BWV 735

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Fantasia super: Valet will ich dir geben

BWV 735 performed by Erwin Wiersinga
Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof

"I am playing this chorale fugue in a plenum registration, the full organ with in the pedal the 32 foot Posaune stop."

100% Bach?

This piece is a whodunit for musicologists.

Rewriting Bach is nothing new. Bach even rewrote his own music – sometimes for a special occasion and sometimes refining an earlier piece just because his taste had changed. Moreover, we are not always clear about who did what and when to a piece by Bach. For at least a century, Bach’s organ works were just pieces of music to be used by other organists.

There is an early variation (BWV 735a) of this fantasia based on the chorale ‘Valet will ich dir geben’. The last quarter, in particular, is very different. This early version is noted down in a source dating from before 1710. No sources from Bach’s day have survived that contain the later version, played here by organist Erwin Wiersinga. There is, however, a lost manuscript that is supposed to have been written by Bach himself.

So it raises many questions for performers and listeners. Is the last version that we are listening to here indeed Bach’s own revision, as was thought for a long time? Not all the changes are actual improvements, and creating a whole new ending is not typical of Bach. So was this maybe a nineteenth-century arrangement, made by an organist from Mendelssohn’s circle, as some have believed? The discovery of a copy of the later version, written by the Nuremberg organist Leonhard Scholz (1720-1798), who also adapted many other organ works by Bach for his own use, now rules out that possibility. But the burning question remains: is BWV 735 100% pure Bach?


BWV
735

Title
Fantasia super: Valet will ich dir geben

genre
organ work (chorale arrangement)

year
unknown, probably an early composition

City
Weimar?

Special notes
BWV 735a is an early variation from before 1710.

Cast & Crew

release date 18 March 2016
recording date 26 August 2015
LOCATION Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
organ Christoph Treutmann, 1731
ORGANIST Erwin Wiersinga
FILM DIRECTOR and editor Onno van Ameijde
Camera Maarten van Rossem, Onno van Ameijde
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Holger Schlegel
Producer Jessie Verbrugh
interview Onno van Ameijde

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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