BACH NOTES – Our Journal



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Bach Notes 2017

Bach Notes is the London Bach Society’s Journal. From 2017, the Journal will be published annually in September  in conjunction with the annual Bachfest. The issue will include articles, interviews and features that will lead our readers deeper into the world of Bach today. In  particular, the September 2017 issue will reflect the Luther 500th Reformation Anniversary (1517-2017). We also publish bi-monthly editions by email that feature updates, London Bach Society news, plus details about some interesting concerts and/or projects coming up elsewhere. Bach Notes is distributed free and posted on our website.  The latest and past issues can be accessed by clicking on the links below.  Acrobat Reader will be required.

Our Journal is published in the spirit of the 19th century German romantic composer Robert Schumann, who was also a journalist and a leading light in the movement to revive Bach’s music, which he achieved successfully in his own Journal “Neues Zeitschrift für Musik”

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2016 BACH NOTES Autumn Edition

This special LBS 70th Anniversary edition not only profiles the Society and its work but celebrates activities in the world of Bach globally. Articles include Bachfest 2016, a profile of Steinitz Bach Players, a tribute to the London Bach Society’s original choir (1947-1989), Peter Smaill’s report on the American Bach Society’s recent Conference and Yo Tomita at the Leipzig Bachfest.


Immediate past Issues 



Samples & Archives

Articles from past editions of Bach Notes are available here on Yo Tomita’s Bach Bibliography website.

Extracts from an earlier edition:

New Bach Aria discovery

“Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn”, BWV 1127

For the first time since the 1930s, a genuine Bach vocal work has been discovered amongst papers unearthed at the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar. Composed in October 1713 for the birthday of Bach’s employer Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, the score is in Bach’s own hand and the work is a strophic aria with ritornello for solo soprano, strings and basso continuo. The opening words of the aria “Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn” mean “Everything with God and nothing without him”, the Duke’s own motto, and are from a poem by the theologian, Johann Anton Mylius.

The discovery was made by eagle-eyed researcher Michael Maul, as part of the on-going research project to conduct a systematic survey of all central German, communal and state archival collections, a project initiated and supervised by Prof. Dr. Christoph Wolff, Chairman of the Board of the Bach-Archiv, Leipzig. Professor Wolff describes it as ‘no major composition but an occasional work in the form of an exquisite and highly refined strophic aria, Bach’s only contribution to a musical genre popular in late 17th-century Germany.’ …who says that there is nothing left to do!

LBS gave the UK ‘live’ première performance of this new Aria at the opening of Bachfest on Friday 4 November 2005 in St. John’s. Smith Square, London.

Leipzig – City of Fairs, Culture and for today

Pen Portrait

Saxony in south-eastern Germany possesses a rich musical heritage due to centuries of tradition combined with continual patronage of one kind or another. In the past that patronage has been by the church, the royal courts or city fathers, and is now through state & city funding, corporate sponsorships and private foundations. Leipzig is the State’s second city and it maintains some of the most important musical institutions in the world: the Thomanerchor, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Opera, an influential music school, and the Bach-Archiv. Artists of the highest calibre grace the concert platforms and opera stage in annual seasons that make it an international centre, with the air of romance that surrounds adding a particular ‘frisson’. The Reformation reached Leipzig in 1539 from which date the city took over the management of the Thomasschule. The annual Book Fairs attracted members of the printing and book trade from a wide area, greatly enhancing the city’s reputation and making it fashionable in the 18th century.

Today, the city of Leipzig is synonymous with Bach, his towering statue standing erect outside the church he served for nearly thirty years and his simple memorial placed in the chancel is constantly bedecked with floral tributes. …….all the venues with Bachian associations retain their individuality in a city that has been brought to new life since 1989. The black lignite stain on buildings is slowly disappearing and shining modernity is all around, from new car parks to new museums of modern art, street cafés and fast food outlets to the latest in clothes and technology.

This is Leipzig in the modern era: extended ring road with signs to Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Dresden, traffic diversions, building work, a completely revamped Leipzig station (except the façade, mercifully!), all the accoutrements of modern living, mobile phones, hustle and bustle… but also the leafy avenues and spacious parks away from the centre, the famous trams… and around each corner a memory – Goethe, Schiller, and the site of the Paulinerkirche.



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