The Big Bach Lutebook - Early Music Studio

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TheBigBachLutebookLute versions created by Clive TitmussVolume I:BWV 995, 996, 997, 998, 999Volume II:Six Cello Suites BWV 1007--12Volume IIISolo Violin Sonatas and PartitasBWV 1000/1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006/1006aUpdated November, 17 2009

The Big Bach LutebookMusic by Johann Sebastian BachVolume I:Suite pour la Luth par J. S. Bach, BWV 995, in the original key of G minorPraeludio con la Suite auf’s Lautenwerk, BWV 996, in E minor, transposed to F minor[Partita in C minor], BWV 997, transposed to A minorPraeludium, [Fuge, Allegro], BWV 998, in E flatPraeludium pour la lute, BWV 999, in C minorVolume II:Six Suites for Cello, original title:6 / Suites a / Violoncello Solo/ senza / Basso / composeés / par / Sr. J. S. Bach,Maitre de ChappelleBWV 1007, G major, transposed to E flatBWV 1008, in D minor, arranged for theorbo in A in the original keyBWV 1009, in C major, arranged for theorbo in A in the original keyBWV 1010, in E flat, transposed to B flatBWV 1011, in C minor, transposed to A minor,(a different arrangement from BWV 995 above)BWV 1012 in D major tuning (upper six courses: f#’, d’, a, f#, d A)Volume III:Sonatas and Partitas for Violino senza basso:Sonata I in G minor BWV 1001, Partita I in B minor BWV 1002,Sonata II in A minor BWV 1003, Partita II in D minor BWV 1004Sonata III in C major BWV 1005all complete in the original keys,Partita III in E major BWV 1006a, (Bach’s own arrangement of BWV 1006,transposed to F)BWV 995/1011, 996, 998, 1000/1002, 1006a and 1012 have been prefaced with a foreword bythe editorLute tablature by Clive Titmuss, updated November 17, 2009

The Big Bach LutebookPreface by the editor:The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is unique in western cultural history. No other composer hasdemonstrated Bach's personal combination of sheer effort, mastery of numerous forms and media, his lyricaland narrative gifts, and his unchallenged understanding of musical architecture. It was this combination thatfirst attracted me, while still a student of the guitar, to his music, and it was the promise of being able to playit in something resembling its original form that induced me to play the lute. I acquired a lute beforebeginning formal post-secondary music education, and soon after my first baroque lute, a 14-course lute bySandro Zanetti in the late 17th century tradition with two pegboxes. Almost immediately I startedtranscribing the music of Bach into lute tablature after the shocked discovery that aside from a few pieces, notablatures existed.My first efforts with the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 led to more shocked discoveries-more and more of the music appeared to be written in a form not playable on the lute. The contemporarytablatures had critical problems. After working through the idea, I came to the point where it became clearthat not only had Bach, as I then thought, misunderstood the lute, but he hadn't, according to myunderstanding, written anything for it. Everything appeared to have insuperable difficulties. Even if onecould make the notes fit, by transposition, by judicious editing, one could only count success with actualperformance of the music. That was the test. You could make your lute version, but could you actually playit convincingly. In no other medium in which Bach is played do musicians have to contend with thisconundrum. Can it be imagined that a violinist, cellist, or keyboard player would have to spend hoursfretting over his copy, then practising for literally years just to play even a relatively simple piece. They takeup the piece and play.After graduating from my studies, I began another line of attack. Could the lute be the key? I ordereda beautiful big Widhalm/Tieffenbrucker 13-course lute by Robert Lundberg, which I still play with great joy.Later I began making lutes, trying this and that, single strings, theorbo tunings, smaller, bigger, variousspacings, copies of originals, unheard of things, to see whether the situation might be ameliorated byingenuity of lutherie. And to some extent, it has. I did find out that the choice of lute matters greatly. Andfortunately I have created a wall of lutes from which to choose.Now more than thirty-eight years later, hundreds of concerts, some devoted entirely to the music ofBach played on the lute, I have added more and more pieces to the group of tablatures which I began as astudent. Many of them have seen great changes since their initial versions. Sometimes I have thrown thewhole thing out, transposed to a new key (BWV 996 in D minor, then F minor: BWV 998 in D, 1006a in D;BWV 997 in C minor, then A minor; BWV 995 in G minor, then A minor) only to return to the beginning.With the advent of computer tablature typesetting and the web I have made individual piecesavailable for some time, since 1996. Now I am making my versions of the usual suspects and my versions ofthe cello suites (which make very fine lute music, as Bach himself realized) and some violin pieces availablein a singe printable and viewable edition. They are newly corrected, revised and compactly laid out tominimize use of paper or screen and with minimal page turns, together with revised and extended forewordsfor some of the pivotal pieces (BWV 996, the piece least likely to be for the lute, and BWV 995, the mostlikely). I hope you will enjoy and benefit from my work.Before I finish, here’s a scenario imagined by one of my teachers, Eugen Dombois, from a commentmade by Agricola (which I have liberally embellished in the finest Baroque tradition). It may serve betterthat the most exacting musicology to put the Bach and the lute into some sort of context:One day a distinguished musician came to visit the Bach household in Leipzig. It was noneother that the famous lutenist, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, taking time from his posting in Dresden tovisit friends. A few letters had passed between them, and Bach, being a sociable and engaginghost, asked Weiss whether he would spend a few hours with the Cantor.Bach was something of a practical joker. He liked the broad humour of the German people, heenjoyed puns, and he often wrote funny things into his music. The quodlibet at the end of theGoldbergs is a good example: "Cabbages and Turnips Have Driven Me Away" combined with

