John Passion extra content: Sources and Brief Bibliography


The musical text for Bach's Johannes-Passion was taken largely from the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (NBA, published by Bärenreiter, Kassel), edited by Arthur Mendel (Johannes-Passion, BWV 245, NBA II/4, 1974).

The critical report for this edition (Kritischer Bericht) is the most important study of the sources and their complex relationships.

All the manuscripts from Bach's performances have been studied in the online resource, Bach Digital - http://bachdigital.uni-leipzig.de - these comprise the partially autograph score, DB Mus. Ms. Bach P25 and, most importantly, the complex collection of original parts, DB Mus. MS. Bach St 111.

All the original documents referred to in the notes are to be found in The New Bach Reader - A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents, ed. by Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, Revised and Enlarged by Christoph Wolff (New York and London, 1998). See pages 114-116 (excerpts from Rost's diary and documents relating to the first performance of the Johannes-Passion), 204 (for quote about cancelled performance of 1739). The original German texts can be found in Bach-Dokumente, ed. W. Neumann and H.-J. Schulze, vol. 2 (Leipzig and Kassel, 1969).

More references to Johann Christoph Rost and other aspects of Leipzig liturgical practice can be found in Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, trans. Herbert J.A. Bouman, Daniel F. Poellot and Hilton C. Oswald, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis, 1984)

The primary sources for the liturgy are: Gottfried Vopelius, Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, (Leipzig, 1682) 

Texts for Intercession and Collect taken from: Agenda, Das ist: Kirchen-Ordnung (originally published in 1539; continuously reprinted; editions of 1712 and 1748 consulted) Vollständiges Kirchen-Buch (Leipzig, 1731; edition of 1743 consulted) 

Good Friday Sermon: Erdmann Neumeister, Epistolische Nachlese (Hamburg,1720), pp. 258-71  

Key Secondary Literature

John Butt, Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (Cambridge, 1994) and Bach's Dialogue with Modernity - Perspectives on the Passions (Cambridge, 2010) 

Robin A. Leaver, ‘The Mature Vocal Works and their Theological and Liturgical Context', in John Butt (ed.) and The Cambridge Companion to Bach (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 86-122

Michael Marissen, Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism and Bach's St. John Passion - With an Annotated Literal Translation of the Libretto (Oxford University Press, 1998) and Bach's Oratorios - The Parallel German-English Texts with Annotations (Oxford University Press, 2008) 

Daniel Melamed, Hearing Bach's Passions (Oxford University Press, 2005)