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Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

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Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Sketch of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Born(1710-11-22)22 November 1710
Died1 July 1784(1784-07-01) (aged 73)

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784) was a German composer, organist and harpsichordist. He was the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. Despite his acknowledged genius as an improviser and composer, his income and employment were unstable, and he died in poverty.


Manuscript copy of Der Trost gehöret (BR-WFB F26)
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach House (now a museum), where Friedemann lived in Halle

Wilhelm Friedemann (hereafter Friedemann) was born in Weimar, where his father was employed as organist and chamber musician to the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. In July 1720, when Friedemann was nine, his mother Maria Barbara Bach died suddenly; Johann Sebastian Bach remarried in December 1721. J. S. Bach supervised Friedemann's musical education and career with great attention. The graded course of keyboard studies and composition that J. S. Bach provided is documented in the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (modern spelling: Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach), with entries by both father and son. This education also included (parts of) the French Suites, (Two-Part) Inventions, (Three-Part) Sinfonias (popularly known as "Inventions"), the first volume of The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the six Trio Sonatas for organ. At the age of 16 he went to Merseburg to learn the violin with his teacher Johann Gottlieb Graun.

In addition to his musical training, Friedemann received formal schooling beginning in Weimar. When J. S. Bach took the post of Cantor of the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig (in 1723), he enrolled Friedemann in the associated Thomasschule. (J. S. Bach—who had himself been orphaned at the age of 10—said that he took the position in Leipzig partly because of the educational opportunities it afforded his children). On graduating in 1729, Friedemann enrolled as a law student in Leipzig University, a renowned institution at the time, but later moved on to study law and mathematics at the University of Halle. He maintained a lifelong interest in mathematics, and continued to study it privately during his first job in Dresden.[1]

Friedemann was appointed in 1733 to the position of organist of the St. Sophia's Church at Dresden. In competing for the post he played a new version of his father's Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541. The judge described Friedemann as clearly superior to the other two candidates. He remained a renowned organist throughout his life. Among his many pupils in Dresden was Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, the keyboardist whose name is erroneously enshrined in the popular nickname given to J. S. Bach's 1742 publication, "Aria with Diverse Variations"—that is, "The Goldberg Variations." The scholar Peter Williams has discredited the story which links the work to Goldberg stating that J. S. Bach wrote the work for the Russian Ambassador Count Hermann Carl von Keyserlingk, who would ask his employee, Goldberg, to play the variations to entertain him during sleepless nights. Williams instead has argued that J. S. Bach wrote the variations to provide a display piece for Friedemann.[2]

In 1746 Friedemann became organist of the Liebfrauenkirche at Halle.[1] In 1751, Friedemann married Dorothea Elisabeth Georgi (1721–1791), who was 11 years his junior and who outlived him by seven years. Dorothea was the daughter of a tax collector. The landed estates she inherited caused the family to be placed in a high tax bracket by Halle authorities, who were raising taxes to meet the revenue demands of the Seven Years' War. To raise cash for these payments, she sold part of her property in 1770. The couple produced two sons and a daughter, Friederica Sophia (born in 1757), who was the only one of their offspring to live past infancy. The descendants of Friederica Sophia eventually migrated to Oklahoma.[3]

Friedemann was deeply unhappy in Halle almost from the beginning of his tenure. In 1749 he was involved in a conflict with the Cantor of the Liebfrauenkirche, Gottfried Mittag, who had misappropriated funds that were due to Friedemann. In 1750 the church authorities reprimanded Friedemann for overstaying a leave of absence (he was in Leipzig settling his father's estate). In 1753 he made his first documented attempt to find another post, and thereafter made several others. All these attempts failed. Bach had at least two pupils, Friedrich Wilhelm Rust and Johann Samuel Petri.

In 1762, he negotiated for the post of Kapellmeister to the court of Darmstadt; although he protracted the negotiations for reasons that are opaque to historians and did not actively take the post, he nevertheless was appointed Hofkapellmeister of Hessen-Darmstadt, a title he used in the dedication of his Harpsichord Concerto in E minor.

