Video-Beschreibungen / Video Descriptions

Diese Seite enthält die Texte der meisten Videobeschreibungen der Videos mit von mir eingespielten Orgelwerken auf Youtube.  Die Videotitel verlinken jeweils dorthin.  (Im Aufbau)

This page contains the text of most of the video descriptions of videos with organ works that I have recorded and uploaded on Youtube.  Click on the titles of the videos to see and watch them.  (Under construction)


Auguste Larriu (1840-1925): Adeste fideles (Haverhill)

Auguste Larriu was a lawyer who also became organist of the ancient (and quite large) Église Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross Church) of his native city of Oloron, in the deep southwest of France, in 1868. Apparently he held the post for the rest of his life. His oeuvre as composer comprises organ music, but also at least one opéra-comique (you believe it when you hear this piece). The children in the postcard — showing the Sainte-Croix bell tower and the door of the north transept — may well have heard him play. When he took over his post as organist Sainte-Croix still had an organ going back to 1673 but modified in 1780 and 1856. Following the example of the Église Notre-Dame and Oloron cathedral, which acquired new organs (both of them by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll) in 1851 and 1870 respectively, Sainte-Croix also received a new organ, made by Michel Roger and which Larriu inaugurated on 8 April 1886. Sadly, this instrument (26 / II + P) was removed and apparently destroyed when the church was restored in 1960; it has not been replaced.

The instrument heard here, the organ of the Old Independent Church in Haverhill, Suffolk, built by James Jepson Binns in 1901, is contemporary with the piece (see Even though it is English rather than French — I do not currently possess a sample set of a French Romantic organ — I feel that it is well able to do Larriu justice.


Th. Tomkins (1572-1656): A Sad Pavan for… (Boezemkerk Bolnes)

Instrument: Digital avatar of the organ of the Boezemkerk, Bolnes, The Netherlands (Willem van Leeuwen 1959) (

Thomas Tomkins was born in 1572 at St Davids in Wales, where his father was a vicar choral and organist of the cathedral. In 1596 Thomas became organist of Worcester cathedral, a post which from 1621 onwards he combined with that of organist of the Chapel Royal. In 1628 king Charles I appointed him composer-in-ordinary. Following the outbreak of civil war in 1642 Worcester became an early target of puritan anger. The cathedral was desecrated and closed to worship, and the organ, which Thomas had had newly built in 1612, was smashed. In 1643 a canon shot destroyed the house near the cathedral where Thomas lived. By then in his seventies, Thomas continued to write keyboard music, collected in an autograph volume where each piece bears the date of its composition. The „Sad Pavan“, dated 14 February 1649, must reflect the news that king Charles I had been beheaded at Whitehall on 30 January. At the end of his life Thomas went to live with his son and daughter-in-law in the village of Martin Hussingtree, a short distance from Worcester. He died there in 1656, aged 84, and is buried in the churchyard.


G.A. Sorge (1703-78): 3 Orgelchoräle aus der Neumeister-Sammlung (Zöblitz)

  1. Freu dich sehr o meine Seele – 2. Vater unser im Himmelreich @1:57 – 3. In allen meinen Taten @3:17

(English below)

Die Neumeister-Sammlung ist ein von Johann Gottfried Neumeister (1757-1840) erstelltes, heute an der Yale-Universität aufbewahrtes Manuskript mit 82 Orgel-Chorälen, knapp die Hälfte davon von J.S. Bach. Aufsehen erregte die Sammlung, als man 1984 feststellte, daß sie etliche Bach-Werke enthält, die bislang entweder nicht in dieser Fassung oder gar nicht bekannt waren. Die Sammlung enthält auch acht Choräle von G.A. Sorge — dieser, selbst bekennender Bewunderer von JSB, hatte Neumeister auf der Orgel unterrichtet. Die acht Sorge-Choräle sind die einzigen der Sammlung, die auch in einer zeitgenössischen gedruckten Fassung vorliegen: Erster Theil der VORSPIELE vor bekannten Choral-Gesängen in 3stimmiger reiner Harmonie gesetzt, welche so wohl auf der Orgel als auch auf dem Clavier zur Übung nützlich können gebraucht werden. Gesetzt von Georg Andreas Sorgen, Gräflich Reuß-Plauischen Hof und Stadt-Organisten zu Lobenstein wie auch der Societaet der musicalischen Wissenschafften Mitgliede (Nürnberg [1750]). (Soweit ich feststellen kann, ist ein „Zweiter Theil“ nie erschienen.) Die Ausgabe, nach der die hier zu hörenden drei Choräle eingespielt wurden, beruht auf dem Neumeister-Manuskript; ob und wie sie von der 1750 gedruckten Fassung abweicht, weiß ich nicht. Wie auch der Drucktitel andeutet, sind die Stücke ausdrücklich für die Verwendung auf der Orgel, aber nicht nur der Orgel gedacht: unter „Clavier“ ist ein Cembalo zu verstehen. Sie lassen sich ohne Pedal und auf einem einzigen Manual spielen.

Weitere von mir eingespielte Choralbearbeitungen von Sorge finden sich hier. Darunter insbesondere eine weitere Bearbeitung von Vater unser im Himmelreich, diesmal als Choraltrio „a 2 claviere e pedale“.

Außerdem arbeite ich an einer Gesamtaufnahme von Sorges Orgeltrios.

The Neumeister collection, now kept at Yale University, is a manuscript collection of 82 organ chorales — just under half of them by J.S. Bach — compiled by Johann Gottfried Neumeister (1757-1840). It became famous when, in 1984, it was discovered that it contains a number of works by Bach that had either not been known in this version or not at all. The collection also includes eight chorales by G.A. Sorge, himself an outspoken admirer of JSB and who had taught Neumeister on the organ. The eight chorales by Sorge are the only ones in the collection of which there exists a contemporary printed version: Preludes to well-known chorales set in pure three-part harmony, which may be employed as useful exercises either on the organ or the harpsichord. By Georg Andreas Sorge, Court and Town Organist of His Excellency the Count of Reuss-Plauen at Lobenstein and member of the Society of Musical Sciences. Volume the First (Nürnberg [1750]). (As far as I can determine no further volume was published.) The recordings heard here are played from an edition based on the Neumeister manuscript; I do not know if or how that differs from the printed edition of 1750. As the title of the latter indicates, these pieces are expressly meant to be playable both on the organ and on the harpsichord. They can be played on a single manual and lack a pedal part.

I have also recorded other chorale preludes by Sorge. These include another arrangement by Sorge of the hymn Vater Unser im Himmelreich, this time as a trio „a 2 claviere e pedale“.

I am working on a complete recording of Sorge’s organ trios.


William Goodwin (? – 1784): Voluntary No. 1 in G minor/major (Zöblitz)

W. Goodwin (biographical note below): Voluntary No. 1: I. Adagio II. Allegro

In an 18C English organ voluntary of the type seen here, a slow opening movement, played „on the diapasons“ (open and stopped) is followed by a faster movement for one or more solo stops, accompanied in the left hand by a deliberately simple bass line that eschews chords. In this voluntary, the score suggests „Cornet or Flute“ as possible solo stops — though in fact what you hear here is neither. The registration chosen for this recording does not feature a cornet, but neither does it correspond to 18th-c. English practice regarding the flute stop: on an English organ of that period this stop was always a four-foot rank, and if I understand correctly the solo part of „flute“ pieces was indeed played on that stop alone, thus sounding an octave higher than written. English authors of the period point out that the „flute“ could „accompany itself“, with the left hand bass played on the same manual. I must admit that if this is indeed the historically correct way to perform a „flute“ movement I cannot get myself to like it much. So what I use for the solo part here is a Silbermann eight-foot principal drawn together with a quint (twelfth). This combination yields a pleasant flute-like sound at ordinary pitch (the same as written).

This is part of an ongoing project to upload all twelve voluntaries by William Goodwin, and some at least of the twenty-four by Starling Goodwin. The playlist is here:…

William Goodwin was organist of St George-the-Martyr at Southwark before moving across the river to St Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange in the City of London in 1766. In 1774 he „inherited“ the posts of organist at St Saviour’s Southwark (now Southwark Cathedral), St Mary’s Bermondsey and St Mary’s Newington Butts — all in his old neighbourhood south of the river Thames — from his father Starling Goodwin (1711-74; see… ). Starling Goodwin had married in December 1747 and in the marriage allegation is described as a bachelor, so he had not been married before. If William was born after the wedding (as his sister Anne may not have been — when she married in March 1767 her age was given as 22) he would haveobtained the post at St George’s at a rather early age. This would however not be that unusual for the period (John Stanley obtained his first post as organist at the age of 11). The member database of the Royal Society of Musicians shows that Starling joined the society in 1752 and William (surely the right one, since as with Starling the category „instrument:“ reads „organ“) in 1760. According to the RSM database William died on 5 March 1784.


