the sets of concertos published in London. Her valuable discussion on the Italian sojourn refines our understanding of how that experience affected his later musical style. Although little music from Christian’s five-year stay in Italy survives, it has become commonplace to describe the later style as “the product of a vague ëItalian experience.’” [182] She admits that the six Opus 1 concertos, published in London in 1763, “reveal few traces of his earlier keyboard manner” [183]ówhile six years earlier, after his first year in Italy, an Italian musician characterized his compositions as Northern, “and more Prussian than Saxon.” But Stevens finds that, even in Berlin, Christian had shown a “taste for harmonic simplicity and a smooth underlying movement of both melody and bass,” a taste she contends he needed to “reduce and conceal” in mastering his brother’s expressive manner. The changes in style that became evident after the Italian sojourn may have been “simply the result of the absence of a milieu dominated by a taste that he did not essentially share.”

The set-by-set commentary on the concertos traces a gradual evolution in the scale of performances together with increasing formal clarity, the slowing and regularizing of harmonic rhythm and phrase structure and, in the final set, the incorporation of galant and symphonic styles. Here, despite the “musical diffidence of Christian’s solo keyboard part”, Stevens finds the cardinal virtue of Christian’s concertos:

Unlike Emanuel’s solo, which nearly always established some sort of distinct identity for itself separate from the tutti, Christian’s solo part avoided disruptive conflicts of any kind. . . . While gaining a more smoothly directed continuity, the composer thereby lost a source of musical diversity that was one of Emanuel’s most important expressive resources. The youngest Bach achieved his own kind of expressive diversityónot by emphasizing separate roles for different members of the ensemble, but by incorporating quite radically different sorts of thematic materials into a single, continuous musical line unified and made coherent by a simple and cogent underlying harmonic progression. [211]

Although his name does not appear in the title, the keyboard concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are a significant and somewhat problematic presence in this volume. The question of how the Bach family concertos may have influenced the work of Mozart is a vexed one for Stevens. She raises the matter forcefully in the preface, where she takes issue with the commonly held notion of Mozart’s “transformation” of the genre (under the presumed influence of operatic aria composition), arguing instead for a “continuous, albeit changing identity of genre” in the solo keyboard concertos of the Bach family and the piano concertos of Mozart. However, she prefers to “avoid the teleological undercurrent so common in studies of so-called ëpre-classical’ music”óand hence leaves such questions largely unexplored:

If we are to speculate on how Mozart himself might have understood them on first encounter, and how he might have used or transformed what he found there, we must first focus on them clearly in their own right. [4]

Compounding these questions of her study’s proper focus are the huge problems in our current knowledge of Mozart’s compositional milieuóparticularly with respect to the piano concertos.

In an afterword that serves as the study’s conclusion, Stevens briefly explores links between Mozart’s piano concerti and those of Christian and Emanuel Bach. In particular, she finds commonalities between concertos published by Christian Bach in his opp. 7 and 13, and Mozart’s concertos K. 413–15. She finds connection to the works of J. C. Bach not only in Mozart’s quotation of a theme from one of Christian’s London overtures, but by the flexible scoring of the concertos (oboes and horns could be omitted; string accompaniments could be played without doubling the four parts) and the fact that the Mozart concertos are intended for an audience that included the “nicht-kenner” (non-connoisseurs).

After the somewhat anomalous K. 413–15, Mozart turned to a first-movement plan with greater independence of solo and tutti. Remarkably, the concertos Mozart wrote before moving to Vienna belong to a different generic traditionóa German one, represented by Emanuel Bach. Further, Stevens cites a recent study by Christoph Wolff, “Uber kompositionsgeschichtlichen Ort und Auffuhrungspraxis Mozarts,” in Mozart-Jahrbuch 1986, that establishes similarities between Mozart’s concerti of 1784–86 for large theatrical orchestra, especially in combining a symphonic style with the chamber style he had used in K. 413–15.

These would appear to be valuable considerations, and one senses that Stevens felt reluctant to explore them and similar veins more fully because of our lack of knowledge about the specific mechanics of style association between North and South German/Austrian traditions. This seems unfortunate. One hopes that Stevens will find the courage to venture a more detailed and wide-ranging assessment, even if some of her conclusions may eventually be qualified by future research.

