Leipzig Church Music from the Sherard Collection: Eight Works by Sebastian Knüpfer, Johann Schelle, and Johann Kuhnau

Stephen Rose (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportScholarly edition


This edition contains eight sacred compositions by the Leipzig Kantors who were the immediate predecessors of J. S. Bach: Sebastian Knüpfer (1633–76), Johann Schelle (1648–1701), and Johann Kuhnau (1660–1722). They are edited from manuscripts collected by James Sherard (1666–1738), an English apothecary and amateur musician. Five of the works are large-scale vocal concertos, including two highly expressive psalm settings by Sebastian Knüpfer; a Magnificat by Johann Schelle that anticipates aspects of J. S. Bach’s Magnificat; and Schelle’s Durch Adams Fall, one of the first Lutheran works to combine chorale melodies, Biblical recitation, and arias. The remaining three compositions are virtuosic concertos for solo voice, including Schelle’s Ah! quam multa sunt peccata for alto, and two major additions to the repertory for tenor (Kuhnau’s Laudate pueri and Muss nicht der Mensch). The instrumental writing also includes many notable features, such as two early examples of trumpet solos and two pieces with organ obbligatos.


Reviewed by Markus Rathey in Early Music  August 2015:

The edition is an important contribution for several reasons: it makes accessible eight interesting pieces, each of which deserves modern performances; it shows in a nutshell some of the developments of music in Leipzig in the decades before Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantorship; and it documents an important step in the genesis of the cantata with mixed texts before Bach and before Erdmann Neumeister’s ‘cantata reform’…

The importance of the pieces edited by Rose transcends the realm of church music. … The edition of the music is excellent and Rose treats the sources appropriately. ...The preface provides the biographical background for the composers, a short analytical discussion of each piece and a good English translation for all the texts. Of particular value are his remarks on questions of performance practice, such as the choice of pitch and the use of vocal embellishments.

Reviewed by Janette Tilley in Notes 72/iv (June 2016), 798–803

This edition is extremely valuable and repays close reading… an important and valuable contribution to the body of German music available for performers and scholars

Reviewed by Michael Robertson in Eighteenth-Century Music 13 (March 2016), 132–4

one of the finest modern editions of seventeenth-century German music, either vocal or instrumental, to have come my way. Rose must be congratulated on a splendid piece of work that sets a new benchmark for the rest of us as editors.

Reviewed by Peter Holman in Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society (2015)

...one of the best editions of the repertory I have come across. Rose is a rare example of a musicologist working in the period who is equally comfortable with German and English sources. He has mostly written about German music but is also the author of an authoritative survey of performance practice issues in Purcell, and he is the only person known to me who could have pulled together all the diverse historical, musical and linguistic threads needed to produce a successful edition of music from James Sherard’s fascinating collection of Lutheran church music. This edition with its exemplary Introduction and Critical Report will be read and used with profit by anyone interested in music and musical life in seventeenth-century Germany and England – and the complex relationships between them.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMadison, WI
PublisherA-R Editions
Number of pages315
ISBN (Print)978-0-89579-798-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameCollegium Musicum
PublisherYale University


  • Johann Schelle
  • Schelle, Johann
  • Kuhnau, Johann
  • Johann Kuhnau
  • Sebastian Knüpfer
  • Leipzig
  • Latin liturgy
  • Sherard, James
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford
  • Thomaskirche
  • Stadtarchiv Leipzig
  • obbligato organ
  • concerto
  • chorale
  • Knüpfer, Sebastian
  • botanist
  • apothecary
  • cultural transfer

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