The Bach Complete Edition and the Bach Complete Works: Two different animals. Sounds like it is the same? Absolutely. However: Just by definition the Bach science decided one term is this, the very similar term is something different. Complicated? Complicated indeed. Read about that strange phenomenon later on this page.
That would really not work: a website that also deals with Johann Sebastian Bach as a topic. And then we leave you standing in the rain, how and where you can find the music of the master most comfortably? And if that is possible at all, then just as uncomplicated. And also at a reasonable price. And there's also a lot for free items coming with it.
The Renate Bach Verlag (... Publishing Haus) "Bach 4 You" cannot offer you a reasonable price, because our offer is actually unreal. Incredibly affordable (... with the add-ons)! Incredibly exciting and this Bach musical work is incredibly complete. And why does "Bach 4 You" do that? Because both the Publisher and the author of the non-commercial "Bach on Bach" portal, to which this website about Wechmar also belongs, have a total of three goals:
1. The joint mission of the Publisher and the author wants to guide you quickly to answers to questions and to finds in your search for Bach. For example, with the FAQ on "Bach on Bach".
2. The author and the Publisher want to spread the knowledge about Johann Sebastian Bach even more intensively and, above all, even more actively and even more attractively in the world and also to communicate the enjoyment of his gifted music and, finally, to ...
3. ... the author and the Publisher both of course want to refinance the expenses for the whole project, mainly for travels in Bach matters and for the quite elaborate Johann Sebastian Bach Genealogy. Therefore, my Publishing House Bach 4 You can make you the following offer.
It's not Just the Bach Music Complete Edition for that Super Price, but There Are Also Eight Free Additional Precious Bach Gifts for You!
Probably an absolutely unbeatable offer of music plus six free valuable add-ons. Add-on no. 1 is all the sheet music with Bach's music, in fact the "Alte Bach-Gesamtausgabe" ("Old Bach Complete Edition"): That's 16,800 sheet music sheets that you get as a PDF file in addition to the music work, the Bach Complete Edition of music. Plus, you can look forward to another seven add-ons, which together represent quite a considerable value. There is the Biography on Bach for Kids as an audiobook and as an eBook, for tablet and for smartphone. But the Biography on Bach for Kids are just three more of the add-ons. You can learn more in the store, but you can already explore it in the image above. How much does this complete work of music cost? Take a look at the store.
One Bach store with almost countless Bach gifts? No, there is also "Zazzle" and three further stores. The Bach Store with the complete Bach music? That's in the Store of the Publisher (... the left button). Here is the link to all stores.
Well Now ... What Is That?
Not everything is inside what it says on the outside. You'd better sit down now: You read "Bach" and "Ausgabe" at the top of the red cover. In the picture, however, you see the so-called "Old Bach Complete Edition" (... "Alte Bach-Gesamtausgabe"). With the emphasis on "Gesamtausgabe" (... only in German it's that confusing, it's Gesamtausgabe cs. Gesamtwerk). Bach Works and Bach Complete Edition are the same, you think? But they are not. In fact, experts, book publishers specializing in Bach, and Bach scholars make a distinction: Bach works, that is the music, for example on CDs. The Bach Complete Edition (... not "true" in English) is the sheet music, initially on paper. If you feel like listening to music, then please look for the Bach complete works. But if you feel more like the sheet music pages, then better search for the "Bach Complete Edition" (... the Bach Music Gesamtausgabe). It is almost ... unfair. And ... it gets much more complicated. To the store. To the shop.
Bach-Gesamtausgaben: The "Old", the "New" and the "New Revised"
So: If you are looking for Bach's music to listen to, then you are looking for the so-called Bach Complete Works. Or – also in German – for the "Bach Gesamtwerk / Bach Complete Edition". You can find this offer – with one click – here. About the Bach Complete Edition (... the sheet music) you read in the now following section.
You are already on the right track. But now there is an "Old Bach Complete Edition" (... "Gesamtausgabe") and a "New Bach Complete Edition" and also in addition a "Revised New Bach Complete Edition": All three terms are fixed terms among all Bach specialists. The Old Bach Complete Edition was published by Breitkopf und Härtel in cooperation with the Bach Society in Leipzig over a period of almost half a century. This happened with the first volume in 1851 and the last volume almost 50 years later, in 1899. Together, these are now 16,800 pages, and you can only get them as PDF files. However, they are now in the public domain, which means that whoever has them can do what they want with them. You can sell them. Or you can give them away. As files or on paper. There is one exception regarding the copyright. If someone has photographed or scanned all 16,800 sheet music, then you can get this "new" work from him ... or her ... not simply download it somewhere on the internet or from a CD and then do what you want with it. Because in this case a new copyright has been created. Complicated? Complicated!
