Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721 – 1783) was a musician, composer and music theorist. In 1758 obtained the major position of his life, music director for Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia. He kept this job for life.

Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia (1723 – 1787) was the sister of Frederick II. In 1758, Anna Amalia began a serious study of musical theory and composition, engaging as her tutor Johann Philipp Kirnberger. Only a few of her works have survived. Anna Amalia was also a collector of music, preserving over 600 volumes of works by notables such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Karl Heinrich Graun and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, among others. The collection is today housed at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and is referred to as the “Amalien Bibliothek” (not to be confused with the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, the former library of Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel).

One of the items in the “Amalien Bibliothek” is manuscript Am.B.396, a collection of organ preludes by Kirnberger. Probably they were used in the musical instructions Kirnberger gave Princess Anna Amalia. They vary greatly in scope and texture. They range from elaborate bicinia, through virtuosic trio writing to four part textures. And from short to long. One of the pieces is supposedly written by a mademoiselle Grunow. A name on which no information is available. Perhaps this is a composition by the Princess herself?

This edition contains the works in manuscript Am.B.396. Several of the works contained in this manuscript survive both in other manuscripts, as in Johann Christoph Kühnau’s edition “Choral Vorspiele für die Orgel und Klavier” of 1790 by the same editor. Where applicable the differences between the various sources have been indicated in the introduction to the edition and in the score.

A pdf is available below. A printed copy can be ordered at in a both a colour (more expensive) and a black and white (cheaper) version. The costs are the costs of lulu, there is no profit in it for me.

pdf_iconKirnberger, Variierte Choräle (Am.B.396)

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  1. A. Verschoor

    June 4, 2017 at 18:39



    • admin

      June 5, 2017 at 17:41


      You’re welcome. Have fun with the music… 🙂

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