Scheidemann: Chorale Fantasias for Organ Ed. Pieter Dirksen Breitkopf & Härtel 2022 92 pages | 30.5 x 23cm | 361gm | ISMN: 979-0-004-18607-7 | Softbound Edition Breitkopf EB8938
Although the rather retro style of the cover might suggest a reprint, this is a new edition of nine Chorale Fantasias on Lutheran chorales by the pivotal North German organist composer Heinrich Scheidemann (c1595-1663). One of the key students of Sweelinck in Amsterdam (1611 to 1614), Scheidemann’s return to Hamburg was key to that city’s extraordinary 17th-century flowering of organ music: a fusion of organ design and musical development that culminated in the music of Buxtehude and, ultimately, Bach whose early experience was strongly influenced by this North German school of organ composition.
The Orgelbüchlein Project: Volume 3 A 21st-century completion of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein Volume 3: Catechism, Penitence and Communion (Chorales 61–86) Compiled and edited by William Whitehead 119 pages • 230x323mm • ISMN 979-0-2650-2810-9 • Softbound Musica Baltica
The recent celebration of the completion of The Orgelbüchlein Project (reviewed here, with background information on the project) included the launch of the second volume (actually Volume 3) of the published chorales. This followed the earlier publication of the first volume (labeled Volume 4, and reviewed here). Since the first volume, there has been a change of publisher, the latest volume (and the remaining ones) is published by Musica Baltica. Each volume is dedicated to a specific liturgical group of chorales, in this case relating to the Catechism, Penitence and Communion (chorales 61–86 of the original Bach Orgelbüchlein).
Jehan Titelouze Hymnes de l’église & Le Magnificat Ed. Jon Baxendale 251 pages • ISMN 979-0-706670-54-6 (Hardback) • 979-0-706670-55-3 (Wire) Lyrebird Music. LBMP–026
The latest in the enterprising range of music editions from Lyrebird Music features the only known organ publications of Jehan Titelouze (c1562-1633), organist at Rouen Cathedral and generally considered to be the founder of the French organ school. He composed his two books of organ versets in 1623 and 1626. The 1623 Hymnes de l’Église pour toucher sur l’orgue, avec les fugues et recherches sur leur plain-chant was the first published collections of organ music in 17th-century France, and the first since the 1530s. It contained sets of three or four verses for each of the twelve major hymns of the church year. The 1626 Le Magnificat ou Cantique de la Vierge pour toucher sur l’orgue suivant les huit tons de l’Église included settings of eight Magnificats in all eight church modes, each with seven verses. They both used the alternatim format with organ (odd-numbered) verses alternating with the even-numbered verses which would have been sung by a cantor or a choir.
Jacques Boyvin? Le Manuscrit CaumontOrgue Ed. Jon Baxendale 231 pages • ISMN: 979-0-706670-18-8 (English hardback) • 979-0-706670-39-3 (English wire softback) Lyrebird Music. LBMP–019
This Lyrebird Music edition brings to life an important manuscript of French Classical organ music dated 1707. Its earlier provenance is unknown until it appeared in an auction in Normandy from where it passed on to an antique dealer in Amiens. It was bought from there in 2008 by the current owner, whose name has been attached to what is now known as Le Manuscrit Caumont. Very sensibly, given the quality of his other Lyrebird Music editions, the owner asked Jon Baxendale to research and edit the manuscript and produce this splendid edition.
Nicolas de Grigny(1672-1703) Premier Livre d’orgue(1699) Ed. Jon Baxendale 234 pages • ISMN 979-0-706670-02-7 (Hardback) • 979-0-706670-28-7 (Wire) Lyrebird Music. LBMP–008
The 1690s saw the publication of two of the most important contributions to the literature of French organ music. François Couperin’s 1690 Pièces d’Orgue (new Lyrebird edition reviewed here) is the best known of the two, with its approachable musical style that owes much to the wider musical language of Paris at the time, notably operatic arias and dances. Nicolas de Grigny’s Premier Livre d’orgue (now available in this impressive new Lyrebird edition) was published in 1699, three years before his untimely death. In contrast to Couperin’s youthful offering, de Grigny’s music delves spiritual, emotional and musical depths that most other French organ composers of the period lacked. He is well-deserving of editor Jon Baxendale’s comment that he was the “most erudite of Grand siècle organ composers”.
