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Friday Night Organ--Hans Leo Hassler
Hans Leo Haßler (1564 – 1612). Hassler is considered to be one of the most important German composers of all time. His use of the innovative Italian techniques, coupled with traditional, conservative German techniques allowed his compositions to be fresh without the modern affective tone. His songs presented a combined vocal and instrumental literature that did not make use of the continuo, or only provided it as an option,and his sacred music introduced the Italian polychoral structures that would later influence many composers leading into the Baroque era. Hassler was born in Nuremberg and baptized on 26 October 1564, receiving his first instruction in music from his father, the organist Isaak Hassler. In 1584, Hassler became the first of many German composers of the time who went to Italy to continue their studies; he arrived in Venice during the peak of activity of the Venetian school, the composers who wrote in the resplendent polychoral style, which was soon to become popular outside its native city. Hassler was already familiar with some of this music, as numerous prints had circulated in Germany due to the interest of Leonhard Lechner who was associated with Orlandus Lassus in Munich. While in Venice, Hassler became friends with Giovanni Gabrieli, with whom he composed a wedding motet for Georg Gruber, a Nuremberg merchant living in Venice, in 1600. Together they studied with Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni's uncle. Under Andrea, Hassler received instruction in composition and organ playing.
Following Andrea Gabrieli's death, Hassler returned to Germany in the latter part of 1585, moving to Augsburg where he served as an organist to Octavian Fugger, a nobleman there. The Augsburg years were extremely creative for him; in addition he became well known as a composer and organist at this time, though his influence was limited because he was a Protestant in an area which was still heavily Catholic.
Hassler was not only a composer, but also an active organist and a consultant to organ builders. In 1596, Hassler, along with 53 other organists, was given the opportunity to examine a new instrument with 59 stops at the Schlosskirche, Groningen. Hassler was continually recognized for his expertise in organ design, and was often called upon as the examiner of new instruments. Using his extensive organ background, Hassler stepped into the world of mechanical instrument construction and developed a clockwork organ that was later sold to Emperor Rudolf II.
In 1602, Hassler returned to Nuremberg where he became the Kapellmeister, or director of town music. While there, he was appointed Kaiserlicher Hofdiener in the court of Rudolf II. In 1604, he took a leave of absence and traveled to Ulm, where he was wed to Cordula Claus. Four years later, Hassler moved to Dresden where he served as the electoral chamber organist to the Elector Christian II of Saxony, and eventually as Kapellmeister. By this time, Hassler had already developed the tuberculosis that would claim his life in June 1612. After he died, Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz were appointed in his place.
Here is a number of short works for organ:
Toccata in G:
Magnificat quarti toni: Sicut locutus:
Laudate Dominum, this piece is cool because it is a rarity—it is an organ duo:
Here is a motet Ich brinn und bin entzündt:
Cantate Domino sung by a great choir:
I made a heroic effort to locate pictures or the specifications of the organ at the Schlosskirche in Groningen and came up empty. The only thing I could find was the Martinkirche in Groningen which of course is not the same thing. So if anyone can find ANY info about the instrument in the Schlosskirche please post it below.
I found this, but no pictures, yet...
Do NOT chase tail. Turn yours around and live FREE!