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Dietrich Buxtehude & Bach
Discussions

Buxtehude Solo Organ Works

Donald Satz wrote (June 25, 2001):
I'm trying to get a handle on the recordings devoted to Buxtehude solo organ compositions. There don't seem to be very many of them, and this is what I've developed so far:

Rene Saorgin - 5 volume set on Harmonia Mundi.
Ton Koopman - Single disc on Novalis.
Harald Vogel - Two discs on MDG.
Spang-Hanssen- 6 volumes on Paula.

Are there any other discs available of Buxtehude organ music? Which ones do you prefer? No more questions.

On another matter, Pachelbel organ recordings, I appreciate the feedback. I'm slowly obtaining some releases - have the volume 1 of Rübsam, volume 4 of Payne, volume 6 of Bouchard, and a John Butt disc on Harnonia Mundi.So far, I like them all. Brad had mentioned that he wasn't thinking fovorably of the Bouchard/Dorian disc he's heard. From the small number of comparisons I can make at this time, Bouchard is on the slow and somber side, but I do like the serious interpretations and don't find them rhythmically wooden. I find the comparision between John Butt and Bouchard in the Aria sexta "sebaldina" from the Hexachordum apollinis to be interesting. Butt finishes it off in under 8 minutes while Bouchard takes 12 1/2 minutes - currently enjoying both a great deal. Butt brings a vitality to the music which Bouchard eschews; however, Bouchard often provides a mysterious atmosphere and stature which Butt bypasses.One thing's for sure; Pachelbel wrote some great organ music. I was surprised to read in either ARG or Fanfare that Pachelbel's organ music is very uneven in quality; I haven't hit an unrewarding one yet.

Charles Francis wrote (June 25, 2001):
Donald Satz wrote:
< I'm trying to get a handle on the recordings devoted to Buxtehude solo organ compositions. There don't seem to be very many of them, and this is what I've developed so far:
Rene Saorgin - 5 volume set on Harmonia Mundi.
Ton Koopman - Single disc on Novalis.
Harald Vogel - Two discs on MDG.
Spang-Hanssen- 6 volumes on Paula.
Are there any other discs available of Buxtehude organ music? Which ones do you prefer? No more questions. >

1) Das Orgelwerk, Wolfgang Rübsam (an der Metzler-Orgel der katholischen Kirche Zurzach" on Beliaphon

2) Orgelwerke, Helmut Walcha, Archive Galleria

Both of these performers and their respective styles are of course familiar to you!

Kirk McElhearn wrote (June 25, 2001):
Donald Satz wrote:
< Rene Saorgin - 5 volume set on Harmonia Mundi.
Ton Koopman - Single disc on Novalis.
Harald Vogel - Two discs on MDG.
Spang-Hanssen- 6 volumes on Paula.
Are there any other discs available of Buxtehude organ music? Which ones do you prefer? No more questions. >

What may be the best is the set by Olivier Vernet on Ligia Digital (5 CDs). I just listened to the first volume of a set on Naxos. Here is my review, soon to be posted on MusicWeb.

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)
Organ Music Vol. I [53.43]

Magnificat primi toni, BuxWV 203 [8:50]
Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn, BuxWV 191 [3:25]
Praeludium in G major, BuxWV 147 [3:47]
Magnificat noni toni, BuxWV 205 [4:04
Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn, BuxWV 192 [3:10]
Praeludium in D major, BuxWV 139 [6:22]
Ach Herr; mich armen Sünder, BuxWV 178 [2:45]
Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BUXWV 224 [1:34]
Jesus Christus, wiser Heiland. BuxWV 198 [1:53]
Praeludium in A minor, BuxWV 152 [5:08]
Gott der Vater wohn uns bei, BuxWV 190 [3:25]
Praeludium in G minor, BuxWV 149 [9:20]

Volker Ellenberger, organ
Rec: December 1999.
NAXOS 8.554543 [53.43]

Dietrich Buxtehude was a Danish composer who was later naturalized German. He spent most of his life in Lübeck, where he worked as organist at St. Mary's church. Well-known and respected during his lifetime, he was what might be called, today, a composer's composer. At the age of 20, Johann Sebastian Bach, in his strong desire to meet the master and learn from him, walked 250 miles to visit Buxtehude.

Buxtehude wrote a wide variety of music - from beautiful works for harpsichord, to masterpieces for organ, by way of vocal music. He also started a series of concerts separate from church services called Abendmusiken (Evening music), to provide musical entertainment for the town's bourgeoisie.

This CD is the first in a series of recordings of Buxtehude's organ music. It is part of Naxos's excellent Organ Encyclopedia, which features recordings of organ works by many well-known and lesser-known composers.

Buxtehude's organ music was so excellent that he was very well-known during his lifetime, and, listening to this recording, one can immediately hear why. His music stands at the crossroads of traditional German music and the development of new styles imported from France and Italy. His organ music covers all possible forms for the instrument, and this disc includes several preludes, chorales and two Magnificats.

Ranging from the flamboyant (the Magnificat primi toni) to the sublime (some of the chorales, such as Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn), this music is well-performed by Volker Ellenberger. His choice of registration seems appropriate for most of the pieces, being very large and spacious in some works, such as the Magnificatt primi toni, and more intimate and reserved in the Magnificat noni toni, for example.

However, in comparing this recording with the excellent complete set by Olivier Vernet (on Ligia Digital), I am surprised by the differences in tempo - Ellenberger chooses slower tempi in every case. Whether or not this is considered to be judicious depends, naturally, on each listener. I feel that it is justified in some of the chorales, but this is very subjective - I tend to prefer listening to chorales at slower tempi. I find it less appropriate in the large-scale Prelude in G minor, where the music tends to sound a bit bland at this tempo. Overall, these slower tempi give the music a more reserved feeling than that which is heard on Vernet's recording.

Another negative point is the recording itself, which seems flat and lacking in relief. It sounds like there is very little space around the organ, which is quite different from what one hears on most organ recordings, where the natural resonance of the church housing the organ is heard.

In any case, this is a good performance of a selection of Buxtehude's organ works. Presumably, this will become a complete set in the near future. While Olivier Vernet probably gives a more convincing performance, this budget disc is worth listening to for those curious about Buxtehude's organ music.

