Penn State

Laura Probst - Head of Public Services; Associate Librarian, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Orgelbuchlein BWV 599-644. Faksimile nach den Autograph in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Author: Bach, Johann Sebastian

Book Description:

How do I select a book that reflects the various facets of my academic career? While I received tenure as a librarian, my work as organist, musicologist, and teacher constitutes a significant part of my professional identity. In choosing a book that has special meaning for me, I wanted it to illustrate the connections I see between these activities and how they together have influenced my life. So, I've selected Bach's Orgelbuchlein, a "little" masterpiece, described by many as the most important collection of chorales in the organ repertory. While it is often among the first works that an organ student learns, mastery and appreciation of these brief chorales grow only with time and maturity. In playing the chorales over the years, I have come to understand Bach's genius and workmanship, and to appreciate the aesthetic of the German Baroque. In my work with students I have used facsimile editions such as this as a tool to help them appreciate the historicity of the music, and the distance between the time of its writing and the present. The unfamiliar orthography and the clear evidence of the composer's hand speak volumes about the origins of the music. Last but not least, in selecting this facsimile edition of one of a very small number of extant Bach autographs for the University Libraries collections, I hope that this important work will be used by others and will inspire others as it has inspired me.


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