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Complete Organ Works: Saxer, Düben, Schieferdecker Georg Wilhelm Dietrich SAXER (?-1740) Praeludium in D [8:12] Praeludium in e minor [5:26] Praeludium in F [5:30] Andreas DÜBEN (c.1597-1662) Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr [3:38] Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält [5:04] Praeludium pedaliter in a minor [2:33] Martin DÜBEN (c.1599-c.1649) Erstanden ist der heilig Christ [3:11] Praeambulum pedaliter in F [1:46] Praeludium in e minor [3:19] Gustav DÜBEN (c.1628-1690) Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren [3:49] Gottlieb NITTAUF (1685-1722) Preludium auff 2. Clavier in e minor [1:57] Preludium in a minor [1:25] Preludium in g minor [1:00] Preludium in G [1:01] Preludium in d minor [1:05] Preludium in F [0:49] Preludium pedaliter in C [1:09] Preludium in D [3:19] Preludium (Toccata) in a minor [3:28] Ewald HINTZ (1613-1668) Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ [3:55] Andreas NEUNHABER (1603-1663) Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ [8:29] Johann Christian SCHIEFERDECKER (1679-1732) Meine Seele erhebt den Herren [3:29]
Friedhelm Flamme (organ)
rec. 22-23 May 2009, Sct. Mariae Kirke, Helsingør, Denmark. DDD CPO 777 502-2
In 2004 the German organist Friedhelm Flamme started a major project
for CPO: the recording of the complete organ works by composers of
the so-called North-German organ school. The most famous representative
of that school is Dieterich Buxtehude, but among organists of his
and previous generations there were many brilliant organists whose
compositions reflect their great skills. In the North-German regions
organists were held in high esteem and belonged amongst the highest
paid musicians of their time.
Several important representatives of the school have already been
presented in this series, among them Vincent Lübeck, Nicolaus Bruhns
and Franz Tunder. The previous volumes also included pieces by lesser-known
masters, such as Peter Morhard, Andreas Kneller and Martin Radeck.
The composers who figure on the present disc, belong in the same category.
The name of Düben may be not quite unfamiliar, but that only concerns
Gustav, who collected a large number of vocal and instrumental works
- about 1800 in total - which have found their way into the so-called
'Düben-collection' which is preserved at the university
of Uppsala. The composers on the programme - except Saxer - have in
common that they didn't work as organists in Northern Germany.
However, their compositions bear the stylistic trademarks of the North-German
The three preludes by Georg Wilhelm Dietrich Saxer are good examples
as they comprise three sections of a contrasting character, including
a fugue. Interestingly we can see here the development toward a formal
split between prelude and fugue which would take place in the early
18th century and comes to the fore in the organ oeuvre of Johann Sebastian
Bach. Unlike earlier North-German composers Saxer included only one
fugal section in his preludes. The pieces close with a short section
in slow tempo. Virtuosic passage-work and pedal solos are amongst
the hallmarks of the North-German organ style and figure in these
preludes as well. Improvisatory gestures also were characteristic
of this school and Saxer's Praeludium in e minor is
a striking example. Little is known about the composer: we don't
know when or where he was born and from whom he received his musical
education. His stature must be considerable as in 1634 he was appointed
as organist of the Johanniskirche in Lüneburg as successor to Georg
The Düben family was from Leipzig. Andreas and his younger brother
Martin were born there and settled in Sweden. They received their
first education from their father, who was organist of the Thomaskirche.
Andreas went to Amsterdam to study with Sweelinck, and it is possible
that his brother followed his example. Andreas was appointed as organist
of the Swedish court in Stockholm in 1620 and soon developed into
a major figure in the Swedish music scene. Martin joined him in 1625.
Little of their compositional output has come down to us. In the chorale-based
compositions the hymn melody is treated in various ways, sometimes
unornamented, sometimes with lively and extended embellishments. Their
preludes are largely confined to slowly forward-moving chords, without
motivic imitation. Gustav Düben has already been mentioned: he was
a close friend of Dieterich Buxtehude. Thanks to him many of the latter's
compositions have been preserved. Only one composition from Gustav's
pen is known, the chorale fantasia Nun lob mein Seel den Herren
which is treated in such a way that the uplifting character of text
and melody is eloquently emphasized.
Gottlieb Nittauf was born in Stockholm, as the son of the German-born
court trumpeter Johann Nicolaus. It is documented that he sang as
a choirboy under Gustav Düben's direction which must have brought
him into close contact with the Buxtehude idiom. He worked as an organist
in Stockholm and Göteborg, and there is a document which states that
he had studied with "a great master" in Hamburg which was
probably Vincent Lübeck. The first six preludes in the programme are
in various keys and express different Affekte. Flamme suggests
these pieces could be meant as educational material for his pupils.
The other three preludes show the features of the North-German organ
school in the inclusion of pedal solos, virtuosic figures and contrasting
sections. The Preludium in a minor, also known as Toccata,
shows again the move toward a more independent fugue.
The last three composers on the programme are represented by just
one piece each, the only organ works from their pen which are known.
Ewald Hintz was from Danzig and was a pupil of Johann Jacob Froberger.
He worked as organist in Danzig and was a member of the court chapel
in Copenhagen in the last years of his life. The chorale fantasia
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ requires an organ with three
manuals: the cantus firmus is divided over two manuals, whereas
the accompanying figures are played at the third. The cantus firmus
is strongly ornamented, which is also the case in Ich ruf zu dir,
Herr Jesu Christ by Andreas Neunhaber. He was also born in Danzig,
where he was a pupil of Paul Siefert. He worked there all his life
in various churches as organist.
Lastly we come to Johann Christian Schieferdecker, who was from Saxony
and attended the Thomasschule in Leipzig. There he composed his first
operas and later played a major role in the Oper am Gänsemarkt in
Hamburg. In 1706 he became assistant to Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck,
and succeeded him after his death in 1707. Very little of his output
has been preserved. Lately several discs have been devoted to his
vocal and instrumental works. Only one organ piece by him is known:
Meine Seele erhebt den Herren is in five sections in which
the chorale melody is treated in various ways.
Friedhelm Flamme plays an instrument which is strictly speaking not
historical, but rather a modern reconstruction. It tries to bring
to life again the organ which was built in 1641 by Johann Lorentz
and renovated in the early 1660s - just after Buxtehude had taken
up the position of organist in Helsingør - by Hans Christoff Frietzsch.
The result is a beautiful instrument of three manuals and pedal. It
is well suited to the music of the North-German organ school. Flamme
effectively uses the various colours of the organ for the chorale-based
compositions. He does so in such a way that the cantus firmus
can be clearly heard. In the free pieces the improvisatory elements
which are such an important feature of the North-German organ school
are very well realised. Flamme plays here with more flair and freedom
than in some previous volumes in this project. This results in a compelling
disc with many little-known gems from an astonishingly rich musical
culture of the 17th century.