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Trumpets, Horns, and Bach «Abschriften» at the time of Christian Friedrich Penzel: Probing the Pedigree of «BWV» 143

Don Smithers

There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of BWV 143 as a genuine cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. While the originals are lost, there are second and third «generation» copies. This study considers all known facts since the work’s composition in the 18th century and discusses in detail the criteria for judging the authenticity of the work.
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BWV 143 and Bach-Überlieferung after 1750


The earliest extant source of BWV 143 is the one copy found at Celle that was evidently in the possession of Heinrich Wilhelm Stolze (Erfurt 1801-Celle 1868), the Celle organist, composer, and founder of the Celle Singverein.76 He was a resident at Celle from 1823 (or 1829?) until his death in 1868.77 Heinrich Wilhelm was the son of the Erfurt organist, cantor, and music teacher, Georg Christoph Stolze (Erfurt 1762–1830).78 The particular copy of BWV 143 is inscribed with what, in light of a number of comparable sources, this writer asserts was the place and year of transcrip ← 65 | 66 → tion, i. e. “Kirchweyh 1762”.79 But inasmuch as there are two places in Germany with that name, we may conclude that the particular Kirchweyh(e) mentioned on the first leaf of the particular Celle copy is probably the one near Uelzen on the north-south road from Braunschweig to Lüneburg and Hamburg, and only a Katzensprung from Celle. It is only 72 kilometers from Braunschweig, while the other and larger town of Kirchweyhe is not far from Celle but south of Bremen. And as far as the inscribed indication of possessor on the older of the two Celle copies of BWV 143 is concerned, i. e., ‘HWStolze XVI, 11’, there is no way of knowing when this was written. It is for certain that the handwriting of the supposed ex libris is not the same as that of the inscription, ‘Kirchweyh 1762’. For all intent...

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