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About the program

Works from Anna Magdalena Bach’s music folder and polyphonic inventions

On display at the Bach Museum in Leipzig is the composer’s agenda containing his pedagogic occupations. This shows that, besides musical endeavours, Bach’s post in Leipzig also entailed educational tasks. How eagerly he fulfilled his extraneous instructive activities, we do not know, but we have no reason to doubt his sense of duty. Nevertheless, his teaching material, widely used to this very day, proves that he had a genius for music pedagogy equal to his genius for composition. Forming part of this material are the two- and three-part inventions, which count among the “compulsory” exercises for piano students. At that time, learning music was virtually the exclusive domain of those preparing for a professional career; music as a middle-class hobby only came into fashion later. Hence, we may conclude that the inventions were written to train aspiring musicians. The two- and three-part inventions (which the author called symphonies), were produced in the early 1720s and printed 1801.  Bach provided the collection with the following recommendation:

“For piano lovers, though primarily for those who desire to study, it is a veritable guide, showing in an understandable fashion not just how to play two parts clearly, but further, how to handle three obbligato parts properly. Thus, the student not only picks up some good ideas, he can apply them accordingly, acquire the singing style of playing in particular, and absorb a powerful sense of composition.


Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach

Anna Magdalean, Bach’s second wife, sixteen years his junior, was a singer who also came from a family of musicians. Two collections were created from her – one in 1722 and one in 1725 – containing works by Bach and a few by contemporary composers (for example, his sons Johann Christian and Carl Philip Emanuel), as well as inscriptions in Anna Magdalena’s hand.

In the framework of Budapest Festival Orchestra’s music pedagogy programs, we often play with music schools to encourage talented students in their instruction and choice of career. At these concerts, the music schools resound with Bach compositions written mostly for instruction purposes.

This event is co-produced by Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Palace of Arts.


990 HUF


Pieces from the notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach and inventions for several voice parts


Mária Werner (Járdányi Pál Music School, Budapest, teacher, Erika Vimmer)
Benedek Karakas (Aladár Tóth Music School, Budapest, teacher, Tamás Réti)
Mihály Boros (Franz Liszt Elementary Art School, Pécs, teacher, Mrs. Ildikó Schmidt Megyimorecz)
Ákos Venczel (László Hermann Music School, Székesfehérvár, teacher, Ágnes Kárpáti)
Márton Komáromi (Szent István Király Secondary School of Music and Elementary Art Education Institute, Budapest, teacher, Kata Lajos)
Eszter Szedmák (Aladár Tóth Music School, Budapest, teacher, Gábor Eckhardt)
Molli Szalai (János Ferencsik Elementary Art Education Institute, Balatonfüred, teacher, Veronika Küronya)