Bach/Not Bach: The Anonymous St. Luke Passion BWV 246
How did an anonymous passion come to be attributed to Bach, and what does it mean that it did?
How did an anonymous passion come to be attributed to Bach, and what does it mean that it did? The St. Luke Passion BWV 246 sets Luke's words as a biblical oratorio with interpolated poetic arias and chorales, just like Bach's other passions. Everyone now agrees that the passion is not by Bach, but the work is still known today because, even after scholars gave up on the idea that the work was his, they clung to the problematic claim that he had performed the piece as part of his working repertory in Leipzig. The St. Luke Passion illustrates one of the most serious problems in the study of old music, and offers some discomforting insights into the assumptions we make about Great Musical Works and their composers.
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