Which <i>St. John Passion</i> BWV 245?

Daniel R. Melamed

in Hearing Bach's Passions

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195169331
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865376 | DOI:
 Which St. John Passion BWV 245?

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What do we do when a composition survives in several versions? J. S. Bach's St. John Passion presents a test case for our convictions about pieces and their multiple versions. Most people's sense that there is indeed a work identifiable as “the St. John Passion ” is confirmed by the assignment of a single Bach catalogue number (BWV 245) to it. But the situation is more complicated: there are multiple St. John Passions, some of which are recoverable and some of which are not. One may not really qualify as a version, depending on how one defines the concept.

Keywords: composition; catalogue number; St. John Passion; multiple versions; revisions

Chapter.  5234 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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