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Bach, B minor mass (Christoff Wolff edition)

I have received my copy of the full score and piano-vocal score of the
B-Minor Mass edited by Christoph Wolff and published by Peters.

For those who wanted a summary, here is what I've found:

1. Wolff naturally corrects all the obvious errors of Smend's edition for
the NBA. This includes properly placing the late version of "Et in unum"
in the body of the score and taking into account all the articulations,
etc. from the Dresden parts for the 1733 Missa.

2. Wolff includes a bassoon part for the "Crucifixus" based on the one
for the opening chorus of "Weinen, Klagen." While I don't agree with his
logic, the part is clearly distinguished from original Bachian material.

3. The early version, recently discovered, of the Credo is included in an
appendix along with CPE Bach's 1786 introduction to the Credo.

4. CPE Bach's figured bass for the Credo is included.

5. Variants among the primary sources are clearly indicated.

6. Anything that Wolff has added is clearly indicated.

7. I find the typography in the vocal score difficult: the choral lines
are set in smaller type than the piano or solo lines.

This is a very "neutral" edition: the most radical thing is the bassoon
part in the "Crucifixus." For the rest, the conductor can/must make
his/her own decisions. This means working out the rhythm of the "Domine
Deus" for yourself, and if you have any desire to use concertists you will
have to work that out for yourself, too. Like Smend, Wolff does think the
"Benedictus" solo instrument is the flute, and specifies it as such.

This is an outstanding edition for those with a musicological turn of
mind: everything that is now known about the piece is reflected in this
score. Nevertheless, the conducting score is very clean. I'd recommend
that you buy it if you don't now own a score and are planning to conduct
the work (beware, however: the cost of approximately $150 is for a score
bound in paper covers). If you already own a copy of the Smend edition,
you might want to consider getting a copy of the Peters study score for
reference. You would then have to go through the painstaking process of
putting the various trills and slurs into the parts for the Kyrie and

I hope this is useful.


==========================================================================David Schildkret phone:336-721-2637
Dean, Salem College School of Music fax: 336-721-2683
e-mail: schildkr(a)