Author Topic: Buxtehude organ works  (Read 54434 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kishnevi

  • Guest
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #200 on: January 17, 2016, 05:36:19 PM »
Wise decision.

I wish I possessed your degree of self-control.

I do this now because I had no self control in early December.   I have five box sets unheard, each with 50-60 CDs,  five more with 20-30 CDs, and a small bevy of smaller box sets. Not to mention the box of Boulez's Erato recordings currently on its way to me.

Hmm, in fact, a 6 CD set would barely be noticed.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #201 on: January 18, 2016, 09:23:09 AM »
What's the point of Buxtehude's preludes?

I've just been listening to Davidsson play Buxwv 146, the G minor, with this commentary by Davidsson, in mind

Quote from: Hans Davidsson in "Buxtehude and Bach in Lübeck 1705: A Discussion on Registration ..."  http://www.gothic-catalog.com/articles.asp?id=134
However, this experiment inspired me to explore this key further and to develop the inventio into a Lamento, and I had a particular program in mind: Christ’s Maundy Thursday drama. The whole work is characterized by the ambivalent fluctuation between melancholy and despair, and it is only in the last part, after the recitative, that the Affekt gradually changes and approaches a sense of balance or perhaps even moderate joy. It musically renders the spiritual drama and conflict that Our Savior encountered in Gethsemane. The final chord of the recitative – a long and harsh c-sharp minor–represents the point of change, when Jesus fully understands the will of His Father and accepts the suffering ahead of him, and the final chord of the piece, the f-sharp major chord renders the peace brought to his mind, and to our world, when he confirms his consent to his sacrifice.

The "I" is referring to Bux.

Davidsson's performance does seem to reflect this programme, I'd be interested to know whether others do, or whether others are based on a different attitude towards the music.

By the way I also listened to Kraft playing it and was struck by the force-of-nature quality of it.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 10:04:21 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #202 on: January 18, 2016, 11:12:32 AM »
What's the point of Buxtehude's preludes?

I've just been listening to Davidsson play Buxwv 146, the G minor, with this commentary by Davidsson, in mind

The "I" is referring to Bux.

Davidsson's performance does seem to reflect this programme, I'd be interested to know whether others do, or whether others are based on a different attitude towards the music.

By the way I also listened to Kraft playing it and was struck by the force-of-nature quality of it.

I much prefer Kraft's version of this piece to Davidsson's.

And I think Davidsson's "exegesis" drives the point a bit too far. I respect him for his playing, but as with Pickett's "exegesis" of the Brandenburg concertos, these speculative conjectural pseudoelucidations do not increase the musical experience for me.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 01:17:23 PM by (: premont :) »
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #203 on: January 18, 2016, 01:12:14 PM »
Here's another one

Quote
I developed this idea for Epiphany [in Buxwv 151] with arpeggios in recitative style and sequential patterns with rotating figures to illustrate the powerful and guiding light of the Bethlehem star, and the imitation sections to illustrate the wise men’s walk toward the star and the child in the manger.

Cortot used to tell  stories like that about Chopin nocturnes, and there's a famous article in the same vein by Maria Yudina on late Brahms. I just find it interesting that informed musicians should seem to be playing a (prima facie) similar game for music which doesn't seem to be associated with a text. Not just Davidsson here, but also Egarr in the English Suites, Cera in the French Suites, Harnoncourt for Mozart symphonies.

At least I can hear (I think) Davidsson's story about the G minor prelude in the performance, I can't here Pickett's ideas in Brandenburg 6 at all. The disconcerting thing is that Davidsson's a real scholar; I don't think Pickett was.

( Kraft once again impressive in Buxwv 151, great sweep. I don't care for Davidsson at all in that one.)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 01:38:06 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #204 on: January 18, 2016, 02:50:28 PM »

I can't here Pickett's ideas in Brandenburg 6 at all. The disconcerting thing is that Davidsson's a real scholar; I don't think Pickett was.