"You've Been Gone So Long". You can almost hear the guffaws. He decided to play a little joke onWeiss. Meeting him at the door, he said:"Well to tell the truth I've been trying to play the lute a little lately. I used to fool around on itwhen I was a ‘Bub’, but the instrument always confounded me--all those strings! I got a muchbetter instrument from my dear friend Hofmann in the Lautenkrankenstrasse, and I've beencompletely taken with it. I've been working night and day on one of my old suites to play for you,to see if you have any suggestions. But I'm still a bit shy with it, an old man trying to do somethingnew, you know, it's a bit silly. So if you don't mind I'm going to go into my Schreibzimmer, just sithere and listen.”With that he repaired to his composition room and went behind an old curtain that he haddividing the room to keep his family out. When Bach was behind the curtain, he wasincommunicado. That was the rule. After a bit of tuning and few odd notes and chords the mostfantastic uninterrupted veil of flawless lute-playing erupted. Weiss instantly recognized thesignature tune of every student violinist in Saxony--the Prelude of the E major violin Partita. Itwas incredible, without error, perfectly in tune, not even a mis-fretted "n" (the twelfth fret of thelute). That piece quickly concluded, Bach began playing something entirely new."Here's something I've just been working on" he said, peering out from behind the curtain, andfrom his room came the now utterly familiar strains of the beautiful opening bars of Prelude, Fugueand Allegro in E flat.Weiss expected him to stop, but the flow never ceased. Ten minutes later, as the last notes diedaway, Weiss was plainly aghast. After all, Weiss had spent a lifetime playing the lute, strugglingwith its idiosyncrasies, the tuning, strings, the pegs, the frets, the sheer uncertainty andunpredictability, a spider's web of deceit, a device calculated to drive musicians mad—here, thegreat genius of music, old Bach himself--had managed to master the instrument after only a fewmonths of effort. How was it possible? Weiss was dumbfounded. Finally the portly master drewaside the curtain."How do you like my new toy", said Bach and motioned to a three-manual lute-harpsichordbuilt by his uncle.Weiss, true to his name, turned the colour of a sheet, and let out a sigh: He had been fooled."Du lieber Gott", he exclaimed, "you nearly gave me a heart attack”.After that they had a little belt of schnapps (well, maybe a couple of them) and started talkingabout the ongoing rivalry between the soccer teams of the Dresden Frauen-Kirche and theLeipzig’s St.Thomas Schule.Weiss took a copy of Bach's new piece home to see whether he might be able to makesomething of it. Just to confound his student Lobkowitz, who was as dense as a plank of maple,Weiss scrawled “Praeludio per il Liuto” at the top of the page.“This will keep him awake for a year”, he chuckled to himself, exhaling a cloud of pfeffermintvapour. “D-flat in the bass hah!”He wandered down the path into the town, tipsily singing a ditty from his student days:“Ich bin ein diplomierte Lautenisten,Ich trage immer neunzehn lautenkästen ”Later, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach wrote to a friend: "Something very special in the way ofmusic was heard on that occasion!"Clive Titmusswww.clivetitmuss.com