Charles Francis wrote (June 25, 2001):
Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< Here is my review, soon to be posted on MusicWeb. >
Kirk, which "MusicWeb" do you mean?

Laurent Planchon (Etienne Alatienne) wrote (June 25, 2001):
Donald Satz wrote:
< I'm trying to get a handle on the recordings devoted to Buxtehude solo organ compositions. There don't seem to be very many of them, and this is what I've developed so far:
Rene Saorgin - 5 volume set on Harmonia Mundi.
Ton Koopman - Single disc on Novalis.
Harald Vogel - Two discs on MDG.
Spang-Hanssen- 6 volumes on Paula.
Are there any other discs available of Buxtehude organ music? >

Olivier Vernet has also recorded all of them. 5 CDs on Lydia Digital, but I am not sure that they are still available, as I got mine volumes 4 and 5 in a cut-out bin somewhere.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 25, 2001):
[To Donald Satz] There's a Vogel CD recorded on the dual-temperament Fisk at Stanford; that's Organa 3208 recorded in 1984-5. I don't know if it duplicates either of the MDG discs you mention. It has BuxWV 137, 203, 183, 219, 155, 196 plus some Bruhns, Scheidemann, and Bach's BWV 614 and 542. BWV 614 is on there twice to illustrate the two different temperaments of that organ.

I also have volume 2 of a series by Ernst-Erich Stender, who is the current organist at Buxtehude's own church in Lübeck. He plays the smaller of the two organs there, the "Totentanz" organ built in 1986. I don't know how many volumes are in his series; I think I saw only two or three when I bought this at the gift shop of that church. It's published as Ornament 11450.

I mentioned earlier the Rübsam series that included at least nine discs and was on Bellaphon in the early 1980's. I have volumes 3, 5, and 9 and am always looking for more of them.

I've heard some of the Saorgin volumes but don't own them.

Of those mentioned above, my favorites are the Rübsam discs. In his performances the music sounds capricious, improvisatory, and spectacular...a thrill a minute. It's the "Stylus Phantasticus," after all.

There were also some E Power Biggs LP's of Buxtehude.

There's a recording of one of my own live performances of BuxWV 163 (Praeludium in g minor) at http://www.mp3.com/hlduo -- check it out. That was on a tiny one-manual organ with only about six usable stops, so there's not much tonal contrast or solid bass to it. It went well, though. We recorded it again later on a bigger instrument in Leer, as a studio recording, but I don't have an mp3 file of that yet.

That same site has two of the Buxtehude chorale preludes we performed by giving the florid melodic line to the trumpet, instead of playing it on a solo stop on the organ. (That's an effective way to do some of Bach's chorale preludes, too, giving the solo to another instrument. Imagine "O Mensch, bewein..." with a good Baroque violinist on the melody....)

Kirk McElhearn wrote (June 26, 2001):
Charles Francis wrote:
< Kirk, which "MusicWeb" do you mean? >
www.musicweb.uk.net

Diedrick Peters wrote (June 26, 2001):
[To Donald Satz] There are actually 7 CD's in the set from Vogel, all available from JPC.

Francine Renee Hall wrote (June 26, 2001):
Other Buxtehude must-haves

Yeah, the boxed set of Buxtehude on Harmonia Mundi is a good buy too. My other short list of Buxtehude works is: 1) "Sonatae a due" played by The Boston Museum Trio on Harmonia Mundi France at a budget price because it is a "musique d'abord" (1982). I had it on LP and now on CD and the sound is simply incredible!! Beautiful variations on original instruments. (HMA 1901089) I hope you have good tweeters because the violin rings out sweetly. 2) If you can't afford the entire Ricercar Consort set of Deutsche Barock Kantaten, get Volume 3 with Greta De Reyghere, soprano, and the Ricercar Consort (RIC046023). Schein and Tunder are also represented, but the last four works are all Buxtehude: Laudate pueri, Dominum; Klag-Lied; Gen Himmel zu dem Vater mein; and Singet dem Herrn. The second soprano is Agnes Mellon. 3) Finally, I got Buxtehude's "Membra Jesu Nostri" for FREE inserted in a BIS catalogue. This is a Suzuki CD. I would have preferred a richer more passionate approach, but, hey, for free, you can't beat it!

Kirk McElhearn wrote (June 26, 2001):
As long as we are on the subject of Buxtehude, I recently discovered his harpsichord music, available in an excellent recording (not complete yet) in 3 CDs on Da Capo, played by Lars Erik Mortensen. This music is sublime, being closer to Louis Couperin than Bach, yet full of the melodic inventiveness that we are all familiar with in Bach. Do check out these CDs - you will thank me.

Here is part of my review of the 3rd CD - the one to get, if you only get one. Read on and see why...

First of all, some general notes about the series. Mortensen is a fine performer, playing these works with passion and verve. He clearly wants to show just how rich and delightful this music is. His touch is just and precise, and he uses all of the instrument's capacities, offering a full range of sounds through its various stops and registers. He plays a beautifully sounding Ruckers copy by Thomas Mandrup-Poulsen, which is tuned to a meantone temperament. (Meantone temperament, a type of tuning used in Buxtehude's lifetime, entailed tuning the instrument so that certain keys are tuned perfectly, but, as a result of this, other keys are unplayable. The purity of the "good" keys is much more precise, but this leaves certain notes (sharps and flats) sounding "out of tune".) It should be noted that some of the works on these recordings were originally written for organ; Mortensen has decided to include some of these pieces that are playable on the harpsichord.

The two suites on this recording are both in major keys. The Suite in A Major is a bright, happy work, which sounds very much like the tone of Bach's French Suites. The music here is playful and gay, and Mortensen's performance and ornamentation is ideal. Even the slow movements, the allemande and sarabande, are cheerful.

The F major suite is more restrained, less extroverted than the A Major suite. Yet, it is, like all of Buxtehude's suites, a beautiful series of movements that develop the themes from the opening allemande. Once again, this suite recalls the music of Louis Couperin.

