Completions of Fragmentary Works of J. S. Bach and Handel
by David Schulenberg
In the course of researching and performing the music of J. S. Bach and Handel, I have had occasion to make various arrangements and to complete a number of instrumental works that survive only in fragments. Among the arrangements are my transcriptions of Bach’s works for unaccompanied string and wind instruments, found elsewhere on this website. The fragments are works that Bach and Handel probably completed but which do not survive in their intended form, presumably because the composer never completed a fair copy of his working draft, or because pages from his fair copy manuscript have been lost. In some cases the composer may have intentionally discarded portions of a work that he intended to revise and replace, but only the portion left intact remains.
Bach, songs, arias, and chorales from the second Little Keyboard Book for Anna Magdalena Bach (1725), arranged for keyboard performance with full harmony: BWV 82 (two movements) 452, and 508–518
I call these completions rather than reconstructions because, even where we have evidence as to how much of a work is missing or how a fragment might have continued, we cannot be sure that Bach did not intend to alter his original plan as documented by the extant fragment, or to replace a missing portion of a work by a longer or shorter one.
My book The Keyboard Music of J. S. Bach contains completions of the following works for solo keyboard instrument. Since publication I have revised the first item listed (revised score here).
Fugue in C Minor BWV 906/2 recording (live performance)
Chorale prelude Jesu, meine Freude BWV 753 recording (live performance)
Prelude in E Minor BWV 932 recording (live performance)
Fuga a 3 soggetti (the fragmentary quadruple contrapunctus from the Art of Fugue) BWV 1080/19 recording (live performance) talk
The links below will take you to scores and midi (synthesized audio) files for the following works (by Bach unless otherwise noted):
Handel, Suite in C minor for two keyboard instruments, HWV 446
Only the first of the two keyboard parts survives (see the note in the score for further details). The recording is from a performance with harpsichordist Zvi Meniker at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1994. Today I would play all four movements slower to one degree or another!
score midi recording:
File updated 7/19/21