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Thread: Dieterich Buxtehude

  1. #46
    Senior Member JSBach85's Avatar
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    I promised myself that the rest of this year and the following one I will be fully devoted to JS Bach and Buxtehude. There are certainly lots of recordings of both composers that worth listening in detail.

    Unfortunately, there are not as much variety in Buxtehude recordings as you can find in recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach (several box sets of cantatas, organ works, Passions, ...). In this sense, I was really happy to know that there is such a great authority of Johann Sebastian Bach vocal and keyboard works devoted to start and finish a big project of Buxtehude works: Ton Koopman. After a Bach cantata series which occupied him for ten years, Ton Koopman started (2005) and completed (2014) a project known as Dieterich Buxtehude – Opera Omnia, to record the complete works of the German Baroque composer Dieterich Buxtehude and released on Challenge Records label. The complete box set is about 300 EUR but you can find each volume separately and getting the entire collection cheaper. There are 20 volumes comprising 29 cds including keyboard works (harpsichord, organ), chamber music and vocal works (mainly sacred cantatas and oratorios). I started this collection about 3 years ago but I only got 3 volumes and now I am committed to get all of them.

    Recently, I got the second volume of harpsichord works: Opera Omnia VI, Harpsichord Works II because I still have the first volume. According to the booklet, 3 harpsichords were used for this recording: a flemish harpsichord after Ruckers, a flemish virginal after Ruckers and an italian harpsichord after Stefanini. It's just my opinion, however, but I like his recordings more than Mortensen in Naxos but I am also thinking about getting those in a far future. I like the contrast, dynamic and articulate performance of Ton Koopman. Fortunately the recording in two discs had been uploaded to youtube and I want to share them with you:



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_j62i63OdQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEgV7RftpMQ

    To illustrate the importance of this project: Buxtehude - Opera Omnia, there is even a wikipedia page covering this topic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter...93_Opera_Omnia

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  3. #47
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    Over the years I've come to think that Buxtehude's harpsichord music is so sweet that everyone sounds good in it, however I've got a special liking for Glen Wilson here.

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    Senior Member JSBach85's Avatar
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    The more I listen to Buxtehude harpsichord works, the more I like them and indeed Buxtehude is my favourite harpsichord composer. For this reason, in addition to Koopman recordings I got the following ones:





    The instrument used is a copy after Ruckers (the following is a sample picture of a Ruckers harpsichord)



    Both recordings were previously issued on the DaCapo label, as well as those of chamber music mentioned in a previous post. The cover of the first one was taken from a contemporary painting of Buxtehude and fellow musician Johann Adam Reincken. Lars Ulrik Mortensen is a well known harpsichord player and conductor that offered several live concerts in Europe, not only covering instrumental baroque works (mainly composers from northern Europe) but also as conductor of some baroque operas (on period instruments). His playing is technically mastery, especially with the complexity of some works such as the opening Toccata in G major, BuxWV 165 and I appreciate that he avoids ornamentations, he plays harpsichord academically and accurately. The clear sound of the harpsichord is another point in his favor.

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  6. #49
    Senior Member Gaspard de la Nuit's Avatar
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    Buxtehude is one of my favorite composers......this is my favorite video featuring his music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pwb4IaMBUk
    "Only in being hidden does the Divine reveal itself."

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    Senior Member JSBach85's Avatar
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    I finally got the remaining volume of harpsichord works by Mortensen in Naxos, vol.2



    I've just found an interesting information in Naxos label that summarizes the keyboard music in 17th century and Buxtehude keyboard works played by Mortensen in this recording:

    Keyboard music of the seventeenth century was not usually designated for particular instruments, and most of it could be played on organ, harpsichord, or clavichord. The manuscripts that transmit Buxtehude’s keyboard music, however, generally restrict themselves to one of three types of music that can indeed be associated with particular instruments: free works such as praeludia and toccatas, many of them designated “pedaliter”, and thus for organ; settings of German chorales, most of them also requiring the pedal; and a distinctly secular repertoire consisting of dance suites and variations, presumably for harpsichord. These boundaries are by no means rigid, however, and this series of recordings exploits such fluidity by drawing from all three genres for its programmes.

    Nearly all of Buxtehude’s suites and variations on secular tunes are preserved in a single Danish manuscript, now at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, which contains the history of the Ryge family reading in one direction and a collection of keyboard music, mainly by Buxtehude, in the other. The musical portion was probably copied early in the eighteenth century. The fact that two of the suites attributed to Buxtehude in this manuscript were actually composed by Nicolas-Antoine Lebègue underlines the stylistic similarity of the German keyboard suite to French models, particularly in the use of stile brisé, which the French clavecinistes had adapted from lute music. The standardisation of the movements to Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue, however, can be credited to German composers.

