Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722)

A writing sample of Johann Kuhnau from 1707, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - PK (D-B Kuhnau, J. 3, p. 3)

Johann Kuhnau – wasn't he Johann Sebastian Bach's predecessor as Thomaskantor in Leipzig? Correct, but are you also familiar with his compositions? Maybe not so much.

Kuhnau became especially famous through his works for keyboard instruments, which included Musicalische Vorstellung Einiger Biblischer Historien (6 sonatas for harpsichord; Leipzig, 1700), Neuer Clavier Ubung Erster Theil (7 partitas; Leipzig, 1689) and Frische Clavier Früchte (7 keyboard sonatas; Leipzig, 1696).

Today, the Kuhnau Project is underway to bring the less-famous works of the composer to light. From 2014 to 2022, the complete vocal works of Johann Kuhnau are being published in a scholarly critical edition by Pfefferkorn Verlag. Through this project, many works will become available for the first time in modern editions.

Six editions appeared in 2014 and a further six have been planned for 2015. All vocal works should be published in time for the 300th anniversary of Kuhnau's death in 2022. This ambitious project is being supported by David Erler, Michael Maul, and Gregor Mayer.

RISM's online catalog contains just over 40 sources for cantatas by Kuhnau, including 10 that have been digitized and are freely available online.

Below, bite into Kuhnau's "Fresh Keyboard Fruits":



Category: New at RISM

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