Timeline of Events Related to the Transmission of Bach Chorales

The timeline below is color–coded according to the legend provided. For a general description of each of the collections and sources included in this timeline, visit the Quick Key to the Early Chorale Collections.

Green = General biographical or historical events.
Red = Events related to the Dietel Collection (Source A1)
Purple = Events related to the AmB 46II manuscript (Source A3/C)
Light blue = Events related to the Birnstiel Collection (Source B1)
Dark blue = Events related to the Breitkopf Collection (Source F1) and other F–group sources   Jump to the BirnstielBreitkopf timeline: link
Light brown = Events related to the Fasch Collection (SA 818)
Pink = Events related to the Levy–Mendelssohn Collection (Source D)
Orange = Events related to the remaining sources and collections — Penzel Collection (Source E), Marpurg’s Handbuch (Source H1), Kirnberger’s Die Kunst des reinen Satzes (Source H2), other 19th century editions

COMPOSITE TIMELINE

YEAR MONTH DAY EVENT
1723 5 22 J.S. Bach arrives in Leipzig
c. 1735 Ludwig Dietel, who sang in Bach’s Thomanerchor from 1727 to 1735, copies a collection of 149 chorales (Source [A1])
1738 C.P.E. Bach arrives in Berlin for employment in the service of Frederick the Great (then prince)
1750 7 28 The death of J.S. Bach
1756 2 Carl Friedrich Fasch begins employment in the court of Frederick the Great, working alongside C.P.E. Bach
1756 The Seven Years’ War begins
1756 Marpurg publishes Volume 3 of his Handbuch bey dem Generalbasse und der Composition... (Source H1), which contains BWV 377.
1762 The Fasch Collection of Bach Chorales (SA 818) is created.
1763 The Seven Years’ War ends
1763 Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, who had been contracted by publisher Birnstiel to edit a new publication of Bach chorales, attains a position in the Prussian state lottery, abandons the Birnstiel (Source B1) project. C.P.E. Bach takes over as editor of Volume 1, charging Birnstiel three times Marpurg’s fee.
1764 Breitkopf offers for sale a manuscript collection of Bach chorales (Source [X3]) which was used for Volume 1 of the Birnstiel Publication (B1)
1765 4 7 Volume 1 of the Birnstiel Collection (B1) is published at Eastertide.
1768 3 C.P.E. Bach leaves Berlin for Hamburg
1768 Publisher Birnstiel hires Johann Friedrich Agricola, who studied under Bach, to edit chorales for Volume 2 (B1)
1769 5 Volume 2 of the Birnstiel Collection (B1) is published
1769 5 30 C.P.E. Bach’s devastating criticism of the Birnstiel Volume 2 (B1) is published in Der Hamburgische unpartheyische Correspondent.
1770? The AmB 46II collection of Bach chorales (Source A3/C) is created. (Kobayashi: c.1770; bach–digital: "between 1776 and 1783")
1771 Kirnberger purchases C.P.E. Bach’s manuscript collection (Source [X1]) of his father’s ("over 300) chorales for 12 Louisdor and then expands it by adding 73 more.
1774 W.F. Bach arrives in Berlin
1776 The first printing of Part 2 of Kirnberger’s Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik (Source H2), which contains BWVs 370 and 288.
1777 5 10 Kirnberger approaches the publisher Breitkopf to present himself as editor for the entire collection. (F1)
1777 6 7 Kirnberger informs Breitkopf he has more than 400 chorale settings which CPE Bach had collected. Kirnberger indicates that he, after his editing is done, will give the entire collection to Breitkopf which he subsequently does.
1777 6 19 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: will send Breitkopf C.P.E. Bach’s collection ([X1]) "just to look at". K. tells Br. he promised to collaborate with C.P.E. on editing. After Birnstiel’s Vol. 1 was published, which C.P.E. Bach did not criticize because he [C.P.E.] helped to edit it, K. began to use as his basic source (C) for Vol. 2 because Br. had not returned it ([X1]) to K. as promised.
1777 7 1 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: "Send me the collection of 150 chorales ’from the Bach inheritors’ (A1 ’or a copy thereof’?) to see if they are authentic". After receiving it (A1), K. expands ([X1]) in include (A1).
1777 8 6 Kirnberger sends Breitkopf both of the Birnstiel volumes with the inauthentic ones crossed out.
1778 At the Leipzig Easter Fair, the forthcoming printing of the chorale collection (F1) with Kirnberger as editor is announced.
1778 11 18 Kirnberger sends (A1) back to Breitkopf.
1778 11 NBA KB editors assume Breitkopf still has not returned C.P.E. Bach’s collection ([X1]) to Kirnberger.
c. 1780 The Penzel collection (Source E) is created.
1781 3 27 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: unable to work on editing the ’chorales’.
1781 4 14 Kirnberger sends his revisions to Breitkopf a second time. Breitkopf continues stalling.
1781 8 20 First call for subscriptions to the Breitkopf edition (F1) is announced and often repeated until January 1782. [At some point, Kirnberger must have sent Breitkopf the collection.]
1783 6 14 Kirnberger threatens Breitkopf to take him to court if he [K.] does not receive C.P.E. Bach’s chorale collection ([X1]) within 14 days.
1783 7 27 The death of Kirnberger   The chorale collection remains in Breitkopf’s possession.
1784 7 1 The death of W.F. Bach
1784 Volume 1 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published. C.P.E. Bach states in his foreward that Kirnberger gave the collection to Breitkopf shortly before the former’s death.
1785 Volume 2 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1786 Volume 3 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1787 Volume 4 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1788 12 14 The death of C.P.E. Bach
1791 Fasch establishes the Singakademie in Berlin (Wollny, (MQ 77/4, p.2) places this establishment at 1792.)
1795 5 22 The death of Marpurg
1800* The Levy–Mendelssohn (Source D) collection is created [* NBA: "before 1800"; bach–digital: "ca. 1790–1799"]
1800 8 3 The death of C.F. Fasch
1832 A reprint (Source F2) of the Breitkopf collection (F1) is published unedited, with foreward by C.F. Becker (371).
1841–
1843
C.F. Becker’s revised edition of 360 chorales (Source F4) is published in Leipzig.
1850–
1865
Ludwig Erk’s collection appeared in two parts: Part 1 in 1850 and Part 2 in 1865. It contains 307 chorales; 42 printed here for the first time. 86 of the 185 included in the group BWV 253–438 also appear here.
1892 12 The BGA Volume 39 prepared by Franz Wüllner is limited to BWV 253–438.
1898 ’Complete’ collection of 389 chorales prepared by B.F. Richter is published in Leipzig by Breitkopf & Härtel.
1929 A collection of 405 chorales is prepared by Charles Sanford Terry and published in London.
1932 A new collection is edited by Friedrich Smend and published in Leipzig by C.F. Peters.