I hope Pickett is even if he may not be a scholar. But unfortunately his recording career has been cut short.

Quote from Wiki :

On 10 February 2015 Pickett was found guilty of two rapes and two indecent assaults carried out in soundproof rooms at the Guildhall School between 1979 and 1983. After his conviction, Pickett’s defence team tried to delay sentencing to accommodate Pickett’s commitment to arrange three music festivals.[4] Judge Charles Wide sentenced Pickett on 20 February 2015 to a total of 11 years,[1] and ordered that two further indictments in relation to allegations by two women dating back to the 1970s lie on file. Pickett was cleared of six further counts of indecent assault.[4][6]
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #205 on: January 19, 2016, 10:17:07 AM »
Oh yes, I forgot he was tarnished by the Jimmy Savile affair. What a terrible business that was.

I must say I'm finding Davidsson's notes on the Gothic website really inspiring, and it's helped me to listen to the music more attentively than ever before. I feel as though I'm really appreciating the music for the first time.

How can anyone resist this? I certainly can't - I mean the dancing snake!!!

Quote
It is possible that Buxtehude’s musical imagination [in Buxwv 149] portrays the fall of mankind and in this sense the biblical story of the creation. The bass theme of the opening ostinato section is incomplete, open-ended (does not end on the tonic) and does not appear seven but six times, as many times as there were days in the creation. In place of a seventh statement, the theme is developed in four parts fugally, artfully and in full harmony over the whole compass of the keyboard, but ends with an organ point in the treble using dissonant suspensions but without a final cadence. Dissonant modulations express the temptation and finally the tasting of the apple. The Allegro section with the running and jumping bass expresses the joy and the dance of the snake, and the following and elaborate fuga patetica (falling and expanding intervals – third, tritone and minor sixth – literally depict “the fall”) the regret and despair of the world waiting for the final resolution and salvation. The piece ends without a real dominant-tonic cadence in root position, and the ostinato in C minor creates a strong plagal character because of its length and an expectation of continuation. The final chord with the major third in the treble also contributes to this impression. It is the only chord of this kind in any of the preludes. The ostinato of the end and of the beginning adds a cyclical dimension to the work, although with its open-ended character it gives the impression of having no beginning and no end. The fall of mankind charged the creation with sin and the Affekt of suffering and Buxtehude’s Praeludium may be heard as a musical rendering of this condition, and its demand for resolution and continued creation toward completion. There are no indications for the use of the pedal in the Lindeman tablature. I chose to play the whole Allegro section (measures 55-77) with pedal although this may represent more of an eighteenth-century approach (Agricola in his copy suggested pedal for measures 68-77), but it also gives a quite effective and exciting rendering of the snake’s triumphant dance.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 10:19:51 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #206 on: January 20, 2016, 09:53:31 AM »
Oh yes, I forgot he was tarnished by the Jimmy Savile affair. What a terrible business that was.

I must say I'm finding Davidsson's notes on the Gothic website really inspiring, and it's helped me to listen to the music more attentively than ever before. I feel as though I'm really appreciating the music for the first time.

How can anyone resist this? I certainly can't - I mean the dancing snake!!!

So Davidsson thinks the BuxWV 149 depicts the fall of man and makes it kind of pendant to Kuhnau´s biblical sonatas. A charming exegesis, which can be enjoyed as such, but as I wrote above: It does not increase my listening experience with this work.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #207 on: January 20, 2016, 10:38:33 AM »
So Davidsson thinks the BuxWV 149 depicts the fall of man and makes it kind of pendant to Kuhnau´s biblical sonatas. A charming exegesis, which can be enjoyed as such, but as I wrote above: It does not increase my listening experience with this work.

One of the things he says about the Kuhnau sonatas is that they were a manual of affekts, and that has made me curious to hear them with a commentary in French or English that I can understand.

