Alfred Dürr (3 March 1918 in Berlin-Charlottenburg – 7 April 2011 in Göttingen) was a German musicologist. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Dürr studied musicology and Classical philology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen from 1945 to 1950. He wrote his thesis about Bach's early cantatas. From 1962 until 1983 he was the director of the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut in Göttingen. Dürr received honorary doctorates of music from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Oxford and Baldwin–Wallace College in Ohio. His 65th birthday was marked by a Festschrift Bachiana et alia musicologica (ed. W. Rehm, Kassel, 1983).
Research and editing
Dürr researched the works of Bach, especially the history of his works concluded from the sources. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second complete edition of Bach's works, a historical-critical edition based on the sources, published between 1954 and 2007. The musicologist John Butt remarked:
If one had to single out the scholar who has done most to establish the new chronology of Bach's vocal works and who appears most often as an editor within the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, this would surely have to be Dürr.
His "painstaking work" changed the chronology of Bach's works, especially his cantatas. From 1953 to 1974 Dürr was editor of the Bach-Jahrbuch (Bach almanach), together with Werner Neumann, the founder and director of the Bach-Archiv Leipzig. Dürr wrote standard works on the Bach cantatas (1971) and on The Well-Tempered Clavier, which are of interest not only to specialists, but also to the general public. In 1957 he published in the Bach-Jahrbuch Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke J. S. Bachs. In 1988 his book on Bach's St John Passion, Die Johannes-Passion von Johann Sebastian Bach, he explored theological aspects as well as the four versions of the work. He expanded his thesis Studien über die frühen Kantaten J. S. Bachs, originally published in Leipzig in 1951, in 1977.
Alfred Dürr died on 7 April 2011 in Göttingen.
- Johann Sebastian Bach. Die Kantaten. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1999. ISBN 3-7618-1476-3
- Johann Sebastian Bach. Das Wohltemperierte Klavier. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2002. ISBN 3-7618-1229-9
- Entries to Alfred Dürr in the Library of Congress
- Entries to Alfred Dürr in WorldCat
- Newsletter of the Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
- Catalogue of the Oxford University Press
- The dilemmas of editing Bach John Butt
- Christopher Wood: Oceanic soundings Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, 27 August 1999
- Johann Sebastian Bach / A Listener's Guide to the Cantatas Books and references
- Die Quellen der Bach-Werke bach.gwdg.de
- Oceanic soundings klassikinfo.de April 2011 (German)
- The Cantatas of J. S. Bach Oxford
- Alfred Dürr International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory
- Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Konrad Küster. "Dürr, Alfred". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.
- Alfred Dürr Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht, Konrad Küster
- Alfred Dürr encyclopedia.com