SCHEIDEMANN: Organ Works, Vol. 5 (Julia Brown/ Wolfgang Rubsam) (Naxos: 8.557054)
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Heinrich Scheidemann (c. 1595-1663)
Organ Works, Vol. 5
Born in about 1595 in Wohrden in Holstein, where hisfather, a native of Hamburg, had recently beenappointed organist, Heinrich Scheidemann studiedbetween 1611 and 1614 with Sweelinck in Amsterdam.
His father had moved from Wohrden by 1604 to takethe position of organist at the Catharinenkirche inHamburg, and the church supported his son's study,In der Hoffnung, dass er ein braver K??nstler unddereinst ihr Org. werden sollte (in the hope that hemight become a fine artist and some day their organist).
When his studies in Amsterdam came to an endSweelinck wrote a farewell canon for him, with thededication Ter eeren des vromen Jongkmans HenderichScheijtman, van Hamborgh, is dit geschreven bij mij,Jan P. Sweelinck, organist tot Amsterdam, op den12den Novemb. 1614 (For the worthy young manHeinrich Scheidemann of Hamburg this is written byme, Jan P.Sweelinck, organist of Amsterdam, on 12thNovember 1614). In the late 1620s, and at least by1629, he succeeded his father as organist at theCatharinenkirche, and in 1633 was appointed clerk ofthe church, marrying in the following year the daughterof a doctor.
During his years at Hamburg Scheidemannestablished himself as an important figure in the worldof North German organ music. His pupils includedJ.A.Reincken, later his assistant and successor, WernerFabricius, who became organist at the Nikolaikirche inLeipzig, Wolfgang Wessnitzer of Celle, Jakob Lorentzof the Waisenhaus in Hamburg, and others ofcontemporary distinction. He served as a consultant onthe construction of new instruments in Brunswick,L??beck, Bremen and elsewhere, and saw to theenlargement of his own instrument at theCatharinenkirche by the organ-builder GottfriedFritzsche, with the addition of a Brustwerk to make afour-manual instrument with the existing Hauptwerk,R??ckpositiv, and Oberwerk, pedals and 56 stops. Hedied during an epidemic of the plague in Hamburg in1663, and his widow, in recognition of her husband'sservices, received a pension from the city.
Scheidemann's important Magnificat settings werediscovered in 1955 by Gustav Fock in a book of organtablatures at Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The four organ verseswere to be played at Vespers between the sung verses ofthe canticle, seemingly, in Hamburg tradition, replacingthe third, fifth, seventh and ninth of these.
Scheidemann's cycle of Magnificat verses uses theeight psalm tones, two of which are here included. TheMagnificat IV Toni suggests the psalm tone in theopening of the first versus, leaving the formal entry ofthe chant to the pedals. This is elaborated in theextended second versus, a chorale fantasia, withrelatively ornate parts, and echo effects as it proceeds.
The third versus, a chorale ricercare, is plainer intexture, and the setting ends with a fourth versus for themanuals only. Here the right hand introduces the psalmtone, adding, also with the left hand, a runningcounterpoint, in a three-part texture.
The additional second version of the MagnificatVIII Toni here included, is, exceptionally, in onemovement, its chant material developed throughout.
Here again Scheidemann takes the opportunity of usingecho effects by sudden alternation of manuals.
There are twelve embellished versions of motets byother composers among Scheidemann's organcompositions. The origin of one of these is uncertain,while one is by Hieronymus Praetorius, three by Hasslerand seven by Orlando de Lassus. The first of the threehere included of these last, Angelus ad pastores ait(The angel said to the shepherds), from the Sacraecantiones of 1562, is a fine example of a form that wasstill an important element of the organ music of thetime, a decorated version of a five-voice motet.
Confitemini Domino (Let us confess to the Lord), from1562, provides a good example of Scheidemann'simprovisatory technique, while Omnia quae fecisti (Allthat thou hast made), from the same collection, is afurther ornamentation of a five-voice motet. The greatFranco-Flemish composer Orlando de Lassus, who diedin 1594 after years of service at the Bavarian court inMunich, left a vast quantity of music, including a verylarge number of motets. Scheidemann's embellishmentsof these may be seen as a tribute to the earlier composer,and examples of generally improvised contemporarypractice.
The Kyrie dominicale, based on the Kyrie forSundays, suggests the appropriate chant in the upperparts before the pedal entry with the chant inaugmentation. The second Versus follows a similarprocedure, now adding more decorative figuration inthe right hand. The third Versus, the Christe eleison,offers the prolonged chant in the upper voice, before thepedal entry.
The second of three chorale arrangements based onVater unser im Himmelreich (Our Father, which art inHeaven) takes a relatively extended chorale melodygiven in the Lutheran 1604 Melodeyen-Gesangbuch,first heard in the lower voice, and treated with varyingdegrees of embellishment.
Scheidemann's Fugue in D minor, for manualsonly, offers the short subject first in the upper voice,answered by the three other voices, entering indescending order. The Praeambulum in G major,attributed to Scheidemann on firm stylistic grounds, isregarded as a major example of the composer's work inthis form. Scholars have distinguished between twoforms of Praeambulum among the fourteen left byScheidemann, those offering a fugal middle section andthose with a middle section based on the device ofsequence. Exceptionally the Praeambulum in G majorhas a middle section that includes elements of both.Keith Anderson