James A. Brokaw, II

Naumburg organ conference

Naumburg Organ Conference, August 12–16, 2002

At the Wenzelskirche in Naumburg, Germany, stands an organ of 53 stops, built in 1743–46 by Gottfried Silbermann’s master pupil Zacharias Hildebrandt, an organ:

  • whose builder was Bach’s close friend and collaborator.

  • for which Bach acted as the consultant and (with Gottfried Silbermann) an examiner.

  • that was praised by musicians in Bach’s circle.

  • that embodies a host of style traits clearly stemming from Bach’s own preferences.

  • that, as of December 2000, stands restored to its original 1746 condition.

What better reason could there have been for over 100 participants to gather in Naumburg for a week (Monday, August 12 thru Friday, August 16, 2002) to investigate what this organ could tell them about the performance of Bach’s organ music?

Eighteenth-century sources are uniform in their praise of the organ:

“Every part specified and promised by the contract . . . is really there; likewise each and every part has been made with care, and the pipes are honestly delivered in the material specified; nor should it remain unmentioned that an extra bellows and a stop named Unda maris, not mentioned in the contract, have been provided.” (J. S. Bach and Gottfried Silbermann, report on the Naumburg organ, September 27, 1746, trans. Bach Reader [Norton, 1998], 222)

“Not a single person who has ever seen and heard this organ has left without expressing admiration.” (J. C. Altnickol, J. S. Bach’s student and son-in-law, and Wenzelskirche organist, 1748–59)

“It is a successful instrument, whose beautiful tone can scarcely find an equal.” (Jacob Adlung, Musica mechanica organoedi [Erfurt, 1768], 264)

The firm of Hermann Eule, Bautzen, Germany, has achieved a masterful restoration, whose authenticity is credible in no small measure because of the organ’s remarkable impact on the modern listener. It was therefore the intent of the conference to allow the instrument itself to be the master teacher. Accordingly, the six hours of masterclasses dealt primarily not with performance practice, but with registration. Present and former students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln prepared works to perform for the masterclasses—some plenum pieces, but mostly chorale settings, sets of variations, trios, and smaller-scale free works that permitted a wide variety of registrations. The conference leaders—George Ritchie and Quentin Faulkner (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Robert Clark (Arizona State University)—proposed initial registrations but then solicited suggestions from conference participants. The availability of the church’s fine sound system (a necessity, given the Wenzelkirche’s four to five seconds of reverberation) allowed the leaders to position themselves both near the organ in the third gallery, as well as on the floor in the nave, near the participants.

Participants were provided with a number of primary sources in English translation, sources that comment on registration procedures or that shed light on the use of particular stops and stop combinations. These sources included:

  • J. F. Agricola’s review of the “Sammlung einiger Nachrichten” found in F. W. Marpurg’s Historisch-Kritische Beyträge (1758), Vol. 3, Pt. 6, pp. 486–518

  • Selected passages from Jacob Adlung’s Musica mechanica organoedi (1768), pp. 160 ff.

  • Registrations provided by G. F. Kauffmann in his Harmonische Seelenlust (1733–36)

  • Remarks on registration provided by J. F. Walther in Die in der Königl. Garnisonkirche zu Berlin befindliche neue Orgel (1726)

  • Stoplists of historic organs pertinent to the study of registering Bach’s organ works: Naumburg, Eisenach, Altenburg, Walthershausen, Merseburg Cathedral, as well as commentary on the history of the Hildebrandt organ and its unique status as an instrument that reflects Bach’s ideas on organ building and design.

Three recitals and five lectures helped to broaden participants’ experience and understanding of the Hildebrandt organ. George Ritchie performed the Magnificat Fugue, Prelude and Fugue in A minor, and various chorale settings on Monday evening, Robert. Clark played selections from Clavierübung III on Tuesday evening, and student participants performed on Thursday evening. Christoph Wolff (Harvard University), Director of the Leipzig Bach Archive, presented two lectures, “Naumburg, Altenburg, and the Wider Landscape of Bach’s Organs” (Wednesday morning), and “From Eisenach to Leipzig: Reflections on Bach’s World and Experiences” (Friday morning). Pfarrin Edelgard Mallon, from the staff of the Wenzelskirche, eloquently described the history of the church and unfolded the theological meaning of its architecture and art. Quentin Faulkner explained the significance of G. F. Kauffmann’s Harmonische Seelenlust, and then performed 14 of the chorale settings from that collection whose registrations could be reproduced on the Hildebrandt organ. Finally, Helmut Werner, of the firm of Hermann Eule, described (with the help of many slides) the extensive research and painstaking work involved in restoring the organ.