William Goodwin (? – 1784): Voluntary No. 3 in G major (Little Waldingfield)

W. Goodwin (biographical note below): Voluntary No. 3 in G major: I. Adagio II. Affettuoso (@ 3:38)

This intimate piece is a good illustration of the fact that much 18C English organ music is really a form a chamber music. The typical opening movement, played „on the diapasons“ (open and stopped) owes much to the opening slow movement of Corelli’s Sonate da chiesa. It is followed by a main movement for one or more solo stops, accompanied in the left hand by a deliberately simple bass line that eschews chords. In this voluntary, the score suggests „Vox humana“ for the Great, with an alternating second solo line marked only „Swell“ and with the bass presumably intended to be played on the Choir. There being no Vox humana on the organ heard here I have instead used the Swell Oboe, alternating with the Cremona on the Great. As this starts from c‘ the left hand can play the bass line on the same manual. Regarding the two reed stops heard in this piece, it is not clear whether they come from the original 1809 organ by Josesph Hart or are the result of the Victorian rebuilding carried out by William Denman in 1876. Tonally, at any rate, they certainly fit in with the generally Georgian rather than Victorian sound of this instrument. The flues heard here all come from the original organ — the Open Diapason and the Stop Diapason on the Great, and the Swell „Gedact“ — except that the Swell originally only went down to tenor F. The bass pipes are by Denman, who may also have been responsible for relabelling a „Gedact“ what was originally no doubt called „Stop Diapason“ too, the same as on the Great. Denman may have revoiced the organ, but equally well he may not have. In the video the number of stops on this organ is wrongly stated as 20. In fact there are only 18 (though two are divided).

As with others of my early videos this one suffers from an imperfect synchronisation between the video and audio files, with the latter lagging a fraction of a second behind, more noticeably in the second movement than in the first. But it’s not quite bad enough to take the video offline and re-post it, as I have done with others.

This is part of an ongoing project to upload all twelve voluntaries by William Goodwin, and some at least of the twenty-four by Starling Goodwin. The playlist is here:…

William Goodwin was organist of… (as above)


William Goodwin (? – 1784): Voluntary No. 8 in D minor/major (Szombathely Eule)

W. Goodwin (biographical note below): Voluntary No. 8 in D minor/major: I. Largo staccato II. Fuga: Allegro

The eighteenth-century English organ voluntary had two basic types: a faster second movement featuring one or more solo stops introduced by a slow movement played „on the diapasons“, or, as here, a fugue. The registration for a fugue is always „full organ“. It, too, is introduced by a slow movement, but unlike in a voluntary for solo stops the slow movement preceding a fugue is also to be played on the full organ; it is usually short and has the dotted rhythms of the „French overture“.

This is part of an ongoing project to upload all twelve voluntaries by William Goodwin, and some at least of the twenty-four by Starling Goodwin. The playlist is here:…

William Goodwin was organist of… (as above)


Johann Krieger (1651-1735): Fantasia aus D (Haverhill)

English below
Dieses Video, eines der ersten, die ich überhaupt hochgeladen habe, enthält eine von zwei Aufnahmen von Stücken aus der „Anmuthigen Clavier-Übung“, einer Sammlung, die Krieger 1699 in seiner Heimatstadt Nürnberg veröffentlichte — er war damals aber schon Organist an der Stadtkirche St. Johannis in Zittau (seit 1682). Das andere war eine Aufnahme des Praeludium aus Gb, die ich inzwischen ersetzt habe (Neuaufnahme hier). (Aus Unkenntnis habe ich dieses Video mit der Fantasia damals mit einer mp3-Datei unterlegt statt mit der ursprünglichen wav-datei. Der Unterschied ist im Vergleich zu dem neu aufgenommenen Video — auf derselben Orgel gespielt — durchaus hörbar. Zudem wurden damals vielleicht die Tonspuren durch Youtube selbst stärker komprimiert.)

Georg Friedrich Händel besaß ein Exemplar der „Clavier-Übung“, und hielt offenbar viel davon. Zusammen mit Abschriften von Werken aus seiner Zeit als Orgelschüler in Halle, darunter Kompositionen seines Lehrers Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, überließ Händel dieses aus Deutschland mitgebrachte und zeitlebens aufbewahrte Büchlein am Ende seines Lebens seinem Freund Bernard Granville. Der notierte Folgendes auf dem Vorsatzblatt: „The printed book is by one of the celebrated Organ Players of Germany; Mr. Handel in his youth formed himself a good deal on his plan; and said that Krieger was one of the best writers of his time for the organ.“

This video, one of the very first uploaded on this channel, contains one of two recordings of pieces from the „Anmuthige Clavier-Übung“ („Elegant Keyboard Exercise“), a collection of pieces that Krieger published in 1699 in his native Nürnberg — although he had by then been organist of the main church at Zittau in Saxony already since 1682. The other video was a recording of the Prelude in G Minor, since replaced (this is the new version). (Out of ignorance I used an mp3 file for the video of the Fantasia rather than the original wav file. If you compare it to the other video — the re-recorded one, played on the same organ — the difference in sound quality is quite audible. It may also be that Youtube itself compressed the audio more back then.)

G.F. Handel owned a copy of the „Clavier-Übung“, and apparently thought highly of it. Together with a notebook containing organ works (by, among others, his teacher Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow) that he had copied in his youth in Halle Handel at the end of his life presented it to his friend Bernard Granville. On the flyleaf Granville wrote: „The printed book is by one of the celebrated Organ Players of Germany; Mr. Handel in his youth formed himself a good deal on his plan; and said that Krieger was one of the best writers of his time for the organ.“


Gaël Liardon (1973-2018): Sechs Choralfugetten für Orgel (Boezemkerk Bolnes)

Scroll down for notes in English
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen – Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme @1:09 – Maria durch ein Dornwald ging @2:08 – In dulci jubilo @3:08 – Macht hoch die Tür, die Tor macht weit @3:52 – Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich @5:00

Instrument: Orgel der Boezemkerk Bolnes (Willem van Leeuwen 1959)

Dieselben Stücke habe ich auch auf der Grenzing-Orgel in St Pierre-ès-liens, Ménestérol aufgenommen:

Gaël Liardon war Organist der deutschsprachigen reformierten Gemeinde in Lausanne (Temple de Villamont) und lehrte am Konservatorium in Genf.

I have recorded the same pieces on the Grenzing organ at St Pierre-ès-liens, Ménestérol:

Gaël Liardon was the organist of the German-speaking Reformed congregation at Lausanne (Temple de Villamont) and taught at the Conservatoire de Genève.


W.A. Mozart (1756-91): Adagio für Glasharmonika (Boezemkerk Bolnes)

(English version below)
Die Glasharmonika wurde von Benjamin Franklin erfunden und erstmals 1762 in London unter dem Namen „Glassy-chord“ vorgestellt. Konzentrische Glasschalen waren horizontal auf einer drehenden, per Fußpedal angetriebenen Achse so montiert, daß sie teilweise in einen wassergefüllten Trog ragten und durch die Drehung naß gehalten wurden. Gespielt wurde mit den Fingern. Mozart schrieb dieses Stück 1791 für die blinde Virtuosin Marianne Kirchgeßner. Heute hört man es häufig auf der Orgel, wobei es in aller Regel wohl schneller gespielt wird, als auf der Glasharmonika möglich wäre.

The glass harmonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin and first presented to the public in London in 1762 under the name „glassy-chord“. Concentric glass bowls were mounted horizontally on a turning axle driven by a foot pedal, in such a way that the bowls were partly submerged in a trough filled with water and kept wet through the rotation. The instrument was played with the fingers. Mozart wrote this piece in 1791 for the blind virtuoso Marianne Kirchgessner. Today it is often heard on the organ, usually no doubt played faster than would be possible on the glass harmonica.


Joh. Andreas Streicher (1761-1833): Die Gnade unsers Herrn Jesu Christi (Zöblitz)

(English version below)
Johann Andreas Streicher ist heute am ehesten begannt als der Jugendfreund Friedrich Schillers, der 1791 mit ihm aus Stuttgart nach Mannheim floh und darüber später Erinnerungen veröffentlichte. Eigentlich hatte Streicher nach Hamburg gehen und dort Schüler von C.P.E. Bach werden wollen, doch die gemeinsame Flucht mit Schiller ließ dafür keine Geldmittel übrig. Stattdessen heiratete Streicher 1793 die Erbin eines Augsburger Orgel- und Klavierbauers, Nanette Stein, die selbst als Pianistin, Sängerin und Komponistin hervortrat. 1794 ließ sich das Ehepaar in Wien nieder, wo die Firma Streicher im Klavierbau erfolgreich war. Nanette und Johann Andreas Streicher waren eng mit Beethoven befreundet, den Nanette bereits 1787 in Augsburg kennengelernt hatte, als er nach seinem ersten Aufenthalt in Wien nach Bonn zurückreiste. Johann Andreas war auch ein wichtiger Fürsprecher der protestantischen Diaspora in Wien. Der eingespielten Orgelbearbeitung liegt kein Choral im eigentlichen Sinne zugrunde, sondern die Vertonung (für vierstimmigen Chor durch Christian Gregor 1755) des Schlußsegens der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine, nach 2. Korinther 13.13 („Die Gnade unsers HERRN Jesu Christi und die Liebe Gottes und die Gemeinschaft des heiligen Geistes sei mit uns allen Amen.“)

