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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger


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‘Baroque Organ Music, Volume 1’
Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616-1667)

Toccata I in A [04:30]
Johann Caspar KERLL (1627-1693)

Toccata cromatica con durezze e ligature in E [04:01]
Johann Jakob FROBERGER

Fantasia sopra Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La [06:56]
Johannes SPETH (1664-c1720)

Toccata I in d minor oder ‘Erstes Musicalisches Blumen-Feld’ [03:47]
Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704)

Toccata XII in G [06:05]
Johann Caspar Ferdinand FISCHER (?-1746)

Prelude and Fugue in C* [05:40]
Johann Jakob FROBERGER

Ricercare in g minor* [04:29]
Capriccio in G* [03:34]
Johann Caspar KERLL

Canzona in d minor* [03:35]
Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)

Toccata in e minor* [02:25]
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, chorale prelude* [03:24]
Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist, chorale prelude* [02:25]
Fugue in C* [02:44]
Johannes SPETH

Toccata V oder ‘Fünfftes Musicalisches Blumen-Feld’* [02:53]
Herbert Tachezi, organ
Rec. 1968, 1980, 1981, Stiftskirche, Ossiach; ‘Festorgel’ of the Stiftsbasilika Klosterneuburg*, Austria. ADD
WARNER APEX 2564-60525-2 [57:29]

This CD is a reissue of recordings which were made in the late 1960s and early 1980s. It is not indicated which parts of this recording are from 1968, but I assume the performances at the organ of the Stiftsbasilika Klosterneuburg are the earliest. These recordings have quite a lot of noise, and there is a clear difference in the style of playing by Herbert Tachezi as well, in comparison with the performances from the early 1980s.

It is a shame the booklet isn’t very informative. It gives only very sparing information about the composers, hardly any about the music and none at all about the organs.

I couldn’t find any information about the organ in Ossiach, apart from the fact that it dates from the early 18th century. But I have no idea to what extent it is still in the condition of the time it was built.

The organ in Klosterneuburg is from the 17th century: in 1642 the young organ builder Johannes Freundt completed the construction of the organ. In the next centuries several times adaptations took place, but fortunately these were only minor. In 1942 a complete restoration should have taken place, but the war made that impossible. The action was moved to Vienna to be repaired, but was destroyed in a bombing attack. After the war the political situation made it very difficult to restore the organ to its original glory. It wasn’t until 1983 that a complete restoration according to historical principles could be performed.

The recording by Herbert Tachezi was made before the restoration, which is probably one of the reasons it is rather unsatisfactory. One wonders whether it was a good idea to reissue these recordings, in particular since others have been made since 1983 which show the organ in its full restored glory.

The programme doesn’t contain many surprises: most pieces are regularly recorded, and in particular the compositions played on the organ in Klosterneuburg are certainly recorded in better interpretations. The performance of this part of the programme is rather old-fashioned, with predominantly legato playing, and in the Toccata and the Fugue by Pachelbel as well as Fischer’s Prelude and Fugue a pretty heavy registration makes it difficult to hear any details. Some of the pieces – for example Froberger’s Ricercare in g minor – have several sections, but there is too little differentiation between them in Herbert Tachezi’s performance.

The programme is interesting nevertheless. Most composers in some way or another, directly on indirectly, are under the influence of Frescobaldi. Kerll studied in Rome, and although he didn’t meet Frescobaldi, he will certainly have heard his keyboard music. Kerll did know Frescobaldi’s most important German pupil, though: Johann Jakob Froberger, who is rightly represented on this CD as well. Kerll for his part influenced Johann Pachelbel, although it isn’t certain that he was Kerll’s pupil.

Like Pachelbel Johannes Speth was from South Germany, and he was also under Italian influence. He uses thematic material from the Italian keyboard composer Bernardo Pasquini. Reminiscences of Pasquini’s works can also be found in the Toccatas of Georg Muffat, which he published in his ‘Apparatus musico-organisticus’ (1690). In his Foreword he also mentions Frescobaldi as a forerunner.

Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer is the youngest composer in the programme. He was of Bohemian origin, and like Muffat he strove for a ‘mixed style’ of German, French and Italian elements. He has become known mainly for his ‘Ariadne musica’ of 1702, a collection of 20 preludes and fugues in different keys, which has influenced Johann Sebastian Bach in his composing of the ‘Wohltemperirte Clavier’.

Attractive as the programme is this recording has too many shortcomings to be recommended.

Johan van Veen


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