The Canzonetta in D minor is an attractive contrapuntal work. It is a rich fugue based on a pensive theme, and develops a series of variations around this theme. Buxtehude decidedly liked variations.

The high point of this recording is the Aria: "La Capricciosa" in G Major. Buxtehude's grandest keyboard work, at over 28 minutes long, this as a series of 32 variations on a theme, part of which is from the popular song "Kraut und Rüben". What is especially interesting about this work is that Bach also used this tune in the final variation of his masterpiece the Goldberg Variations; it appears in the 30th variation, the quodlibet. In this amazing work, Buxtehude did something similar to Bach - starting from a basic subject, he developed an astounding series of variations, changing the theme into different styles, forms, rhythms, and doing so with total mastery. Bach's work is different, though. Bach used the bass line of the aria as the recurring theme; Buxtehude uses the melody itself.

The first exposition of the theme is a beautiful, almost dainty French-style movement. Light and airy, this theme is simple, and the first part of the work is relatively unassuming. Yet, throughout these variations, we hear the melody being changed, adapted, ornamented, and reworked in a variety of ways, with the original theme always recognizable. Buxtehude also uses many different dance forms in these variations - from the initial Bergamesca, he moves through gigues, sarabandes and minuets. The movements in this work range from simple, melodic pieces to more virtuosic sections, covering the entire range of Buxtehude's varied compositional repertory. This work is, quite simply, one of the high points of baroque harpsichord music.

This recording is perhaps the most essential of the three discs so far released in this series. The Aria: "La Capricciosa" is undoubtedly Buxtehude's masterpiece, and probably a model for Bach's Goldberg Variations. Another excellent recording that all lovers of harpsichord music should own.

Ray Bayles wrote (June 27, 2001):
I never listen to the music of any composer who's name I am afraid to pronounce.

So how do you pronounce Buxtehude?

Paolo G. Gordone wrote (June 27, 2001):
Donald Satz wrote:
< I'm trying to get a handle on the recordings devoted to Buxtehude solo organ compositions. ... >
I have only two discs with orgamusic by Buxtehude, however, they are not in your list:

1) Lena Jacobson - 1 CD on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, the 'Baroque Esprit' series (05472 77455 2)

2) A collection of Organ works played by various people (Becker-Foss, Doerr, Kraft) on the super-budget German label ZYX Classic (CLS 4186). This CD also contains the cantata "Alles, was ihr tut mit Worten oder mit Werken".

I also know of a complete edition of his works on 7 CDs on MDG, played by Vogel.

Hope this helps,

Margaret Mikulska wrote (June 27, 2001):
This is not as helpful as I meant, but let me give a try. I have vol. 4 and 5 (CDs) from what seems to be a traversal of Buxtehude's complete works for organ, played on a marvelously sounding Schnitger instrument; the label is, I think, Harmonic Records. It seems to have been deleted a long time ago. I don't recall who's the performer. I'd love to get hold of the rest, but I never saw them anywhere.

Richard Todd wrote (June 27, 2001):
Donald Satz said:
< Are there any other discs available of Buxtehude organ music? Which ones do you prefer? No more questions. >
Buxtehude: Organ Music, vol. 1 - Volker Ellenberger, organ Naxos 8.554543

Not too sure how it compares with the others, but it's nice.

Richard, who invites you to visit his classical music site at: http://opuspocus.ca

Mark K. Ehlert wrote (June 27, 2001):
Ray Bayles confessed and queried:
< I never listen to the music of any composer who's name I am afraid to pronounce. >
I do all the time. I just don't talk about it.

< So how do you pronounce Buxtehude? >
My pronunciation has always been: BOOX-teh-hoo'-duh

Primary stress on the first syllable; secondary stress on the third. I sometimes slip into "BUKS-teh-hoo'-duh," but nobody's taken me to task over it...yet. And I've never made the error (or, in social situations, the faux pas) of mispronouncing Fux.

Deryk Barker wrote (June 27, 2001):
Ray Bayles wrote:
< So how do you pronounce Buxtehude? >
Throatwobbler-Mangrove.

Christopher Rosevear wrote (June 27, 2001):
Ray Bayles said:
< I never listen to the music of any composer who's name I am afraid to pronounce. So how do you pronounce Buxtehude?" >
Books - te - who - deh

Now, have you tried Karol Szymanovsky??

Peter Wisse wrote (June 27, 2001):
Ray Bayles wrote:
< How do you pronounce Buxtehude >
Not too difficult: pronounce the u's as thr oo in the English word look, the final e is soft, like the soft pronunciation of the "a" in a book, not like the ei in weight, nor like the e in the last syllable of Hebrides, it is more like the "o" in come, but almost mute.

Len Fehskens wrote (June 27, 2001):
Ray Bayles asks:
< So how do you pronounce Buxtehude? >
I've always pronounced it books' teh hoo deh.

Margaret Mikulska wrote (June 28, 2001):
Stress:

bux-te-HU-de and also pa-CHEL-bel.

Many English speakers move the stress to the first syllable and add secondary stress, but that's not how the names are pronounced in German.

And btw: the correct spelling is "Szymanowski".

Richard Pennycuick wrote (June 28, 2001):
While the thread is discussing pronunciations, there are a few I'd like tidied up:

1. Tveitt.

2. Tuur (both u's have Umlauts).

3. Although I always pronounce Bernstein to rhyme with line, as I think it should be, I've heard it pronounced to rhyme with lean. Does anyone know for sure how Lenny himself said his name, please?

4. Roberto Gerhard, I believe, eventually pronounced his name as JAIR'-UHD. Confirmation?

5. I've never heard any of his music, but is Ferneyhough one of those strange English names which sounds nothing like it looks? Ferneyhough, pronounced Smith, perhaps?

Mats Norrman wrote (June 28, 2001):
Margaret Mikulska wrote:
< Stress:
bux-te-HU-de and also pa-CHEL-bel.
Many English speakers move the stress to the first syllable and add secondary stress, but that's not how the names are pronounced in German. >
books-te-HOO-de is right, but the name is Holsteinian-Danish, not German. Dietrich though is German.

Pachelbel is pronounced pa-chel-BELL. As you pronounce it was an Englishification.

