Bach archive to digitise 700 manuscripts

The Bach Archive in Leipzig is working on digitising 700 manuscripts in its collection, including scores and documents belonging to the great baroque composer.

Bach in 1746
Bach portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Archive, which aims to maintain Bach’s legacy and is widely seen as the premier research institute on the composer, obtained the documents from the city of Leipzig in the early 1950s. They were originally in the possession of a private collector.

Some of the most valuable items in the collection are manuscripts and scores from Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and his wife, Anna Magdalena. These include the Wedding Quodlibet, BWV 524 and a score of the Sonata in G mmajor BWV 1021, prepared by Bach and his wife.

There are also manuscripts from many of his pupils, together with documents which the Archive hopes will contribute to an understanding of Bach’s reception in the 19th century.

The Bach Archive’s director, Peter Vollny, said he hoped the digital publication of the documents would provide “new impulses for the exploration of the collection as well as for the performance practice of the works handed down here.”

The project is supposed to be completed by the end of the year.

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