An early version of BWV 572 was copied by Johann Gottfried Walther

An early version of BWV 572 was copied by Johann Gottfried Walther. The title page of Walther’s manuscript reads Piece d’Orgue | di | Giov: Sebast: Bach. This copy probably originated around 1714–1717. According to George B. Stauffer, Bach composed this version between 1708 and c. 1712. Also Jean-Claude Zehnder (de) supposes that this version of the piece was composed in Bach’s early Weimar years, while he also mentions Siegbert Rampe (de)’s contention that it may have been composed somewhat later. The earliest extant copies of Bach’s revised version date from the 1720s. Also these manuscripts carry the title Piece d’Orgue. The oldest extant copy of the revised version was written by a Köthen pupil late 1722, around half a year before Bach moved to Leipzig. A lost manuscript, which served for the publication of the piece in 1846, was, according to Peter Williams (de), likely titled Fantasia. Philipp Spitta, naming the work Fantasia in the 1873 first volume of his Bach-biography, considered it more Buxtehude-like than any other composition by Bach. The Bach Gesellschaft published the piece as Fantasie in 1891. A century later, the New Bach Edition returned to the name found in the early manuscripts, i.e. Pièce d’Orgue. Breitkopf’s 21st-century new Urtext edition also uses this name for BWV 572.

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