Jane Erb wrote (June 30, 2001):
Regarding the pronounciation of Leonard Bernstein:

I'm old enough to recall his TV programs. He's burn-STYNE. that's what he called himself and there's quite a bit made of it in various bios of the man.

Steve Schwartz wrote (June 30, 2001):
Richard Pennyquick:
< While the thread is discussing pronunciations, there are a few I'd like tidied up:
...
3. Although I always pronounce Bernstein to rhyme with line, as I think it should be, I've heard it pronounced to rhyme with lean. Does anyone know for sure how Lenny himself said his name, please? >
Rhymes with "line." At least, that's how he pronounced it (and insisted upon it; he would loudly correct people who rhymed it with "fern green") once he became The Greatest American Conductor. I have no idea how he pronounced it before then.

Bet Bailey wrote (June 30, 2001):
Richard Pennycuick wrote:
< While the thread is discussing pronunciations, there are a few I'd like tidied up:
... 4. Roberto Gerhard, I believe, eventually pronounced his name as JAIR'-UHD. Confirmation? >
'Roberto,' by the way, is actually the Castilian variant of his name; he likely used 'Robert,' the Catalan original. That would be Rro-BER, emphasizing the last syllable, not the first, as in English. Some of us are partial to 'Roberto,' to evoke his Spanish background -- which his surname sure doesn't suggest.

In Catalunya, as elsewhere in Spain, his German surname would sound like Ger-JJAR, with the strong consonant sounded gutturally, as in a subtle throat-clearing.

Deryk Barker wrote (June 30, 2001):
Richard Pennycuick wrote:
< While the thread is discussing pronunciations, there are a few I'd like tidied up:
...
4. Roberto Gerhard, I believe, eventually pronounced his name as JAIR'-UHD. Confirmation? >

As if it were the English "Gerard" - I'm sure the BBC always used to pronounce it that way and if he hadn't approved I'm sure they'd have known.

< 5. I've never heard any of his music, but is Ferneyhough one of those strange English names which sounds nothing like it looks? Ferneyhough, pronounced Smith, perhaps? >
Ferny-huff I believe. His music is far more impenetrable.

Walter Meyer wrote (July 3, 2001):
Pronunciation of Buxtehude and Pachelbel

William Boletta wrote:
< The general rule for all German words is that the main stress is on the first syllable. There are many exceptions to this, of course (zurueck, damit, vorauf are all accented on the second syllable, for instance), but in the case of these two composers' names, the rule prevails, and the main stress is most definitely on the FIRST syllable: BUX-tuh-who-duh and PACH-ul-bell. The secondary stress is on the third syllable of the respective names. >
W/ all respect, so far as friend Dietrich is concerned, his last name is ponounced w/ the main stress on the third syllable, the first, having a secondary stress and the second and fourth being sort of swallowed as in the English "the": Books-te-HOO-de. (I'm not claiming to be using correct linguists' terminology here.) Keeping my declaration from being entirely an ipse dixit is my recollection of how I heard my German speaking parents and their acquaintances pronounce it (when they were referring to a street or place in or near Hamburg, I believe, rather than to the composer).

Margaret Mikulska wrote (July 3, 2001):
Ach Du lieber Gott! Here we go again. Allow me to repeat once more:

The correct stress in German is: bux-te-HU-de and pa-CHEL-bel. The penultimate syllable, in case you still have doubts. That's how music scholars who are native German speakers pronounce these names, and I know enough of them (and attend enough meetings in Germany and Austria) to know the correct pronunciation and to check and double-check with native speakers if need arises. As a matter of fact you reminded me that when I interviewed Christoph Wolff - the Bach scholar and VERY much a native German speaker - last year, I taped the whole interv; we spoke about the archive of the Sing-Akademie Berlin found in Kiev, and Buxtehude's name was mentioned by Wolff. I also recall a conversation with Wolff about a direct descendant of Pachelbel being still alive. That's just two small first-hand examples. You can of course argue with Wolff or other German (and Austrian) music scholars that they don't know how to pronounce the names of German composers, but I think it would be a bit out of place.

As regards "Buxtehude", you can also consult the dictionary published jointly by Harper-Collins and Ernst Klett Verlag and tell the German publisher that their lexicographers don't know how to stress German names. I'd like to see their response.

(I also noticed a posting by a gentleman from Norway who insisted on accenting Pachelbel on the last syllable. Sorry, but this is not only wrong, it also sounds really weird in German (in this name).) [Don't worry, the gentleman from Norway sounds really weird no matter where he is... -Dave]

BTW, I saw Fradkin's book and I wasn't very impressed. It has its share of errors, although mostly as regards the languages of Central-Eastern and Eastern Europe. He just didn't do his homework very well and some of his choices of examples are dowright bizarre. (E.g.: among the examples of pronunciation in the section on the Polish language is the name "Rene Leibowitz". It's not clear to me if he thinks this is a Polish name - in which case he's not qualified to write about languages, or if he thinks Leibowitz was Polish [he was born in Warsaw, but that's about all: moved to Western Europe at an early age] - in which case he's not qualified to write about music.) I don't recall how well he fares with his German though. In any case, given a choice between Fradkin and music scholars who are native speakers of the language in question, you may easily guess whom I will trust. Fradkin is not an authority in these matters - his book may be used by announcers to get some general idea about approximate pronunciation. He himself states that since it's impossible (according to him) to pronounce all those foreign names correctly, he gives only approximate pronunciation, blissfully merging distinct phonemes in various languages, because they supposedly can't be pronounced distinctly by native English speakers. Frankly, the explanations I saw on the Usenet in rec.music.classical were often more accurate and more detailed than what he gives in his book. You can get some guidance from his book, but "settling arguments"??? No way.

Anyway, I don't know where you folks learned the (mis)pronunciation of Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and (possibly) others, but certainly not from native German speakers who are also music scholars. As I said before and have to repeat it again, moving the stress on the first syllable is common among native English speakers. If you really want to have a German name stressed on the first syllable, I'll give you TE-le-mann.

