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How does (not) sound Bach

pieces assigned to JS Bach, but the composer is not the author of the music

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

  • Orchestral suite in G minor, BWV 1070

  • Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden BWV 1083


2 singers (soprano, alto), 2 violins, viola, cello, organ, theorbo


The Orchestral suite in G minor is interesting due to the fact accepted also by the specialists, that the composer of this piece is not Johan Sebastian but rather his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. This mistake was probably made in 1753 during the transcription by Chr.F.Penzel, Bach's pupil, who indicated as an author  “Signor Bach” without mentioning his  first name . The piece consists of five parts, from which two parts called torneo and capriccio clearly indicate, that the author is not of the northern German origin but someone living more in south, Bavaria or Austria, regions where these two music numbers are common components of suites.

The musical material of Bach's cantata Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünde comes from the famous Stabat Mater, a piece by GB Pergolesi. Bach used a German text by Picander based on Psalm 51. Bach made a parody version. The order of parts is not the same as in the original composition by Pergolesi due to Bach's own conception of using  the keys and themes. The most notable difference is in the viola part. The Bach gives the instrument its own line, thus creating the four-part harmony typical of his own style. In Pergolesi's version, the viola plays in unison with the continuo.

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