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FACULTY

of MUSIC

&

UNIVERSITY

OF TORONTO

Presented to the

Faculty of Music Library

by

Arthur Plettner

and

Isa Mcllwraith

Jn

Kr\

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

HIS WORK AND INFLUENCE ON THE

MUSIC OF GERMANY, 1685-1750

BY

PHILIPP SPITTA

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY

CLARA BELL J. A. FULLER MAITLAND

AND

IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. II.

LONDON : NOVELLO AND COMPANY, LIMITED

NEW YORK : THE H. W. GRAY CO., SOLE AGENTS FOR THE U.S.A.

1899

MADE IN ENGLAND

/ERSITY OF TORONTO

CUL7Y OF MUSIC UBf

7322k

CONTENTS.

BOOK IV.

CbTHEN, 1717-1723.

  • I. ARRIVAL AT COTHEN. DEATH OF BACH'S FIRST WIFE AND

JOURNEY TO HAMBURG IN 1720.

REINKEN.

BACH AND

HANDEL AS ORGAN-PLAYERS...............

II.

BACH'S CLAVIER Music.

TOCCATAS.

His REFORM IN

FINGERING. ADJUSTMENT OF PITCH. INVENTION OF THE

 

PIANOFORTE.

BACH AS A TEACHER.

THE CLAVIER-

 

BUCHLEIN. INVENTIONEN UNO SINFONIEN

......

III.

BACH

AS

A VIOLINIST.

THE SUITE AND THE

SONATA.

WORKS FOR VIOLIN, VIOLONCELLO, FLUTE, &c.......

IV.

BACH'S SECOND MARRIAGE.

CHANGE OF POSTS.

THE

FRENCH SUITES. THE WOHLTEMPERIRTE CLAVIER ...

BOOK V.

30

68

146

LEIPZIG, 1723-1734.

  • I. BACH'S APPOINTMENT AND INSTALLATION AS CANTOR AT

LEIPZIG .........

-

..

............

II. THE THOMASSCHULE.

DUTIES OF THE CANTOR.

STATE

III.

OF Music IN

LEIPZIG..................

BACH'S OFFICIAL DUTIES AS CANTOR, His DISPUTE WITH

181

189

THE TOWN COUNCIL, AND ENDEAVOURS TO IMPROVE THE

IV.

CONDITION OF THE Music.

His LETTER TO ERDMANN.

GESNER'S APPOINTMENT AS RECTOR OF THE SCHOOL ...

213

THE PLAN AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE CHURCH SERVICES

IN LEIPZIG.

Music USED IN

IT;

THE ORGANS AND

BACH'S TREATMENT OF ACCOMPANIMENTS. DIFFICULTIES

OF PITCH AND TUNE ..................

263

  • V. KUHNAU. THE CHURCH CANTATA. TEXTS BY NEUMEISTER

AND PlCANDER. COMPARISON OF THEIR MERITS. BACH'S

CHURCH CANTATAS.

THE "

MAGNIFICAT" .........

VI. BACH'S CANTATAS (CONTINUED) ...............

VII.

PASSION Music BEFORE BACH.

THE ST. JOHN

PASSION.

THE ST. MATTHEW PASSION ...............

332

437

477

VIII. BACH'S COMPOSITIONS FOR CHRISTMAS, EASTER, AND ASCEN-

SION ....................

...

IX. BACH'S MOTETTS

.....................

  • X. "OCCASIONAL" COMPOSITIONS

...............

APPENDIX (A, TO VOL. II.)

..................

570

594

612

649

-

BOOK IV.

COTHEN, 17171723.

BOOK IV.

COTHEN, 17171723.

I.

ARRIVAL AT COTHEN.

DEATH OF BACH*S FIRST WIFE AND

JOURNEY TO HAMBURG IN 1720.

