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What books did Johann Sebastian Bach have on his shelves at the time of his death?

We have a list of them.
Most of the books themselves were lost.


But not all of them.

Fortunately the book that for Bach was the most important, his three-volume Bible, has been preserved and found its way to a library in St. Louis, USA.

CONNOISSEURS ON THE BACH BIBLE

David O. Berger

librarian emeritus of Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis, where the Bach/Calov Bible resides

“As the only known extant books from the library of J. S. Bach listed for probate at the time of his death, the Calov Bible commentary provides a unique window into Bach's use of Holy Scripture. From supplying missing words to underlining and annotating the text, it's clear that Bach was intimately acquainted with his Bible. The publication of Uitgeverij Van Wijnen makes this musico-theological treasure available to lovers and scholars of Bach in a number of disciplines and to all collectors of fine facsimiles. Concordia Seminary takes great pleasure in partnering with the publisher in making it possible to share these valuable volumes with a world-wide clientele.”

 

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

together with Gustav Leonhardt the first conductor to record a complete cycle of Bach’s cantatas using period instruments

"Bach's Bible is highly interesting for any musician who performs his music and for everyone who loves his music. - How did he read his Bible - what did he write in the margins? My best wishes for this wonderful project."

 

Ton Koopman

conductor, organist, harpsichordist, professor of historically informed performance practice at Leyden University

“The Bach/Calov Bible is a unique document. J.S. Bach comments on the Bible and this document has been preserved. Many have heard of it, few have seen it. I am one of those few and I very much welcome this publication.”

 

Jos van Veldhoven

artistic director of the Netherlands Bach Society

“It is always exciting to hear something Bach may have heard (like historical organs) or see something Bach might have seen. Or to walk the streets Bach must have walked. In the Bach/Calov Bible you can read in the book that Bach must have been reading a lot, and in which he sometimes wrote down his feelings. We can sit down beside him for a moment…”

 

Christoph Wolff

Professor of Music, Harvard University and Director of the Bach Archive, Leipzig

“A facsimile of Bach’s exemplar of the Calov Bible will help us understand that Bach the composer always started as a reader when setting sacred texts. It will facilitate studying Bach’s working copy of the three-volume Lutheran bible with it's authoritative theological commentaries, a welcome task that can only lead to a better and deeper appreciation of the intimate relationship of words and music in Bach’s compositions for the church.”

 

Gustav Leonhardt (1928 - 2012)

together with Nikolaus Harnoncourt the first conductor to record a complete cycle of Bach’s cantatas using period instruments

Bach knew the Bible intensely, tasted and weighed the texts. He is the greatest. The admiration for Bach is still increasing. I do not know how or why. That 's the big secret."

 


Masaaki Suzuki

conductor of the Bach Collegium Japan

“Some years ago I have tried to bring the Bach-Calov Bible to Japan. This did not succeed, but this facsimile edition makes it possible to see and study this unique Bach source here in Japan and everywhere in the world.”

 


Albert Clement

organist and Professor of Musicology specializing in theological Bach research

“The discovery of Bach’s Calov commentary was undoubtedly the most important Bach find of the 20th century. It is high time to open up this treasure trove and make the important information it offers accessible to a broader public.”

 


You can acquire this unique publication in a number of ways.

Given the extremely costly process of production, the price for an edition of this size and quality is relatively low: € 5500. If you subscribe in advance, you will pay only
€ 4800. And this amount can be paid in monthly installments – without extra cost.