Johann Andreas Streicher is mostly known today as the early friend of Friedrich Schiller, with whom he escaped from Stuttgart to Mannheim in 1791; he later published a memoir about the episode. Streicher had really intended to go to Hamburg to study with C.P.E. Bach, but helping Schiller used up all his funds. So instead in 1793 he married the heiress of an Augsburg organ and piano maker, Nanette Stein, who herself was a pianist, singer and composer. In 1794 the couple moved to Vienna, where the Streicher piano building company flourished. Nanette and Johann Andreas Streicher were close friends of Beethoven, whom Nanette had already met in Augsburg in 1787 when Beethoven was returning to Bonn from his first stay in Vienna. Johann Andreas was also an important patron of the protestant diaspora in Vienna. The organ work heard here is not based on a hymn, but on the setting (for four-part choir by Christian Gregor in 1755) of the final blessing of the Bohemian Brethren based on 2 Corinthians 13.13 („The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with us all. Amen.“)


Kate Boundy (1865-1913): Three Pieces for Organ (Haverhill)

To mark the centenary of the death of this unknown composer, here are her complete published organ works (as far as they are known to me): Even Song – Andante patetico – Andante grazioso, played on a digital copy of the 1901 Binns organ at the Old Independent Church, Haverhill, Suffolk ( For some notes on Kate Boundy’s life please see the end of the video. I would be grateful for any further details, not least regarding the circumstances of her untimely death.

Update — information kindly provided by Kerr Jamieson:
„Regarding the mystery of Kate Boundy’s premature death, I’ve found (through the British Newspaper Archive) a reference to an obituary in the „Western Times“ of Monday 11th August 1913. I haven’t seen the original scan (subscription required!) but the OCR extract is as follows: –

‚THE LATE MISS BOUNDY. Funeral at the Higher Cemetery,
Exeter. General sympathy is felt for Mr. G.L. Boundy, of
Southcroft, Heavitree-road Exeter, and his family, owing to the death of his elder daughter, Miss Kate Boundy. The sad event took place at her brother’s house at Abergavenny, [on?] Thursday. [The?] deceased, who had been an invalid for several years, was a gifted musician, and Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. She was a clever pianiste, and had made a reputation as a composer, several of her works having had a wide circulation. btojMA[Latterly?] however she had been incapacitated by ill health, and was unable to get about outdoors except in a bath-chair. A few days ago she journeyed to Wales on a visit to her brother, and [in?] the hope of meeting some of nei[her?] Wends[friends?] at the Welsh Eistedfodd. While at her brother’s, however, she became seriously ill, and passed away on Thursday.‘

Regarding your note on tempi, I find that in „The Village Organist“ there are considerable discrepancies between the tempo markings and the estimated timings, even taking into account the fact that the durations quoted are apparently all rounded to the nearest half minute, which can give a high percentage of error with durations as short as one or two minutes. I hope you might be interested in my following remarks on the subject.

In the „Andante grazioso“ I reckon a 2’00 performance would require a tempo of 52 dotted crotchets per minute, which does seem quite appropriate, whereas the suggested tempo of 66 would take only about 1’35, which, as you say, changes the character of the piece quite dramatically! As for the unhelpful instruction „In flowing time“, how can time do anything other than flow (metaphorically, at least)? Incidentally, I notice that you say that this piece was published in 1894: my copy says „Copyright, 1897“. Do you have some information which contradicts that? [No — the correct date is in fact 1894!]

Returning to the tempo problems… „Even Song“ would take nearer 2’45 than 2’00 if it were played at a tempo of 104 quavers per minute. But why would anyone wish to count it in quaver beats at all? 2’00 can be achieved comfortably (as in your own performance) with about 60 dotted crotchets per minute. As for „Molto moderato“, that seems to me to be a contradiction in terms! Again, my date differs from yours: I have „Copyright, 1898“ (not 1897). [Again, 1898 is in fact the correct date.]

In the „Andante patetico“ I reckon the suggested tempo of 40 minims per minute would give a duration of 2’12 (almost exactly that of your own performance) rather than the 1’30 stated. No problem with the date here!“

Many thanks Kerr!


Dulcie Holland (1913-2000): Tuba Tune (Haverhill)

Dulcie Holland was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1913.  Both her father, an engineer, and her mother were active in their local church — her father was a keen singer, her mother played hymns.  Dulcie began playing the piano at the age of six and as a teenager played the organ at the Congregational Church in Vaucluse and Rose Bay.  From 1929 onwards she studied piano, cello and composition at the New South Wales Conservatorium (now the Sydney Conservatorium) and in 1936 went to London to study composition with John Ireland and conducting with Reginald Jacques at the Royal College of Music.  At the outbreak of World War II she returned to Australia and in 1950 married Allan Bellhouse, a conductor.  She returned to England for a year in 1951 to study serial music with Mátyás Seiber, but otherwise spent her life in Australia as a performer, organist, composer and author (of books on music, in particular on music theory, but also of children’s books published under her married name Dulcie Bellhouse).  Her output as a composer includes orchestral pieces (including a symphony), vocal and choral works, chamber music, piano music and organ music.  In the 1950s she wrote the score for some forty documentaries commissioned by the of the Australian Department of the Interior to teach immigrants about life in Australia.  She died in Sydney in 2000.  I have also recorded her „Hymn Prelude for Lent“ for organ.


George Berg (? – 1775): Voluntary in g minor (Anloo)

Little is currently known of the life of George Berg.  He very probably was of German origin.  He was a friend and perhaps a pupil of Johann Christoph Pepusch, the doyen of the immigrant German musicians in London.  In his will Pepusch bestowed a gold coin on Berg.  Berg for his part composed a dirge on the death of Pepusch (1752).  This latter work is apparently lost, as are three operas and an oratorio.  We do have a number of other compositions by Berg that he published in his lifetime — concerti grossi, glees, works for harpsichord, and three volumes of organ voluntaries published at different times.  The pieces heard here are from the first of these, printed in 1752.  It is clear from the manuscripts of the period that 18th-century English organists would routinely switch the slow introductions between voluntaries, transposing them as necessary.  In accordance with this practice the two movements by Berg are taken from different voluntaries, and I have transposed the Adagio to g minor from its native d minor.  Berg is apparently mentioned as organist of the City church of St Mary-at-Hill as early as the 1740s (different sources give different dates) and probably held the post until his death in 1775.  He joined the Royal Society of Musicians in 1763.  Berg was also interested in chemistry, especially the making of glass.  For the last fifteen years of his life he kept a diary (written in English) of his scientific experiments — 672 are recorded in all; as are a few biographical details.  Thus, we learn of a trip to Italy in the early 1760s, or of the death of Berg’s father in 1765.  After Berg’s own death his extensive musical library and his collection of musical instruments were auctioned by Christie’s.


John Stanley (1712-86): Voluntary in e minor op.6 no.9 (Anloo)

Born in London in 1712, John Stanley was left near-blind by an accident at the age of two.  A pupil of Maurice Greene, the organist of St Paul’s cathedral, he deputised for the organist of All Hallows Bread Street in the City of London from the age of nine, and succeeded to the post at the death of the incumbent in 1723, when he was still only eleven.  Yet he received a normal salary (20 pounds per annum).  Three years later Stanley exchanged that position for the post of organist of St Andrew’s Holborn, which he kept until his death; that church is also where he is buried.  From 1734 and again until his death he was also organist of the Temple Church.  Stanley regularly appeared in concerts, in London and in the country and both at the organ and as a violinist.  He succeeded William Boyce as Master of the King’s Music in 1779 and in 1782 was also appointed „Conductor of the Music at the Balls at Court“.  One of his earliest organ pupils was John Alcock, only a few years younger than Stanley himself.  With the apparent intention of supplementing the obituaries published when Stanley died, Alcock later addressed a letter to the editors of various periodicals.  Among other things Alcock relates that „it was common, just when the service at St. Andrew’s church or the Temple was ended, to see forty or fifty organists at the altar, waiting to hear his last voluntary: even Mr. Handel himself I have many times seen at both of these places.“  (Universal Magazine, July 1786, p.44; European Magazine and London Review, August 1786, p.80).  Stanley published 30 organ voluntaries in three volumes of ten each (opus 5 in 1748, opus 6 in 1752 and opus 7 in 1754); these continue to be popular.  It has never been quite clear to me why Stanley was so famous in his lifetime and, practically alone among the composers of organ music in 18th-century England, continues to be so now.  His music is certainly good.  But is it better than that of many of his nearly forgotten contemporaries, some of which may also be heard in videos on this channel?


Charles Burney (1726-1814): Fugue in f minor (Anloo)

Charles Burney is better known as a music critic than as a composer. But he was that, too. This fugue was originally printed in a volume entitled „VI Cornet Pieces with an Introduction for the Diapasons, and a Fugue. Proper for young Organists and Practitioners on the Harpsichord. Compos’d by Mr. Charles Burney.“ London: I. Walsh, no date. This publication can be found on imslp.


