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This acclaimed recording series of the complete organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude c. Bach famously went to experience the art of the ageing organ legend. Organ Registrations download. Dieterich Buxtehude lived his entire life close to the shores of the Baltic Sea. He was most likely born in in the Danish town of Helsingborg, now part of Sweden. His father Johannes Hans , also an organist, had immigrated to Denmark at an unknown time from Oldesloe, in Holstein.
In the year Johannes Buxtehude was employed as the organist at St. Olai Church in Elsinore. Baptismal records do not extend back to in Helsingborg, Elsinore or Oldesloe.
As a child in Elsinore, Dieterich Buxtehude must have been aware of both his German heritage and his Danish surroundings, and he appears to have grown up bilingual. The knowledge of Latin that Buxtehude displayed in later life indicates that he must have attended a Latin school as a boy. Although he undoubtedly began his organ studies with his father, further information concerning his teachers is totally lacking. Other possible teachers in Denmark include Claus Dengel, organist at St.
Lorentz was a pupil and son-in-law of Jacob Praetorius in Hamburg, and the Buxtehude family made his acquaintance in upon the death of his father, Johann Lorentz, Sr. In late or early , Buxtehude assumed the same position as organist of St.
He worked there until October, , when he became organist of St. The position of organist and Werkmeister at St. Buxtehude swore the oath of citizenship 23 July, , enabling him to marry and set up his household. He married Anna Margaretha Tunder, a daughter of his predecessor, on 3 August, Seven daughters were born into the family of Dieterich and Anna Margaretha Buxtehude and baptized at St.
Buxtehude himself belonged to the fourth social class, however, together with lesser wholesalers, retailers and brewers. In inviting his social superiors to serve as godparents — and in some cases naming his children after them — Buxtehude was also cultivating their patronage for his musical enterprises.
As organist of St. He also held the position of Werkmeister of St. The account books that he kept in this capacity document the life of the church and its music in considerable detail.
The cantor of St. Two municipal musicians, a violinist and a lutenist, regularly performed with Buxtehude from the large organ. Buxtehude inherited a tradition established by Franz Tunder of performing concerts from the large organ of St. Tunder had gradually added vocalists and instrumentalists to his organ performances, which are said to have taken place on Thursdays prior to the opening of the stock exchange.
These new balconies, together with the four that were already there, could accommodate about forty singers and instrumentalists. Buxtehude called his concerts Abendmusiken and changed the time of their presentation to Sundays after vespers. In time these concerts took place regularly on the last two Sundays of Trinity and the second, third and fourth Sundays of Advent each year. By he had introduced the practice of presenting oratorios of his own composition in serial fashion on these Sundays.
By Buxtehude had served for thirty-five years as organist of St. In addition to his varied activities as a musician — composer, keyboard player, conductor — he worked with both numbers and words as an accountant and a poet. He was both a dutiful employee of the church and a bold entrepreneur in his management of the Abendmusiken. The writers of his own and the succeeding generation made only scant mention of Buxtehude; nonetheless, he was honored, both in his own century and in the one that followed, in a manner that was ultimately of far greater significance than any number of verbal accolades might have been: by the copying of his music, more of which survives, and in a greater number of genres, than from any of his North German contemporaries.
Many copies of his free organ works stem from the circle of J. Bach, while the surviving manuscripts of his chorale-based organ works were copied mainly by Johann Gottfried Walther.
The North German organs had the most developed pedal division of any in Europe, and Buxtehude almost certainly intended his pedaliter works for the organ, although they could also have been played on a clavichord or harpsichord equipped with pedals. Those for manuals alone can be performed on harpsichord, clavichord, or organ. This body of works, whether manualiter or pedaliter, falls into two main categories: freely composed works that do not draw on preexisting melodies and settings of traditional Lutheran chorales.
In his free organ works titled praeludium , praeambulum , or toccata , Buxtehude combined a variety of styles and textures, consisting mainly of an extremely free style idiomatic to the keyboard and more highly structured styles, such as fugue, which maintain a fixed number of voices in contrapuntal texture. These genres originated in Spain at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and they soon appeared in a wide variety of Italian instrumental and vocal music, including the keyboard music of Frescobaldi.