Ironically, "aus Buxtehude sein" is an idomatic colloquial expression meaning "to be/come from the back of beyond" or "from the middle of nowhere". That may explain a lot.

Mit sehr freundlichen Grussen,

Denis Fodor wrote (July 4, 2001):
William Boletta writes:
< I'm afraid I must disagree with Ms. Mikulska about the correct German pronunciation of the two German composers' names she mentions. The general rule for all German words is that the main stress is on the first syllable....the main stress is most definitely on the FIRST syllable: BUX-tuh-who-duh and PACH-ul-bell. The secondary stress is on the third syllable of the respective names. >
Maybe Ms Michulka and Mr Boletta should split the difference. German orthography is simple and clear. Its orthoepy isn't. There are many dialectal shadings to the language, even as spoken by the highly educated. Southerners,e.g. Bavarians, Austrians, some Swiss, take their time winding up and tend to shift accent further back in a word than do the northerners. Up north, the inclination would be to say it like Mr Boletta, down south more like Ms Michulka. Is it decisive that both Buxtehude and Pachelbel were northerners? Maybe. Yet the northernmost German, Platt, is scarcely understandable to us down here in Bavaria. My impression is that up there they'd be inclinded to prefer the accent toward the end rather than the beginning--but I'm not sure. If, however, my impression is correct then the northernmost Germans accent words more like the southernmost, rather than like run-of-the-mill northerners. That's why I'm suggesting splitting the difference.

Mats Norrman wrote (July 4, 2001):
Margaret Mikulska wrote:
< The correct stress in German is: bux-te-HU-de >
That is the correct stress is German, but Buxtehude could as well be considered to be a Dane, as we have no exact info on where and when he was born, and the fact that he spent a great deal of his life in Helsingborg, Helsingoer etc, the Danish pronounciation should also be considered: Bux-te-HU-the!

< (I also noticed a posting by a gentleman from Norway who insisted on accenting Pachelbel on the last syllable. Sorry, but this is not only wrong, it also sounds really weird in German (in this name).) [Don't worry, the gentleman from Norway sounds really weird no matter where he is... -Dave] >
Thank you Dave, for this utterly bright notice of yours. And I agree. The strongest evidence for that he is really weird is that he keeps staying on this list, with such sharpeyed people around.

If we now are talking about how Pachelbel pronounced his name in his time, I admit to have been wrong. As he lived in Nuernberg he, with that accent, might have pronounced his name: PAA-xel-bel. The x same sound as in Sachs. For those who dabble with descendants of Pachelbel being still alive, please allow me to bring these news: language and names can change over time: Webern etc etc, not to mention Sibelius g.

And Pachelbel with an accent on the middle syllable doesn't sound weird at all. I am used to hear (read read) errartic Englishifications at this time.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen,

Margaret Mikulska wrote (July 4, 2001):
Mats Norrman wrote:
< And Pachelbel with an accent on the middle syllable doesn't sound weird at all. I am used to hear (read read) errartic Englishifications at this time. >
I said that the stress on the last syllable of Pachelbel sounds weird. The stress on the middle syllable is how one pronounces the name in German. The stress on the first syllable is commonly used by English speakers unaware of the correct stress. (BTW, the pronunciation of "ch" was not under discussion, just the stress.) I hope this is clear by now. Repetitio est mater studiorum, but I think enough is enough.

As for the descendants of Pachelbel, Wolff just mentioned that one it still alive. Changes or not, native German speakers stress this name on the penultimate syllable. The one that happens to be in the middle.

Thank you for the news, but it's rather stale. Do you happen to have anything more recent?

Bert Bailey wrote (July 5, 2001):
Richard Pennycuick wrote:
< While the thread is discussing pronunciations, there are a few I'd like tidied up:
... 4. Roberto Gerhard, I believe, eventually pronounced his name as JAIR'-UHD. Confirmation? >
'Roberto,' by the way, is actually the Castilian variant of his name; he likely used 'Robert,' the Catalan original. That would be Rro-BER, emphasizing the last syllable, not the first, as in English. Some of us are partial to 'Roberto,' to evoke his Spanish background -- which his surname sure doesn't suggest.

In Catalunya, as elsewhere in Spain, his German surname would sound like Ger-JJAR, with the strong consonant sounded gutturally, as in a subtle throat-cle.

 

Recording Recommendation

Scott Artmann wrote (September 27, 2001):

Dietrich Buxtehude:
Vocal Music Vol. I
Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
John Holloway, Manfredo Kraemer (Violins)
Jaap ter Linden (Viola da Gamba)
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord, Organ)
dacapo 8.224062

This must be the most sublimely beautiful rendition of some of Buxtehude's most fascinating music!!

Teri Noel Towe wrote (September 27, 2001):
[To Scott Artmann] Absolutely.

 

OT - Buxtehude Organ Disc

Donald Satz wrote (February 1, 2004):
Just wanted organ enthusiasts to know that a new series of Buxtehude's organ music has been initiated by the Danish label Dacapo. The plan is for all the volumes to be performed by Katerine Bine Bryndorf who you might recognize as one of the featured organists from the Bach/Hänssler Anniversary series.

I've been listening to Volume 1 for a couple of days and enjoying it very much. Bryndorf performs on the historical organ at St. Mary's in Elsinore, an organ that Buxtehude himself played from 1658 to 1668. One word of warning - Bryndorf's treatment of the chorale settings is more majestic than reverential. That's fine with me, buy some folks likely prefer the pious approach which is more in line with Rene Saorgin's boxset on Harmonia Mundi.

Pierce Drew wrote (February 1, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] Are you familiar with the Naxos cycle of Buxtehude organ music (up to volume 3 or 4 now, I believe)?

If so, how would you rate it? I know Rübsam (who, in the past, has been praised by different members of BachRecordings for his insightful musicianship) plays on several of the volumes.

Donald Satz wrote (February 1, 2004):
[To Pierce Drew] Let's see. Ellenberger did Volume 1 some time ago - good disc, I prefer Bryndorf. I never heard Volume 2 by Julia Brown, but I have a Bach disc of hers that I think highly of. Volume 3 was Rübsam, and I reviewed it for MusicWeb - again very good, but I do prefer Rübsam in Bach where he's so creative. With the Buxtehude disc, Rübsam is well within the mainstream. Volume 4 is either another Brown or Rübsam.