Suite pour la Luth par J. S. Bach (BWV995), Suite a Violoncello Solosenza Basso [V] in C minor (BWV1011)Foreword:If there is a case for Bach as a composer for the lute, it rests principally on his ownarrangement (BWV 995) of the fifth cello suite (BWV 1011). The autographarrangement of this cello suite with its specific reference to the lute in the title is the onlyauthorial evidence that he was at all interested in setting himself the challenging task ofwriting idiomatically for the instrument. Careful observance of way he transposed andreworked earlier material with the lute in mind gives us a clear picture of Bach'sunderstanding of the lute's capacity for a mix of contrapuntal and free-voiced textures, itsdynamic capacities and its suitability to typical late 17th century dance forms andrhythms. His interest in the exploitation of its sonority stems from his vantage point as acomposer of wide experience with an unsurpassed ear and social and musical contactwith professional players.The Bach household owned a lute, listed in his Nachlass (the inventory of his possessionsis reproduced in English in The Bach Reader, 1945, revised edition 1966, Mendel andDavid, editors). He knew a number of professional lutenists: Rudolf Straube, JohannLudwig Krebs; both his students, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and M. Schouster (to whomBWV 995 is dedicated). Jurist and lute-player Johann Christian Weyrauch, the identifiedintabulator of Fuga BWV 1000 and movements of the [Partita in C minor] BWV 997,was a close family friend. He may also have known with Adam Falckenhagen, who livedin Leipzig and is credited (by P. Kiraly, T. Crawford, primarily on orthographic evidence)with the intabulation of Bach's arrangement of BWV 1011.Nevertheless, our picture of Bach as a composer of lute music is clouded by thequestionable attribution of other of Bach's works which were probably not intended forthe lute, but have historically been associated with it. The Suite in E minor BWV 996, theC minor Partita BWV 997, Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998, the Little PreludeBWV 999, and the Partita in E major BWV 1006a, have all been claimed withanachronistic sensibility as legitimate repertoire for the lute, despite prescriptive additionsto the sources—“auf's Launtenwerk" for BWV996 and "por la luth. ò Cèmbal” for BWV998—and despite unidiomatic keys, technical impossibilities and obvious keyboardstylistic traits.It is the Suite pour la Luth in which Bach clearly applies himself practically to thequestion of what is the lute capable in regard to texture, the use of its diatonic basscourses, and its ability to ornament and fill out a basic texture as established in the cellosuite. Unlike the works above, in this piece our view is not clouded by a naggingsuspicion that we are looking at thin-textured keyboard music with a tenuous historicalconnection to the lute.With these doubts in mind we must ask whether Bach himself was technically equippedto make a successful lute version of his own earlier work. Before dealing with this

