Part of a musical score composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) missing for about 80 years has been found among the possessions of the late pianist Chieko Hara, a music college professor said Saturday.
Researchers describe the 1728 composition “Wedding Cantata BWV 216” as an invaluable discovery that will lead to a greater understanding of the German composer during his prime.
It is believed to have been jotted down by Bach’s students, based on the original written by Bach himself when composing the music.
Tadashi Isoyama, a professor of Kunitachi College of Music who was responsible for determining the authenticity of the work, said the partial score is the only link to the wedding cantata because the original written in Bach’s hand has never been found.
Isoyama evaluated the work at the request of people close to Hara, after the pianist died in December 2001. Based on materials such as photographs taken in the early 1900s, the work was deemed to be the missing Bach piece.
The work is spread over eight pages and contains notes and lyrics for the soprano and alto parts. Although the pages are brown with age, researchers said they are still in good condition.
The college purchased the work and is now storing it.
According to Isoyama, the work was created for the wedding of a customs official’s daughter. After being inherited by Bach’s son, the score was handed over to collectors and musicians, until it reached the hands of the family of another German composer, Felix Mendelssohn. They possessed it until around 1926.
It is believed that Hara’s Spanish husband received it from them. Hara, a native of Kobe, married the late Gaspar Cassado, a cellist, and was based in Europe.