I found a new batch of these records in the library. Luckily I never bought the same record twice, because they all look alike. Are the colours of the borders referring to the content? Is there logic to those? I cannot remember that there is any logic to them. Did I ever put them in order of catalogue number? Of BWV number? Of recording date? Maybe there is a secret pattern!
Some of this material is quite beautiful, and can be seen as earlier versions of more famous works. These are clearly reminiscent of famous fragments of the St. Matthew Passion for instance. Bach might have used the same melody multiple times.
BWV stands for Bach Werke Verzeichnis. It is a catalogue that was first published in 1950, and is referred to a lot. There was use of such a catalogue, as Bachs creation have no opus numbers as most other, later composers have. Opus numbers usually are in order of publication. So opus 1 is the first work of a composer, so on to the highest number being his last. BWV works differently. In this catalogue the works are ordered by genre, and they’re not even chronological within the genre. So, numbers 1 to 224 are his Cantatas.
Bach shares the honour of having his own catalogue with a handful of other composers, some of which also have opus numbers. A famous example is Mozart, who has the Köchels Verzeichnis (KV or K), or Schubert with his Deutsch (D).
This article is AC153 by the way.