So, I rate the Naxos very well, but it's the low price that is most attractive. I like Saorgin more than the Naxos artists, and Bryndorf could end up being better than both. Her program for volume 1 has both the C minor and E minor Ciacona - Buxtehude just wrote two. She also has his only Passacaglia and three Preludium - the rest are chorales.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (February 2, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] Are you familiar with Olivier Vernet's set on Ligia Digital? I think it strikes a good balance between those two extremes.

Donald Satz wrote (February 2, 2004):
[To Kirk McElhearn] No, I've not heard Vernet's set. Also, I didn't mean to give the impression that Saorgin is extremely pious - just regular pious. Bryndorf might be rather extreme at the other end.

Johan van Veen wrote (February 2, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] I saw volume 1 in the record shop. How would you rate it in comparison to Bryndorf's discs in the Hänssler Bach Edition? I heard one of them, which I found disappointing.

Donald Satz wrote (February 2, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] I think that Bryndorf's style in Buxtehude is similar to her Bach recordings - quick tempos within reasonable levels, and convey as much majesty as possible.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] Actually, I like Bryndorf and Hanssen. However, I much prefer Vogel's treatments.

The main reason for this is thefact that (with the possible exception of the newer B&H edition coming out) the two editions that Vogel himself (in a Master Class I attended when he came out to the Arizona State Univeristy Organ Hall) chanpioned (and possibly still champion) are the old B&H (Breitkopff und Haertel) edition edited by Philipp Spitta and Max Sieffert and the edition edited in Denmark (I think by Finn Videro).

 

The International Dieterich Buxtehude Society

Teri Noel Towe wrote (April 21, 2004):
I learned recently that the organizational meeting for The International Dieterich Buxtehude Society will be held in Lubeck, Germany, in about three weeks.

A number of prominent "Buxtehudeans," like Ton Koopman and Kerala Snyder are active participants in the organization.

If you are interested in learning more, here is a hyperlink to the IDBS website: The International Dieterich Buxtehude Society

 

Buxtehude News 02-2004

Johan van Veen wrote (June 1, 2004):
From: Ibo Ortgies:

BUXTEHUDE NEWSLETTER 02-2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends of Buxtehude!

This is the first newsletter after the founding of the International Dieterich Buxtehude Society. Its aim is to inform about the results of the founding.

1.)
A report about the founding weekend has been published on our website. At: http://www.dietrich-buxtehude.org/english/news/news.html you will find information and images. The society’s constitution has got its final form and the first Governing Board was elected. The most important aspects of the constitution can be read at: http://www.dietrich-buxtehude.org/english/society/society.html, a complete german version can be found at: http://www.dieterich-buxtehude.org/gesellschaft/gesellschaft.html.

The members of the Governing Board are:

Prof. Ton Koopman (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, President)
Dr. Joachim Walter (Lübeck, Germany, Vice President)
Karl-Bernhardin Kropf (Hamburg, Germany, Secretary)
Nathalie Brueggen (Lübeck, Germany, Treasurer)
Prof. Dr. Kerala J. Snyder (New Haven, CT, USA, Assessor)
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sandberger (Lübeck, Assessor)
Arndt Schnoor (Lübeck, Assessor)

The annual membership dues shall be:
Reduced: EUR 20,- for students and part-time church musicians / organists
Normal: EUR 40,-
Institutions: EUR 100,-
It is possible to donate more than the determined dues. After completing the registration procedure donations to the International Dieterich Buxtehude Society are tax deductive according to German law. Payments within the Eurpean Union should be made via IBAN/BIC. A PayPal-gateway to allow online credit card payments shall be installed..

2.)
Working on administration has started. When the definite postal address of the society and its bank account can be announced, all members will receive further information. We ask our members for patience and understanding!
About other projects of the Society there will be more information in future.

3.)
If you want to announce an event concerning Buxtehude on our website please mail to: webmaster@dieterich-buxtehude.org.
For sharing information and opinions we recommend our own forum: http://www.dietrich-buxtehude.org/forum/forum.html and, for pro internet users, a Yahoo Group, where also audio files and music files can be posted and loaded: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Dietrich_Buxtehude/ (a non-binding Yahoo registration is necessary).

Until the next information, yours sincerely
Karl-Bernhardin Kropf, Secretary and webmaster, on behalf of the Board
> ________________________________________________________________

.... Newsletter please open the following link ...
http://www.dietrich-buxtehude.org/cgi-data/newsletter/abo_form.html

Contact / Informations:
Internationale Dieterich-Buxtehude-Gesellschaft
info@dieterich-buxtehude.org

Connected domain-names:
www.dieterich-buxtehude.org,
www.dietrich-buxtehude.org,
www.dieterich-buxtehude.de

 

hot (or slow-burning) recommendations

Tom Dent wrote (December 13, 2006):
First - a recording that I've wanted to recommend for some time: CD-Universe

Rene Jacobs sings cantatas and arias of Buxtehude (Klagelied), J.Christoph Bach (Ach, dass ich Wassers genug hatte) and Telemann, accompanied by the 'Kuijken Consort' (viols / chamber organ) and 'Parnassus Ensemble' (late Baroque instrumentals). A relatively early production of the Belgian label Accent, still sounding
extraordinary... hearing is believing.

Second - how would it be if the messages here all had something to say about Bach's sacred vocal works, performances thereof, or topics directly related? I don't get much interest from discussions of the kind 'list member X is not expressing himself in a way that I like'.

 

Buxtewho?

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (January 20, 2007):
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/arts/music/19buxt.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 20, 2007):
A delightful article on an all-too-unknown composer: Buxtehude! My collection of his works is growing and I'm continually impressed. Bach certainly did not do his work in some sort of splendid isolation, but clearly leaned heavily on the masters that came before him, and how fortunate we all are that he did.

 

O/T Buxtehude complete organ works

Chris Stanley wrote (January 22, 2007):
John Scott is celebrating the 300 anniversary of the death of Dietrich Buxtehude by performing ten concerts in St Thomas Church 5th Avenue, New York.