Buxtehude appears to have been the first to require the use of pedals in a ciacona or passacaglia; with the repeating ostinato melody carried mainly by the pedal, the hands become free to play complex variations above it. Buxtehude also occasionally incorporated ostinato passages into his great multi-sectional praeludia ; the final section of his C major praeludium BuxWV , at is in fact labeled ciacona.
The wide octave leaps of its three-measure ostinato are announced in the opening virtuosic pedal solo of the first section. Here we meet the stylus phantasticus , so idiomatic to keyboard music, with its constantly shifting textures and number of voices, from fast-moving scales to block chords, from homophonic figuration to suggestions of fugues — one never knows what to expect.
The real fugue that follows at , by contrast, works its way systematically from one to four voices with statements of the subject followed by answers in the dominant, and it continues in this way until each voice — easily identified as soprano, alto, tenor, and bass — has stated both subject and answer twice. The two praeludia in G minor on this disk also contain ostinato sections.
The opening flourish in the manuals could lead anywhere, but it turns out to be the figuration above an ostinato when the pedal finally makes its appearance.
The ostinato section that concludes the other G minor praeludium BuxWV , at is totally different. Here the two-measure theme is first announced in the pedal without accompaniment, and thereafter it migrates quite regularly into the upper voices.
The chorale settings included on this CD are all of the type that Buxtehude cultivated most extensively, or perhaps that were most useful to Johann Gottfried Walther, whose manuscript copies provide the only sources for them. Each of these works states the chorale melody just once, in the soprano voice, designated in the manuscripts to be performed on a separate manual, with the middle two voices to be played on another manual and the bass on the pedal.
They probably represent written-out versions of the introductions to hymns that Buxtehude improvised as a church organist. The melodies are often highly ornamented; in fact the ministers of St. The chorale melodies printed here come from a manuscript written for the use of the choir of St. These are all traditional chorales for the great feasts of the church year — Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity and the Advent season — and they date from the first years of the Reformation or even earlier.
His style of ornamentation for all these pieces comes originally from vocal practice, and while the chorale is present the organ emulates the texture of a singer accompanied by continuo. In the interludes between each line, however, Buxtehude draws upon the contrapuntal tradition to introduce the next line with imitation.
VOLUME 2 — All five praeludia on this CD begin with an opening section in free style, followed by two or three fugues, combined in various ways with further free material. The opening section typi cally begins with a single voice and then moves to a highly ornamented chordal structure, decorated either by a short figure that passes from voice to voice or by scales and trills in a display of virtuosity.
The fugues that follow are usually quite short, and their subjects are often related. The subject of the second fugue of BuxWV has exactly the same melody as that of the first, transformed into triple time.
The subjects of the two fugues of BuxWV are similarly related, but Buxtehude added a chromatic note to the second. The relationship of the three fugues of BuxWV is much more complex: all three subjects feature the descent from b to e and the skip of an octave, but Buxtehude used these simple elements to create three fugues of remarkably different character.
The first is playful, with just a touch of chromaticism; the second, in slow triple time, is a full-blown fuga pathetica with its descending chromatic line; and the third seizes upon the octave leaps to create a macabre dance in gigue rhythm. The first fugue of BuxWV , by contrast, is cast in a learned style, with alternating expositions of the subject in inversion and just a short flourish in free style to conclude it.
The free sections between the fugues often contain dissonances and suspensions durezze e ligature and harmonic excursions, in either unadorned form BuxWV or highly ornamented BuxWV Six of the chorale settings included on this CD BuxWV , , , , , and are of the type that Buxtehude cultivated most extensively, in which the chorale melody appears just once, in the soprano voice.
The chorale melody is easily recognizable in the first phrase but is highly ornamented in the other three. The inner voices, consistently in the alto and tenor range, provide interludes between phrases and accompaniment when the upper voice is present; the pedal functions as a bass line most of the time but drops out occasionally, further articulating the phrase structure, and holds a pedal point during the final cadential flourish of the upper voice.