In June 1764, Friedemann left the job in Halle without any employment secured elsewhere.[1] His financial situation deteriorated so much that in 1768 he re-applied for his old job in Halle, without success. He thereafter supported himself by teaching. After leaving Halle in 1770, he lived for several years (1771–1774) in Braunschweig where he applied in vain for the post of an organist at the St. Catherine's church. Then he moved to Berlin, where he initially was welcomed by the princess Anna Amalia (the sister of Frederick the Great). Later, no longer in favor at court, he gave harpsichord lessons to Sarah Levy, the daughter of a prominent Jewish family in Berlin and an avid collector of Bach and other early 18th century music, who was also a "patron" of Friedemann's brother CPE Bach.[4] Friedemann died in Berlin.

Earlier biographers have concluded that his "wayward" and difficult personality reduced his ability to gain and hold secure employment, but the scholar David Schulenberg writes (in the Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd, 1999) that "he may also have been affected by changing social conditions that made it difficult for a self-possessed virtuoso to succeed in a church- or court-related position" (p. 39). Schulenberg adds, "he was evidently less willing than most younger contemporaries to compose fashionable, readily accessible music".

Friedemann Bach was renowned for his improvisatory skills. It is speculated that when in Leipzig his father's accomplishments set so high a bar that he focused on improvisation rather than composition. Evidence adduced for this speculation includes the fact that his compositional output increased in Dresden and Halle.

Friedemann's compositions include many church cantatas and instrumental works, of which the most notable are the fugues, polonaises and fantasias for clavier,[1] and the duets for two flutes. He incorporated more elements of the contrapuntal style learned from his father than any of his three composer brothers, but his use of the style has an individualistic and improvisatory edge which endeared his work to musicians of the late 19th century, when there was something of a revival of his reputation.

Friedemann's students included Johann Nikolaus Forkel, who in 1802 published the first biography of Johann Sebastian Bach; Friedemann, as well as his younger brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, were major informants for Forkel. Friedemann has in earlier biographies been called a poor custodian of his father's musical manuscripts, many of which he inherited; however, more recent scholars are uncertain how many were lost. It is known that Friedemann sold some of his father's collection to raise cash to pay debts (including a large sale in 1759 to Johann Georg Nacke). Also, his daughter took some of the Sebastian Bach manuscripts with her when she moved to America, and these were passed on to her descendants, who inadvertently destroyed many of them. Others were passed on through his only known Berlin pupil, Sarah Itzig Levy, great-aunt of Felix Mendelssohn. Some of his scores were collected by Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch and his pupil Carl Friedrich Zelter, the teacher of Felix Mendelssohn and through them these materials were placed in the library of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, which Fasch founded in 1791 and of which Zelter took charge in 1800.

Friedemann is known occasionally to have claimed credit for music written by his father, but this was in keeping with common musical practices in the era.



"BR-WFB" denotes "Bach-Repertorium Wilhelm Friedemann Bach". "Fk." denotes "Falck catalogue". Bach Digital Work (BDW) pages contain information about individual compositions.