Oh, by the way, I heard a fabulous Buxwv 149 today from Ablitzer, and an interesting Buxwv 156 from Spang Hanssen, who seems to blend the voices more than I'm used to in baroque music, but the effect was not unattractive and the performance is spirited. Davidsson says 156 is a bunch of shepherds piping, and then there's a thunderstorm. Presumably he was inspired to make a thunderstorm by what was available on his organ.

The other thing I want to say is this: whatever you think of Davidsson's tempos and his stories, the organ is fab. He says somewhere that mean-tone makes a big difference to affekt and I bet he's right.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 11:22:35 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #208 on: January 21, 2016, 04:00:26 AM »
One of the things he says about the Kuhnau sonatas is that they were a manual of affekts, and that has made me curious to hear them with a commentary in French or English that I can understand.

Does any exist?

Quote from: Mandryka
Oh, by the way, I heard a fabulous Buxwv 149 today from Ablitzer, and an interesting Buxwv 156 from Spang Hanssen, who seems to blend the voices more than I'm used to in baroque music, but the effect was not unattractive and the performance is spirited. Davidsson says 156 is a bunch of shepherds piping, and then there's a thunderstorm. Presumably he was inspired to make a thunderstorm by what was available on his organ.

The great F-major toccata? Never thought about it in that way.

Quote from: Mandryka
The other thing I want to say is this: whatever you think of Davidsson's tempos and his stories, the organ is fab. He says somewhere that mean-tone makes a big difference to affekt and I bet he's right.

The mean-tone (1/4 comma) is essential IMO, even if Buxtehude in his later years is said (K.Snyder) to prefer more "usable" modifications,
But equal tuning is lethal to the music.

Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #209 on: January 21, 2016, 08:55:48 AM »
Does any exist?



No idea, I doubt it!

Does any exist?

The mean-tone (1/4 comma) is essential IMO, even if Buxtehude in his later years is said (K.Snyder) to prefer more "usable" modifications,
But equal tuning is lethal to the music.

It would be good to assemble a list of mean-tone performances.

I played Glen Wilson's Buxtehude CD last night, not the big set of variations but all the other pieces. For once he's sweet! And such lovely music. In the booklet he  says he thinks that Buxtehude's harpsichord music is second only to Froberger's (maybe he meant before Bach!),  and listening last night I could understand his enthusiasm.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #210 on: March 11, 2016, 02:22:07 AM »

It would be good to assemble a list of mean-tone performances [of Buxtehude's organ music]



I wish you would do this for me! Last night I listened to vol 2 of Vogel and well . . . I missed meantone tuning. Maybe Davidsson's the only one apart from Koopman@Lüdingworth (which, as you know, I also like.)
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 02:24:57 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #211 on: March 11, 2016, 12:44:18 PM »
I wish you would do this for me! Last night I listened to vol 2 of Vogel and well . . . I missed meantone tuning. Maybe Davidsson's the only one apart from Koopman@Lüdingworth (which, as you know, I also like.)

Maybe I am a bit too strict to ask for pure meantone tuning in Buxtehudes later Works. In 1683 he got the tuning of the two organs in the Marienkirche, Lübeck even more modified, so it became possible to play modes with more flat's or sharp's.

Organs tuned in pure meantone are seldom used for recordings of Buxtehudes organ works.

Some important restored baroque organs, which to day are tuned in meantone are:

The Stellwagen organ in Stralsund,
used by Martin Rost here:

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Die-Norddeutsche-Orgelkunst-Vol-1-L%FCbeck/hnum/2658574

The Schnitger organ in Lüdingworth

used by Ton Koopman, Buxtehude cpt. organ works vol.2 (Challenge)
and Jean-Charles Ablitzer, Buxtehude cpt.organ works vol.1 (Harmonic records)
and for about 1/4th of Masaaki Suzuki's Buxtehude CD for BIS.