This is a very welcome new edition of François Couperin’s 1690 Pièces d’Orgue. It is a revised version of the edition published by Cantando Musikkforlag in 2018, but is now issued under the Lyrebird Music label. There are several improvements on the layout of the earlier version,. which remains the only commercially available critical edition. One of the problems with Couperin’s Pièces d’Orgue is that it was not printed, but published in manuscript form. There is only one surviving copy of that original manuscript, but four other sources of it, with varying degrees of accuracy. Editor Jon Baxendale has revisited the five known sources to discover which is the most accurate.
Allegri’s Miserere in the Sistine Chapel Graham O’Reilly Boydell Press, Woodbridge Hardback, 388 pages, 234x156mm, ISBN13: 978 1 78327 487 1
The approach of Holy Week seems an appropriate moment to publish this rather delayed review of this study of the Allegri Miserere – one of the most loved, discussed and performed pieces of classical music. It was composed in the 1630s for the exclusive use of the Papal Choir during Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel. Much of its fame comes from the story of the young Mozart transcribing it from memory after a single hearing – something that was specifically forbidden by the Vatican authorities under pain of excommunication. The Miserere that we hear performed today has little resemblance to either the original composition or the early methods of performance. This book gives a detailed and readable account of the Miserere‘s performance history in the Sistine Chapel and beyond, notably during the peak of its popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the history of the version commonly heard today – the “English Miserere”.
Tallis Kerry McCarthy Oxford University PressUSA:Master Musicians series Hardback, 288 pages, 235x156x31mm, ISBN13: 9780190635213
Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) survived the complex Tudor period in England, adapting to the various musical and liturgical demands of the period’s religious toing and froing. For one so influential on English music, it is unfortunate that very little is known about his life, something that is immediately apparent from reading Kerry McCarthy’s book. Based on surviving documents from his life, she is obliged to weave a web of historical and observational information around the bare facts of Tallis’s life.
Bach David Schulenberg Oxford University Press: Master Musicians series Hardback, 448 pages, 235x156x23mm, ISBN13: 9780190936303
Bach must be one of the most written about of all composers, so the addition of another outline of his life and music needs to have something extra to offer. Bach scholarship continues to discover new works and new evidence and ideas about his life and music. Since Malcolm Boyd’s original 1983 Master Musicians Bach volume and its three revisions, understanding of Bach and his music’s historical and cultural context has shifted substantially, reflecting new biographical information and insights. So David Schulenberg’s contribution to the Master Musicians series is very welcome.
The English Organ Daniel Moult, organ, Will Fraser, director Fugue State Films. 4 DVDs, 3 CDs, booklet
This extraordinary project is the result of a year-long tour of forty locations in England, the USA, New Zealand and Australia. The package includes four DVDs and three CDs, amounting to around ten hours of music from the early 16th century to the present day, together with an illustrated booklet with track listings and the specifications of all the organs. They are described and played by Daniel Moult, who also provides the commentary on the first DVD, which is a documentary in three 70′ parts on the development of the English organ. The following three DVDs and the three CDs provide further musical examples and, on the DVDs, further demonstrations of all the featured organs. Continue reading →
Vocal Traditions in Conflict Descent from Sweet, Clear, Pure and Affecting Italian Singing to Grand Uproar Richard Bethell
Peacock Press Softback. 410 pages, 254x178x28mm, ISBN: 978-1912271498
This masterly tome comes from Richard Bethell (Secretary of the National Early Music Association) and is clearly a labour of love. Based on 20 years of research into comparative singing styles, Bethell challenges the opera house singing style of the past century as compared to that of the “long 18th-century” between 1650 to 1830. The last 50 or more years have seen a revolution in instrumental playing of early music, including a realisation that vibrato was a rarely used ornament rather than a persistent effect. But the singing world has failed to respond to the lessons learnt, often resulting in glaring inconsistencies in early music concerts between the orchestra and singers. Continue reading →