question an examination and comparison of the two principal sources is rewarding. Inmaking his transcription, Bach set himself the task of filling a spare texture, transposing itto a key more suitable to the tessitura and compass of the lute, adapting string music brisétextures to something more in line with contemporary lute practice, adding imitativematerial in the lower voices while long notes are held, and creating a sense of drama,continuity, and gestures consistent with the techniques favoured by lute composers in hiscircle.It should also be noted that in the 1740’s, when Bach made his arrangement, he chose apiece which he is likely to have written around 1720 with the rest of the suites for solocello. This would have been considered an atavistic work, hearkening back to the 17thcentury. It is entirely French; there is little evidence of Italian influence. There are manygestures typical of the young Bach, similarities with BWV 996 and other early works,and a distinct preference for the aphoristic basso continuo lute style of Reusner or Bittner,rather than the Italianate violinistic idiom of Weiss or Falckenhagen. We may wonder athis choice of pieces for revival and arrangement. Was it a favourite work, like BWV1006, BWV 1000 (with a violin, organ and lute version), or a choice made by thededicatee? By comparison, pieces written in the 1740’s with a lute-influenced voice, suchas BWV 997 and 998, show many cognate passages with the empfindsam works found inDas Wohltemprirte Clavier of 1744 or the published works of the Clavier-Übung I, theSix Partitas BWV 825-30, (1726-31) for harpsichord.For example, in the long Prelude in French Ouverture style, Bach elected to compresssome rhythms, subdividing them further, perhaps in keeping with the quicker responseand rapid speech of a plucked instrument. He also employed a time-filling device in theopening measures not often used by contemporary lutenists but common on the keyboard,sounding a bass note, then its lower octave on the second beat. In the Allemande, hecompressed sixteenths tied to longer notes. The two Gavottes are altered mainly in theirtexture, with chord tones added and a completion of the bass line. In the Gigue, Bachfilled the long note-values native to the cello by adding imitative activity in the lowervoice. Each of these additions makes a basic change to the rhetorical nature of the piece,giving us a window into performance practice of the period, and into his thinking as itrelates to the lute.Bach’s use of rests is notable. Without a large inventory of lute tablature transcriptionsinto pitch notation from the 18th century, it’s difficult to say how these would have beenhandled by a musician familiar with the keyboard-to-lute conversion. Moderntranscribers usually notate the length of bass notes in keeping with metre, but Bach haspopulated the bass with relatively short-duration tones followed by rests, a practice alsoseen in Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998.A casual perusal of the work of Weiss or Falkenhagen to find comparable passages willconfirm that Bach's choices were very personal solutions to the problem he set himself,and they frequently rest on his experience as a composer of keyboard music. Despitehaving titled the work "pour la Luth", Bach appears to have made a transcription bettersuited to the lute-harpsichord, entirely in keeping with his other works in that genre.

In making a tablature version of Bach's arrangement, I was struck by the frequent feelingof the work simply being to large for the instrument. There are often more chord tones inrapid two-voiced passages than a contemporary lutenist would play, for example. Thebass line is often busier that we would expect from his contemporaries, particularly in thePrelude’s Presto and the Courante. Some movements succeed more than others: theCourante and Sarabande seem not quite to equal their models, while the Allemande,Gavottes and Gigue are in many ways more rhythmically interesting and lively.In order to play the work in Bach’s version, I made a fourteen-course German-styletheorbo and played the work for many years in its original key of G minor, despite thefact that such an instrument is a re-construction of something not found among theinstruments of the period as far as we are aware. (My original transcription is here, asBWV 995 in G minor, for those who wish to make comparisons, while the A minorversion is here as BWV 995/1011)In making that transcription my work was shaped by Falckenhagen's frequenttransposition of the bass into a lower octave, especially in the first three movements. Buthaving played the work many times I became increasingly unhappy with the impressionof a hippo dancing in a tutu. The lightness and rapidity of articulation that Bach's dancemovements imply was not well served by Falckenhagen's anachronistic emfindsamsensibility. His addition of numerous ornaments struck me as impeding the forwardmomentum, and his adaptation of the Gigue and Presto of the Ouverture is clumsy. Thedisjunct harmonic motion of the bass in modulating passages is poorly suited to the opendiapasons of the baroque lute, and Bach's original lines are often more too light-footed tobe effectively rendered in the lower octave of the lute’s range.There is the question of the pitch. It was common for harpsichords and single manualinstruments of the period (1740's) to have their lowest tone extending to FF or GG. Thecompass of several of the other works mentioned above is often no lower than C’. This istrue for BWV 996, 999—later arrangements stemming from the 1740’s, Bach’s Leipzigperiod, while BWV 1006a, BWV 997 and BWV 998 include A’ or A’ flat as the lowesttone. So-called short-octave tuning may have been used on a smaller keyboard to achievethis. Bach’s use of these low notes is much more restrained than that found incontemporary lute sources. The highest note in Bach's arrangement is c', a fourth belowthe highest notes used by Weiss. Increasing the range upward by adding frets to a lute'sbody is simple, but adding courses below is more than a simple matter of alterations tothe pegbox and bridge.Simply adding a note (GG) to the typical 13-course D minor lute is not really a viabledesign solution, since the fundamental pitch, string length and size of the entireinstrument needs to be considered. J. C. Hofmann increased the size of the bodies of hislutes when he added two courses in the bass to his standard eleven-course lute design,already larger than the eleven-course lutes of his father Martin.