The Herbst organ in Basedow
used by Ton Koopman, Buxtehude cpt. organ Works vol.4 (Challenge)
and by Harald Vogel, cpt. organ works vol. 5 (MDG) but only for some of the CD, which however also features two other organs in meantone tuning (Hantelmann organ, Gross Eichen and B Hus organ, Langwarden).

The Scherer organ in Tangermünde
no Buxtehude to my knowledge

The by Grönlund reconstructed Düben organ in the German church, Stockholm
used by Bernard Foccroulle, cpt. organ works vol. 4 (CD D Ricercar)
and by Bine Bryndorf, cpt. organ works vol. 4 (Da Capo)

For vol. 5, 6 and 7 of the Naxos cpt. Buxtehude organ works series Julia Brown uses the Martin Pasi organ, Saint Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha.
It is constructed with double ranks for many of the stops, enabling the organist to play in mean tone tuning with the extra ranks. How much she uses that option, I can not tell for sure, since I haven´t listened to the CDs recently.

You know the organ Davidsson uses for his Buxtehude set.

Most historical organs used for Buxtehudes organ music are tuned in rather modified meantone (Werkmeister, Kirnberger et.c.) and some even in equal tuning (Schnitger organ, Alkmaar e.g.).

The booklet to the LP release of Walter Kraft's Buxtehude set states, that the organ he uses (the Totentanz-organ in the Marienkirche, Lübeck - reconstructed by Karl Kemper after WW II, later dismantled) is tuned in mean tone. I is evidently not tuned in equal temperature, but I think it even here is about a modified variety, as I do not think it sounds like pure meantone.



« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 01:13:24 PM by (: premont :) »
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #212 on: March 11, 2016, 02:08:49 PM »
Thank you premont, it's very kind and helpful of you to go to so much trouble. I have ordered Ablizer's CD, because I really enjoyed the Buxtehude in L'école du Nord.  I've also been listening to v5 of Vogel.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #213 on: March 11, 2016, 11:56:33 PM »
Maybe I am a bit too strict to ask for pure meantone tuning in Buxtehudes later Works. In 1683 he got the tuning of the two organs in the Marienkirche, Lübeck even more modified, so it became possible to play modes with more flat's or sharp's.


Davidsson has something to say about this

Quote
Buxtehude’s organ landscape was in quarter-comma mean tone. Modification of mean tone, either systematical or of practical nature with compromise notes, was, if and when applied, an exception to the general practice. Because of the sustained nature of the organ sound and the expectation of stark contrast between consonance and dissonance, the mean-tone temperament with pure major thirds was preferred. It was a prerequisite for pure harmonic intonation in ensemble music, in which the large organs were frequently used as continuo instruments, and, despite contemporary theoretical discussions to the contrary, it was time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to apply these new temperaments to organs. Thus, it is clear that Buxtehude’s musical language developed within the realm of mean-tone temperament and that this temperament was standard when he played the organs. Nevertheless, it is a fact that a few of Buxtehude’s free organ works (BuxWV 141; BuxWV 142; BuxWV 149; BuxWV 151) are hardly playable in the keys in which they are preserved. Indeed, the free works of E minor, A minor, and G minor clearly benefit from the access to a d-sharp or a-flat instead of an e-flat or g-sharp (or instead of subsemitones, compromise notes for e-flat and g-sharp). There are several ways for the performer to diminish the harshness of impure harmony and/or dissonance, for example to shorten the length of dissonant notes or to add ornaments that hide them, or to adjust the registration from fuller registrations, for example Pleno, to solely Principal sound. However, the discrepancy between the temperament and a portion of the preserved works presents a problem that seems to be hard to solve. The notated versions may have been considered merely music for the eyes, or perhaps played on stringed keyboard instruments that more easily could be retuned. It was also foreign to the baroque era that a work of music existed as an absolute work in a completed form and carried with it the expectation that all notes should be possible to render exactly the way they are notated. The fact is that no organ works are preserved in autographs, and many compositions appear in somewhat different versions in different manuscripts. It is even documented that pieces surviving in keys like F-sharp minor were given to students to practice transposition.