The first webcast can be heard at: http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/Stream.html

Also available here is a free download booklet to accompany the series

Donations are invited to enable the choir to tour the UK in July

 

Buxtehude Cantata 'Gott, hilf mir'... TVPP?

Tom Dent wrote (March 19, 2007):
This is an interesting work from the aspect of ensemble sizes. The score survives in a copy made in Stockholm. The outer cover of the 'Organon' (continuo) part announces it as

'a 11 vel 16 / due Soprani / alto / Tenor / due Bassi / con 5 Stromenti'

The Organon part's inner cover gives 'a 11' whereas the violone and vocal parts say 'a 11 vel 16'. The editor (G. Graulich) considers that the '16' alternative refers to the doubling of five vocal parts in the 'Tutti' sections.

The editor also states 'it is possible to leave out the two viola parts, which, in all probability, Duben [the Swedish Hofcapellmeister] added later, as in other cantatas'. For much of the work (except two 'tutti' sections) the 1st viola part is marked as 'in unison with 1st violin'. This is potentially puzzling, as the violin parts very often go quite high: up to c''' or d''' flat. The editor suggests 'the same player alternated instruments and the strings were set more than one to a part'.

Throughout the work in the continuo 'Organon' part there are written indications of who is singing or playing at what point. For example 'Voci', 'Tutti', 'Bass con Instr.', '3 Voci', 'Viol[ini]'.

The first movement is a 'Sonata': then follows a 'Solo' for Bass 2, to the words of the title. The bass solo is sometimes independent of the continuo line and sometimes not, in the sense of being a slightly ornamented version of the instrumental bass. The vocal range is unusually large, from low D (at the words "Ich versinke in tiefem Schlamm, da kein Grund ist" to high Eb. (Since all parts are notated in 'Dorian' C minor, ie two flats, the pitch of performance is determined by the continuo organ.)

The response is a 'Tutti' sung by Sopran 1 & 2, Alt, Tenor and Bass 1: "Fuerchte dich nicht" / "Denn ich bin der Herr, dein Gott".

There follows another 'Solo' for Bass 2: "Israel, hoffe auf den Herrn". Here the solo voice is almost exclusively an ornamented version of the continuo line.

Next another 'Tutti' for Sopran 1 & 2, Alt, Tenor, Bass 1 & 2: "Wer hofft in Gott". The two basses here sing the same part, which includes an interesting chromatic progression rising from low G up to the Eb above (8 steps) on the text "ob ihm gleich stoesst [zuhanden viel Unfall hie]."

In the following 'Aria' based on a strophic hymn "Ach ja, mein Gott, ich hoff' auf Dich" the instrumental and vocal forces alternate phrases of a few bars: vocally we have Sopran 1 & 2 and Bass 2, and instrumentally Violine 1 and 2 and Violone. A repeated passage for the instruments is designated as 'Ritornello'. The Bass part is again quite low.

The last movement is an extended 'Tutti' which begins with four voices (S 2, A, T, B1) singing "Israel, hoffe auf den Herrn" in a recapitulation of an earlier Bass 2 solo, alternating with the full strings. Then follows an imitative passage where the basic motive is ornamented and passed down through the 5 upper voices, doubled by strings, with Bass 2 either silent or doubling Bass 1. In a later tutti passage, Bass 2 sings quarters in unison with the continuo while Bass 1 sings an ornamented version of the line in eighths; after which the two are in unison until the end.

The use of the two bass parts suggests an interesting mixture of dramatic and acoustic motivations. Near the beginning of the work there is a clear dialogue between the solo "Gott hilf mir" and the reply of the other 5 voices "Fuerchte dich nicht": presumably, to use the same singer for both would make less dramatic sense. However later in the work there is less or no feeling of dialogue between Bass 2 and the other voices; and even though the two bass parts never have contrapuntally independent lines, it seems as if there should be some reason behind the setting of different passages for either Bass 1 or 2 or both at once.

Tonally, the work contains chords ranging from A major to Db major. Curiously in two places the bass of a first-inversion A major chord is written in the organ part as a Db, when by the usual rules of musical grammar it should be a C#... We have no way to know whether this originates with Buxtehude or the copyist - or indeed whether the copyist transposed the work wholesale.

I will be singing the 'Bass 1' part in a concert next Saturday in the Heiliggeistkirche, Heidelberg - total forces 6 singers and a so far unknown number of instrumentalists. Also on the program are the Schuetz 'Sieben Worte' in which I take the 'Tenor 2' part, and another Buxtehude cantata.

 

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 19, 2007):
Buxtehude Cantata - Standard Orchestra

Tom Dent wrote:
< This is an interesting work from the aspect of ensemble sizes. The score survives in a copy made in Stockholm. The outer cover of the 'Organon' (continuo) part announces it as 'a 11 vel 16 / due Soprani / alto / Tenor / due Bassi / con 5 Stromenti' >
The interesting thing about Buxtehude and the previous generation is that the exotic ensembles and orchestrations which extend back to Praetorius have pretty much disappeared by Bach and Telemann's generation and assumed a standard configuration. Bach's voicing is almost always SATB (SSATB and double choir is quite rare). Except for the occasional double viola part, the string ensemble is consistently Vio/Vio/Vla/Cello/Bass. Oboes and horns are usually paired, trumpets single or in trio. We sit up when a horn and two bassoons appear in the Mass in B Minor because the ensemble is so unusual.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 19, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< We sit up when a horn andtwo bassoons appear in the Mass in B Minor because the ensemble is so unusual. >
Indeed, but also Bach's more or less final thoughon his choral music, never performed in his lifetime, and probably not assembled with expectation of a performance. Perhaps it is what he would have wanted all along?

As you have emphasized more than anyone (I believe), we simply don't know what constraints Bach's official position at Leipzig put on his compositions, with regard to rehearsal opportunities, instrumental and vocal forces, and spiritual content of librettos.

