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 New Publications, The Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach 1722 & 1725

Anna Magdalena Bach NotebooksFrom the home of Bach and Edition Peters, comes a compelling new publication. For the first time, Edition Peters have published a new Urtext edition of the Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach, containing all of the material from the 1722 and 1725 notebooks together in one volume, in the original landscape format, and presented as a premium hardcover clothbound edition with gold embossing. Printed in Köthen and bound in Leipzig; this cutting-edge edition retraces the Bach family’s move from the princely town of Köthen, to the city that was to become one of Europe’s musical capitals, Leipzig.

About the Notebooks

In 1721 twenty-year-old soprano Anna Magdalena, an employee at the princely court in Köthen, married the court’s Kapellmeister, a man set to become the greatest composer of the age. As Bach’s second wife, she married into a young family with four children, and a lively household filled with music. The music book that Johann Sebastian Bach presented to his new wife in 1722, and replaced more lavishly in 1725, treats us to an impelling glance into this distinctive family, allowing us to sit beside Bach the composer, teacher, husband and father.

Around the mid-1730s the way the notebook was used changed, in that it also began to be used as a tool for the musical education of Anna Magdalena’s children. Over the years, these notebooks became a place for the family to share instructional exercises, favourite pieces (by Bach and other composers) to play and sing, early composition efforts from the children, and first versions of some of Bach’s more ambitious keyboard works.

The Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach are usually presented as a set of excerpts from the 1725 collection. However, the scholarship that informed the New Bach Edition in 1957 has been developed and expanded greatly since then. Edited by pre-eminent Bach scholar Christoph Wolff (Harvard Professor and former Director of the Leipzig Bach Archive), this edition represents the very latest in Bach scholarship, reflecting up-to-the-minute research on texts, authorship and copyists. The notebook also contains a detailed critical commentary, an extensive preface, and beautifully engraved notation.

Offering a complete and faithful transcription of both the notebooks (1722 and 1725), editorial interventions are in small type, dashed slurs and italics. In the case of the first book (1722), substitute sources of the period (set in small type of italics) are presented in place of the lost originals. In the texts of the vocal settings, modern spellings have been used. To help with the execution of the various ornaments employed by Bach, a transcription of the table of embellishments from the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is also provided. As well as many practical uses, the notebooks allow us a look into the intimate atmosphere of the Bach family home and observe the affectionate relationships between the family members.

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Hard Cover Premium Edition

Available Format: Sheet Music