Orgelbuch des Klosters St. Walburg zu Eichstätt (um 1700)
Toccaten, Canzonen, Praeambula und Capriccio
Ed. Raimund Schächer
ISMN: 979-0-50222-381-6, 63 pages
Cornetto-Verlag, Stuttgart. CP1436
This edition is based on a manuscript (now in Regensburg) that originally belonged to Sister Maria Anna Barbara Schmaus (1653-1730), a nun who entered the Benedictine Abbey of St. Walburg Eichstätt (midway between Munich and Nuremberg) until her death to 1730. Although she was the owner, she was probably not the scribe of the organ book. The composers of the pieces are unknown. The manuscript contains 182 organ pieces on 136 pages and was clearly intended for liturgical purposes in the Abbey. This edition includes 34 of the pieces, all short (one lasting just 13 bars), and of varying quality. Continue reading →
The Real Traviata: The Song of Marie Duplessis
Oxford University Press Softback. 400 pages, 216x142mm, ISBN 978-0198828297
“A young woman of exquisite demeanour . . . chaste oval features, gorgeous dark eyes, a nose of the most exquisite and delicate curve” was how Marie Duplessis (1824-1847) was described in an obituary after her death aged just 23. The writer went on to describe her “beautifully turned feet” and “soft skin, the texture of camellias”. Such gushing homilies might be considered a trifle over-enthusiastic, but Marie Duplessis’s ultimate legacy to history was becoming the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas the younger’s novel La Dame aux Camélias and later Verdi’s La traviata, based on an 1852 play of that book. The Real Traviata, first published in 2015 and now available in paperback, tells the story of this remarkable young woman. Continue reading →
Wednesdays at 5.55 Organ Recitals at the Royal Festival Hall
W Harry Hoyle
Clontarf Press 2018 Hardback. 230 pages, 235x156mm, ISBN 978-1-999685706
For many organ music lovers, the phrase Wednesdays at 5.55 will have a particular resonance. Between 1954 and 1989, London’s Royal Festival Hall held early evening organ recitals on the influential and controversial Harrison & Harrison organ, inaugurated in 1954. During those years there were a total of 545 organ recitals given by nearly 200 international organists attracting at its peak audiences of around 1500. This record of these recitals, and the music and performers involved, is very clearly a labour of love for the author, W Harry Hoyle. The publicity blurb sums up the book well – “Drawing on the Southbank Centre archive, private paper collections and the memories of many performers, in this comprehensive and engaging book he tells the story of how the series was planned, which organists performed, the repertoire they played and how the recitals were received by the press and by the public. He also reviews the social changes that led to the ending of ‘Wednesdays at 5.55’ and the search for the best way to present the highlights of the organ repertoire on this unique instrument“. And that is exactly what it does, in an absorbing and informative read. Continue reading →
Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow: Complete Organ Works
Chorale Settings • Chorale Partitas • Free Organ Works 144 pages • ISMN: 979-0-001-14049-2 • Softbound
Edition Schott ED 9922
Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712) is best known as the teacher of the young Handel in their hometown of Halle. He was organist of the principal city church, the Marienkirche, also known as the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen and Liebfrauenkirche, a post held earlier in the 17th century by Samuel Scheidt. The little 1664 organ on a gallery above the altar that Zachow and Handel certainly knew still exists. JS Bach was offered the post in succession to Zachow, but turned it down, leaving it until 1746 for his son WF Bach to eventually become the organist. Zachow’s father was from nearby Leipzig where he was town piper. His church music was criticised as being too long and complicated by the pietest clergy, who preferred something more approachable. He taught Handel violin, oboe organ, and harpsichord along with music theory. He teaching was clearly successful, as Handel became organist of the Halle Cathedral aged just 17. His later compositions show several influences from Zachow, as well as borrowings.