Works by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Name Fk. Notes BDW

Keyboard works

A1 Keyboard Sonata in C major Add. 200 09359
A2a Keyboard Sonata in C major 001B earlier version 08713
A2b 001A later version 09361
A3 Keyboard Sonata in C major 002 09363
A4 Keyboard Sonata in D major 003 08813
A5 Keyboard Sonata in D major 004 09365
A6 Sonata for two harpsichords in D major 011 lost 09367
A7 Keyboard Sonata in E-flat major 005 08697
A8 Keyboard Sonata in E-flat major Add. 201 09369
A9 Keyboard Sonata in E minor Add. 204 related to flute sonata B17 09371
A10 Keyboard Sonata in F major Add. 202 09373
A11a Keyboard Sonata in F major 006C earliest version 09375
A11b 006B middle version 08715
A11c 006 latest version 09377
A11d deest alternative version; related to flute sonata B18 09379
A12 Concerto for two harpsichords in F major 010 = BWV Anh. 188 01499
A13a Concerto for harpsichord solo in G major deest earlier version 08711
A13b 040 later version 09381
A14 Keyboard Sonata in G major 007 09383
A15 Keyboard Sonata in A major 008 09385
A16 Keyboard Sonata in B-flat major 009 09387
A17 Fantasia in C major 014 not before 1770 09624
A18 2 Fantasias in C minor 015 composed for Georg von Behr around 1775 09626
A19 016 09628
A20 Fantasia in D major 017 not before 1770 09630
A21 Fantasia in D minor 018 not before 1770 08845
A22 Fantasia in D minor 019 not before 1770 09632
A23 Fantasia in E minor 020 October 1770 09634
A24 Fantasia in E minor 021 not before 1770 09636
A25 Fantasia in G major 022 around 1763 09638
A26 Fantasia in C major/A minor 023 unfinished 09640
A27 Twelve Polonaises 012 No. 1 in C major; composed between 1765-1770 09517
A28 No. 2 in C minor; composed between 1765-1770 09642
A29 No. 3 in D major; composed between 1765-1770 09644
A30 No. 4 in D minor; composed between 1765-1770 09646
A31 No. 5 in E-flat major; composed between 1765-1770 09649
A32 No. 6 in E-flat minor; composed between 1765-1770 09651
A33 No. 7 in E major; composed between 1765-1770 09653
A34 No. 8 in E minor; composed between 1765-1770 09655
A35 No. 9 in F major; composed between 1765-1770 09657
A36 No. 10 in F minor; composed between 1765-1770 09659
A37 No. 11 in G major; composed between 1765-1770 09661
A38 No. 12 in G minor; composed between 1765-1770 09663
A39 Harpsichord Suite in G minor 024 early work 09665
A40 Two Allemandes in G minor for keyboard Add. 205 by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; = BWV 836 00975
A41 by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; frag.; = BWV 837 00976
A42 Minuet in G major deest by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; frag.; = BWV 841 00980
A43 Minuet in G minor by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; frag.; = BWV 842 00981
A44 Prelude in C major Add. 206 by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; = BWV 924a 01099
A45 Prelude in D major by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; = BWV 925 01100
A46 Prelude in E minor by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; = BWV 932 01107
A47 Prelude in A minor by W. F. and/or J. S. Bach; in Klavierbüchlein WFB; = BWV 931 01106
A48 Minuet in G minor 025/1 09199
A49a Presto in D minor 025/2 2 versions; A49b is variant of BWV 970 ("Toccatina" No. 6) 09201
A49b 01147
A49b var Toccatina No. 6 variant of A49b; = BWV 970 11148
A50a Minuet in F major with Trio in F minor Add. 208 2 versions 09667
A50b 09669
A51a Bourlesca in C major 026 09671
A51b L'imitation de la chasse in C major revision of A51a 08708
A51c La Caccia in C major revision of A51b; last version 09673
A52 La Reveille in C major 027 08726
A53a Gigue in G major 028 earlier version 09675
A53b later version; also final movement of flute duet B2 08729
A54a keyboard Piece/Prelude in C minor 029 earlier version; incomplete 09174
A54b later version; completion possibly by Johann Nikolaus Forkel 11443
A55 Scherzo in E minor deest not ascertained; also in "Toccatina"; = BWV 844a 00984
A56 March in E-flat major 030 09677
A57 March in F major deest 09679
A58 Polonaise in C major with trio in C minor 013 09681
A59 Ouverture for harpsichord in E-flat major deest not before 1770 09683
A60 Andante for harpsichord in E minor Add. 209 Berlin period; originally middle movement of A13 09685
A61 Allegro non troppo in G major Add. 203 Berlin period 1775-1785; lost 09687
A62 Un poco allegro in C major deest Berlin period 09689
A63 18 pieces for a musical clock [scores] Add. 207 No. 1 in G major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 133 01444
A64 No. 2 in G major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 134 01445
A65 No. 3 in A minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 135 01446
A66 No. 4 in A minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 136 01447
A67 No. 5 in E-flat major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 137 01448
A68 No. 6 in E-flat major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 138 01449
A69 No. 7 in D major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 139 01450
A70 No. 8 in D minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 140 01451
A71 No. 9 in F major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 141 01452
A72 No. 10 in A minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 142 01453
A73 No. 11 in E minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 143 01454
A74 No. 12 in A minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 144 01455
A75 No. 13 in C major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 145 01456
A76 No. 14 in F major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 146 01457
A77 No. 15 in G major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 147 01458
A78 No. 16 in G minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 148 01459
A79 No. 17 in G major; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 149 01460
A80 No. 18 in G minor; not before 1763; = BWV Anh. 150 01461
A81 Eight fugues 031 No. 1 in C major; Berlin Period 09513
A82 No. 2 in C minor; Berlin Period 09691
A83 No. 3 in D major; Berlin Period 09693
A84 No. 4 in D minor; Berlin Period 09695
A85 No. 5 in E-flat major; Berlin Period 09697
A86 No. 6 in E minor; Berlin Period 09699
A87 No. 7 in B-flat major; Berlin Period 09701
A88 No. 8 in F minor; Berlin Period 09703
A89 Fugue in C minor 032 probably late 1740s 09705
A90 Fugue in F major 033 09707
A91 Fugue for organ in F major 036 authenticity doubted 08694
A92 Fugue for organ in G minor 037 authenticity doubted 09709
A93 Seven chorale preludes for organ 038, 1 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland; authenticity doubted 09712
A94 Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht; authenticity doubted 09715
A95 Jesu, meine Freude; authenticity doubted 09717
A96 Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt; authenticity doubted 09719
A97 Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ; authenticity doubted 09721
A98 Was mein Gott will; authenticity doubted 09723
A99 Wir Christenleut; authenticity doubted 09725
A100 Trio for organ 038, 2 on "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr"; lost 09727
A101 Four chorale preludes for organ deest Christus, der ist mein Leben 09729
A102 Die Seele Christi heilige mich 09731
A103 Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut 09733
A104 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen 09735
A105 Two fantasias deest D minor 09737
A106 G major 09739
A107 Two keyboard pieces deest D major 09741
A108 D minor 09743
A109 Minuet in C major with Trio in C minor deest 09745
A110 Minuet with 13 variations in G major deest Berlin Period 09747

