Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Gojowy, Detlev. "Zur Frage der Köthener Trauermusik und der Matthäuspassion." Bach-Jahrbuch 51 (1965): 86-134.

Only the text of the Köthener Trauermusik has come down to us, and scholars (including Schering and Smend) have considered whether the Köthener Trauermusik is a parody of the St. Matthew Passion or the other way round. By comparing the texts and examining their application to the music of the arias and accompagnato recitatives of the St. Matthew Passion, it can be shown that the text of the Köthener Trauermusik displays great unity and conviction in terms of choice of words and rhetorical techniques, whereas in the text of the St. Matthew Passion corresponding passages seem forced or illogical and include grammatical inaccuracies, suggesting that it was adapted from the Trauermusik rather than the other way around. The two texts, however, most probably were written within a few weeks, which can be concluded from outside circumstances (p. 108). The fact that in adapting the Köthener Trauermusik to the St. Matthew Passion Bach may have made considerable changes to fit the new text makes tracing parody delicate. Thus a negative procedure is applied: if the musical versions of the St. Matthew Passion (the earlier one as found in the "Altnickol" Ms. and the later definitive version) antedate the Trauermusik, we should not find any passages in the passion that better fit the corresponding text of the Trauermusik. Several such passages may be found, however, especially in the "Altnickol" version. Furthermore, it is clear that Bach tried to collate text and music better in the definitive version of the St. Matthew Passion. All these findings make it possible to reconstruct a succession of numbers in the Köthener Trauermusik that makes sense in all respects.

Works: Bach: St. Matthew Passion.

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Andreas Giger

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