Philip Hayes (1738-97): Pastorale for organ (Ménestérol)

Philip Hayes: 1738 Oxford – 1796 London. A famously fat and a famously difficult man as well as a highly competent musician. Son of the professor of music at Oxford University, in 1767 Hayes joined the Chapel Royal in London as a singer, returning to Oxford in 1776 to become organist of New College. In the following year he succeeded his father as professor of music as well as inheriting his father’s posts as organist of Magdalen College and of the University Church (later he went on to become organist of St John’s College, too). In 1791 Hayes welcomed Joseph Haydn at Oxford, when the university bestowed on Haydn the degree of doctor of music. The pastorale forms the second movement of concerto no. 3 from the Six Concertos…for the Organ, Harpsichord or Forte-Piano that Hayes published in London in 1769.


Anon. (after J.-B. Lully 1661): Canción para la corneta con el eco (Ménestérol)

The Canción para la corneta con el eco for solo stop (the cornet, here deputised for by the sesquialtera) and „echo“ is an arrangement by an unknown Spanish organist of the „first entrance“ (première entrée) of a ballet (Ballet royal de l’Impatience) by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The original ballet was performed on 19 February 1661 in the palace of Versailles, with king Louis XIV himself among the dancers. The author of the arrangement took only the tune (minus the accompaniment), subjecting it to some rhythmic modifications and adding the „echo“. The piece is contained in a manuscript collection in the national library at Madrid (Flores de música, obras y versos de varios organistas. Escriptas por Fray Antonio Martín Coll, organista de San Diego de Alcalá. Año de 1706).


Thomas Sanders Dupuis (1733-96): Trumpet Movement in C (Anloo)

The son of Huguenot immigrants, Thomas Sanders Dupuis was born in 1733, probably in London. A harpsichord teacher and organist, he succeeded William Boyce as one of the organists of the Chapel Royal in 1779. As a boy he had already been a chorister there. During his stays in England Joseph Haydn repeatedly met with Dupuis, including in the latter’s home, and in a list of representatives of English musical life that he compiled for himself Haydn put the words „a great organist“ behind Dupuis’s name. Dupuis died in 1796 of an overdose of opium and is buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey.


Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): „Air“ & „Gavotte“ (Ménestérol)

The idea of this channel is mainly to offer performances of organ music that you are not so very likely to find elsewhere. These two pieces, then, in a way do not fit, since they are famous. You will find many other renderings of them on Youtube. However, not only are more, and rather less well-known works by the same composer meant to follow. It is also the case that many of the other performances of these pieces that you will find are actually arrangements, with a pedal part added. I have so far been unable to ascertain reliably by whom these are, but it seems that John Ebenezer West published arrangements of these two pieces in 1905. In the original edition of the Twelve Short Pieces of 1816 they are simply labelled number 8 and number 9. It was, apparently, West who gave them the titles by which they are now universally known, „Air“ and „Gavotte“.

Some of those other renderings on Youtube belong in a cabinet of organ horrors. The „Air“ is often played in a rather too Romantic manner, with liberal use being made of tremulants (which the classical English organ for which Wesley wrote lacked). And there is an odd tradition to play the „Gavotte“ at very high speed. Wesley himself (or his printer) is possibly somewhat to blame here, since the original 1817 edition indicates a tempo of MM = 104 for the minim (half note). Taken at face value that would justify playing the crotchets as quavers, as often happens. However, I am quite sure that the minim symbol is a misprint and that MM 104 is really meant for the quarter note, not the half note.

What you hear in this video are the original manualiter versions. Regarding registration, in the score as printed in 1817 the beginning and end of no. 8 are simply marked „Swell“, with the two middle passages respectively marked „Cremona or Vox Humana“ and „Flute“ (which on a classical English organ meant a four-foot stop). I have followed these suggestions (with the Ménestérol Dulzian a good stand-in for the type of reed recommended by Wesley, and with the „Swell“ part actually played on the Great). Regarding no. 9, the score says „Diapason and Principal“ (i.e. the eight- and four-foot flues). Wesley apparently intended no manual or stop changes here. These are often introduced, but having experimented with them in the end I decided that the charm (and indeed the genius) of this music is in its simplicity. It is relatively tolerant of attempts to puff it up but at best does not need them and at worst is diminished by them. On the Ménestérol organ it seemed a good idea to employ the rather wonderful Montre (the French word for the Diapason stop) alone.

Here is a complete list of all works by either Samuel or Charles Wesley on my channel.

The (unfinished) portrait of Samuel Wesley used in the video was painted by John Jackson probably around 1815 or a little later. It is in the National Portrait Gallery in London.


Francis Linley (c.1770-1800): Voluntary in F (Anloo)

During his second stay in England Joseph Haydn recorded the following encounter: „On 7 July 1794 I travelled with a couple engaged to be married [or: recently married; the German term could mean either]. The man, by the name of Lindly [sic], aged 25, an organist his bride [or: wife] aged 18 very shapely but both of them blind as bats. The saying love is blind does not hold here; he was poor, but she brought him a dowry of 20 thousand pounds sterling. Now he no longer plays the organ.“ [den 9ten 7li [Juli] 794 [1794] reiste ich mit ein brauthbaar. der mann mit Nahmen Lindly 25 Jahr alt organist seine frau 18 Jahr sehr gut gewachsen aber beide stockblind. hier gilt das Sprichwort nicht die lieb ist blind; Er war arm, Sie brachte ihm aber ein heurathgut v[on] 20 tausend lb sterling. nun spielt Er nicht mehr die orgl.] (Haydn’s notebook was published by Joh. Ev. Engl in 1909; I have emended the quoted passage with the help of the facsimile provided in that edition.) If we are to believe Haydn, Francis Linley was born in 1769. The Dictionary of National Biography gives 1770 oder 71. Blind from birth, Linley grew up in Doncaster in Yorkshire, where he was taught by the organist of St George’s Minster (since rebuilt after a fire and equipped with that famous organ). Having moved to London, about 1790 he became the organist of the newly built Pentonville Chapel in Islington (since converted into offices). (Here is a picture:…) . His wife’s money enabled Linley to purchase an established London music seller and publisher, John Bland, but as a businessman Linley failed and went bankrupt. Left by his wife, he emigrated to North America, but soon returned, only to die in his hometown. Besides chamber music in particular for the flute (which, one imagines, must sound rather similar to the Andante heard here) and songs he published A Practical Introduction to the Organ in five parts, vizt. Necessary Observations, Preludes, Voluntarys, Fugues, & Full Pieces….by F. Linley Op. 6. London. Printed & Sold by J. Bland, No. 45, High Holborn. This publication seems to have met with considerable success, appearing around 1810 in its twelfth edition — ironically, still with Bland. For the Allegro in this voluntary the score requires „Corno or Diaps“ (i.e. Diapasons). Substituting the diapsons (open and stopped) if the instrument had no Horn stop was common practice in 18th-century English organ music. Here the relevant passages are played using the combination Principael 8′ + Vox humana 8′, which to me for all the world does sound like a horn. (So much so that one wonders why in 18th-century England they did not also use this if an organ had no Horn but did have a Vox Humana, as must not infrequently have been the case? Or did their Vox Humanas sound different? Oh for a sample set of a real 18th-century English organ!)


Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): Adagio (Introductory Movement) in e minor (St Anne’s Moseley)

I found this piece in a collection where (in conformity with a bad habit firmly established among editors of such volumes) nothing is said about where it comes from. The autograph, it turns out, is in the British Museum, and is marked not „Adagio“ but „Slow“. It is no. 4 of the so-called „Desk Voluntaries“, a collection of short pieces that Wesley published in 1831 under the title „Six Introductory Movements for the ORGAN intended for the use of Organists as soft VOLUNTARIES, to be performed at the commencement of services of the Established Church“. Philip Olleson („Samuel Wesley. The man and his music“, 2001, p. 310) thinks that Wesley originally intended these to be on the organist’s music desk to enable him or her to fill in unforeseen gaps in the course of a service, hence their original title. Autographs still exist of three of the six pieces. Here is a complete list of all works by either Samuel or Charles Wesley on my channel:…


Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): A Melody (in c sharp minor)(St Anne’s Moseley)

The autograph of this piece (in the British Museum) is dated 1 August 1826. As heard here it was not published in Wesley’s lifetime. There is an extended version of this piece entitled „Arietta“ which, transposed downward by a semitone, forms the middle movement of Voluntary No. 1 in c minor in a volume entitled „Preludes and Fugues for the Organ, intended as Exercises for the Improvement of the Hands, and suitable as Voluntaries, for the Service of the Church. Composed & Inscribed to his Friend Thomas Adams Esq. by Samuel Wesley“. The earliest extant copy of this dates from about 1840, but this must be a reprint: the dedication to Adams — 1785-1858, himself a prominent organist and composer — indicates that it was originally published by Wesley himself. The other two movements in that voluntary are a prelude & fugue dated 24 July 1826. The prelude is here:… There are more pieces by both Samuel Wesley and his brother Charles on this channel. Here is the playlist:…


Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): Prelude in c minor (St Anne’s Moseley)

The autograph of this piece is dated 24 July 1826. Together with a long fugue dated from the same day in the autograph Wesley published it as Voluntary No. 1 in c minor in a volume entitled „Preludes and Fugues for the Organ, intended as Exercises for the Improvement of the Hands, and suitable as Voluntaries, for the Service of the Church. Composed & Inscribed to his Friend Thomas Adams Esq. by Samuel Wesley“. The earliest extant copy of this dates from about 1840, but this must be a reprint: the dedication to Adams — 1785-1858, himself a prominent organist and composer — indicates that it was originally published by Wesley himself. In between the prelude and the fugue the voluntary contains a middle movement entitled „Arietta“, which is an extended version of a piece called „A Melody“ and dated 1 August 1826 in the autograph (I have recorded and uploaded that original version on this channel:… ).