Chamber music

B1 Six duets for two flutes 054 No. 1 in E minor; 1740–1745; supplement by J. S. Bach (1745) 09389
B2 059 No. 2 in G major; 1740–1745; only one with four movements 09391
B3 055 No. 3 in E-flat major; 1740–1745 09393
B4 057 No. 4 in F major; 1740–1745 09395
B5 056 No. 5 in E-flat major; Berlin period 09397
B6 058 No. 6 in F minor; Berlin period 09399
B7 Three duets for two violas 060 No. 1 in C major; Berlin period (& older material) 09401
B8 061 No. 2 in G major; Berlin period (& older material) 09403
B9 062 No. 3 in G minor; Berlin period (& older material) 09405
B10 Three sonatas for flute and continuo 051 No. 1 in F major; likely Dresden period; lost 09749
B11 052 No. 2 in A minor; likely Dresden period; lost 09751
B12 053 No. 3 in D major; likely Dresden period; lost 09753
B13 Trio in D major 047 for two flutes and continuo; c. 1735–1739 (Dresden) 09194
B14 Trio in D major 048 for two flutes and continuo; c. 1735–1739 (Dresden) 09407
B15 Trio in A minor 049 for two flutes and continuo; c. 1735–1739 (Dresden); unfinished 09196
B16 Trio in B-flat major 050 for two violins (or flute, violin) and continuo; probably Halle period 09409
B17 Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo deest probably Dresden period; middle movement also in A10 09411
B18 Sonata in F major for flute and continuo deest probably Dresden period; movements also in A11b, A2a and A11d 09413
B‑Inc.19 Trio in B major unsicher for violin and harpsichord; authorship unlikely 09415

Orchestral works

C1 Sinfonia in C major 063 likely before 1740 09421
C2 Sinfonia in F major 067 likely before 1740; Minuet also in A50a–b, A2b and A11c 09423
C3 Sinfonia in G major 068 likely before 1740 09425
C4 Sinfonia in G major 069 likely before 1740 09427
C5 Sinfonia in B-flat major 071 likely before 1740 09429
C6 Sinfonia in A major 070 likely before 1740; fragment 09431
C7 Sinfonia in D minor 065 likely for liturgical use, written in Dresden around or after 1740 09176
C8 Sinfonia in D major 064 c. 1755 (Halle); used as overture to F13 (and to G1, BWV 205a?) 09159
C9 Harpsichord Concerto in D major 041 two versions: likely c. 1740 (Dresden), and copy from c. 1765–1770 09564
C10 Harpsichord Concerto in E-flat major 042 unfinished; reused in F14 09755
C11 Concerto for two harpsichords 046 in E-flat major; likely c. 1775 09417
C12 Harpsichord Concerto in E minor 043 probably around 1767 09759
C13 Harpsichord Concerto in F major 044 probably around 1740 09762
C14 Harpsichord Concerto in A minor 045 before 1740 09764
C15 Concerto for flute and orchestra in D major unecht probably made in Berlin after 1775 09419
C‑Inc.16 Sinfonia in D major deest authenticity doubtful; 1730s? 09433
C17 Harpsichord Concerto in G minor unsicher by C. P. E. Bach?; probably late Dresden period 09936