Taking this into consideration, it seemed a better idea to start with a "clean sheet ofpaper" approach, to transpose the work up a tone, keeping the original bass line inprinciple, thereby raising the highest note to d’. The alteration of pitch makes the bassline in original form more under the control of the left hand, and therefore morearticulate. Some of Bach’s dramatic bass line chromaticism (Prelude, Allemande, andSarabande) is also more easily rendered in the original octave.I also occasionally thinned the keyboard-style texture by taking out chord tones whichseemed to hold the piece back, especially in the Presto and Allemande and Courante, andby reducing doubling (especially those chord tones already sounding as octave strings).The biggest change I considered making was the return to an opening closer to the cellooriginal, altering the voicing of chords and changing the rhetorical emphasis by placingthe low chord tones on the first beat. Thus the player will find that the opening has beenentirely re-cast. The cello original is more generous with string-writing phrase marks, avaluable interpretive indication, while with the exception of the Sarabande, Bach’stranscription has only a few.My transcription has few if any slurring marks in order to highlight the original phrasemarks as provided by the composer. The player may also add slurs ad libitum. Thetablature placement of some notes is clearly chosen for slurring purposes. Note how oftenin this and other cello and violin solos, Bach slurs over the accented beat in order to breakup the groupings. This feature may also be observed in the music of French composerssuch as Couperin, Mouton, De Visée and others. It is also worth noting that in the lutemusic of Weiss slurs often occur in descending passages rather less than ascending.Clive Titmuss,Kelowna, August, 2009

Suite pour la Luth par J. S. Bach: Preludeò ôc ôôa caa bdb a bb có/ ô7 ò ò ó õbà dcb a bdò ôó/ ô ó/ ôd c ab a bdacaaa G13 ò ôó/ ô ó/ ôcaa caca gadaCó/ ô ó/ ôôecea G23 ôaeQôa ceQeQò ó Ša aaÁbCc eaQcc aabdcQaa baQôc ac bcbaceab acbcadc add dacc ecôadb aaôfdabhda c:bdb aaôaôôdQaôò ôôaa caa ccÃcÁe c a ccaa Gab ac aA BCBb a baôdb a bôac-1-aRc abaab cada cbôfaca bda bdcôbôbDbôada bôacb adaôeadde edd fôacdabcôdbôccb cbba cdcbaa bda bóa cB D Bbbôda bdôea caabAb aa cfQ cQADôff fff gda bca bdb accaaôbdôdbdaC aaôdbda bdaÁcaCaôbdaacbófc eôa bdaaôaa c ea caaôcò ó/ ôcfefeaaab a bca bdaôefd debda bdaôb caó ôc ccb ddó ô õôa c daó ôca bb dóaó õ ôac acôôôdò óó/ ô ó/ ôf e c aac aa Gò ôc aa c eó ôôa cccd caeeaaa bôa c e aa bó/ ô ó/ ôò ó ôc:babd b a beaCAa bcadb ac acccôb ad aôdb a bda ca c eaQcôcca ca cd d a cd ceeaaecaÁaôóbda bó ôa a acQaQfQaôa ca ca côôdEfb a bò ôò/ óa :abôa bdcó ôcdaó ôefeefeCdEôôôb af faóeDC BAcadbó ôb dd:ôcdôbó/ ôò/ ó ó/ ôaff e c acfeapBc efaacò ôôôa[c]aad b aac aaaaca cCa c eb a bcQôa c abdapc a c eôaRadR ba côa có/ ô ó/ ôò ôacc aba bdcdaa Gò ò ò/ óc cd dcÁRba Gpaaôb a87 ôa cB77 ôbc QôcQaEAdÁRacò ôbÃaa Fbó ôdbó ôcb Qa cc:a a :caÁpb aaó ôa acafaô67 ôadacótres visteóc57 ôaba bcôpda bcQpdb aaaôôôacQ47 ôacQda ca ba baa c eÁaCò ó/ ô ó/ ô ó/ ôbÃcò ôd b a :b abcaa Geó ôóca e c e aadôa có37 ó ôac ac dbc 5caa G aò/ óó/ ô ó/ ô ó/ ô ó/ ôa cc accaac adbdaò ò ó õdb aò/ ó ò ôò ò ò ôó ôb a bó/ ô ó/ ôa b adÁôbÃeeRacò ó õca G19 òò óBWV 995edacdcdcb