Samuel Wesley is often quoted as criticising his less popular elder brother Charles as an „obstinate Handelian“. I have never seen the source for this quote and wonder about the context. In fact Charles was as capable of writing in a contemporary, firmly post-Handelian vein as was Samuel, even though he did admire Handel and did not hesitate to write in a late Baroque mode. Inversely, however, this piece by Samuel demonstrates that Samuel could do „Handelian“ too, even as late as the 1820s!

There are more pieces by both Samuel Wesley and his brother Charles on this channel. Here is the playlist:… The (unfinished) portrait of Samuel Wesley used in the video was painted by John Jackson around 1815 or a little later. It is in the National Portrait Gallery in London.


Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): Adagietto (Introductory Movement) in E (St Anne’s Moseley)

I have this short piece in a reliable-looking Hinrichsen edition containing nothing else; it is there entitled „Introductory Movement in E Major“. The tempo indication is „Adagietto“, followed by „[sic]“ — evidently inserted by the editor, so the indication as such must be by Wesley himself. The editor unfortunately says nothing about the provenance of the piece.

There is a single long-held pedal note marked „pedale doppio“, with a note by the editor that this is supposed to mean you are simply to couple the great to the pedals without drawing any pedal stops (I have added a soft 16′ and 8′ anyway and also use them for the final chord). But it would seem thus that the words „pedale doppio“ themselves come from Wesley. If he could assume that the player would actually have pedals that probably suggests that the piece is fairly late (1820s or even 30s?) — though at worst it could of course be played without that bass note.

The piece may form part of a collection entitled „Six Introductory Movements for the ORGAN intended for the use of Organists as soft VOLUNTARIES, to be performed at the commencement of services of the Established Church“ and which Wesley published in 1831.

I cannot currently check this since there does not seem to be any modern edition of this collection, nor can I get hold of a copy of the original edition. Confusingly, the catalogue of Wesley’s organ works in G.E. Brown, „The organ music of Samuel Wesley“ (1977) lists separately a piece called „Adagietto“ in E, but without the words „Introductory Movement“. Brown does not indicate which keys the six pieces of 1831 are in (though he does so for the earlier and better known „Twelve Short Pieces“), or what the tempo indications are, but Philip Olleson, „Samuel Wesley. The man and his music“ (2001) at least indicates (p. 310) that one of the six is indeed in E.

Here is a complete list of all works by either Samuel or Charles Wesley on my channel:…


Thomas Adams (1785-1858): Alla marcia in C (Ditfurt)

(English version below) Thomas Adams (1785 London – 1858 London) war in seinem späteren Leben wohl der prominenteste Londoner Organist, berühmt nicht zuletzt wegen seines Improvisationstalentes, aber auch als Komponist. Er war Organist verschiedener Londoner Kirchen: 1802-14 Carlisle Chapel, Lambeth; 1814-24 St Paul’s, Deptford, seit 1824 St George’s, Camberwell. Letzteren Posten hatte er für den Rest seines Lebens inne, dazu seit 1833 die Organistenstelle an St Dunstan-in-the-West in der Fleet Street. Seit dessen Einweihung 1817 war Adams überdies sozusagen Hausorganist des von der Orgelbaufirma Flight & Robson erbauten berühmten Apollonicon, aufgestellt in einem Saal des Firmensitzes in der St Martin’s Lane: einer Orgel mit rund 1900 Pfeifen (verteilt auf 45 Register) und zwei Pauken, die sowohl automatisch (vermittels mit Stiften versehener Walzen) als auch über Klaviaturen spielbar war. Sie besaß ein Hauptmanual mit einem Umfang von fünf Oktaven (GG-g3, 61 Tasten) sowie fünf weitere Klaviaturen im Umfang von drei Oktaven (g-g3, 37 Tasten), an denen weitere Spieler tätig werden konnten; sie saßen zu beiden Seiten des Hauptspieltischs. Dieser besaß auch eine Pedalklaviatur im Umfang von zwei Oktaven (GG-g, 25 Tasten), doch ließen sich die drei Pedalregister anscheinend auch von einer der Manualklaviaturen anspielen. Ob Adams das hier aufgenommene Stück auf dem Apollonicon gespielt hat, weiß ich nicht — es klingt aber, als ob das sehr wohl möglich wäre; Kirchenmusik ist das jedenfalls nicht. (Zwar verlangt das Stück im Mittelteil nach einer anderen Registrierung als am Anfang und Ende, und es scheint, daß keiner der Spieler mehr als ein Manual zur Verfügung hatte. Jedoch wies das Instrument fünf feste Kombinationen auf, die durch Fußhebel zu betätigen waren.) Das Inserat im Vorspann des Videos stammt aus der Aprilnummer 1829 der Monatszeitschrift The Harmonicon.

In his later life Thomas Adams (1785 London – 1858 London) was probably the most prominent London organist, famous not least for his skill at improvisation, but also as a composer. He was organist of several London churches: 1802-14 Carlisle Chapel, Lambeth; 1814-24 St Paul’s, Deptford, since 1824 St George’s, Camberwell. He held that latter post for the rest of his life, and additionally from 1833 the post of organist of St Dunstan-in-the-West in Fleet Street. Since its opening in 1817 Adams moreover was the resident organist (so to speak) of the famous Apollonicon, built by the firm of Flight & Robson and displayed in the „Great Room“ of their workshop in St Martin’s Lane. This consisted of some 1900 pipes (divided among 45 stops) and two kettle drums, playable either automatically (by means of pinned barrels) or by means of keyboards. The main one had five octaves (61 keys, GG-g3); five other manuals with a compass of three octaves (37 keys, g-g3) could be operated by additional players, seated on both sides of the central console. The latter also had a pedal board with a compass of two octaves (GG-g, 25 keys); though apparently the pipes of the three pedal stops could also be played from one of the manuals. I do not know whether Adams played the piece recorded here on the Apollonicon — but it sounds as if that were well possible; certainly this is no church music. (To be sure, the middle section of the piece requires a different registration from the beginning and end, and it seems that each performer only had access to one of the manuals, not two. The instrument did, however, feature five fixed combinations activated by foot levers.) The advertisement used for the opening credits of the video comes from the April 1829 issue of the monthly The Harmonicon.


Georg Andreas Sorge (1703-78): Trio C-Dur (III)(Zöblitz)

English below
Dieses Video habe ich zuerst 2014 hochgeladen, in der Anfangszeit meines Kanals und ohne große Erfahrung im Videoschnitt.  Die Neufassung 2019 korrigiert das allzu störende Auseinanderklaffen von Video- und Audiospur, ist aber sonst unverändert.

G.A. Sorge war den längsten Teil seines Lebens gräflich Reuß-Plauischer „Hof- und Stadt-Organist zu Lobenstein im Vogtlande“. Seine Trios für Orgel finden sich in einem (autographen?) Manuskript aus der Sammlung des belgischen Komponisten und Musikhistorikers François-Joseph Fétis (1784-1871), die nach dessen Tod an die Bibliothèque Royale in Brüssel überging. In seiner „Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique“ (2. Aufl., Paris 1860–1868, Bd. 8) spricht Fétis von zwölf handschriftlich überlieferten Trios (…). Die Ausgabe von Ewald Kooiman enthält nur elf (eines ohne die Schlußtakte); leider läßt ihr äußerst dürftiges Vorwort mehr Fragen offen, als es beantwortet. Die vielfach anzutreffende Zählung der Trios ist offenbar die der Kooiman-Ausgabe. Die mir vorliegende Auflage enthält verwirrenderweise eine neue und eine alte Zählung (letztere sei im Interesse besserer Wendestellen geändert worden). Da die Zählung weder auf Sorge zurückgeht noch auf eine Ausgabe, die wissenschaftlich-kritischen Anforderungen genügen kann, habe ich auf sie verzichtet. Trios in derselben Tonart sind vielmehr mit römischen Ziffern gekennzeichnet, aber nur, um deutlich zu machen, daß es sich um unterschiedliche Stücke handelt.