Liturgical works

E1 Kyrie–Gloria Mass in G minor 100 Gloria in German; early Halle period; = BWV Anh. 168 01479
E2 Kyrie–Gloria Mass in D minor 098 partially in German 09766
E3 Heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth 078a chorus; probably c. 1752; adapted to F24 09768
E4 Agnus Dei in D minor 098b parody of E2, movement 5 09770
E5 Amen and Alleluja 099 chorus; parody of E2, movement 5; probably Halle period 08148
E6 chorus; parody of F6, movement 1b; probably Halle period 09772

Sacred cantatas

F1 Lasset uns ablegen die Werke der Finsternis 080 cantata for 1st Sunday of Advent (30 November 1749) 09449
F2 O Wunder, wer kann dieses fassen 092 cantata for 1st Christmas Day; c. 1755–1758?; mvt. 6 = F11, mvt. 6 09774
F3 Ach, daß du den Himmel zerrissest 093 cantata for 1st Christmas Day; probably after 1755; variant: F15 09776
F4 Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe Add. 250 cantata for 1st Christmas Day; c. 1759? 09778
F5 Der Herr zu deiner Rechten 073 cantata for New Year/Circumcision; probably c. 1750 or earlier 09780
F6 Wir sind Gottes Werk 074 cantata for 2nd Sunday of Epiphany; parody of F8 09782
F7 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern 082 cantata for 6th Sunday of Epiphany (12 Feb. 1764?); ↔ F6, F17, E6 09784
F8 Cantata 074a cantata for Palm Sunday; lost; adapted to F6 09786
F9 Erzittert und fallet 083 cantata for 1st Easter Day 09788
F10 Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen 075 cantata for Ascension Day 09790
F11 Wo geht die Lebensreise hin? 091 cantata for Ascension Day 09792
F12 Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten 072 cantata for 1st Day of Pentecost 09795
F13 Dies ist der Tag 085 cantata for 1st Day of Pentecost 09797
F14 Ertönt, ihr seligen Völker 088 cantata for 1st Day of Pentecost 08146
F15 Ach, daß du den Himmel zerrissest 093 cantata for 1st Day of Pentecost; parody of F3 09799
F16 Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers 089 cantata for St. John's Day (24 June) 09801
F17 Der Herr wird mit Gerechtigkeit 081 cantata for Visitation (2 July) 09803
F18 Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein 096 cantata for 10th Sunday after Trinity 09805
F19 Wohl dem, der den Herren fürchtet 076 cantata for unknown purpose 09807
F20 Introduction to a catechism sermon 077 pasticcio, partially based on BWV 170/1 and 147.1/1 09809
F21 Der Höchste erhöret das Flehen der Armen 086 cantata for leave-taking of pastor Herrnschmidt (3 October 1756) 09811
F22 Verhängnis, dein Wüten entkräftet 087 cantata for 7th Sunday after Trinity (24 Juli 1757) 09447
F23 Auf, Christen, posaunt 095 cantata for the end of the Seven Years' War (1762 or 1763) 08139
F24 Lobet Gott, unsern Herrn Zebaoth 078b chorus; after c. 1752; parody of E3 08141
F25 Dienet dem Herrn mit Freuden 084 chorus; likely 1755 08143
F26 Der Trost gehöret nur für Kinder 089/3 aria; after F16, mvt. 3 09813
F27 Zerbrecht, zerreist, ihr schnöden Banden 094 song 09815
F28 Laß dein Wehen in mir spielen 096/4 song; after F18, mvt. 4 09817
F29 aria "... Gnaden ein, ..." 079 fragment 09819
F30 Auf, Christen, posaunt 095 cantata for unknown purpose; after F23 09821

Secular Cantata and Opera

G1 O Himmel, schone 090 cantata for Frederick II's birthday (24 January 1758); mostly parody 09824
G2 Lausus und Lydie 106 opera; c. 1778–1779; lost (likely unfinished) 09826


H1 Herz, mein Herz, sei ruhig 097 Cantilena Nuptiarum; wedding; after 1774; reuses keyboard music 08179

