From 1727, when Johann Sebastian Bach turned to Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf for a printed text sheet for his "Trauer-Ode" (Cantata 198), to 1787, when Carl Philipp Emanuel Back engaged Bernhard's son, Johann Gottlob Immanuel, to print the last volume of his Clavier-Sonaten für Kenner und Liebhaber
, the Bachs and the Breitkopfs enjoyed close professional ties—ties born of the growing trade in the eighteenth century between music composers and music printers.
The Breitkopf firm, which began in 1719 as a book-printing operation, gradually became one of the most important publishing houses in central Europe. It owned an extensive inventory of music manuscripts, from which copies could be produced on request; it issued the first music catalogs with printed incipits; it developed one of the first viable methods of printing music from movable type.
Bach Perspectives examines the publishing activities of the Breitkopf firm as seen through its commerce with the Bach family. The volume begins with an introductory essay that surveys Breitkopf’s business in Leipzig and the firm’s contribution to the wider world of music publishing. The articles turn to the specific connections between the Bachs and the Breitkopfs, the importance of Breitkopf’s music catalogs, the identification and dating of music manuscripts in Breitkopf’s extensive inventory, and the architecture of the buildings in which the Bach and Breitkopf families lived.