The Kuhnau-Project

The complete cantatas in scholarly-critical editions 


In March 2014 Pfefferkorn Music Publishing launched one of its most ambitious editorial projects. Until the year 2022, the complete cantatas and vocal works of Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) will be released in scholarly-critical editions. The majority of these works will be published for the first time ever.


Johann Kuhnau, being the predecessor of Johann Sebastian Bach as cantor of St. Thomas' church in Leipzig, held the office from 1701 until his sudden death in 1722. Kuhnau’s works, composed between the early 1680’s and the years just before 1720, reveal a wide variety of styles. They give the lie to those who would like to dismiss the church composer Kuhnau as an ostensibly backward-looking artist who vehemently disallowed the musical innovations of the early 18th century. This new edition of all the surviving cantata works of Kuhnau is intended to correct this erroneous image and, above all, makes accessible an important musical facet of the transitional phase between the sacred concertos of the 17th century and the late baroque church cantata – an exciting facet as regards the history of the genre and one whose importance that can hardly be overestimated. The pieces of music that he composed for the church, especially since 1701 when he became cantor and music director, may be difficult to count, for he never or only very rarely made use of other people’s compositions at his frequent musical performances; on the other hand, he often had to help out others with his work.

Each edition will consist of a large conductor's score (24,3 x 31,0cm), a piano reduction and the complete performance material. In addition, the whole series can be ordered on a subscription basis.

The Editor


Counter tenor David Erler (*1981) was scholarship student of the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in Munich and studied classical singing with Marek Rzepka in Leipzig. He is in high demand as a soloist and chamber collaborator, working with famous ensembles and conductors such as Peter van Heyghen, Hans Christoph Rademann and Ludger Rémy.

His special interest is the music of the Baroque. In this area he is increasingly working as editor and lector. Due to his extensive special knowledge David Erler is a guarantor for highest authenticity of Kuhnau’s vocal works.


Publishing schedule (until the end of 2015, subject to change)



Daran erkennen wir, dass wir in ihm bleiben (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 2 Ob., 2 Trp., Timp., Fag., B.c.)


Welt adieu, ich bin dein müde (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 2 Cor., 2 Ob., Fl., B.c.)


Es steh Gott auf (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Trp., Timp., 3 Pos., B.c.)


Mein Alter kömmt, ich kann nicht sterben (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., B.c.)


Magnificat (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 2 Ob., 3 Trp., Timp., B.c.)


Lobe den Herren, meine Seele (already published)

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 2 Cnt., 3 Pos., Fag., B.c.)



Gott, der Vater, wohn uns bei

(SATB, 2 Vl., Vla., Ob., Tr da tirarsi, Fag., B.c.)


Christ lag in Todesbanden

(SATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 2 Cnt., B.c.)


Schmücket das Fest mit Meyen

(SATB, 2 Vl., Vla., 2 Ob., Fag., B.c.)


Lobe den Herren, meine Seele

(AB, Vl., Ob d’amore, B.c.)


O Heilige Zeit

(SATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., B.c.)


Wenn ihr fröhlich seid an euren Festen

(SSATB, 2 Vl., 2 Vla., 4 Trp., Timp., Fag., B.c.)