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Friday Night Organ: BACK to Germany FINALLY!
Heinrich Scheidemann (1595 – 1663) was a German organist and composer. He was the best-known composer for the organ in north Germany in the early to mid-17th century, and was an important forerunner of Buxtehude and Bach. He was born in Wohrden and his father was an organist in both Wöhrden and Hamburg, and probably Scheidemann received some early instruction from him. Scheidemann studied with Sweelinck in Amsterdam from 1611 to 1614, and evidently was one of his favorite pupils, since Sweelinck dedicated a canon to him, prior to Scheidemann's return to Germany. (Next week the entire evening will be devoted to Sweelinck. By 1629, and possibly earlier, Scheidemann was in Hamburg as organist at the Catharinenkirche a position which he held for more than thirty years, until his death in Hamburg in early 1663 during an outbreak of the plague.
We begin with his Magnificat. What is interesting here that polyphony is being further developed into what wil become known as "echo" style. Unlike many of the previous works we've listened to the voicing between registers is more pronounced and dramatic, often times in a complimentary melody or a completely different melody.
Next up is another Magnificat but in the 4th tone. This is an interesting recording because the organ is the largest remaining organ constructed by Arp Schnitger in 1693 for the St. Jacobi Church Hamburg. Schnitger had establish a name for himself constructing instruments all over Northern Germany and Holland. In fact one reason he was awarded the contract for St. Jacobi is because he built and installed another instrument in Hamburg at the St. Nikolai Church. At the time it was one of the largest organs in the world. Two world wars and lots and lots of allied bombs have reduced the number of surviving Schnitgers to a mere handful so they are a treasure--particularly in the North German organ school tradition.
And as I said the "echo" style was comparatively new--here is an example.
And finally his Praeambulum in D; played on an instrument in Japan no less. (Hard to believe the Japanese could be into the pipe organ BUT, you never know.)
AND a Chorale setting of "Vater unser im Himmelreich" played on another period instrument in Hooglandse Kirch Holland.
As a bonus here is some info about the Hooglandse organ:
And a discussion of the Organ in St. Jacobi:
Yes point of order. The Catharinenkirche sported an organ built by the famous Friedrich Stellwagon which at the time was the largest pipe organ in the world, until of course Schnitger built his across town and IT became the largest. Although the Schnitger organ escaped the ravages of allied bombs the Stellwagon wasn't so lucky, alas it is no more.
The style comes off playful and exuberant. This is a good light-hearted style that is good for relaxing to while reading or look out at one's back yard and thinking.
I suppose the idea of rebuilding the organs was out of the question, but it would be a productive and worthy project.
"Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did."
Groucho Marx: Duck Soup (1933)
I drive around the back roads of Kansas with my topless Asian girlfriend listening to the Friday Night Organ on a nice car stereo, the Bluetooth and unlimited data on the cell phone keep the music flowing out where Jesus left his sandals. Very surreal standing in the middle of the Flint Hills where the Santa Fe Trail once was the path to go west. Even when those people walked to California in the 1840s, this music was 200 years old. Mindblowing.