REINKEN. BACH AND

HANDEL AS ORGAN-PLAYERS. LEOPOLD of Anhalt-Cothen was born Novem-

PRINCE

ber

2,

1694 ; and, at the time when he invited Bach to

his court, was at the end of his twenty-third or the beginning of his twenty-fourth year. He had entered into possession

of his little dominions on the last day of the year 1715 ; and a few weeks later a marriage was solemnised between his

sister and Prince Ernst August of Sax- Weimar, in the

royal

castle of Nienburg, on the Saale.

This was the

dower-house of his mother, Gisela Agnes, an active, ener-

getic,

and prudent woman,

who

had governed

during

Leopold's minority, and had given a careful education to

the boy whom death had deprived of his father when he

was ten years old. "

Leopold had been for some time at the

Ritter Akademie" at Berlin, to which at that time many

young princes were attracted by its celebrity.

Then, in

October, 1710, he had set out on the usual grand tour

first

to Holland and England, and then through Germany to

Italy; and in the spring of 1713 he had returned, by Vienna,

to Cothen.

His conspicuous musical tastes and talents had

been promoted and cultivated, particularly during his stay in

Italy.

house.

In Venice he was assiduous in visiting the opera- In Rome he attracted to himself the German com-

poser Johann David Heinichen, and under his guidance he

became familiar with the promised land of music. 1

The

1 Gerber, N. L., II., col. 615, according to Killer, Wochentliche Nachrichten,

I., p. 213.

But Heinichen must have been in Rome first and afterwards in

Venice. From a very slight sketch of his travels we gather that Prince Leopold

was in Rome from March 2 till June 6, 1712, and then turned towards Vienna

by Florence.

Heinichen must have accompanied him part of the way, and

have remained behind in Venice, where he composed two operas in 1713. The manuscript of the diary of his journey is in the Castle Library at Cothen.

2

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.

famous organ in Santa Maria Maggiore, at Trient

where

Handel had carried away his audience by his masterly play-

ing a few years previously

2

may have been played upon

before the music-loving Prince on Sundays, during the ser-

vice.

He also showed an

"

admired Michael Angelo's

intelligent taste for pictures,

Moses," and had a number of

masterpieces copied for him in the galleries of Rome.

He

had, indeed, a frank and independent nature, alive to every

impression ; his information was general and sound ; and,

at a later period, he laid the foundation of the library of the

castle at Cothen. 3

His open countenance

with a high brow and large clear

eyes, and its setting, contrary to the fashion of the time, of

long, naturally waving hair has a most winning expression of

youthful freshness, and an unmistakable trace of his artistic bent. Of this Prince's deeds as a ruler there is little to be

told ; but that little corresponds to the promise of the face.

The court was of the Reformed Church, as also was a

large

part of the population. His predecessor, Emanuel Leberecht,

had granted to the Lutherans the free and public exercise of

their religious observances, probably under the influence of

his wife, who was of that confession.

had

been built

in

1699 ;

and, in

A Lutheran church

1711,

Gisela Agnes

founded a Lutheran home and school for women and girls.

One of Leopold's first enactments was not merely to con-

firm, but

to

increase, the

liberty granted

by

his father,

" because it was the greatest blessing when the subjects in

a country were protected in their freedom of conscience."

The results were visible in the happy and flourishing con-

dition of the little capital and of the whole province.

The court was held on a small and modest scale ; it had

never possessed a theatre, and the Reformed services did not

encourage music.

service

in

either

Bach had nothing to do with the organ

of

the

three

churches in

the

town.

Christian Ernst Rolle was Organist in the Lutheran church,

1

Chrysander, Handel, I., p. 229. 8 Job. Christoph Krausen, Fortsetzung der Bertramischen Geschichte des

Hauses in Ftirstenthums Anhalt, Part II., p. 672 (Halle, 1782). Handbuch der Anhaltischen Geschichte, p. 279 (Dessau, 1820).

Stenzel,

CHAMBER MUSIC AT COTHEN.

3

and Joh. Jakob M tiller held that post in the principal Reformed

church until I73i. 4

He probably also undertook to serve

the castle organ.

It was the same here, no doubt, as at

Arnstadt. Its small dimensions and compass would scarcely

fit it for any use but that of playing chorales; and this

amply sufficed for the requirements of the reformed service.