Samuel Scheidt: Tabulatur-Buch, Görlitz 1650
111 four-part Chorale Settings for Organ or Keyboard 116 pages • ISMN: 979-0-001-13600-6 • Softbound
Edition Schott ED 22325
Samuel Scheidt is one of the finest of the North German school of organist-composers that stemmed from the teaching of Sweelinck in Amsterdam. Born in Halle in 1587, he became assistant organist the Moritzkirche in 1603, before studying in Amsterdam between 1607 and 1609. He returned as Court organist to the Margrave of Brandenburg in Halle, where he was soon joined by Michael Praetorius. The Thirty Years War disrupted musical life in Germany. The Margrave fled, and the music of the Court ceased. Scheidt took to private teaching before eventually becoming director of music for the major Halle city churches (Marketkirche, Moritzkirche, and St Ulrich).
In 1624 Scheidt wrote his monumental three-volume Tabulatura Nova, an important collection of works for organ, harpsichord, or clavichord. Scheidt never recovered his earlier financial security and died in some financial trouble. His last publication was this 1650 Görlitzer Tabulaturbuch, named after the city that commissioned the collection of four-part harmonisations of Lutheran chorales. Although there are a few simple harmonised settings, many of them are adventurous little pieces demonstrating Scheidt’s advanced keyboard technique and musical thinking as the early Baroque style of composition developed. Whether or not you would ever use them in a liturgical setting (as seems to have been intended, judging from Scheidt’s introduction where he mentions that the pieces are for “gentlemen organists to play with the Christian community”), they are worth exploring.
This Schott edition is clearly printed, in landscape format. The introduction by editor Klaus Beckmann (in German and English) gives background to the pieces and the editorial process. The critical commentary is, as usual, only in German. Preview pages can be view here. This is apparently the last in the Schott series ‘Masters of the North German Organ School‘, although I hope that is rethought as scholarship on this important repertoire continues to evolve and there must be more composers and pieces to be discovered and edited.
Gottlieb Muffat is one of those unfortunate composers who is overshadowed by his father, in his case, Georg Muffat. The latter was one of the key instigators of an international keyboard style, infusing the Italian keyboard influence of Frescobaldi with musical influence from France. Gottlieb is generally known, if at all, through his connections with Handel, who ‘borrowed’ an extraordinary amount of his music, notably in the Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day, Samson, Joshua, and Judas Maccabeus. mostly from the six Suites in the 1736 Componimenti Musicali.
This edition of Gottlieb Muffat’s 32 Ricercares and 19 Canzonas (Die 32 Ricercaten und 19 Canzonen) was first published by Doblinger in 2003 but has now been reissued in a smart new cover. Volume I (of three) includes the first 19 Ricercatas, plus an additional variant of Ricercata VII. The first three Ricercatas of this volume set are highly ornamented, in the manner of Georg Muffat, but there are few, if any, ornaments in the other Ricercatas. Muffat’s own table of ornaments from the Componimenti Musicali are included in this volume and are essential reading if you are to grasp the musical style of the period. As complex as they may seem (for example, there are 9 different types of trill), understanding them is essential in performance. Incidentally, knowledge of ornaments like this will also help to make sense of some of John Blow’s music, such was the international influence of the Frescobaldi/Froberger ‘school’. Having grasped the concept from the first three Ricercare, adding ornaments to the other pieces would be entirely appropriate. Continue reading →
Johann Caspar Kerll (1627-1693) Complete Organ Works
Vol I: Toccaten I–VIII (Ed. John O’Donnell) 34 pages • ISMN: 979-0-012-18121-7 • Softbound Doblinger DM 1203