Ich habe vor, nach und nach alle zehn vollständig erhaltenen Trios hochzuladen. Ebenfalls habe ich von Sorge eine Anzahl Choralbearbeitungen eingespielt.

I originally uploaded this video in 2014, when my Youtube channel was in its infancy and I lacked technical expertise in video editing.  This 2019 version corrects  an all too obvious asynchronicity between image and audio but is otherwise unchanged.

For most of his life G.A. Sorge was „court and town organist“ of the counts of Reuss-Plauen at Lobenstein in Thuringia. His organ trios have come down in an (autograph?) manuscript from the collection of the Belgian composer and music historian François-Joseph Fétis (1784-1871), which after his death passed to the Bibliothèque Royale in Brussels. In his „Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique“ (2nd ed., Paris 1860–1868, vol. 8) Fétis speaks of twelve trios preserved in manuscript (…), but the edition by Ewald Kooiman only contains eleven (one missing the final bars). Unfortunately, the meager little preface to that edition raises more questions than it answers. The numbering of the trios that is sometimes used was apparently introduced by Kooiman. My copy of his edition in fact contains a new numbering and an older one, with a note that the numbering was changed in the interest of more convenient page turns. Since the numbering neither goes back to Sorge himself nor comes from an edition that meets scientific criteria I have not used it. Trios in the same key are distinguished by Roman numerals, but merely to indicate that they are different pieces.

I plan in time to upload all ten complete trios by Sorge.  I have also recorded a number of chorale preludes by Sorge.


Charles Wesley (1757-1834): God Save the King (Anloo)

The most charming set of variations on that famous tune ever. Son of the hymn writer and co-founder of methodism of the same name, Charles Wesley was a child prodigy like his younger brother Samuel. In order to enable his sons to receive a good musical education without being exposed to the dangers of life in the capital unsupervised and unprotected, Charles Wesley sr. moved from Bristol to London and in the 1770s organised an annual series of subscription concerts featuring the brothers and their compositions in his Marylebone home. Charles attracted the attention of king George III, who made him his organist-in-ordinary — supposedly on hearing that Charles had failed to obtain the post of organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, having been told that „we want no Wesleys here“. (This story may be wholly or partly apocryphal — I’d be grateful for information regarding this episode.) When in 1810 the Prince of Wales became Prince Regent, Charles kept his post as well as being appointed music teacher of the Prince Regent’s sole child, princess Charlotte (1796-1817). Charles was also the organist of the new church of St Marylebone from its opening in 1817 until his death. John Russell’s portrait of Charles jun. as a young man of about 20 was commissioned by Charles Wesley sen. for his London home and is now owned by the Royal Academy of Music. Here is a complete list of all works by either Samuel or Charles Wesley on my channel:…


P. Theodor Grünberger (1756-1820): Präludium C-Dur_Maestoso (Boezemkerk Bolnes)

Orgelmesse Nr. 1 C-Dur: Präludium (Zum Kyrie) – Maestoso

(English version below)
Johannes Paul Grünberger wurde 1756 als Sohn eines Organisten im Wallfahrtsort Bettbrunn in der Oberpfalz geboren. Dort bestand zur Betreuung der Pilger ein Augustinerkloster, wo man sich auch des begabten jungen Musikersohnes annahm. 1777 trat dieser unter dem Ordensnamen Theodor ins Münchner Augustinerkloster ein und wurde 1779 zum Priester geweiht. Bis 1788 versah er in der Münchner Augustinerkirche den Dienst als Organist, ging dann an andere Ordensniederlassungen (Regensburg?), kehrte aber 1792 nach München zurück, anscheinend auch aufgrund der Wertschätzung, derer er sich als Komponist am kurfürstlichen Hof erfreute. Die Gunst des Kurfürsten kam ihm zustatten, als er wenig später in Schwierigkeiten mit den Kirchenoberen geriet. Die relativ milde Strafe bestand letztlich in seiner Verbannung ins ländliche Kloster Ramsau, wo viele seiner Werke entstanden. Nachdem das Kloster 1803 aufgehoben worden war, kehrte Grünberger nach München zurück und wurde Professor für Orgel und Gesang am Staatlichen Lehrerseminar. 1815 zog er sich jedoch wiederum aufs Land zurück und wurde Kaplan auf Schloß Münchsdorf in Niederbayern. Das eingespielte Stück eröffnet die erste der sechs 1792 veröffentlichten Orgelmessen Grünbergers und trägt die Anweisung „Tutti registri“.

Johannes Paul Grünberger was born in 1756 at Bettbrunn in the Upper Palatinate, where his father was an organist. Bettbrunn was the site of a pilgrimage, supervised by a convent of Augustinian friars, where the gifted young musician’s son received some early training. In 1777 he joined the Augustinian order himself and entered the convent in Munich, taking the name Theodor. Ordained a priest in 1779, he served the Munich convent as organist until 1788. At that date he left (for the Regensburg convent?), but returned to Munich in 1792, not least apparently because of the esteem in which he was held as a composer by the electoral court. The favour of the elector stood Grünberger in good stead when, not long afterwards, he got into trouble with his ecclesiastical superiors. In the end the relatively mild punishment consisted in his banishment to the rural convent of Ramsau, where many of his works were written. When the monastery was suppressed in 1803, Grünberger returned to Munich to become professor of organ and voice at the teachers‘ seminary. In 1815 he retired to the countryside once more to become chaplain at Münchsdorf castle in Lower Bavaria. The piece recorded here opens the first of Grünberger’s six organ masses first published in 1792; it is marked „Tutti registri“.


J.C.H. Rinck (1770-1846): Präludium c-moll für die volle Orgel_Con gravità (St Anne’s Moseley)

Johann Christian Heinrich Rinck
1770 * Elgersburg (Thüringen)
1790 Organist, Stadtkirche Gießen
1803 Universitäts-Musikdirector, Gießen
1805 Lehnt Ruf nach Dorpat ab
1806 Organist, Stadtkirche Darmstadt
1813 Großherzoglicher Hof-Organist (Organist der Schloßkirche)
1817 Wirklicher Kammermusicus (Geiger in der Hofkapelle)
1840 Dr. h.c., Universität Gießen
1846 + Darmstadt

„Der seltenen Mischung von Künstler und Lehrer gesellte sich in ihm auch ein fester, biederer Charakter bei, und so wurde er einer der beliebtesten und einflußreichsten Organisten, die je in Deutschland gelebt haben. Kein Orgelcomponist kann sich rühmen, eine solche Verbreitung seiner Werke erlebt zu haben, wie R. Seine Compositionen, zahllos fast wie seine Schüler, zeigen zwar keine große selbständige schöpferische Kraft; aber sie entstammen der kunstgeübten Hand eines tüchtig durchgebildeten Musikers, der sein Augenmerk hauptsächlich auf die praktische Seite seiner Kunst gerichtet hat. Daher ihre große Beliebtheit. Die meisten unter ihnen sind für den Gebrauch beim Gottesdienste bestimmt; andere sollen der Ausbildung im Orgelspiele dienen.“ Eusebius Mandyczewski, „Rinck, Johann Christian Heinrich“, in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (1889)

„Als Zeitgenosse von Mozart, Beethoven und Schubert war Christian Heinrich Rinck ein fruchtbarer Komponist, der Elemente der barocken Polyphonie, der Klassik und der Frühromantik in seinem Personalstil vereinte. Unter seinen 129 mit Opuszahlen versehenen Werken überwiegen die Orgelwerke. Gerade mit der Orgelmusik und seinen Orgellehrwerken gilt Rinck als herausragende Persönlichkeit der Kirchenmusikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Rinck war bis weit über seinen Tod hinaus weltberühmt. Sein Ruhm verblasste erst durch die Bachrenaissance der 1920er Jahre, die das 19. Jahrhundert als „dunkel“ und im Vergleich zur barocken Kirchenmusik als minderwertig einstufte. Erst seit ca. zwei Jahrzehnten — im Zuge der Wiederbeschäftigung mit der Kirchenmusik des 19. Jahrhunderts — wird auch das Schaffen von Johann Christian Heinrich Rinck zunehmend wieder höher und seiner einstigen Bedeutung gerecht werdend eingestuft.“ (Wikipedia)


John Marsh (1752-1828): Voluntary No. 1 in C Major (Ménestérol)

A voluntary for the organ…and the story of a little boy. John Marsh (1752 Dorking – 1828 Chichester) was a solicitor by profession, but more interested in music and in particular the organ. Besides his output as a composer — works for organ, but also for orchestra, in particular symphonies — he wrote books on various subjects and above all he kept diaries: thousands and thousands of pages in 37 volumes. In spite or because of their descriptions of everyday minutiae and not least thanks to their dry humour they make fascinating reading and throw much light on the English music scene of the period. I have recorded another of his 18 voluntaries of 1791 here:


Christian Friedrich Witt (~1660-1717): Passacaglia d-moll (Bureå)

English version below
C.F. Witt war „Kammerorganist“, dann Kapellmeister des Herzogs von Sachsen-Gotha.
C.F. Witt was court organist and later kapellmeister of the Duke of Saxe-Gotha.