    The selection of suites offered here, in E minor, BuxWV 235, and G minor, BuxWV 242, presents the intimate, domestic aspect of Buxtehude’s keyboard art. In each case the allemande is the weightiest element, “the proposition in a musical suite, from which the corrente, sarabande and gique [sic] flow as parts”, in the words of Buxtehude’s grandstudent Martin Heinrich Fuhrmann. Indeed, the openings of Buxtehude’s correnti often follow the melodic contour of the allemande. The Ryge manuscript usually spells this movement “Courent” in a curious mixture of French and Italian; in fact Buxtehude usually follows the Italian corrente, with its lightly running quaver motion, rather than the more subtle French courante. Fuhrmann characterizes the Sarabande as an “instrumental aria, usually eight measures, going slowly in triple”, and this is the shortest and simplest movement of a Buxtehude suite. The gigues in Buxtehude’s suites have a more contrapuntal texture than the other movements, but they are not strictly fugal, usually dissolving into homophony after a few entrances. It is through the gigue, however, that the dance makes itself most strongly felt in the other genres of Buxtehude’s keyboard music.

    Each of the two variation sets included here is grounded in dance rhythms. Courant Zimble, BuxWV 245, as its name implies, is a courante, shorter and simpler than those in the suites. Each of its eight variations is highly unified in its figuration. The set More Palatino, BuxWV 247, is based on a student drinking-song.

    Buxtehude’s chorale settings for keyboard are preserved mainly in manuscripts compiled by Johann Gottfried Walther, organist in Weimar and cousin of J. S. Bach. Although most of them require two manuals and pedal, a few do not, and there is no reason why they should be confined to the church organ. Buxtehude’s manualiter setting of Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, BuxWV 215, follows the chorale in its lilting, triple metre.

    Buxtehude’s free keyboard works, those independent of a preexisting melody or dance pattern, are mainly transmitted in manuscripts that include both pedaliter and manualiter works. Buxtehude may have conceived his canzonas as teaching pieces; they are all manualiter works, and students most often practised on the clavichord or harpsichord. They are variously titled canzon, canzonet, or fuga and consist either of a single fugue (BuxWV 174) or of three related fugues (BuxWV 170) in the manner of the variation canzona inherited from Frescobaldi and Froberger. The gigue makes an appearance yet again as the second fugue of BuxWV 170 and as the sole fugue of BuxWV 174, one of Buxtehude’s most engaging and popular fugues.


    Abridged from a Note by Kerala Snyder, 1998

    https://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurb...nguage=English

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    If there were mountains, marmots and lots of snow I would move immediately to the Netherlands.....

    Buxtehude - The Netherlands Bach Society - Utrecht Early Music Festival - Classical Music Concert HD


    Last edited by JosefinaHW; Jan-11-2019 at 02:22. Reason: Other composer's music included in video


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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Reading Christoph Wolff's book on J.S. Bach, I came across some interesting information on Buxtehude which increased my understanding and appreciation for his influence and musical contributions:

    ...for Bach, Buxtehude then in his mid 60's signified a kind of father figure who anticipated the ideal of the autonomous composer, a category unheard of at the time. The bourgeois, liberal, and commercial atmosphere of the free imperial city of Lübeck provided Buxtehude with considerable flexibility in developing and realizing his various projects. Although he held the distinguished position of organist at St. Mary's, his overall activities were characterized by a display of artistic initiative combined with unusual managerial independence. Courtly service would not have permitted such free conduct. Buxtehude was able to develop his career as a virtuoso, to travel, and to surround himself with pupils. He regularly played public organ recitals in Lübeck, performing compositions of his own that set new standards of form, size, texture and character. He seized numerous opportunities for composing vocal works and, acting as his own impresario, organized and financed performances of evening concerts at his church.

    ...he conducted his office of organist in the style of a municipal capellmeister, thereby serving as a clear role model, most notably for Georg Philipp Telemann when he took a post in Hamburg and Bach when he moved to Leipzig.

    ...Buxtehude placed more emphasis on musical practice: rather than writing treatises, he demonstrated his contrapuntal sophistication in diverse practical applications, thus again showing the way for the Bach of The Well-Tempered Clavier and The Art of Fugue - that is, Bach the musical scholar.

    ...Buxtehude also involved himself in organology (the study of musical instruments) and was a widely recognized organ expert.