Johann Caspar Kerll was born 1617 in Adorf in the far south of Saxony. Son of an organist, he was sent to Vienna in his early teens to study with the Court Kapellmeister, Giovanni Valentini. He was soon noticed in Court circles and when he was about 20 years-old was sent to Brussels by the Hapsburg governor of the Spanish Netherlands as organist for the new palace. Over the next 10 years, he combined his Brussels post with musical travels, including studying in Italy with Carissimi where he probably met Froberger and might have studied with him. He also spent time back in Vienna, in Dresden, and Moravia, eventually becoming Court Kapellmeister in Dresden in 1656. He returned to Vienna in 1674, where he might have been a teacher of Pachelbel, then deputy organist at the Stephensdom. He is one of those unfortunate composers many of whose works have been lost, including eleven operas. He is best known now for his keyboard music, and this first volume of his organ works, consisting of 8 Toccatas, demonstrates why. Continue reading →
Johann Speth (1664-c1720)
Complete Organ Works Vol I & II (Ed. Ingemar Melchersson) Vol I: 32 pages • ISMN: 979-0-012-20126-7 • Softbound • DM 1449 Vol II: 44 pages • ISMN: 979-0-012-20127-4 • Softbound • DM 1450 Doblinger (Diletto Musicale) DM 1449/1450
With one or two exceptions, the organ music of South Germany during the Baroque era is usually overlooked in favour of the far more musically advanced North German organist-composers – and, of course, Bach. These two volumes of the only surviving music of Johann Speth helps to redress that balance – or, perhaps, to explain it. Speth was born in 1664 in Speinshart in the north of Bavaria, about 30 km south-east of Bayreuth. Speinshart has a substantial monastery complex, and little else, then and now. The original Romanesque monastery buildings were reconstructed in High Baroque style between 1681 and 1706, and may have been in a poor state prior to that. Earlier assumptions that Speth must have studied music at the monastery have been disproved, not least on the grounds that the abbey’s music school did not exist until well into the 18th-century. But he may well have received lessons from a musician connected with the monastery. The first we know of Speth is in 1692 when he applied for, and got, the post of organist in Augsburg Cathedral. The calling card he offered with his job application was the music contained in these two Doblinger volumes, published the following year under the title of Ars magna Consoni et Dissoni. Continue reading →
The Orgelbüchlein Project
A 21st-century completion of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein
Compiled and edited by William Whitehead
Volume 4: Christian Life and Conduct (Chorales 87–113)
152 pages • ISMN 979-0-57701-498-2 • Softbound Edition Peters EP73145
The Orgelbüchlein Project is one of the most exciting and ambitious musical projects of recent years. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein was intended to be a set of 164 chorale preludes covering the whole liturgical year. It was started during Bach’s time in Weimar (1708-17) with a few additions after he arrived in Leipzig. In a tiny manuscript book, Bach wrote the titles of all 164 Lutheran chorales at the top of the pages, but only managed to complete settings of 46 of them. Most titles were allocated a single page, with some given more space. When he came to write out the chorale preludes, he occasionally ran out of space and packed in a few more bars at the bottom of the pages in the more compact (but old-fashioned) German tablature letter notation. The title page of the autograph copy (pictured below) notes Bach’s intention for the collection that “a beginning organist receives given instruction on performing a chorale in a multitude of ways while achieving mastery in the study of the pedal, since the chorales contained hereinthe pedal is treated entirely obbligato . . . that my fellow man may hone his skill.” The Orgelbüchlein Project is an international project, founded and curated by organist William Whitehead, to complete the Orgelbüchlein by commissioning composers to write settings for the 118 missing chorale preludes.
Melchior Schildt (1592-1667)
Complete Organ Works (Ed. Klaus Beckmann) 128 pages • ISMN: 979-0-001-13431-6 • Softbound
Edition Schott ED 9585
2017 is the anniversary of Melchior Schildt’s death, so it is an appropriate time to look at his, sadly, very limited, surviving organ music. He was born in 1592 in Hanover to a family of musicians stretching back more than 125 years. He studied with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck from 1609 (probably until 1612). In 1626 he was appointed court organist to the Danish king, and in 1629 returned to Hannover to replace his father as organist at the Marktkirche, where he stayed until his death.
