The Notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach – Kate Semmens and Steven Devine


A charming selection of songs and harpsichord music from the two notebooks belonging to Anna Magdalena Bach performed by the highly-acclaimed duo of soprano Kate Semmens and harpsichordist Steven Devine.

We love the design so much we have made a tea towel featuring this “toile de jouy”-style illustration by Emma Jane Semmens!  It can be bought throught his website here:

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Track List:
1. Menuet BWV Anh. 121 -Anon [01.24]
2. Aria “Aria di Giovannini”: Willst du dein Herz mir schenken BWV 518 attrib. J S Bach [03.12]
3. Air (French Suite No. 2 in C minor) BWV 813/4 J S Bach [01.38]
4. Aria: Gedenke doch, mein Geist BWV 509 Anon [01.28]

French Suite No. 4 in E flat Major BWV 815 J S Bach
5. Allemande [03.13]
6. Courante [02.02]
7. Sarabande [02.45]
8. Gavotte [01.23]
9. Air [02.12]
10. Minuet [01.01]
11. Gigue [02.39]

12. Bist du bei mir BWV 508 G H Stölzel [02.39]

13. Polonaise BWV Anh. 117a Anon [01.09]
14. Aria: Warum betrübst du dich BWV 516 Anon [01.20]
15. Rondeau “Les Bergeries” BWV Anh. 183 F Couperin [03.50]
16. Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille BWV 511 J S Bach [00.57]
17. Polonaise BWV Anh. 128 Anon [01.21]

18. [Prelude] BWV 515 Anon [00.26]
19. Aria: So oft ich meine Tobacks-Pfeife Anon [02.38]
20. Polonaise BWV Anh. 123 C P E Bach [01.19]

French Suite No. 5 in G Major BWV 816 J S Bach
21. Allemande [03.38]
22. Courante [02.10]
23. Sarabande [04.46]
24. Gavotte [01.19]
25. Bourrée [01.29]
26. Loure [02.17]
27. Gigue [04.04]

28. Aria BWV 988 J S Bach [03.54]
29. Polonaise BWV Anh. 130 J A Hasse [01.52]
30. Recitative and Aria: Ich habe genug / Schlummert ein BWV 82 J S Bach [08.20]

31. O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort BWV 513 attrib. J S Bach [01.11]

The two notebooks of 1722 and 1725 were gifts to Anna Magdalena from her husband Johann Sebastian Bach. We can only speculate about the purpose of the notebooks but the variety of music contained within gives us an insight to the domestic music-making of the Bachs, and the direct involvement of Anna Magdalena in the musical life of the household. They contain music that could have been used for private amusement and entertainment as well as the basis for teaching. The notebooks also contain early workings of pieces by Johann Sebastian, later to be developed into great works in their own right.

The programme featured on this recording is mostly made up of music from the 1725 notebook with the addition of two “French Suites” from the early book.

This charming programme has been performed many times by Kate and Steven: as many of the songs are short they have enjoyed performing these as sequences which run the smaller harpsichord pieces into the songs, and this concept is mirrored on the CD.

Additional Info

Weight 0.13 kg