Significant Bach Discovery in Stade, Germany
A significant discovery was made while cataloging music manuscripts of the Seminary Library in the northern German town of Stade, held on deposit at the Stade City Archives (D-STs). Steffen Voss, a staff member of the RISM Germany--Munich office, discovered two contemporary scores of so-called Quartalsmusiken by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) during an on-site cataloging project. The two Pentecost cantatas, in which the "Hamburg Bach" combined his own works with music by the Dresden Kreuzkantor Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785), are preserved in fair copies in the hand of Bach’s important copyist Johann Heinrich Michel. While the first work "Herr lehre uns tun" is already known through original Hamburg performance material from the Berlin Singakademie, the second cantata, "Ihr waret weiland Finsternis," presents an entirely new discovery. It is Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s arrangement of a complete cantata by Homilius, which he manufactured into a larger festive piece for performances in Hamburg by inserting a chorale and adding one of his own arias.
The importance of this find was confirmed by the Bach Archive in Leipzig. Additional research on both manuscripts will be undertaken there, including an attempt to fit the unknown festive music into the performance calendar of Carl Philipp Emanuel’s church musicians from his time as cantor and city music director (1768-1788).
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