    ...(Buxtehude's) compositional orientation included a broad spectrum of styles and genres, incorporating retrospective as well as modern tendencies (showing aspects of Dutch, Hanseatic, English, French and Italian traditions in his music). Nearly all new genres of the seventeenth century can be found in his music: concerto, motet, chorale, aria and recitative in the vocal realm; toccata, prelude, fugue, ciaconna, suite, sonata, dance and variation in the instrumental.

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  12. #53
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    What I find tragic is that all of Buxtehude's oratorios have been lost, these were large scale works that Bach would have had an opportunity to hear and because some of the librettos survived we can gain some insight into the scale and ambition of these works:

    The two librettos indicate that the performances were of grandiose spectacle at St. Mary's church...The musical presentations included both large organs and featured several instrumental and vocal choirs positioned in different galleries; and the end, at least, of Castrum doloris had the entire congregation join in...The instrumental requirements as outlined in the librettos are particularly striking and were apparently without precedent or parallel. The intradas require two bands of trumpets and timpani, a ritornello "two choirs of horns and oboes" a sinfonia "twenty-five violins in unison", and a passacaglia "various instruments."

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    What I find tragic is that all of Buxtehude's oratorios have been lost, these were large scale works that Bach would have had an opportunity to hear and because some of the librettos survived we can gain some insight into the scale and ambition of these works:

    The two librettos indicate that the performances were of grandiose spectacle at St. Mary's church...The musical presentations included both large organs and featured several instrumental and vocal choirs positioned in different galleries; and the end, at least, of Castrum doloris had the entire congregation join in...The instrumental requirements as outlined in the librettos are particularly striking and were apparently without precedent or parallel. The intradas require two bands of trumpets and timpani, a ritornello "two choirs of horns and oboes" a sinfonia "twenty-five violins in unison", and a passacaglia "various instruments."
    'Completely agree re/ the oratorios. I have a memory like a sieve and i'm not near my books, but didn't Bach arrive to hear/be enveloped :-) by the Christmas festivities at the Marionkirche? Castrum doloris doesn't sound like it was the Christmas Oratorio, though. TYVM for taking all the time to share those excerpts from one of Wolff's books. I will also share info. Re/ book I am reading re/ History of Choral Music later....


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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    'Completely agree re/ the oratorios. I have a memory like a sieve and i'm not near my books, but didn't Bach arrive to hear/be enveloped :-) by the Christmas festivities at the Marionkirche? Castrum doloris doesn't sound like it was the Christmas Oratorio, though. TYVM for taking all the time to share those excerpts from one of Wolff's books. I will also share info. Re/ book I am reading re/ History of Choral Music later....
    No problem, and your memory serves you well, Bach was exposed to two Buxtehude Oratorios in December of 1705, Castrum doloris BuxWV 134 and Templum honoris BuxWV 135. It is quite possible that Bach was not just an audience member but a performing musician in the pieces.
    Last edited by tdc; Jan-12-2019 at 01:41.

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    No problem, and your memory serves you well, Bach was exposed to two Buxtehude Oratorios in December of 1705, Castrum doloris BuxWV 134 and Templum honoris BuxWV 135. It is quite possible that Bach was not just an audience member but a performing musician in the pieces.
    You made my YEAR re/ the memory, tdc. Yes, I see that BuxWV134 was not related to Christmas but to mourn the death of Leopold I and 135 was to honor the accession of Joseph I the previous May. Apparently they are also bother lost.


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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    If he was one of the performing musicians that must have been a thrill for him, especially since I do remember that Buxtehude had attracted many excellent musicians. I wonder why Buxtehude did not invite him to stay on as a violinist? I know he was AWOL from his current employment and although it's often said he was scoping out Buxtehude's role as organist, I read again that he went there looking forward to hearing Buxtehude's Advent music. Had he met his future wife Barbara already? Maybe that's why he came home instead of staying there.....


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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    Yes, according to Gardiner, he "had begun a liaison" with her right around the same time. Interesting.


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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    The book that I referred to earlier is A History of Western Choral Music Vol. 1, Chester Awles, 2015. He goes into significant detail about how the various "German" and "Italian" composers of the 16th century influenced one another. It's not easy reading for me but I am learning from it and appreciate its value. Part of my problem was that I started with the Kindle version to save a buck--big mistake in this case; I later bought the paperback version.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/0199361932/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

    One very interesting point as it relates here is that Awles maintains that Gabrieli's influence on Schutz was not the sole foundation of German Baroque music, as is often implied. Awles argues that the "recruitment of Orlandus Lassus as Kapellmeister to the Bavarian court in Munich 1565 was true foundation of German Baroque music".


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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    There are many different factors that were at play in all this, tdc. I am going to put together a diagram that makes sense to me and then I will share it with you here when I'm done. Maybe by Monday or earlier. In the meantime, let's put on some Lassus....


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