Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buxtehude Organ Works - Complete Set (7CDs)

Buxtehude Organ Works - Hans Davidsson (7 CDs Total)

Volume 1: Buxtehude and the Mean-Tone Organ (2 CDs)
Volume 2: The Bach Perspective (2 CDs)
Volume 3: Buxtehude and the Schnitger Organ (3 CDs)

Recent research shows that Buxtehude had only mean-tone organs at his disposal during his life. Although there are many good recordings on well-tempered organs (including some antiques), performing these works on mean-tone instruments requires both a radical re-assessment of traditional performance ideas and a large and extraordinary organ. Hans Davidsson is the ideal performer for this task, and he plays the huge “North German Baroque Organ” of Gothenburg, Sweden. The complete organ works are recorded here in three volumes totaling seven compact discs.

Dieterich Buxtehude and His Organ Music

Diderich “Hansen” Buxtehude (1637–1707) was born in Denmark, and was active as an organist, composer, and cultural entrepreneur in Denmark and Sweden as well as in Germany where he became known as Dieterich Buxtehude. His father, Johannes (Hans) Buxtehude, who started his career as organist in Helsingborg but soon moved to Helsingør, taught Dieterich the foundations of organ playing and introduced him to Johan Lorentz, Jr., the famous organist at St. Nicolai in Copenhagen. It is possible that Dieterich studied with Lorentz or that he was sent to Franz Tunder in Lübeck or Heinrich Scheidemann or, perhaps, Matthias Weckman in Hamburg (although we have no evidence for this). In 1657, he became organist in St. Mary’s church in Helsingborg and, in 1660, he assumed the same responsibility at St. Mary’s in Helsingør. When Franz Tunder died on the 5th of November 1667, the attractive position at St. Mary’s in Lübeck became vacant. In April of 1668, Buxtehude succeeded Tunder there and was formally appointed organist and Werkmeister. This prestigious position in the significant Hanseatic League city of Lübeck became the primary arena for his activities as organist, composer, chief administrator, and cultural entrepreneur for the next forty years.

Buxtehude continued Tunder’s concerts for the opening of the stock market, and further developed them into a series of “Abendmusiken” that occurred after the Vespers on the last two Sundays of Trinity and the second, third, and fourth Sundays of Advent. These soon- famous “Abendmusiken” were directed from the large organ. With its six surrounding balconies it could accommodate about forty singers and musicians, which presented an amazing visual effect and created a magnificent acoustical and symbolic representation of the “Macrocosm,” the music of the heavenly choirs and the medieval concept of the harmony of the spheres. The large ensemble performed new music by Buxtehude and other important composers in the Italian-German concerto or multi-choral style. Like Matthias Weckman with his Collegium Musicum in Hamburg (1660-1674), Buxtehude developed a significant forum for the performance of new music, previously reserved for relatively small audiences at courts, and created a new public function and demand for this representative music in the core of the Hanseatic city culture. The many manuscripts of his music, of central German to Scandinavian origin, bear witness to the Abendmusiken’s significant influence. The collection is the largest body of organ, vocal and instrumental music of any musician active in Northern Europe in the seventeenth century. Truly a musicus perfectus, Buxtehude composed vocal, instrumental, and keyboard music of all categories, and in his music we find such a variety of styles and genres that we must inevitably approach his work from a general cultural perspective; the organ music, in particular, must be viewed through the lens of the monumental organs of the cities of the Hanseatic League.

List Price: $84.98 
Our Price:$59.98 
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