 

BIRNSTIEL–BREITKOPF TIMELINE

YEAR MONTH DAY EVENT
1763 Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, who had been contracted by publisher Birnstiel to edit a new publication of Bach chorales, attains a position in the Prussian state lottery, abandons the Birnstiel (Source B1) project. C.P.E. Bach takes over as editor of Volume 1, charging Birnstiel three times Marpurg’s fee.
1764 Breitkopf offers for sale a manuscript collection of Bach chorales (Source [X3]) which was used for Volume 1 of the Birnstiel Publication (B1)
1765 4 7 Volume 1 of the Birnstiel Collection (B1) is published at Eastertide.
1768 3 C.P.E. Bach leaves Berlin for Hamburg
1768 Publisher Birnstiel hires Johann Friedrich Agricola, who studied under Bach, to edit chorales for Volume 2 (B1)
1769 5 Volume 2 of the Birnstiel Collection (B1) is published
1769 5 30 C.P.E. Bach’s devastating criticism of the Birnstiel Volume 2 (B1) is published in Der Hamburgische unpartheyische Correspondent.
1771 Kirnberger purchases C.P.E. Bach’s manuscript collection (Source [X1]) of his father’s ("over 300) chorales for 12 Louisdor and then expands it by adding 73 more.
1777 5 10 Kirnberger approaches the publisher Breitkopf to present himself as editor for the entire collection. (F1)
1777 6 7 Kirnberger informs Breitkopf he has more than 400 chorale settings which CPE Bach had collected. Kirnberger indicates that he, after his editing is done, will give the entire collection to Breitkopf which he subsequently does.
1777 6 19 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: will send Breitkopf C.P.E. Bach’s collection ([X1]) "just to look at". K. tells Br. he promised to collaborate with C.P.E. on editing. After Birnstiel’s Vol. 1 was published, which C.P.E. Bach did not criticize because he [C.P.E.] helped to edit it, K. began to use as his basic source (C) for Vol. 2 because Br. had not returned it ([X1]) to K. as promised.
1777 7 1 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: "Send me the collection of 150 chorales ’from the Bach inheritors’ (A1 ’or a copy thereof’?) to see if they are authentic". After receiving it (A1), K. expands ([X1]) in include (A1).
1777 8 6 Kirnberger sends Breitkopf both of the Birnstiel volumes with the inauthentic ones crossed out.
1778 At the Leipzig Easter Fair, the forthcoming printing of the chorale collection (F1) with Kirnberger as editor is announced.
1778 11 18 Kirnberger sends (A1) back to Breitkopf.
1778 11 NBA KB editors assume Breitkopf still has not returned C.P.E. Bach’s collection ([X1]) to Kirnberger.
1781 3 27 Kirnberger to Breitkopf: unable to work on editing the ’chorales’.
1781 4 14 Kirnberger sends his revisions to Breitkopf a second time. Breitkopf continues stalling.
1781 8 20 First call for subscriptions to the Breitkopf edition (F1) is announced and often repeated until January 1782. [At some point, Kirnberger must have sent Breitkopf the collection.]
1783 6 14 Kirnberger threatens Breitkopf to take him to court if he [K.] does not receive C.P.E. Bach’s chorale collection ([X1]) within 14 days.
1783 7 27 The death of Kirnberger  The chorale collection remains in Breitkopf’s possession.
1784 Volume 1 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published. C.P.E. Bach states in his foreward that Kirnberger gave the collection to Breitkopf shortly before the former’s death.
1785 Volume 2 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1786 Volume 3 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1787 Volume 4 of the Breitkopf Collection (F1) is published.
1788 12 14 The death of C.P.E. Bach
1832 A reprint (Source F2) of the Breitkopf collection (F1) is published unedited, with foreward by C.F. Becker (371).
1841–
1843
C.F. Becker’s revised edition of 360 chorales (Source F4) is published in Leipzig.




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