The two manuals had together ten stops ; the pedal had

three. 5

Though, even in cases where Bach gives at full

length the titles he bore at that time, he never calls himself

"

Hoforganist," it need not be inferred that he never played

on this little instrument.

The strength of music there, however, lay in chamber

music, and in this it is evident that the Prince himself

took part.

If we may judge from an inventory of the

instruments in his private possession, he played not only

the violin, but the viol-di-gamba and the clavier 6 ; and he

was also a very good bass singer.

Bach himself said of

him later, that he had not merely loved music, but had

understood it.

Under whom

he studied is not

known.

Bach's predecessor as capellmeister was Augustin Reinhard

Strieker, the same who in 1708, as chamber musician at

Berlin, had composed the festival

music for the marriage

of the King with the Princess Sophie Louise of Mecklenburg. 7

"

At about this time Leopold must have been at the

"

Ritter

Akademie

there,

and the

hypothesis is

probably not

unfounded that

the

connection

he

then formed

with

Strieker may have led to the composer's

obtaining the

  • 4 Walther, sub voce "Rolle"; and the Cathedral Registers at Cothen.

  • 5 I conclude from this that the present very dilapidated organ is the one which existed in Bach's time. From an inscription on the bellows, which have

been renewed not long since, it would seem that they were constructed in 1733.

It does not therefore follow that the organ itself is no older, for the bellows are

often the part that first needs mending.

It may very likely have been built at

the time when the wing of the castle was finished in which the chapel stands. But, even if it were not so, no organ there could have been any larger than the

present one, for there is not space for it. the chapel had no organ until 1733.

It would seem easier to believe that

  • 6 This inventory, which his brother and successor, August Ludwig, entered

under April 20, 1733, is in the ducal archives of Cothen.

op. cit.

  • 1 Walther, Lexicon.

See also Gerber,

B2

  • 4 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.

post of capellmeister at Cb'then.

Afterwards in Italy, and

later still by a renewal of his intercourse with his capell-

meister, he sought to cultivate still farther his taste in

music, and Strieker was in his service as early as 1714.

However, to judge from all that we can learn concerning

his labours

as a

composer, Strieker was more devoted

to vocal than to instrumental music, and this no doubt

is the reason of his having

soon

place had but small vocal resources.

left Cothen, for that

Mattheson has pre-

served the memory of two young singers

two Demoiselles

de Monjou

from Cothen, who sang at Berlin in July, 1722,

before the

native town.

Queen of

Prussia,

and

then

retired to

their

"The younger," we are told, "had a fine clear

voice and great perfection in music."

It is said they both

went to Hamburg, and were there engaged in the opera.

8

There must also have been among the cantors and teachers in the town some good bass to be found, and probably also a tenor, but of any regular vocal band or trained chorus

like that at Weimar we find not the smallest trace.

If there

had been, Bach would not have failed to avail himself of it in composing his birthday serenade for the Prince.

Among the members of the Prince's band we find the names

of Johann Ludwig Rese, Martin Friedrich Marcus, Johann

Friedrich Torlee, Bernhard Linike, the "Premier Kammer

musicus," Josephus Spiess, and

the

"

Viol-di-gambist,"

Christ. Ferdinand Abel. This cannot have constituted the

whole of the band ; still those here named were no doubt

the most important members; at the same time the only

one, even of these, who became more widely known, was

Abel.

He, like Sebastian Bach's brother Joh. Jakob, had in

his youth followed Charles XII. into the field; he was

already employed in Cothen when Bach was invited thither,

and was still living there in 1737.

Of his two gifted sons,

Leopold August and Karl Friedrich, both born at Cothen,

the second, as is well known, attained European celebrity.

9

Mattheson, Crit. Mus., Vol. I., Part III., p. 85.

9 From a document in the archives of Cothen, preserved at Zerbst, entitled

"Protocoll iiber die Fiirstl. Capell-und Trompeter-Gagen von 1717-18." Also Gerber, Lexicon, I., cols. 3 and 4.