Christian Friedrich Witt wird um 1660 als Sohn des Altenburger Hoforganisten Johann Ernst W. geboten. Nachdem Sachsen-Altenburg 1672 an Sachsen-Gotha gefallen ist, nimmt ihn dessen Herzog Friedrich II. unter seine Fittiche und schickt ihn Mitte der 1670er Jahre zur Vervollkommnung seiner musikalischen Ausbildung nach Salzburg und Wien, ein Jahrzehnt später nach Nürnberg zu Georg Caspar Wecker. 1686 in Gotha zum Kammerorganisten ernannt, kehrt Witt bald darauf nochmals zu Wecker zurück. 1694 wird er in Gotha Vertreter des Kapellmeisters, dem er nach dessen Tod 1713 nachfolgt. Witt selbst stirbt aber bereits 1717. Die d-moll-Passacaglia wurde zeitweilig Bach zugeschrieben (BWV Anh. 182), in damals anscheinend nicht bekannten oder berücksichtigten Abschriften ist jedoch Witt als Urheber genannt.

Die Kirche zu Bureå, einer gut 2000 Einwohner zählenden Ortschaft in der nordschwedischen Landschaft Västerbotten, wurde zwischen 1918 und 1920 in einem Stil errichtet, der in Schweden nationalromantisk heißt, vergleichbar dem deutschen Heimatschutzstil (benannt nach dem 1904 gegründeten Deutschen Bund für Heimatschutz). Architekt war Fredrik Falkenberg (1865-1924). Falkenberg war offenbar auch für die Gestaltung des Orgelprospekts zuständig. Ursprünglich war die Kirche mit einer zweimanualigen Orgel der Firma Åkerman & Lund ausgestattet. 1967 wurde sie im alten Gehäuse durch ein dreimanualiges Instrument der Firma Hammarberg in Göteborg ersetzt. Die Disposition entwarf der Organist — damals ein Deutscher, Erich Stoffers (*1930 in Bergen auf Rügen) — offenbar wesentlich nach dem Vorbild thüringischer Orgeln des 18. Jahrhunderts. Der Klang der Orgel ist in den Grundstimmen warm und mehr oder minder streicherhaft, so daß der Verdacht aufkommen könnte, als wäre nicht nur der Prospekt, sondern auch ein Teil des Pfeifenmaterials der alten Orgel wiederverwendet worden. Nach Auskunft des gegenwärtigen Organisten, Lars Palo, ist dies jedoch nicht der Fall. Vielmehr sei die Åkerman & Lund-Orgel komplett abgebaut worden; lange Zeit in Malmö eingelagert, befinde sie sich heute in Privatbesitz. Hervorzuheben ist das Salicional 8′ im Schwellwerk, ein Streicher-Register, das, wie in dieser Aufnahme der Witt-Passacaglia zu hören, im Baß einen verblüffend Cello-artigen Klang entwickelt.

Christian Friedrich Witt, born around 1660, a son of the Altenburg court organist Johann Ernst W. Becomes a protégé of Duke Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha when that prince inherits Saxe-Altenburg in 1672. In the mid-1670s the duke sends Witt to Salzburg and Vienna to perfect his musical training, a decade later Witt goes to Nürnberg to study with Georg Caspar Wecker. Appointed organist to the Gotha court in 1686, Witt soon rejoins Wecker at Nürnberg. In 1694 he is appointed deputy of the kapellmeister (conductor) of the ducal orchestra at Gotha, inheriting the full post at the death of the incumbent in 1713. But he himself dies already in 1717. The d-minor passacaglia was at one point attributed to J.S. Bach (BWV Anh. 182). But in manuscripts not then known or taken into account Witt is given as the composer.

Bureå is a settlement of some 2,000 people in the Västerbotten region of northern Sweden. The church was built between 1918 and 1920 in a style which in Swedish is known as nationalromantisk and which has affinities with the English Arts and Crafts movement and with the Art nouveau movement. The architect was Fredrik Falkenberg (1865-1924). Clearly Falkenberg was also responsible for the design of the organ case. Originally the church had a two-manual organ by the firm of Åkerman & Lund, replaced — in the old case — in 1967 by a three-manual instrument by the Hammarberg firm of Gothenburg. The stop list was drawn up by the then organist — a German, Erich Stoffers (*1930 at Bergen on the island of Rügen) — and is evidently modelled on 18th-century Thuringian organs. The foundations stops have a warm and rather „stringy“ tone, as if perhaps not only the case was reused from the old organ, but some of the pipework also. However, according to the current organist, Lars Palo, this is not the case. According to him the Åkerman & Lund organ was removed completely; stored for a long time in Malmö, it is now privately owned. Worth noting is the 8′ Salicional on the Swell, a string stop with a stunningly cello-like sound in the bass, as can be heard in this recording of the Witt passacaglia.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Fuge für Orgel D-Dur WoO 31 (Boezemkerk Bolnes)

English below
Beethoven spielte als Jugendlicher in Bonn Orgel, an der Minoritenkirche und am kurkölnischen Hof. Mit 13 Jahren wurde er zum Zweiten Hoforganisten berufen. Von Vater und Lehrer, Hoforganist Neefe, beworben, war der junge Beethoven damals als Komponist bereits erfolgreich, hatte etliche Werke publiziert. Nicht dieses: wohl bewußt „altmodisch“, war es dazu vermutlich nie gedacht. Die barocke Anmutung des Stücks kommt nicht von ungefähr. Neefe schrieb am 2. März 1783 über Beethoven, dieser sei „ein Knabe von 11 [recte: 12] Jahren, und von vielversprechendem Talent. Er spielt sehr fertig und mit Kraft das Clavier, ließt sehr gut vom Blatt…Er spielt größtentheils das wohltemperirte Clavier von Sebastian Bach, welches ihm Herr Neefe unter die Hände gegeben.“ Die Orgelfuge wurde erst in der Gesamtausgabe von 1888 gedruckt. Der Herausgeber E. Mandyczewski bemerkt dazu: „Nach Nottebohm’s Vermuthung spielte Beethoven diese Fuge bei seiner ‚Erprüfung‘ als Stellvertretender Hoforganist.“ Letztere fand wohl im Februar 1784 statt. – 1890 erschien in Wien ein „Verzeichniss der musikalischen Autographe von Ludwig van Beethoven sowie einer Anzahl von alten, grossentheils vom Meister mit eigenhändigen Zusätzen versehenen Abschriften….neuerlich durchgesehen von Prof. Dr. Guido Adler“. Hier heißt es zu WoO 31: „Eine zweistimmige Fuge für Orgel D-Dur. Revidirte Abschrift. Anzahl der Blätter: 2. Bemerkungen: ‚Componirt im Alter von 11 Jahren‘. [Es] ist nicht ausgeschlossen, dass die ganze Fuge von Beethovens Hand ist. Vermuthlich von ihm zu einer besonderen Gelegenheit kaligraphisch [sic] ausgeführt. Obige Bemerkung ist jedenfalls von Beethovens Hand.“ Ohnehin kann die Angabe, wie alt er zum Zeitpunkt der Entstehung der Fuge war, eigentlich nur von Beethoven selbst stammen. Dennoch ist sie wohl falsch. Beethoven schrieb 1810, lange Zeit habe er nicht gewußt, wie alt er sei, und ging offenbar bis an sein Lebensende beharrlich davon aus, 1772 geboren worden zu sein — obwohl man ihm wiederholt Abschriften des Eintrags seiner Taufe in das Kirchenbuch der Bonner Pfarrkirche St. Remigius zukommen ließ: sie fand am 17.12.1770 statt. (M. Solomon: „Beethoven’s Birthyear“, in: ders., Beethoven Essays, 1988). Die Bermerkung über sein Alter auf der Abschrift läßt darauf schließen, daß Beethoven dem Stück eine mindestens sentimentale Wertschätzung bewahrte.

As a youth in Bonn Beethoven played the organ, at the Greyfriars‘ Church and at the court of the elector-archbishops of Cologne (who resided at Bonn). At the age of 13 Beethoven was appointed second organist at court. Owing to the PR activities of both his father and his teacher, court organist Neefe, Beethoven was already noted as a composer and had published several works. Not this one: „old-fashioned“, and no doubt self-consciously so, as it is it was probably never meant for publication. If it sounds rather baroque that is no accident. On 2 March 1783 Neefe wrote about Beethoven that he was „a boy of 11 [in fact, 12] years of age, and with a very promising talent. He plays the harpsichord very deftly and energetically, is good at sight-reading…He mostly plays the Well-Tempered Clavier by Sebastian Bach, which Herr Neefe has put into his hands.“ The organ fugue was printed only in the complete works of 1888. The editor, E. Mandyczewski, comments: „Nottebohm hypothesises that Beethoven played this fugue for his examination as second court organist.“ This apparently took place in February 1784. – In 1890 there appeared a publication entitled (in German) „Catalogue of the musical autographs of Ludwig van Beethoven and of a number of old copies of his works mostly with additions in the master’s hand….newly revised by Prof. Dr. Guido Adler“. Here we read about WoO 31: „An organ fugue for two voices in D major. Corrected copy. Number of sheets: 2. Remarks: ‚Composed at the age of eleven‘. It is not impossible that the entire fugue is in Beethoven’s hand. Presumably he produced this calligraphic copy for some special event. Certainly the remark mentioned above is in Beethoven’s hand.“ In any case the information regarding Beethoven’s age when he wrote this fugue can really only have come from him. Even so it is probably wrong. Beethoven wrote in 1810 that for a long time he did not know his exact age, and throughout his life stubbornly clung to the belief that he had been born in 1772. This despite the fact that he had been provided, more than once, with copies of the entry marking his baptism — on 17 December 1770 — in the register of the parish church of St Remigius at Bonn. (M. Solomon: „Beethoven’s Birthyear“, in: id., Beethoven Essays, 1988) The remark about his age on the manuscript of this piece would seem to suggest that Beethoven continued to cherish it, at least for sentimental reasons.