We probably ought to take the baroque approach to this question: that the notated versions represent different versions of a work as a concept in evolution, and that it was perhaps never meant to be completed and final in a modern sense, but rather continuously developing and open for adjustments generated by the context and practical conditions.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 16676
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #214 on: March 11, 2016, 11:59:07 PM »
Thank you premont, it's very kind and helpful of you to go to so much trouble. I have ordered Ablizer's CD, because I really enjoyed the Buxtehude in L'école du Nord.  I've also been listening to v5 of Vogel.

You might like Ablitzer! 8)

Q

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #215 on: March 12, 2016, 05:55:22 AM »
You might like Ablitzer! 8)

Q

I expect I will.

I must say, que,  my appreciation of Buxtehude on organ has come on tremendously over the past few months, you can see that through the discussion above,  really due to my discovery of meantone. It's so much less bland harmonically.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #216 on: March 12, 2016, 09:44:03 AM »
My source for the tuning of the Marienkirche organs was Kerala Snyder, who proposed that the retuning in 1683 served the purpose, I mentioned above, but in a revision of her book (Dietrich Buxtehude, organist in Lübeck) she has abandoned this idea because of lacking evidence. So Davidsson may well be right. 
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #217 on: March 12, 2016, 11:44:00 AM »
The booklet to the LP release of Walter Kraft's Buxtehude set states, that the organ he uses (the Totentanz-organ in the Marienkirche, Lübeck - reconstructed by Karl Kemper after WW II, later dismantled) is tuned in mean tone. I is evidently not tuned in equal temperature

Yes, evidently.

but I think it even here is about a modified variety, as I do not think it sounds like pure meantone.

You must have the best pair of ears on the world wide web (assuming you're right)! I just don't know what to listen for.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7897
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #218 on: March 12, 2016, 02:16:41 PM »
You must have the best pair of ears on the world wide web (assuming you're right)! I just don't know what to listen for.

I listen to the major thirds, how much they are in tune or out of tune.

In pure meantone tuning the major thirds of the commonly used modes (e.g. C major, F major) are pure, while the thirds of less used modes (e.g. F-Sharp major) are considerably out of tune - so much, that these modes can not be used. There was a reason, why they were rarely used.

The different modifications of the meantone tuning, particularly made in the late 16th Century and the early 17th Century (Werkmeister, Valotti, Kirnberger), served the purpose to make the major thirds of the less used modes more in tune, so that these modes could be used more, allowing for more free modulation. But this took place at the expense of the in-tuneness of the major thirds of the commonly used modes, so every tuning system can be regarded as a kind of compromise, depending on ones taste.

And then there is the ultimative compromise, where all major thirds are out of tune in equal measure - and too much (some think).

It is easy to detect the pure meantone and also the equal tuning, but I admit, that it is difficult to hear all the details of all these meantone modifications, but the crucial point is the major thirds. Our ear is very sensitive to variations of the major third, but for some reason it is not equally sensitive to small variations in tuneness of the fifths and minor thirds.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 05:26:31 AM by (: premont :) »
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12742
Re: Buxtehude organ works
« Reply #219 on: March 13, 2016, 06:09:48 AM »

and by Harald Vogel, cpt. organ works vol. 5 (MDG) but only for some of the CD, which however also features two other organs in meantone tuning (Hantelmann organ, Gross Eichen and B Hus organ, Langwarden).



One absolutely charming thing on that CD is Buxwv 245, "Courante zimble" - it's the only performance of it on organ I can find.

Added. Found  Julia Brown (v.7) and Hans Davidsson (Schnitger) Enjoyed neither as much as Vogel for his lightness and pulse. Also very much enjoyed Mortenssen do it, probably  most of all because of the variety of textures - arpeggiation etc.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 08:35:42 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen