Early Organ Composers’ Anniversaries in 2013

January 18, 2013

In 2013 there are several composers whose anniversaries can be commemorated, albeit some of the dates are not known for certain; there are a few lesser-known names here whose compositions are well worth exploring. 


John Bull (ca. 1563–1628). Organist of Hereford Cathedral, Chapel Royal, and, after fleeing the country in 1613 when charged with adultery, Brussels and Antwerp, he composed a large amount of keyboard music, much of which poses extreme difficulties for the player, including fast runs in thirds and sixths for both hands. There are doubts over ascriptions in some manuscripts, and there is also the possibility that some unascribed works may in fact be by him. A few pieces were included in Parthenia in 1612–13. Some 18 fantasias, as well as ostinati, liturgical pieces (over 30, including 12 In Nomine settings), and five Dutch carol settings have been edited by John Steele and Francis Cameron, revised by Alan Brown for Musica Britannica, Vol. 14 (although in some pieces the note values have been halved) and, more suitable for stringed keyboard instruments, many dances, variations, and character pieces have been edited by Thurston Dart in Vol. 19. A good selection is included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (modern edition by J. Fuller Maitland and
W. Barclay Squire for Dover). An excellent book on the keyboard works is The Keyboard Music of John Bull by Walker Cunningham (1984). 


Giles Farnaby (ca. 1563–1640) composed vocal music and over 50 pieces for keyboard, including 11 highly individual fantasias, pavans, variations, other dances (including an alman for two virginals), and descriptive character pieces, almost all of which are included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Modern complete edition of Farnaby’s Keyboard Music, edited by Richard Marlow, in Musica Britannica, Vol. 24. 


Heinrich Scheidemann (ca. 1595–1663). Pupil of Sweelinck and organist of the Katharinenkirche, Hamburg, he left a large corpus of keyboard music in manuscript, including over 30 chorale preludes. These range from short single-verse settings to lengthy fantasias and multi-verse settings, and 12 motet intabulations (most of which require pedals), Magnificat settings on the eight tones, unusually with only four verses, and one additional fantasia-like one-verse setting on the eighth tone, all of which require pedals, and some 20 praeambulae, fugues, fantasias, canzonas, and toccatas, most of which are for manuals only. Three of the latter, along with another 27 variations and dances, all manuals only, and particularly suited to stringed keyboard instruments, have been edited by Pieter Dirksen for Breitkopf & Härtel (EB8688). The keyboard works have been edited by Klaus Beckmann (vols. 1–3) and Claudia Schumacher (vol. 4, motets) for Schott Music. The earlier edition (in three volumes, omitting the motets) by Gustav Fock for Bärenreiter does contain several pieces that have recently been excised from the canon but are nevertheless attractive, including some chorale preludes. An invaluable book on the keyboard works is Heinrich Scheidemann’s Keyboard Music by Pieter Dirksen (2007). 


Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663–1712). Organist in Halle and teacher of Handel, he left some 53 chorale preludes (including a splendid set of 12 variations on Jesu meine Freude), the great majority of which are playable on one manual and do not require pedals, and 13 secular pieces that are also suitable for the clavichord, including preludes, fugues, fantasia, capriccio, and a Suite in B Minor. There are modern editions by Heinz Lohmann for Breitkopf & Härtel, and Klaus Beckmann for Schott, which omits the suite. 


Franz Xaver Murschhauser (1663–1738). Organist in Munich, where he studied with Kerll, he published three volumes for organ, of which the first in 1696 included sets of a preambulum, five fugues, and a finale on the eight tones, followed by four sets of variations for the Christmas season, including one with cuckoo imitations, and a suite. The second volume (published in two parts in 1703 and 1707) includes praeambulae, toccatas, canzonas, and fugues on the first to third, seventh, eighth, and tenth to twelfth tones, many of which do not require pedals; a set of eight arias with variations and three Weihnachts-lieder with variations was published as op. 7. All three volumes are edited by Rudolph Walter for Alfred Coppenrath, obtainable from Carus Verlag. The suite is found only in the Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern edition of ca. 1904. 