BACH S POSITION AT COTHEN.

5

A pupil of Bach's at this time was Johann Schneider,

born near Coburg ;

he played

the

organ,

clavier, and

violin,

and

entered the band at Weimar as violinist

in

1726 ;

in 1730 he went to Leipzig as Organist to the

Church of St. Nikolaus. 10

He must no doubt have been "

employed in the band.

Bach himself, as

Capellmeister

and

director of the

Prince's chamber music," as

he de-

scribes himself with

his own hand,

received a salary of

400 thalers a year : a good round sum at that period.

And

the terms of his appointment prove the high estimation in

which the Prince

held him, for it was dated, and the salary

paid, from August i, 1717, though Bach cannot have entered

his service before the end of November.

This, with a few

other meagre notices, is all that is known to us concerning

his official position in Cothen.

Time has effaced or over-

grown almost every trace of his labours, as the grass has

overgrown the castle-yard which the master must so often

have crossed ; and his name has died out among the people

of the place almost as completely as the sounds with which he once roused the echoes of the now empty and deserted

halls.

It must not be supposed, indeed, that even at that time

his efforts resulted in much outward display.

They were

quite private and unpretending, as were his surroundings,

and barely extended beyond the limits of the castle concert-

room.

It was only by his journeys that Bach kept

up

any connection

with the outer and wider world ;

in his

place of residence he had nothing to do with public life. Nevertheless, it was here that he passed the happiest years

of his life ;

here, for a time, he felt so far content that

he was resigned to end his days in the peaceful little town.

This seems quite incomprehensible so long as we conceive of

Bach's artistic side as directed exclusively to sacred music ;

then, indeed, his residence in Cothen, where he was debarred from any occupation in the church, must appear to be lost

time, and his own satisfaction in it as mere self-deception.

10 Walther's article in the Lexicon shows again how little he interested him- self in the biography of his great contemporary Bach. He does not even know that Bach was still in Cothen in 1720, or does not think it worth mentioning.

6

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH. But it all becomes natural and intelligible when we do not lose

sight of the fact that instrumental music

that is to say,

music for music's sake

was the aim and essence of his

being : a fact I have endeavoured to insist on from the first.

It must have been with a feeling of rapture that for once he

found himself thrown back exclusively into this his native

element, to drink from it fresh strength for new struggles

towards the high ideal that remained hidden from his fellow-

men.

An essential feature of German art becomes more

conspicuous in Bach at this period of his life than at any

other : that meditative spirit which is never happy till it dwells within narrow bounds the joy of occupation and the pleasure of a quiet and homelike circle of a few appreciative

friends, whose sympathetic glance responds to the deepest

feelings of the

heart.

From this German characteristic

the quartet took its rise ; and its very embodiment was the

delicious chamber music of Sebastian Bach, which took form chiefly in Cothen, and in the first rank of it was the Wohl- temperirte Clavier. 11 The musical performances that now took

place in the castle, when and how often we know not, were of

an intimate and thoughtful character, and always undertaken

with a genuine zeal for art ; the gifted young Prince threw

himself into it, heart and soul ; all the more so since he was

as yet unmarried. He soon became aware of the treasure he

had found in Bach, and showed it in the frankest manner.

He could not bear to part with him

travels, and

loved him

as

a friend ;

he took him on his

and

after his

early

death Bach always cherished his memory.

An act of homage, dating probably from the first year of his residence in Cothen, was a serenade for the Prince's

birthday. Having to rely on the modest musical resources

of the place, he employed in it only one soprano and one

bass, with an accompaniment of two flutes and one bassoon,

besides the quartet of strings and harpsichord. 12 The writer

11 The Well-tempered Clavier

i.e., preludes and fugues to be played on a "

"

equal

temperament, by which

clavier tuned according to the system of

system all keys are equally in tune, whereas in the unequal temperament,

formerly in use in tuning claviers, many of the keys could not be employed.

The work is better known in England by the title Forty-eight Preludes and Fugues. u The autograph is in the Royal Library at Berlin.

