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A Bid for Posterity

Donald Macleod relives the once-in-a-lifetime moment when the first Sing-Akademie manuscript was drawn out of a crate in 1999, and the magnitude of the treasure trove was revealed

This week we look at CPE Bach's music and reputation in the light of the sensational rediscovery of much his archive in 1999. Throughout the week we'll hear recent recordings of this 'new' music. In this episode, Donald Macleod relives the once-in-a-lifetime moment when the first manuscript was drawn out of a crate in Kiev to reveal the stamp "Sing-Akademie zu Berlin", and the magnitude of the treasure trove was revealed. He explores how the discovery has changed the way Bach and his music is seen in 2019.

The collection of Bach family manuscripts was thought destroyed or irretrievably lost. But in the late 1950s, a few choir books from the Sing-Akademie were returned from Moscow to East Berlin, suggesting the collection may have found its way to Moscow. Eventually a retired librarian in Kiev revealed that restricted music deposits at the Kiev Conservatoire had been transferred to another institution in the Ukraine in 1973.

Finally, the music was traced to the Archive-Museum of Literature and Art in Kiev. The excitement of the discovery spread around the world – the Music historian and Bach biographer Christoph Wolff said, “All of a sudden you understand the creative mind of a great composer. As an historian, I would have to say this was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don't think it will happen again. There is no other collection of that magnitude and that importance around.”

Leite mich nach deinem Willen, H 835
Himlische Cantorey
Les Amis de Philippe
Ludger Rémy, conductor

Cello Concerto in A major, Wq 172 (2nd mvt)
Raphael Wallfisch
Scottish Ensemble
Jonathan Morton, conductor

Symphony in B minor, Wq 182 No 5
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Rebecca Miller, conductor

Sonata in C major, Wq 55 No 1 (Für Kenner und Liebhaber)
Gabor Antalffy, harpsichord

Double Concerto for harpsichord and fortepiano in E Flat major, Wq 47
Michael Behringer, harpsichord
Christine Schornsheim, fortepiano
Freiburger Barockorchester
Gottfried von der Goltz, conductor

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

59 minutes

Last on

Fri 5 Jul 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Leite mich nach deinem Willen, H 835

    Ensemble: Himmlische Cantorey. Ensemble: Les Amis de Philippe. Conductor: Ludger Rémy.
    • CPO 7771082.
    • CPO.
    • 1.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Cello Concerto in A major, Wq 172 (Largo)

    Performer: Raphael Wallfisch. Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble. Conductor: Jonathan Morton.
    • BRILLIANT CLASSICS : 94640.
    • BRILLIANT CLASSICS.
    • 8.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Symphony in B minor, Wq 182 No 5

    Orchestra: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Conductor: Rebecca Miller.
    • SIGNUM : SIGCD-395.
    • Signum.
    • 7.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Sonata in C major, Wq 55 No 1

    Performer: Gabor Antalffy.
    • CPO 9991002.
    • CPO.
    • 1.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Double Concerto for harpsichord and fortepiano in E flat major, Wq 47

    Performer: Michael Behringer. Performer: Christine Schornsheim. Orchestra: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: Gottfried von der Goltz.
    • Carus 83.305.
    • Carus.
    • 10.

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