Giuseppe Paganelli (1710–63) worked in Venice, Bayreuth, Munich, and Madrid, where he may have succeeded Domenico Scarlatti. In 1756 he published XXX Ariae Pro Organo et Cembalo, a collection of short one-movement binary-form pieces intended for the Elevation. Modern edition by M. Machella for Armelin AMM163. He also published sonatas and sonatinas for stringed keyboard instruments.


Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713–82), pupil of J. S. Bach, organist at Altenburg, left a large corpus of organ works in manuscript. Edited in four volumes by G. Weinberger for Breitkopf & Härtel, the secular works comprise seven preludes and fugues, two toccatas and fugues in volume one, with seven praeludia, three fantasias, two fantasias and fugues, twelve fugues, and 17 trios in volume two. Volume three includes some 34 chorale preludes and volume four contains the Clavierübung erste Lieferung, or 13 chorales in three movements (praeambulum, chorale with melody and figured bass, and a chorale alio modo in the form of a prelude). There are also some 20 pieces for organ and obbligato solo instrument. Krebs published numerous works for stringed keyboard instruments, including sonatas, sonatinas, and suites. Some of the sonatas and sonatinas work well on the organ and are available from Carus Verlag, which also publishes Six Fugues; some of these require pedals for sustaining long notes rather than for the performance of one of the voices. A set of six newly discovered sonatas has been published by Dr. J. Butz Musikverlag and was reviewed in The Organ, no. 358.  


William Russell (1777–1813). Organist of St. Anne’s, Limehouse, he published two sets of Twelve Voluntaries for organ or pianoforte in 1804 and 1812; the 1804 set concludes with a three-movement voluntary in C minor followed by two movements in C major, which can be considered as two separate voluntaries. These voluntaries contain writing that is technically advanced, using the galant language of Haydn and Mozart, with several pieces containing an independent pedal part on a third stave as well as indications for its use in the two-stave layout.  There are several occurrences of the figure 8 beneath bass passages, which refers either to playing them in octaves or in employing the pedals. Dialogues between Cremona and Hautboy, as well as Trumpet movements in E-flat, C minor and E minor are included, and the Cornet movements conclude with a passage for the Diapasons, following contemporary treatises. Voluntaries VII–XII in the first set, and VIII–XII in the second conclude with extended fugues. Modern editions of both sets by Geoffrey Atkinson for Fagus Music and Greg Lewin for Greg Lewin music. The Atkinson edition of the 1812 set contains an extra voluntary in G edited by Gillian Ward Russell.  


A composer who left no works for solo keyboard but whose works for other instruments have been extensively transcribed for keyboard is Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713). Although many of his chamber sonatas and concerti were arranged during the 18th century, only a few are available in modern editions. Those that are available include Edward Miller’s adaptations of opp. 1 and 3, edited by Jörg Jacobi for Edition Baroque (eba4001/12), and Thomas Billington’s adaptations of the Celebrated 12 Concertos available in Performers’ Facsimiles PF94.


An increasing number of pieces, ranging from complete original publications/manuscripts (which present the usual problems of multiple clefs as well as original printer’s errors) to selected individual works, are to be found on various free download sites, most noticeably IMSLP.org; however, the accuracy of some modern typesettings is highly questionable, and all should be treated with caution before use. Publishers’ websites include: 


Schott Music: www.schott-music.com 

Breitkopf & Härtel: www.breitkopf.com  

Bärenreiter: www.baerenreiter.com  

Armelin: www.armelin.it

Cornetto Verlag: www.cornetto-music.de 

Stainer & Bell: www.stainer.co.uk 

Carus Verlag: www.carus-verlag.com 

Dover: www.doverbooks.co.uk  

Edition Baroque: www.edition-baroque.de 

Butz Verlag: www.butz-verlag.de




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