The publication of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe(hereinafter NBA), from its first volumes in 1954 to its completion in 2006, spurred a fundamental and continuous reassessment of the musical sources, and of Bach’s development and methods as a composer. Inevitably, time has brought new knowledge, not to say new principles of editing, which have left some of the volumes in need of revision. This is particularly so of the earlier ones. One of the first in 1954 was Friedrich Smend’s much-criticized edition of the Mass in B Minor, and that work has inaugurated this revised series with a facsimile ( Messe in h-Moll, BWV 232, mit Sanctus in D-Dur (1724), BWV 232III: Auto graph Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, ed. Christoph Wolff, Documenta musicologica, zweite Reihe: Handschriften-Faksimiles, Bd. 35; Faksimile-Reihe Bachscher Werke und Schriftstücke, n. F., Bd. 2 [Kassel: Bären reiter, 2007]) and new edition ( NBArevidierte Edition [hereinafter NBArev.], Bd. 1: Messe in h-Moll, BWV 232, ed. Uwe Wolf [Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2010]). A feature of this new edition was the use of X-ray spectography in an attempt to distinguish entries by C. P. E. Bach in the original autograph score. The results have not remained unquestioned, but undoubtedly technology will continue to refine our understanding of sources.
NBAseries VI, volume 1, was also one of the earlier volumes (1958), and now appears as volume 3 of NBArev. It contains the Sei Solofor violin BWV 1001–1006 (hereinafter the Violin Solos), the Two Sonatas for violin and continuo BWV 1021 and 1023, and the Six Sonatas for obbligato harpsichord and violin (which seems the most appropriate English amalgam of the various titles in the sources) BWV 1014–1019. These are by no means all of Bach’s Kammermusik mit Violine. Notably lacking is the Fuga in G minor BWV 1026, not only a fine piece but of special interest as perhaps Bach’s earliest surviving chamber work for violin and continuo. Along with other violin works, it is edited by Klaus Hofmann in NBAseries VI, vol. 5 (2006), Verschiedene Kammermusikwerke.
NBAseries VI, vol. 1, and in particular its edition by Günter Hausswald of the Violin Solos, has received its fair share of critical comment over the years. This new revision of the solos was initially published by Bären reiter ( Drei Sonaten und drei Partiten für Violine solo[Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001]) as a performer’s edition of NBAseries VI, vol. 1, “revised” by Peter Wollny. NBArev., vol. 3, now “edited” by Peter Wollny, has a few differences in the musical text, while the source information given in a general way in the 2001 preface is now greatly extended in the 2014 Revisionsbericht. Readers will still need Hausswald’s Kritischer Bericht for details of variant readings. Wollny adds a further six manuscript sources to Hausswald’s twelve. While not all of Wollny’s source assessments have gone undisputed, he has greatly simplified the editing problem by concluding that only two of the eighteen do not derive from Bach’s 1720 autograph, and that these are compromised in various ways as independent versions.
In his preface to the 2001 edition, Wollny refined some common assumptions about the origins of the solos, and the supporting information and arguments are strengthened in his 2014 report. Georg von Dadelsen suggested that the paper of the autograph, made in Joachimsthal, near Carlsbad in Bohemia where Bach spent May to July 1720 in the suite of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, may indicate [End Page 415]that Carlsbad was the place where Bach assembled the fair copy (Johann Sebastian Bach, Sei solo a violin senza...