He seems to have been ‘a bit of a character’, with several records of intemperate behaviour, one being a violent attack on the organ builder Fritzsche. Although his second marriage provided him with financial security, the relationship was troubled to the extent that Schildt’s will required their son to be removed from his mother’s care. His troubled relationship with the music profession can be seen in his further instructions for his son, forbidding him to learn any musical instrument of any kind “because those who do are held back in their university studies, and also adopt a wild and dissolute life”. Continue reading →
JS Bach: Complete Organ Works
Volume 1 & 2 – Preludes & Fugues I & II
Ed. David Schulenberg
Breitkopf & Härtel 2013/14. Volume 1: Edition Breitkopf EB8801.
140 pages | 32 x 25 cm | 626 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18372-4 | Softbound + CD-ROM Volume 2: Edition Breitkopf EB8802.
148 pages | 32 x 25 cm | 658 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18373-1 | Softbound + CD-ROM
Volume 4 – Toccatas and Fugues, Individual Works
Ed. Jean-Claude Zehnder
Breitkopf & Härtel 2012. Edition Breitkopf EB8804.
184 pages | 32 x 25 cm | 793 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18375-5 | Softbound + CD-ROM
Further to my reviews of Volumes 3 and 8 of the Breitkopf & Härtel complete Bach organ works (see hereand here), I have now been sent the remaining six published editions. Two more are in preparation. The first two volumes contain the pieces generally known nowadays (but not in Bach’s day) as Preludes and Fugues, the other (Volume 4) pieces called ‘Toccata’ and other miscellaneous individual pieces with various titles. The pieces are presented in key order, starting with C major. As with the two other volumes reviewed earlier, the production quality is excellent, with clear and good-sized print, generally (but not always) helpful page turns and, most importantly, very detailed notes on the pieces and the editorial process. All three volumes include CD-ROMs with additional pieces and variants on the main pieces. The Introductions are in German and English, but the Commentary is only in German. However an English version can be found on the CD-ROM or downloaded from the Breitkopf website. The editor for the two volumes of Preludes and Fugues is David Schulenberg, with volume 4 edited by Jean-Claude Zehnder, both well established Bach scholars. Continue reading →
Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos
Oxford University Press USA, 2017 Hardback. 344 pages, 235x156mm, ISBN 9780190658205
The idea that music and the universe were somehow linked has its roots in Plato and resurfaced in the medieval era and beyond as man sought to explain the world around them and its rather awkward relation to their concept of a creator God. Recent advances in scientific research have reduced belief in extra-terrestrial involvement in creation, but have also increased interest in the historic link between music and astrology. Andrew Hicks’ book Composing the World, with its subtitle of Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos, addresses this, starting with the introductory statement “We can hear the universe!”, the 2016 proclamation that the Laser Interferometer Gravity Observatory (LIGO) had detected a “transient gravitational-wave signal.” What LIGO heard was described as “the vibration of cosmic forces unleashed with mind-boggling power across a cosmic medium of equally mind-boggling expansiveness: the transient ripple of two black holes colliding more than a billion years ago”. Continue reading →
The new 10 volume Breitkopf & Härtel critical edition of Bach’s organ music is arriving in dribs and drabs. I reviewed volume 8 here last July, and have now been sent Volume 3. It contains all the pieces entitled ‘Fantasia’ together with isolated Fugues. In that context, it is worth stressing that there are no surviving authorized and complete Fantasia and Fugue pairs, not even the well-known Fantasia & Fugue in G minor (BWV 542). Indeed, many of the popular Preludes and Fugues were also put together by later editors, rather than by Bach.