Miscellaneous works

I1 Canons and contrapuntal studies 039 by W. F. and J. S. Bach; c. 1736–1739 01719
I2 Four Triple Canons for 6 voices deest published by J. P. Kirnberger in 1777 (Kunst des reinen Satzes II/2) 10487
I3 11130
I4 11131
I5 11132
I6 Fugal exposition for organ in C major 035 1771 11133
I7 Fugue exposition on B-A-C-H for organ deest 1773 11134
I8 Abhandlung vom harmonischen Dreiklang deest Music theory (Treatise on the harmonic triad); 1750s; lost 11135
I9 Rechtmäßige Vertheidigung deest Defense against Johann Gottlieb Biedermann [wikisource:de]; 1750 11136

Doubtful and spurious works

YA21 Arioso con Variazioni in G minor for keyboard; doubtful 11129
YA149 Three fugues for organ Add. 211 No. 1 in C minor; doubtful 09828
YA150 No. 2 in B-flat major; doubtful 09830
YA151 No. 2 in A minor; doubtful 09832
YB1 Trio in G major unecht for two traversos and viola; also attributed to W. F. E. Bach 11545
YB2 Trio in C major unecht for two traversos and continuo; also attributed to W. F. E. Bach 02187
YB3 Sonata or Trio in F major unsicher for flute/violin and harpsichord/continuo; attr. to several Bachs 02187
YB5 Sextet in E-flat major for winds and strings; also attributed to W. F. E. Bach 11417
YB6 Sonata in E-flat major for violin and harpsichord; doubtful 11547
YC1 Harpsichord Concerto in C minor unecht attributed to C. Schaffrath 11548

More lost, doubtful and spurious works

  • Fk. 34 – Fugue in B-flat major: not by any Bach family member
  • Fk. 66 – Sinfonia in D minor: spurious
  • Fk. 101–105 – lost cantatas
  • Orchestral Suite in G Minor, BWV 1070 (possibly spurious)
  • Scherzo in D minor, BWV 844, attributed to both W. F. and J. S. Bach.[5]



Use by later composers


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's set of six Preludes and Fugues for string trio, K. 404a, contains five fugues transcribed from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach while the sixth fugue in F minor, is a transcription of one of the Eight Fugues (Falck 31) of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The preludes in K. 404a are Mozart's own,[a] except for 4 (from BWV 527) and 5 (second movement from BWV 526).



Friedemann Bach is a 1941 German historical drama film directed by Traugott Müller and starring Gustaf Gründgens, Leny Marenbach and Johannes Riemann. The film depicts the life of Johann Sebastian Bach's son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. It is based on Albert Emil Brachvogel's novel Friedemann Bach. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is shown as a gifted son trying to escape his father's shadow.


  1. ^ The authenticity has been put in doubt by recent scholars.[6][full citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Hadow, William Henry (1911). "Bach, Karl Philipp Emanuel" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 130–131.
  2. ^ Williams, Peter (2001). Bach: The Goldberg Variations. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00193-5.
  3. ^ Wolff, Christoph "Descendants of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in the United States", Bach Perspectives: Volume 5: Bach in America Stephen A. Crist, ed. (University of Illinois Press, 2003)
  4. ^ Applegate, p. 14
  5. ^ "Work 983". Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive; et al.
  6. ^ Mozart-Werkeverzeichnis by Ulrich Konrad, ISBN 3-7618-1847-5



Further reading

  • Borysenko, Elena. The Cantatas of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Thesis (Ph.D.) Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 1981. In 2 volumes. ("Vol. II ... consists primarily of selected movements from the cantatas of W.F. Bach, followed by translations of the texts of these movements and a critical commentary.")
  • Falck, Martin. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach; Sein Leben und seine Werke, mit thematischem Verzeichnis seiner Kompositionen und zwei Bildern. Leipzig: C. F. Kahnt, 1919.
  • Helm, Eugene. "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach", in Christoph Wolff et al., The New Grove Bach Family. NY: Norton, 1983 (ISBN 0-393-30088-9), pp. 238–50.
  • Kahmann, Ulrich. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Der unterschätzte Sohn. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2010.
  • WF Bach - the neglected son Biography, major works and recommended recordings. Gramophone, April 2010
  • Schulenberg, David. The Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2010.
  • Daniel Hensel: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Epigone oder Originalgenie, verquere Erscheinung oder großer Komponist?; Stuttgart: ibidem, April 2011, ISBN 978-3-8382-0178-8