Buxtehude’s Praeludium in C (BuxWV 136): Considerations of Performance Practice
Music by the ‘Old Masters’ is mostly performed today in accordance with the taste of individual players. However, it is recorded that J. J. Froberger kept a jealous guard over the stylistically appropriate performance of his works ('rechte Discretion'). These days, interpretation systems such as H. Riemann’s guide to agogic phrasing (1882) and M. Dupré’s «légato absolu» (1927) are not acceptable.
In the 'figurative opening' of this Praeludium (bars 1–13:2), two falling intervals, a fourth and a third, are prominent among the surrounding scale-passages. Their rhythmic and metrical positioning identifies these two pairs of notes as a ditrochee (–v–v). J. G. Walther stated in 1708 that the emphasis must be clearly differentiated (the second note should be 'shorter and lighter'). Walther based his conclusions on the work of G. Diruta and W. G. Printz. Thus, Buxtehude’s semiquaver passage can only be properly realised if the fourths and thirds are clearly articulated as ditrochees.
In the 'fugue in duple metre' (bars 13:3–45), there first appears a 2/2 bar divided in pairs 1-2, 3-4; then groups of four quavers delineate a ditrochaic pattern with further divisions into 2+2 semiquavers. The determining factor is not the mathematical division, but rather the falling accent, which Printz (1668) named 'Quantitas intrinseca', and Walther (1708) named 'Quantitas accentualis' – a 'Breve' following a 'Longum' each time. Subject and countersubject present patterns which Chr. Bernhard (c.1660) described as 'Superjectio', 'Syncopatio catachrestica' and 'Mora'.
In the 'rhapsodic interlude' (bars 13:3–45), the expressive declamation of the upper part(s) permits a flexibly agogic accompaniment. Buxtehude is careful to write out the diminution (his repertoire of ornamentation) in full detail, in order to ensure the appropriate declamatory elegance of the ornaments. The method of performing Buxtehude’s individual resolutions (as ornaments of one, two or three notes) is discussed.
The theme of the 'fugato' (bars 55-65) is taken from the 'Comes' (answer) of the duple-metre fugue. Its division into two parts is unusual, as is its conclusion with a 'finalis' at the end of the bar. With countersubjects 3 and 4 the variant of the basic combination is presented in triple counterpoint. Because the fugal energy is thereby lost, the passage proceeds with sequential figuration (as a 'free figurative ending').
The 'fugue in triple metre with free ending' (bars 66–96) offers another working of the 'Dux' (subject) and 'Comes' (answer) with two further countersubjects in triple counterpoint. The development of the fugue is then omitted, and instead there is a continuation (fragmentation, stretto, sequences), or motoric, toccata-like development. Trochaic triplets dominate the 12/8 metre, downbeat motives competing with an upbeat 'ductus'. The cheerfulness of the Gigue and its position at the end recall M. Weckmann’s 'Probespiel' of 1655 ('To complete a cheerful fugue on full organ'). 30 years later, however, Buxtehude transcended the traditional concept of fugue with his virtuoso, toccata-style figuration.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 321-338]
The Organ as a Prototype of Synthetic Speech Production
Already in antiquity, but also in the Middle Ages (and even beyond), mysterious artificial bodies and “talking heads” held a peculiar fascination, even if they were mere visual trickery. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, at a time when all kinds of machines and automatons were in vogue and many new inventions were made, serious attempts were undertaken to find ways of constructing a machine that could be used to create artificial speech. The mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707–1783) considered it possible to produce speech sounds and words via an organ keyboard and pipes. Designers such as Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein and Wolfgang von Kempelen sought a solution to the manifold problems; but, despite some astounding successes, it was not possible to get beyond the formation of vowels and a few consonants, such as 'm' and 'p'. Thus, the wish of György Ligeti (1923–2006) for a “speaking organ” remained unfulfilled.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 339-369]
Modern Style pipe organ design and decoration in Slovenia
During the pipe organs historical development, parallelism of visual and sound design has been differently expressed. At the end of 19th, and in the first decades of 20th century, so-called functionalism prevailed, in some extreme cases straight away from 'Werkpinzip' or even aesthetics, suitable for a sacred room. The Modern Style design in Slovenia is characterized by tight cooperation of organ builders, architects and designers, resulted in some interesting realisations of the past century, mostly inspired by past styles on a crossroad of Venetian and Central European organbuilding design practice. Six of them – from the period before the World War I – are presented and discussed in the first part. In the second part, an overview of interwar period is discussed, with description of some examples. The final part is about positive and negative, personal, social and political influences onto organbuilding of that time in the area.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 223-278]
Historic Positive Organs in Bavaria
The article describes historic positive organs in Bavaria. The narrative does not include instruments that are in private possession, Rückpositive or small organs permanently installed in churches and chapels. Descriptions of a total of 118 positive organs dating from approximately 1850 are arranged in alphabetical order based on where they are located. The cases, disposition, design, builder (if possible) and history are noted for each instrument. While not taking into consideration the current technical conditions of the instruments described, this article functions as a catalogue with regard to organ preservation, and makes clear the extent of the significant treasure of instruments in Bavaria's churches, museums and castles.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 75-140]
The Organ Builder Anton Dernič of Radovljika (Slovenia)
Anton Dernič (January 9, 1879 – July 2, 1954) worked from 1903–1907 as an organ voicer for the Swiss company Goll in Lucerne and thereafter for H. Voit & Söhne located in Durlach near Karlsruhe. In 1910 he opened his own workshop in Radovljika. It is known that between the years of 1910 and1928, Dernič completed work on 14 organs (including 12 new instruments). His skill at organ voicing was praised, as was the precision of the tubular pneumatic actions he created.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 269-278]
Organ Builders in Siegerland: 18th and 19th Centuries
In the 18th and 19th centuries there were three organ builders in Siegerland (North Rhine-Westphalia) whose scope also extended to Hesse and the present Rhineland-Palatinate region.
Johann Gottlieb Hausmann (1713–1777) was a native of Saxony and came to Siegerland after his journeyman years, where he settled around 1760 in Oberholzklau and from 1767 resided in Siegen. He built several positive organs and a larger organ in Beilstein, whose case is still preserved today.
Arnold Boos (1751–1817) succeeded Hausmann in 1777. He had his workshop in Niederndorf near Freudenberg. Only the new organs built by him in Niederfischbach (1777–81) and Gebhardshain (1789–94) are known. He also built an organ for a clock. Hausmann and Boos were both privileged organ builders in the lands of the House of Nassau.
Hermann Loos (1809–1869), born in Siegen, opened his own organ and piano workshop in Siegen in 1839. In his work, the technical and tonal development of organ building in the 19th century can be seen. He built a total of 7 new organs, e.g. the Lettner organ of the cathedral at Wetzlar (1847/48). He died in 1869 during the construction of the organ for the parish church of St. Marien in Siegen. The instrument was completed by Edmund Fabritius.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 141–191]
Contributions to the work of the Hamburg organ builder Arp Schnitger in Berlin
1. In 1707 Arp Schnitger replaced the positive organ of the Sebastianskirche (located in the suburb Cölln) with an organ having two manuals and 24 stops. The church was demolished in 1750 and the organ was, in 1753, installed in the new church (from 1802: Luisenstadt-Kirche) by Peter Migendt. Ernst Marx repaired the original instrument in 1770, but then in 1774 built a new organ, for which he used some of the Schnitger stops. This organ existed until 1841.
2. During the years 1707 and 1708, Schnitger used parts from the earlier instrument to build a new three-manual organ with 40 stops for the Church of St. Nikolai in Berlin. Ernst Marx made a major repair to the instrument in 1768–69. In 1791 he rebuilt the organ according to the musical taste, which had, in the meantime, very much changed. In 1846 the instrument was replaced by a new organ built by Carl August Buchholz.
3. In 1710 the Church of St. Mary located in Bernau in der Mark received a Schnitger organ (III / 38). The organ case by Hans Scherer the Elder (1573) was replaced by a new case built by Wilhelm Sauer in 1864.
4. The small Schnitger organ (1713) of the defunct Church of Döberitz in East Havelland was moved to the church of the neighboring town of Ferbitz in 1897, but “disappeared” when the town succumbed to use by the military in 1938.
5. Berlin, The Sophienkirche. It was here in 1714 that Franz Caspar Schnitger put into place a positive organ. This instrument was used until 1789 and was replaced the year thereafter by a new organ built by Ernst Marx.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 11-39]
Dietmar J. Ponert
The Organ Façades of Ludwig Münstermann:
Rotenburg an der Wümme (1608) · Varel (1615) · Delmenhorst (1618) · Oldenburg (1635) · Berne (1638)
Ludwig Münstermann (born between 1575 and 1580, probably in Bremen, died between March 1637 and December 1638 in Hamburg) is considered to be the most idiosyncratic sculptor in wood and stone in the Protestant-Northern European style of Mannerism, which in his very personal style produced an unusually expressive effect. His first surviving work is the prospect, dated to 1608, for the organ by Hans Scherer the Elder in the castle chapel at Rotenburg an der Wümme. Its remaining parts are exhibited in the Bremen Focke Museum. On the pipe towers sit the figures of King David and Apollo across from each other playing music. In competition, the biblical king defeats the resigned ancient god: a unique iconography. A hitherto unpublished portrait of Hans Scherer the Elder is located on the prospect of his organ in Kirchlinteln. The same images as in Rotenburg were found in Münstermann's prospect of the organ for the castle church in Varel (1615). Of this, only the figure of the god Apollo is preserved, which is today in the Berlin Bode Museum. It shows in a special way the ingenious, personally expressive style of the sculptor, with all the emotional phases from hearing perception to the confession of inferiority to the biblical singer. From the prospect of the organ, which was installed in 1618 in the town church in Delmenhorst, only two small musical angels are preserved (private collection). At the altar of the church of St. Aegidius in Berne is a large figure of King David playing the harp. It was created by the Bremen sculptor Albrecht Wulff, who had executed the altar according to the design of Ludwig Münstermann, and likely was originally on the Rückpositiv of the organ.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 39-74]
Prospect Designs Under the Banner of «Heimatkunst».
