"The Neumeister Collection of Chorale Preludes of the Bach Circle:" An Examination of the Chorale Preludes of J. S. Bach and Their Usage as Service Music and Pedagogical Works
One of the most significant discoveries of the twentieth century was the finding of an unpublished compendium of German Baroque keyboard music in 1982 in the archives of the John Herrick Music Library, Yale University, by musicologists Christoph Wolff and Hans-Joachim Schultz and Yale University librarian Harold E. Samuel. The collection, which was entitled LM 4708: THE NEUMEISTER COLLECTION OF CHORALE PRELUDES OF THE BACH CIRCLE, contains eighty-two previously unknown chorale preludes by several prominent German Baroque organists including Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694), Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), and Johann Sebastian Bach (1658-1750). Historically, it is an important compendium because it augments the number of known chorale compositions by these composers. But its primary importance is the thirty-eight J. S. Bach chorale preludes, thirty-three of which were unknown. The collection also serves as a link to the Orgelbüchlein, perhaps even suggesting a prototype for the later collection.
The collection also inclues three J. S. Bach chorale preludes which can be found in virtually identical settings elsewhere in the chorale literature of Bach. This is a unique occurrence which has changed the dating of Bach's works, resetting early dating parameters.
It is the purpose of this study to examine the J. S. Bach chorale preludes in THE NEUMEISTER COLLECTION as a worthy collection of service and teaching music. These works offer a wide variety of music for the Liturgy and are categorized liturgically and topically, allowing organists a detailed and complete index. They are also accessible to all levels of playing, require little or no pedaling, and are short and sectional, making them highly flexible. Tables classifying these chorale preludes according to form, other settings of the same chorale, and estimated playing times have been included for the church organist.
These chorale preludes are also excellent teaching pieces, exemplifying an array of forms, contrapuntal techniques, styles, and harmonies. Also, many adapt easily to different voicings, giving the organ student additional training in the independence of hands and feet. A table of the rules of playing polyphonic music and scores presenting the original and edited settings of two chorale preludes are included.
Advisor:Van Cox; David H. Smyth; William F. Grimes; Jennifer C. Hayghe; Cornelia Yarbrough; Herndon Spillman
School:Louisiana State University in Shreveport
School Location:USA - Louisiana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/31/2002