Andrea Luchesi (1741-1801): Sonata in Fa maggiore_Allegro (Kdousov)

(English below)
Geboren in Motta di Livenza, war Luchesi im nahen Venedig u.a. Schüler Galuppis. Als Organist tätig, schrieb er auch Opern und Instrumentalwerke. 1771 berief ihn der Kölner Kurfürst Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels nach Bonn, um der dortigen Hofkapelle neuen Glanz zu verleihen — Max Friedrich hatte sie bei seinem Amtsantritt 1761 selbst auf Sparflamme gesetzt, da die Prachtliebe seiner Vorgänger einen Schuldenberg hinterlassen hatte. Damit im Zusammenhang stand die Ernennung Ludwig van Beethovens (d.Ä.) zum Kapellmeister — kein Komponist, und als „Ortskraft“ billiger als ein Ausländer. Nach Beethovens Tod ging die prestigeträchtige Kapellmeisterstelle 1774 an Luchesi. Joh. Nicolaus Forkel (Musikalischer Almanach 1782) zufolge war die Bonner Hofkapelle unter ihm die drittbeste Deutschlands (nach Mannheim und Mainz — Wien rangiert in dieser Liste an 5., Dresden an 16., Berlin an 17. Stelle). 1780 wurde der jüngste Sohn Maria Theresias, Maximilian Franz, zum Koadjutor (designierten Nachfolger) des alternden Kurfürsten gewählt. Max Franz stellte die Bonner Kapellmeisterstelle dem von ihm bewunderten Mozart in Aussicht (Mozart und Luchesi waren 1771 in Venedig zusammengetroffen). Mozart hätte die Stelle gern angenommen, äußert sich in seinen Briefen aber skeptisch ob seiner Chancen. 1784 starb Max Friedrich und Max Franz zog in die Bonner Residenz ein — aber Luchesi blieb im Amt, obschon zu dieser Zeit gerade wieder in Venedig, wo man ihn mit der Komposition einer Oper aus Anlaß des Besuchs des schwedischen Königs beauftragt hatte. Max Franz unterzog die Bonner Hofkapelle sofort einer gründlichen Prüfung. Ein Memorandum beurteilt die Hofmusiker nach ihren Fähigkeiten, unter ihnen Ludwig van Beethovens Sohn Johann und dessen Sohn Ludwig, damals dreizehn — über ihn heißt es „14. Ludwig Betthoven, ein sohn des Betthoven sub Nr. 8, hat zwar Kein gehalt, hat aber wehrent der abweßenheit des Kappellen Meister Luchesy die Orgel versehen; ist von guter fähigkeit, noch jung, von guter stiller Aufführung und arm.“ Offenbar war Luchesi also auch in Bonn an der Orgel tätig. 1794 wurde das linksrheinische Gebiet französisch besetzt. Der Kurfürst floh nach Wien, das Hofleben in Bonn endete für immer. Luchesi, der nach seiner Ankunft gut geheiratet hatte und in Bonn zwei Häuser und einen Weinberg besaß, blieb dort für den Rest seines Lebens wohnen. Mehr Luchesi:…

Born at Motta di Livenza, Luchesi trained in nearby Venice, for ex. with Galuppi. An organist, he also composed operas and instrumental music. In 1771 the Elector of Cologne Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels called him to his capital Bonn to inject new energy into his court music — which Max Friedrich himself had put on a back burner when he came to office in 1761, his predecessors having left him a mountain of debt. This was the background of the nomination of Ludwig van Beethoven (sr.) as kapellmeister — no composer, no foreign import, but a „local resource“ and thus cheaper. After his death, this prestigious charge was bestowed on Luchesi in 1774. According to Johann Nicolaus Forkel (Musikalischer Almanach 1782) under Luchesi the court music at Bonn ranked third in Germany after Mannheim and Mainz — with Vienna in 5th, Dresden in 16th, and Berlin in 17th place. In 1780 the youngest son of the empress Maria Theresa, Maximilian Franz, was elected coadjutor (designated successor) of the aging elector. Max Franz promised Mozart, whom he admired, to make him his kapellmeister at Bonn (Mozart and Luchesi had met in Venice in 1771). Mozart would have dearly liked the post but in his letters is sceptical of his chances. Max Friedrich died in 1784 and Max Franz took up residence at Bonn. However, Luchesi kept his post, despite the fact that at this time he was not even at Bonn, but temporarily back in Venice, where he had been commissioned to write an opera for the visit of the king of Sweden. Max Franz immediately made the court musicians the object of a review. A memorandum was drawn up assessing the abilities of the various musicians, among them the son and grandson (the latter, then aged 13, also named Ludwig) of the previous kapellmeister. Thus we read: „14. Ludwig Betthoven, a son of the Betthoven sub No. 8 [Johann van B.], does not have a salary, but has played the organ during the absence of Kapellmeister Luchesi; is quite talented, still young, of good quiet demeanour and poor.“ According to this, then, Luchesi still played the organ at Bonn. In 1794 the left bank of the Rhine was occupied by troops of revolutionary France. Elector Max Franz fled to Vienna; court life at Bonn ended for ever. Luchesi had, at Bonn, made an advantageous marriage, and owned two houses and a vinyard. He stayed at Bonn for the remaining years of his life. More by him:…


Andrea Luchesi (1741-1801): Sonata in Fa maggiore_Grave (Brescia_S.Carlo)

(English below)
Ausführlichere biographische Informationen zu Luchesi finden sich in der Beschreibung eines anderen Videos, das ich ihm gewidmet habe:… (mit dem hier eingespielten Stück hat das dort aufgenommene die Tonart gemein, es handelt sich aber um voneinander unabhängige Werke). Mit der Orgel von S. Carlo in Brescia hatte Luchesi soweit ich weiß nichts zu tun, sie ist aber typisch für die Art Instrument, die er auch in Venedig gewohnt war. Die Zuschreibung des Instruments an Graziadio (II) Antegnati ist nicht ganz sicher, weil auch das Baujahr anscheinend nicht zweifelsfrei festgestellt werden kann. Daß die Orgel aus dem Haus Antegnati stammt, wird allgemein akzeptiert. Es wurde freilich auch etwa schon ein Entstehungsdatum vor 1600 vermutet — wenngleich die Kirche selbst erst in den Jahren 1614-16 errichtet wurde. Das Hinzuziehen zusätzlicher Register am Beginn des zweiten Teils ist darin begründet, daß das (nicht autographe) Manuskript des 18. Jahrhunderts (herausgegeben von Maurizio Machella) an dieser Stelle „f“ vorschreibt, vorher und nachher hingegen „mf“. Die Begleitgeräusche auf der Tonspur (im Gegensatz zum Bild ungeschnitten) sind die der mechanischen Traktur der Orgel.

Detailed biographical information about Luchesi may be found in the description of another of my videos devoted to him:… (that piece is in the same key as the one recorded here, but they are independent of each other, not movements of a single work). As far as I know Luchesi had no connection with the organ at S. Carlo in Brescia, but it is representative of the type of instrument with which he was familiar in Venice too. The attribution of this instrument to Graziadio (II) Antegnati is not altogether certain, since the year in which it was built apparently cannot be determined beyond doubt. It is generally accepted that the Antegnati firm was responsible for the instrument. But it has been dated variously, even to the end of the 16th century — despite the fact that the church itself was only built in 1614-16. I draw additional stops at the beginning of the second part because in the (non-autograph) 18th-century manuscript (ed. Maurizio Machella) this passage is marked „f“, whereas what comes before and after is marked „mf“. The additional noises in the audio track (recorded in a single session, even though the video alternates between two cameras) are those of the mechanical key action of the instrument.


Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710): Pastorale (Ménestérol)

(English below)
Pasquini war Cembalist und Organist in Rom. Wie das Video genauer erklärt, ahmt die Pastorale Musik nach, die nach bestimmten Mustern von Hirten improvisiert wird.

Pasquini was a harpsichordist and organist in Rome. As explained in the video the pastorale imitates music improvised by shepherds according to certain patterns.