Short figures consisting of four sixteenth notes or three sixteenths leading to a longer note dominate the piece; in the first phrase the chorale is hidden in the soprano voice as the figures run through all four parts, while in the second phrase the pedal takes the chorale as a cantus firmus in quarter notes beneath the figuration.
Compositional variety continues in the second half, where almost every line is treated differently. For the sixth line of the text, all four voices participate in imitative counterpoint on an ascending chromatic line in eighth notes, but otherwise the sixteenth-note figures lend the piece cohesion despite the variety of compositional techniques.
The final phrase of the chorale lines is set a second time. While the organist introduced the hymns, it was the responsibility of the cantor with his choir to lead the congregation in the singing, which the organist did not usually accompany at this time. The others come from the earlier manuscript MS 13 , which was probably copied during the late s or early s. Among the ideas on display in the free sections are opening flourishes with scales and arpeggios, figuration over pedal points in BuxWV , meter changes, and passages that at first appear to be fugues but then dissolve into homophonic texture.
The Praeludium in C BuxWV , which opens this CD, resembles the F major Toccata in its use of pedal points in the opening free section, but it strikes a close balance between free and fugal elements. Although it has only one central fugue, its opening free section is much more unified, and there is only a short toccata-like flourish at the end.
Its second fugue is a variation on the first. The subjects of all three fugues are related in the Praeludium in g BuxWV It, too, is dominated by fugal procedure, and its texture occasionally expands to five voices, with two taken by the pedal.
The three canzonas presented here BuxWV , , are more modest manualiter works, each consisting of one fugue with a lively subject in a distinctly instrumental idiom, moving mainly in sixteenth-notes with repeated notes, disjunct intervals, and sequential patterns. It seems quite likely that Buxtehude composed these works as teaching materials, both as models for composition and to develop finger dexterity in performance.
As in most of his chorale preludes, the middle two voices are played on a separate manual, but in the first part of this piece he departs from his normal practice of casting the pedal in the role of continuo bass, preferring to engage it in the counterpoint of the upper voices or to let it drop out completely.
VOLUME 4 — The North German praeludium of the later seventeenth century evolved from smaller works that probably served a true preludial function of introducing vocal music, such as the praeludia of Jacob Praetorius and Heinrich Scheidemann, influenced by the multipartite Italian toccata, such as those of Girolamo Frescobaldi. Its opening section contains all the hallmarks of the style: sweeping scales, a pedal solo, various figures to decorate chord progressions, and a brief fugato.
The single fugue of the Toccata in F BuxWV that opens this CD, by contrast, is sustained longer, and it is tightly integrated with the opening free section, which anticipates the repeated notes of the fugue subject. In the third fugue of BuxWV Buxtehude presents the subject both upright and inverted, a fact noted by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg in his treatise on fugue Abhandlung von der Fuge , All the canzonas are manualiter works, and they do not contain the toccata-style passage work that is characteristic of the praeludia.
Here we have a rich selection of chorale fantasias, much more extensive works in which the chorale melody appears multiple times, either intact or fragmented, and in various voices. The chorale prelude BuxWV contains 27 measures, lasting scarcely more than a minute and a half; the chorale fantasia BuxWV has measures and a duration of eight minutes. Furthermore, the fantasia is divided into five discrete sections, each corresponding to one phrase of the chorale. In the first section and the first part of the second section beginning at the melody is developed in fugal style; then it appears fragmented in the pedal, with figuration above it.
The third section beginning at returns to fugal style, with a chromatic countersubject, while the fourth beginning at switches to the texture and rhythm of a dance, the gigue, perhaps reflecting the joy of the angels in this line of the text.
It contains several echoes between the two manuals, a frequent characteristic of the chorale fantasia.
Praeludium for organ in G major, BuxWV 147
This acclaimed recording series of the complete organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude c. Bach famously went to experience the art of the ageing organ legend. Organ Registrations download. Dieterich Buxtehude lived his entire life close to the shores of the Baltic Sea.
Complete Works for Organ