David Hoose, music director of Boston's Cantata Singers, put this nicely in his notes to today's Bm Mass performance:

<Never in the history of employment has there been a more dramatic case of over qualification. <end quote>

There are many other choice thoughts in these notes, available at: www.cantatasingers.org

Fans of chiastic structure, X-motifs, and 'every parallelogram is a crucifix' will be rewarded for the quest. Unless Hoose's examples are lifted from BCW archives. I didn't check. As you may have noticed, I find much of it a bit of a stretch, so I trust you will appreciate my passing along the link.

 

OFF TOPIC: Buxtehude cantatas

Peter Bright wrote (July 1, 2007):
Last night I attended a wonderful free concert at at St Catherine's College (Cambridge University) which brought together the choirs of the American University of Beirut, the University of Balamand (Tripoli), St Catherine's College, Cambridge plus a choir from Sweden that happened to be visiting at the time (!). They performed five of the seven 'Membra Jesu nostri' cantatas by Buxtehude (Ad pedes; Ad genua; Ad manus; Ad latus; Ad faciem) interspersed with Byzantine and Maronite chants, plus Monteverdi's Cantate Domino and two of Zaki Nassif's (d.2004) Lebanese songs.

It was a superb, life affirming performance and despite the number of choirs, an intimate affair in the small atmospheric chapel (instrumentation primarily consisted of two violins, chapel organ, lute plus piano for the recent songs). Anyway, having very little Buxtehude music I was wondering whether any of you can advise on favourite performances of favourite works. I note that Gardiner and Suzuki have both recorded the Membra Jesu Nostri cantatas, so I may use one of those as a springboard for more of his vocal works...

Many thanks,

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (July 1, 2007):
[To Peter Bright] Some weeks ago there was a comparative review of four recordings of Buxtehude's "Membra Jesu Nostri" on Musiq3 (our French-speaking classical public radio here in Belgium): http://www.musiq3.be/emissions/tabledecoute/EM_072392?dossier=

The recording judged by far the best (according to both invited specialists) was the one by the "Capilla Angelica": http://goldbergweb.com/fr/discography/2007/52748.php
I have recently bought it and I really love it.

Francis Browne wrote (July 1, 2007):
Some years ago I made a similar inquiry about Buxtehude, and it was Joost -I think - who recommended 'Ein Starken Music...' by Orchestra Anima Eterna Collegium Vocale and Jos van Immersaal - 6 cantatas (Channel Classics). It took me some time to find it but it was very worthwhile. You might also enjoy Buxtehude Sacred Cantatas by the Purcell Consort on Chandos.

Dmitry Vinokurov wrote (July 1, 2007):
[To Francis Browne] Last year Ton Koopman, having completed his complete recording of Bach's cantatas in 22 volumes, started a similar project recording the entire vocal and instrumental output of Buxtehude. Until now 5 volumes have been released. It promises to be very interesting and worthwhile undertaking in the light of his highly masterful interpretation of Bach. Information at his site: http://www.antoinemarchand.nl/indexnieuweng.htm

Paul T. McCain wrote (July 1, 2007):
Thank you for mentioning this. Much appreciated.

Peter Bright wrote (July 1, 2007):
[To Dmitry Vinokurov] Thanks for all your comments... I will search out for the Capilla Angelica recording as recommended by Thérèse and take it from there! Incidentally, I reviewed the final volume of Koopman's cantata cycle for MusicWeb - if list members are interested they can find it here: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Nov06/Bach_22_Koopman_cc72222.htm.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 1, 2007):
Peter Bright wrote:
< Anyway, having very little Buxtehude music I was wondering whether any of you can advise on favourite performances of favourite works. >
There is a good recording of six sacred cantatas on Harmonia Mundi, by Cantus Cölln / Konrad Junghänel. I believe I got this because it was recommended by someone (Brad Lehman?) on BCML, but I do not see it from a quick look at the archives. For me it has been a welcome introduction to both the music and performers.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (July 1, 2007):
[To Peter Bright] Sorry, I see that I misspelled the name, it is Capella Angelica and not Capilla Angelica. I had to order the CD because it was not easily available, but it was worth waiting...

 

CD review: Buxtehude, 'Das jüngste Gericht'

Johan van Veen wrote (June 14, 2007):
Review of 3 recordings of Buxtehude's oratorio 'Wacht! Euch zum Streit gefasset macht' ('Das jüngste Gericht')

- Capella Cantorum, construmenti/Klaus Eichhorn
- Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir/Ton Koopman
- La Capella Ducale, Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson

www.musica-dei-donum.net, CD reviews

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 14, 2007):
< Review of 3 recordings of Buxtehude's oratorio 'Wacht! Euch zum Streit gefasset macht' ('Das jüngste Gericht') >
That reminds me, today I encountered a listing from a group that recently recorded St Matthew, Mark, and John Passions by CPE Bach -- the Sing-Akademie of Berlin directed by Joshard Daus. Is anybody here familiar with their work (or those compositions having their recorded premieres here), for comment?

 

Buxtehude (etc.) organ tablature

William Zeitler wrote (June 5, 2013):
A little off topic, but I'm guessing one of you fine Bach scholars can easily point me in the right direction.

I'd like to know how the German Baroque organ tablature really worked. (I think Bach used it also.)

Any resources you might suggest?

THANX!

Evan Cortens wrote (June 5, 2013):
[To William Zeitler] One of the classic texts on notation is Willi Apel's "The Notation of Polyphonic Music, 900-1600" (Cambridge, 1949): (http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/401303)

The first section of the book deals entirely with tablature, including German keyboard tablature.

Good luck! And all best,

 

BBC Radio: Afternoon Drama "The Organist's Daughter"

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 11, 2013):
A clever dramatization of Buxtehude's attempt to marry his daughter to Bach: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03cdzm1

William Hoffman wrote (October 12, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Buxtehude also tried it with Mattheson and Handel as well as others. The lucky guy was Schiefferdecker.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (October 12, 2013):
[To William Hoffman] Here is a great CD of his music as well: JPC

Eric Schissel wrote (October 12, 2013):
I recall reading a review about Mattheson which mentioned this but referred to it as a standard practice of town councils to ensure that their organists had family insurance and that they had new organists after their organists died (more the latter tthe former, but some of the former, too.) Something like that, going by memory ... ?

 

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