A BIRTHDAY SERENADE.

7

of the congratulatory words is not named ; if this was out

of modesty he had ample reason.

At a later period, Bach

himself is known to have written certain texts for music,

and, knowing this, we cannot altogether avoid suspecting

that he may have written

these words.

Of course some

other dabbler in verse is quite as likely to have been the

criminal ;

for they are wretched, be the writer who he

may.

But the music covers every deficiency ; in it we

find a perfect reflection of Bach's spirit at this period.

It fits

the tone of festive feeling in a merely general manner, and within the limits of this idea disports itself freely, developing

all that charm of novel invention and elaborate artistic structure of which Bach availed himself with such fasci-

nating grace

in

his chamber music.

There are

seven

numbers in all :

the soprano begins with a recitative and

aria in D major; the

bass follows with an aria in B minor,

and all the music for this voice is pitched very high, showing

that it was written for a particular singer.

He then goes

on to the graceful and dignified minuet in G major, the

soprano continues it in D major, and they presently combine

in A major, the bass singing the melody, as leading in the

dance.

Then comes a duet in recitative, again an air for

soprano and

one for

bass,

in

D major

and

A

major

respectively, and finally the

closing piece, in

two parts

and

in the

leading

key, inscribed

Chorus,

by which

it

is intended to distinguish the crowning finale, for the way in which the parts are treated prohibits all notion of a

multiplicity of performers.

A happy and self-contented

spirit

smiles from

it throughout.

In

later years

the

composer thought it

a

pity to

leave this

noble music

wedded to its text, and made use of it for a Whitsuntide

cantata, as

he

also

did of the

music written

for

the

birthday of the Duke of Weissenfels. 13

On May 9, 1718, the Prince set out to take the baths at Carlsbad, which was at that time a favourite resort of all the

high personages of Germany, and took with him Bach and

six members of his band.

Again, in 1720, Bach had to

18 "Erhohtes Fleisch und Blut": this autograph also is in the Ro^aJ Library

at Berlin.

8

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.

accompany the Prince to Carlsbad; 14 an old tradition still survives of the way in which Bach was wont to occupy his

more or less involuntary leisure on these journeys

to this I

will return presently. He received another mark of favour

in the autumn of the same year, when Maria Barbara gave

birth to their seventh child

a boy

on November 15, and on

the iyth, the Prince stood godfather to the infant, with his

younger brother August Ludwig, his sister Elenore Wilhel-

mine

who had married into the house of Weimar

with

Privy Councillor Von Zanthier, and the wife of Von Nostiz,

Steward of the Household. 15

From this it is very evident in

what high favour Bach must have stood at court. The child

held at the font with so many honours did not survive his first year; he was buried September 28, 1719. A pair of twins had

already died in February and March, 1713, soon after their

birth ; but four children lived to grow up as witnesses of a calm and happy family life. The firstborn was a daughter,

Katharina Dorothea, born December 27, 1708; she remained unmarried. On November 22, 1710, followed Wilhelm

Friedemann, his father's remarkable and gifted favourite ;

then Karl Philipp Emanuel (March 8, 1714), who was the

most distinguished of the family, though he was not, per-

haps, the most talented.

Finally, Johann Gottfried Bern-

hard, born May n, I7i5. 16 We shall have occasion to speak

again of all these sons.

  • 14 The dates of these journeys are derived from the orders for special prayers

on both occasions issued by the Chancellor of the Duchy, in the archives at

Cothen.

It seems certain that

during the time from 1718 to 1733 the Prince

was at Carlsbad only on these two occasions, since this agrees with an old

chronicle of Carlsbad, as I am obligingly informed by Dr. Hlawacek, of that

town. The musicians were paid in advance, on May 6, their salaries for the month of June.

  • 15 Parish Register of the cathedral church of St. James:

"

1718, the i7th of

November, the Prince's Capellmeister, Herr Johann Sebastian Bach, and his wedded wife, Maria Barbara, had a son baptised in the castle chapel, born on

the i5th ult., named