Richard Heschke at the Hradetzky in Red
Buxtehude (ca. 1637 -1707)
Jon Pleterszoon Sweelinck (1562
Johann Gottfried Walther
Suzanne van Soldt Manuscript
Bernhard Schmid d.Ä. (1520
Bernhard Schmid d.J. (1548
- ca. 1610)
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
About the CD
The distinctive southern European tonal design of the Hradetzky gallery organ of the United Methodist Church in Red Bank incorporates the versatile richness, clarity, warmth, and colorful stops that are characteristic of Austrian-Viennese organ building. The works featured on this recording have been chosen to demonstrate and exploit these qualities of the instrument.
The Præludium in f sharp (BuxWV 146) and Præludium in D (BuxWV 139) of Buxtehude are examples of the stylus fantasticus or præludium style in which elements of improvisational gesture, fugue, recitative, figuration, block chords, harmonic exploration, and silence are combined to produce internally diverse yet remarkably unified works of striking effect. The Præludia are alike in their emphasis on free rather than fugal elements. The Præludium in f sharp contains two fugues, of which only the first includes a properly worked out exposition. The single fugue of the Præludium in D is based upon a repercussive subject and presents an almost uncharacteristically thin fugal texture. Though sharing certain similarities of design, the Præludia are remarkably dissimilar in spirit. The Præludium in f sharp displays a remarkably sober virtuosic temperament; the Præludium in D demonstrates a joyful, almost lighthearted perspective by virtue of both its key and figurations.
In the Prelude and Fugue in D (BWV 532), Bach explores the spirit and substance of the works of earlier Baroque masters, producing a massive composition in which these elements receive definitive exploitation. Its opening scales and broken chords followed by dramatic use of silence, dotted rhythm and tremolos, its tightly constructed Alla breve and the striking Adagio which conclude the prelude are in sympathy with similar passages in the works of Buxtehude. The D major Fugue, one of the most virtuosic of Bach's organ fugues, ends with a masterful coda for the pedal organ as opposed to the final toccata section typical of the præludium.
The chorale prelude, Komm, heiliger Geist (BuxWV 199), illustrates Buxtehude's preferred treatment of the genre in which the entire chorale melody is presented in ornamented form in a single voice. The Liebster Jesu chorales of Bach (BWV 730, 731) are remarkable in that the second appears almost as an intended variation of the first though they were composed as independent pieces. In BWV 730, the melody is presented in relatively straightforward fashion; in BWV 731, it becomes a complex coloratura played, at Bach's own direction, on a second manual of the organ.
In the 16th century, the practice of arranging dance music for instrumental ensembles spread quickly to keyboard instruments. The Susanne van Soldt Manuscript contains a significant number of examples of these arrangements based on dance tunes current on the Continent and popular in the Low Countries toward the end of the 16th century. The dances of the Schmid's are representative of Italian dance types typically found in German sources of the period: the paired passamezzo and saltarello (complementary duple and triple meter dances often sharing thematic material) and the gigliarda.
Mein junges Leben is one of seven variation sets on secular songs by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, internationally acclaimed organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. Through skillful linking of contrasting motives, Sweelinck gives birth to a variation set of remarkable energy and unparalleled variety.
The organ works of both J.G. Walther and J.S. Bach include a number of high quality transcriptions of instrumental concertos in the Italian style. While Walther's transcriptions focus on the works of earlier Italian masters, Bach's include several compositions by Antonio Vivaldi. In the Concerto in A minor (BWV 593), transcribed from Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Violins, Op. 3, No. 8, Bach not only captures, but enhances the spirit of the original. Through manual changes, both concertos faithfully preserve the alternation of solo and tutti forces found in the original compositions.
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