There remains no autograph of this the Trio in d minor, BWV 583. All sources of this work are copies written somewhere after Bach’s death. Though there were once 11 manuscripts with a version of this Trio, nowadyas only four manuscripts survive. Some of the now lost manuscripts were used for editions from Breitkopf or from Griepnkerl, so we do have a source for the text of those now lost manuscripts.

All still existing manuscripts, and the lost manuscripts of which we still have the editions that were based upon them , have a different reading of this Trio. The core is the same in all versions but they differ in the ornaments and in some small details. Roughly speaking, the more recent the manuscript is, and thus, the longer after Bach’s death they were written, the more ornaments are written in the manuscript.

And since there is no autograph extant, it is impossible to say for certian which version is the more authentic. Though a reasonable assumption is that the oldest manuscript source, is perhaps themost true to the original version.

Another interesting fact is that of the four Organ Trios BWV 583 – 586 at least three are not original organ works (BWV 584 – 586). And BWV 585 is not even a composition by Bach. So, it is possible BWV 583 is also an adaptation of another work of even possibly composed by another composer.

The oldest still existing manuscript (Mus Ms Bach P286) designates this composition as “Choral Vorspiel”. Though many have tried, a likely candidate for the choral on which this composition could be based has never been found. So, the title is probably an error from the scribe of the manuscript.

This manuscript (Mus Ms Bach P286) also has the least ornaments written in the musical text. For my score I follow largely this manuscript. The fact that all four still existing manuscripts have different versions, shows in my opinion that the player has large freedom in playing ornaments of his own invention. In Bach’s autograph ornaments were possibly largely omitted, because everyone in those days knew where and how to apply them.

Later editions follow largely the later manuscripts, with all the ornaments written in. A version without all these additions can therefore attribute to a better understanding of the playing practise of Bach’s time. Of course the player has to add ornamentations. Just where and which, is left to the artistry and ability of the performer.

In my performance I leave out most of the familiar ornamentations that are written in present day editions. Only where they are written in Mus Ms Bach P286 I play them. For the rest, I tried to play other ornamentations in other places the music. Not too much though, I don’t want to overdo it.

My performance is therefore a perhaps little different from what you might be familiar with. The musical basis is the same, yet allowing yourself to play whatever ornamentation you might think of while playing, creates the freedom to hear this music as new and fresh.

The recording was done with the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Schittger organ in the St. Martini-kerk, Groningen.

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