The Architect Oskar Hoßfeld as a Designer of Organ Prospects
Among the numerous intellectual movements in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the idea of “homeland protection”, i.e. the preservation of the human environment from blight such as the alteration of rural areas through monstrous advertising or the construction of bombastic metropolitan buildings in the midst of an agricultural landscape. This gave birth to the idea of a “Heimatkunst”, which referred as much to literature as to painting or architecture. The architect Oskar Hoßfeld (1848-1915) subscribed to this school of thought, and, as the head of state building for all of Prussia, made numerous designs for rural churches. These were not only for the buildings but also for their interiors, including the organs. He published the book Stadt- und Landkirchen, whose second edition (1907) forms the subject of this article. Hoßfeld saw himself as a “traditionalist” and did not shy away from resorting to stylistic elements of past art epochs. However, he did not fall into historicism and knew how to give his designs for organ cases their own character. These are still of great interest as testimonies to their time of origin.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 279-320]
The Organ of St John's Cathedral at Brisbane and the Plans of the Pearson Architects for Its Design
Probably the most significant neo-Gothic cathedral in Australia, St John’s in Brisbane (Queensland), is based on designs by John Loughborough Pearson († 1897) and Frank L. Pearson, father and son. Both are among the most important English architects of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Due to a lack of funds, only the eastern part (with apse, choir and transept) was completed in the years 1908–1910; in 1965 the nave was extended to the west. Not until the years 1989–2008 did the southwest porch and west front follow, along with the north and south towers and the completion of the central tower.
The organ by Norman & Beard (London & Norwich) was inaugurated on November 30, 1910. It had been installed by B. B. Whitehouse & Co. (Brisbane). This tubular pneumatic organ had three manuals (Great, Choir, Swell & Solo) and pedal. For reasons of economy,
only 23 of 50 stops planned according to the specification of the organist George Sampson were initially installed. In the years 1912, 1913, 1915 and 1924 seven stops were added, so that the organ had 30 stops. Frank L. Pearson had designed casework for the transept (Great) and choir (Choir), but these were not completed. The author found the drawings in 2015. The main organ case in the transept was fitted with dummy pipes in 1924, but without the decorative carved pipeshades and canopies intended by Pearson. In the years 1970–1972, the organ was rebuilt and expanded to four manuals. The Choir was set a bit higher so that there was room for a Positiv organ with 9 stops underneath. Since then, the Spanish Trumpet 8' of the Solo has given the Choir case a special accent. The Swell received a finely carved ornamental grid identical to the carvings in the choir stalls. The organ now had 80 stops (including transmissions and extensions). In the years 2008–2010, W. J. Simon Pierce (Brisbane) made some changes to the specification. The organ today has 81 stops.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 203-222]
Organ Building and Ecumenism
While today casual interactions between Protestant and Catholic Christians are part of everyday life and are outwardly visible in many common activities, this would have been almost unthinkable in the middle of the 19th century. They viewed each other with skepticism, if not outright disapproval.
The cause of this was certainly the restrictive policy of the Prussian state against Catholics in Westphalia and the Rhine province, which culminated in the “Kulturkampf” (1875). These political circumstances naturally had an effect on the coexistence (better: opposition) of the confessions and thus also on organ building.
In the 18th century, Protestant organ builders (e.g. Stumm) still had Catholic clients and Catholic organ builders (e.g. König) did work for Protestants. But after 1850 at the latest, a denominational partitioning took place for awarding organ contracts.
A glimpse into the opus lists of leading German organ builders since the end of the 19th century clearly shows that Protestant firms (such as Sauer and Walcker) were primarily active with Protestant churches, while Catholic churches typically stayed with builders of their own confession (e. g. Klais or Stahlhuth).
This rigid attitude did not begin to change until the 1960’s when the workshop of Klais was able to get contracts for Protestant congregations and in return the Cologne workshop of Willi Peter was able to get a foothold on 'Catholic ground'.
[Acta Organologica 35, 2017, 193-202]