For purposes of comparison, participants visited a number of other historic organs, in Altenburg (Trost, 1739), Arnstadt (Wender, 1703; reconstructed by Hoffmann in 2000), Waltershausen (Trost, 1723 ff.), Rötha (two Silbermann organs, 1721 and 1722), and Störmtal (Hildebrandt, 1723). Other organs were heard in Weissenfels (Ladegast, 1864), Naumburg (Maria Magdelenen Kirche, Ladegast, 1869), Leipzig (Thomaskirche, Sauer, 1889/1908, and Woehl, 2000), Pommsen (late-16th-century organ), and the Berlin Cathedral (Sauer, 1904).

The organ conference concluded with a panel discussion, an opportunity for participants to ask questions and to share impressions of the week’s experiences. Part of that discussion was given over to an attempt to form a composite description of the unique tonal characteristics of the Hildebrandt organ. The instrument is ideally located, high up in a large room with excellent acoustics. It features a plethora of 8- and 4-foot stops of distinctive and markedly contrasting timbres, but surprisingly, of relatively equal volume. The Rückpositiv’s Quintadehn 8, for example, is louder than either its Principal 8 or Viol di Gambe 8 (which are of approximately equal intensity); the fourth 8-foot stop, the Rohr-Floete, is only slightly softer. The mixtures are large and—especially in the case of the Oberwerk Scharff—quite high, but in no way aggressive. The Hauptwerk Bombart 16 and Trompete 8 are gentle in speech and not markedly louder than the Principals; the same can be said of the Pedal Posaune 32. Thus, almost any stop can be combined with any other, and will contribute its particular color to the whole. The resulting number of possible combinations and registrational colors is therefore practically endless, and every combination of stops produces a pleasing and interesting sound. The plenum accordingly gives an impression of exceeding grandeur and uncommon richness, but without a hint of oppressive loudness. No single stop can be distinguished within the plenum sound, not even the mixtures or the Posaune 32. The markedly different scaling of the three sets of principals (Hauptwerk grand and full, Rückpositiv keen and penetrating, Oberwerk delicate) is quite evident; indeed the Rückpositiv principals have a singular initial speech, not unlike 18th-century string stops such as the Viol di Gambe—a speech that 18th-century authors liken to the stroke of a bow on a stringed instrument—that renders them exceedingly clear and present in the room. The notable pairing of 8 and 4-foot stops (Rückpositiv Rohr-Floete 8 and 4, Viol di Gambe/Fugara 8 and 4; Hauptwerk Spitz-Floete 8 and 4), an innovation perhaps favored by J. S. Bach himself, produces contrasting flute ensembles on each manual.

There is a wealth of 16-foot manual stops: Principal, Quintadehn, and Bombart on the Hauptwerk; Fagott on the Rückpositiv; Bordun on the Oberwerk—and the presence of a 5 1/3-foot rank in the highest octave of the Hauptwerk Mixtur renders the use of 16-foot manual tone indispensable in the plenum. Furthermore, the 16-foot stops are very clear, and can be used alone to superb effect. Irene Greulich, Wenzelskirche organist, performed beautifully the opening movement of Mendelssohn’s Sonata II on the three 16-foot Hauptwerk stops alone, to the general astonishment of all present. The presence of seven large bellows provides ample and stable wind for even the fullest registrations. The Rückpositiv Fagott 16 is full yet gentle, possessing considerable fundamental tone, yet not dull. This stop was an innovation in organs of the early 18th century, and parallels the introduction of bassoons into choral and orchestral works; primary sources recommend it for the performance of the basso continuo.

This report cannot end without acknowledging the cooperation and hospitality of Irene Greulich, Wenzelskirche organist for over 25 years. It was she who presided over the Hildebrandt organ’s restoration, who patiently endured its absence for six years as the work was accomplished, and who so graciously and hospitably welcomed us (among a steady stream of other visitors) to experience the splendor of the instrument reborn. Her cooperation in and enthusiasm for the organ conference from its inception assured the hearty welcome the conference received from both city and church officials alike, as well as from the populus of the city of Naumburg.

Quentin Faulkner and George Ritchie

© 2002 by The American Bach Society.
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