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Praeludio con la suite da Gio. Bast. Bach auf’s Lautenwerk (BWV 996)Foreword:The Lautenwerk suite is one of the earliest surviving pieces from the composer in keyboard notation,supposed to have been composed before 1712. Its style is in keeping with other keyboard works byBach written in this period, including the Toccatas BWV 910-916 and the Capriccio on the Departureof His Beloved Brother BWV 992. An examination of those works will reveal many similarities toBWV 996. Bach exhibited great stylistic growth in his lute-influenced keyboard style, culminating inBWV 997 and 998 from the mid-1740’s.There is little reason to suppose that BWV 996 was written with the lute in mind. The inscription issupposed to have been added by Johann Gottfried Walther, who prepared many keyboard sources ofBach's works. The work gradually assumed its present spurious identity as “Lute Suite No. 1”supported in print by the advocacy of influential German scholars Wilhelm Tappert, Albert Schweitzer,Hans Neeman and F.G. Giesbert, who for more than a generation promulgated the concept of a Bachwho played and composed for the lute. BWV 996 was first published Leipzig in 1866.In his article War Johannn Sebastian Bach Lautenspieler? (1964), Hans Radke attempted to reverse thecharacterization of Bach as the composer of four lute suites whose organization is comparable to thesuites for violin, cello or harpsichord. But the image--as a composer conversant with the lute's idiom,and its technical and musical potential as a vehicle of large-scale suite composition--has remained.Beginning in the 1950’s Walter Gerwig, Michel Podolski and later Eugen Mueller-Dombois andMichael Schaeffer began playing Bach on the lute, and in the 1980’s and 90’s “complete lute music”recordings on the lute began to appear, beginning with Narcisco Yepes. Subsequently, other lutenistshave weighed in on the matter with recorded versions, but so far nobody has really managed to dispelthe confusion about Bach and the lute.A recently-written reference work, the dictionary-style Oxford Composer Companion guide to J. S.Bach, edited by Malcolm Boyd, follows the precedent of the Bach-Gesellschaft and Neue BachAusgabe, listing the suite, along with BWV 995, 997, 998, 999, 1000 and 1006a, as being among Bach's“lute” works. A commendably even-handed assessment of the person

The Big Bach Lutebook Music by Johann Sebastian Bach Volume I: Suite pour la Luth par J. S. Bach, BWV 995, in the original key of G minor Praeludio con la Suite auf’s Lautenwerk, BWV 996, in E minor, transposed to F minor [Partita in C minor], BWV 997, transposed to A minor Praeludium, [Fuge, Allegro], BWV 998, in E flat Praeludium pour la lute, BWV 999, in C minor