Peter Dirksen’s detailed introductory notes (in German and English), include a discussion of discussion the historic background to the Continue reading →
Heinrich Scheidemann (c1595-1663)
Complete Organ Works
Vol 2: Magnificat Cycles (Ed. Klaus Beckmann) 128 pages • ISMN: 979-0-001-13660-0 • Softbound
Schott MusicED 9729
8 Magnificat Cycles; Anonymus: Chorale Fantasy (Magnificat VIII.toni)
Heinrich Scheidemann is one of the most interesting of the students of Sweelinck, the Amsterdam organist and teacher, who influenced many organists, particularly in Hamburg. His pupils helped to develop the important 17th century North German school of organ playing and composition that led eventually to Dietrich Buxtehude, a composer that the young Bach admired and travelled to hear. In this period the organists in the Hamburg churches had almost as much status as the preachers, and were expected to elaborate musically on many aspects of the Lutheran service. Scheidemann was organist of the Catherinenkirche in Hamburg. He taught his successor there, Reincken, and also possibly Buxtehude. Continue reading →
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Complete Organ Works
Vol 1: Compositions Pedaliter – 18 Praeludia BuxWV 136-153 (Ed. Klaus Beckmann) 120 pages • 23 x 30.5 cm • 455 g • ISMN: 979-0-004-16866-0 • Softbound
Edition Breitkopf EB 6661
Dietrich Buxtehude holds a special place in the hearts of most organists, although this is occasionally because he is the only pre-Bach German composer that they are aware of. But, despite many years of musicological research and publications, he still remains a somewhat enigmatic composer. There is still no agreement as to his birth date or place, and what his name really was. He seems to have been born in Helsingborg (in present day Sweden, but then part of Denmark) as Diderich, but later changed the spelling from the Danish to a more Germanic Dietrich (or Dieterich). His surname also appears in several versions, including Box de Hude.
Producing modern editions of his organ music is fraught with potential difficulties, not least because no surviving copies of Buxtehude’s autograph copies have been found. Continue reading →
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Complete Keyboard Works
Volume 1 – Toccatas (Ed. Harald Vogel, Peter Dirksen) 128 pages • 23 x 30,5 cm • 460 g • ISMN: 979-0-004-18206-2 Edition Breitkopf EB 8741
Volume 2 – Fantasias (Ed. Peter Dirksen, Harald Vogel) 224 pages • 23 x 30,5 cm • 825 g • ISMN: 979-0-004-18272-7
Edition Breitkopf EB 8742
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (dubbed the ‘Orpheus of Amsterdam) was one of the most important keyboard composers at that musically fascinating period at the end of the Renaissance period and the start of the Baroque. Born in 1562, he was employed by the city of Amsterdam as organist of the Oude Kerk for 44 years until his death in 1621. Organ music in the Calvanist church was limited to occasional playing of pieces to familiarise the congregation with the choral melodies, before or after the service, but not during. So Sweelinck’s duties as city organist were generally to give concerts for the public and visitors. This have him time to build up an extensive teaching practice, attracting a generation of North German organists who returned to develop the influential Hamburg organ school that dominated the 17th century, culminating in the music Buxtehude in nearby Lübeck. His music was known throughout northern Europe, with two of his pieces includrf within the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.
Frescobaldi: Fiori Musicali
ed. Andrea Macinanti & Francesco Tasini 124pp, 235×315 mm, ISMN: 979-0-2153-0642-4
Ut Orpheus Edizioni ES39.
Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali was published in 1635. He was at the height of his musical powers, having just returned to Rome (after six years with the Medici’s in Florence) to work for the Barberini Pope and Cardinals, and continued his post as organist of St Peter’s in Rome, a post he had held throughout his many travels. Although many pieces in Frescobaldi’s earlier books of Toccatas (1615/16 and 1627) were clearly intended for organ and would have presumably have been playing in a liturgical setting, Fiori Musicali is his only organ book specifically geared towards use in the Mass. It was his last publication of new music, although he did re-issue some earlier volumes. It quickly became one of his most popular publications, and was used as an exemplar of polyphonic writing well into the 19th century. Bach also studied it and copied it out. Continue reading →
Samuel Scheidt: Keyboard music transmitted in manuscript form
ed. Peter Dirksen 120pp, 230×305 mm, ISMN: 979-0-004-18395-3
Edition Breitkopf EB8831.
Following the three volumes of Scheidt’s Tabulatura Nova (reviewed here), the most recent of the Breitkopf Scheidt edition, recently published, covers the keyboard music found in manuscript sources. The importance of his three volume Tabulatura Nova has meant that the music not included in those volumes is usually overlooked, Continue reading →