Since 1954 until 2007 – the beginning is now also again more than half a century ago – the New Bach Complete Edition (... the "Neue Bach-Gesamtausgabe") was created: It is again the notes on the sheet music, of course scientifically spiced up. The curious thing: The last edition of the edition from 1954 to 2007 appeared only in 2016. This "New Bach Complete Edition" is now published by Bärenreiterverlag in Kassel. The cost in 2015 – at the subscription price – was still around € 16,000. From 2016, when the final volume was finally printed, at € 20,000.
Finally – also again in the renowned Bärenreiterverlag – at the moment the "Revised New Bach Complete Edition" is being created ... also again bound sheet music. At the moment there are just nine volumes (2023) of this edition, the price is € 600 per volume. The completion of this edition, that is, the publication of the last volume of this edition, is scheduled for 2065. So plus or minus a decade ... or so.
Why do they do that? Well, the state of science changes. There is a work that is classified in the meantime as composed by Bach. With another one, it is believed to have been discovered that it was not Bach who wrote it, but another composer. And then, of course, we "need" a complete, brand-new Bach edition. But ... those who are working on it would certainly be writhing with bellyache now. Or simply cry over my words.
And it goes on with Johann Sebastian's music: The Bach Complete Works are also not equal to Bach Complete Works and one "Bach Complete Edition" is not equal to the other "Bach Complete Edition". In fact all CD boxes look very similar. All boxes also contain practically the same thing: CDs in cardboard slipcases ... "all the way through". And whether 155 CDs, 152 CDs or 142 CDs ... nowhere has one of Bach's magnificent works been lost in the last 25 years. Nor has any been lost since 2014. If you then also pay attention to the fact that – elsewhere on the internet – the Complete Bach Edition, interpreted by one artist, is not the Bach complete works, but only everything that exactly this one musician has played by Bach, then you also quickly realize when a bargain is not a bargain at all. To get to the offer, click directly to the store and then continue from there. By the way, on the subject of whether Bach's works are lost: An expert suspects that today's 1,128 works represent only about ten percent of Bach's oeuvre. How sad.
What is then this box in the picture above? It is the same offer as in the collage even further above ... the super collection of the music label Brilliant Classics, just ... one generation older. Otherwise, it is the same comprehensive Bach Complete Works of music. The different number of CDs, reflects a better arrangement of the titles in the latest collection. Promise: Not a single piece in the current Bach Complete Works of 2014 is "lost" or simply ... gone. In the meantime, the title also changed a bit in an edition of exactly this publisher, and it is sold today from (... seriously ...) € 1,435 up to ... just to € 139* and also with eight free add-ons in addition ... precisely at "Bach 4 You". Very, very rarely you can find it even more favorable and then only without add-ons. So if you are looking for the Bach Complete Works, then you realize: Not spending too much money ... becomes really exhausting. * This value fluctuates now and then.
Indeed: Maybe you don't have kids and that's why to the Bach complete works and the Bach complete edition, more precisely the "Old Bach complete edition" – the 16,800 photographed sheet music – the "Bach Biography for Children" is not the most attractive addition. As an audiobook or for PC, tablet and smartphone. However, it is also very easy-going and entertaining for adults. But you might alternatively enjoy the Bach Medley, the "little work" with Bach quotes and Bach's music. Or you might find the two tiny busts of Mozart and of Beethoven cute, possibly to give as gifts. So exciting is the Renate Bach Verlag (... Publishing House) with the complete music works of Johann Sebastian Bach. In the store you can take a look at all the add-ons once, among which you have the choice. The only exception is the "Old Bach Complete Edition" (... "Gesamtausgabe"): Unfortunately, we cannot offer you the "New Bach Complete Edition" in its place. You can certainly understand why this is the case. Here it goes again to the store.
One Bach Shop? No, Five Bach Shops ... Find Bach Gifts and More Bach Gifts There ... Welcome!
Music Calendars and More Music Calendars ... Plus How to Find Them
"Bach 4 You" offers 99 music calendars. And Bach busts. And little Bach men. And Bach statues. And two Bach tin figures, painted and unpainted. Did you know that? Actually, it's 33 music calendars, 33 Bach calendars, 33 composers calendars, and 33 music calendars for children. And pipe organ calendars. Plus, there are two calendars for Valentine's Day and two calendars for Mother's Day. All music calendars come in three sizes. 2024 + 2025. EU + US style. To the shop.
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Sir Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin