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July 18, 2014  |  By  | 


Category: Music

WL 2 2 2 14 W n L l E i i n In . manuscript copies. The principal sources for these surviving copies are manuscripts by Johann Gottfried Walther. There are several problems in establishing accuracy from these copies. Examination of the copies has led Beckmann to conclude that the originals were likely written in German organ tablature. This system was a shorthand for notating music, so it took less time and paper. However, errors can occur in translating this system to standard notation (i.e., treble and bass clef). To complicate matters further, the copyists from the central German school were not musically fluent in the North-German and French styles and may have misunderstood Böhm’s use of musical conventions from these styles. It is analogous to an American hand- copying a British text containing colloquialisms and written in shorthand; while the language is similar overall, misunderstandings can still occur. The copies also do not specify whether individual works are for organ or another keyboard instrument (harpsichord, clavichord, etc.). Generally, works written with the subheading “partita” for each movement were conceived as non-organ works and those with “versus” are intended for alternatim practice in the Lutheran service (congregation alternates with the organ for each verse of the chorale). Even though the evidence strongly suggests that chorale partitas were suites intended for home use, they adapt well to the organ and can be played on any keyboard instrument. “Freu dich sehr” comes from the Walther’s copy, Ms. 15839 at the Universitätsbibliothek, Königsberg. It is not known if Partita 12 is indeed part of the chorale partita or a separate chorale prelude. Its character is quite different from the other movements: it requires two keyboards and pedal, and is written as a trio. Partitas 1 – 11 are all written for manuals only and have a more homophonic texture. Some recordings do not include Partita 12 because of these differences. It has been included in our series since it is based on the same tune and is useful for today’s church musician. This issue marks the final installment of our series on “Freu dich sehr, O Meine Seele.” I hope these articles have enhanced your understanding of this partita. Special thanks are extended to consultants Quentin Faulkner and John Brombaugh for their contributions to this series. —Marya Orlowska-Fancey, 2014 Sources Beckmann, Klaus, introduction to Sämtliche Orgelwerke , by Georg Böhm. Edited by Klaus Beckmann. Wiesbaden, Germany: Breitkopf and Härtel, 1986. Hugh J. McLean. “Böhm, Georg.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed April 23, 2014, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/ grove/music/03412. Schuneman, Robert. “The Organ Chorales of Georg Böhm.” The Diapason , March 1970, 12 – 14. Wollny, Peter and Michael Maul. “The Weimar Organ Tablature: Bach’s Earliest Autographs.” Understanding Bach 3 (2008): 67 – 74. http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub3/WOLLNY and MAUL.pdf. reu c se r, Part VI: Biography and Manuscript Sources A Biography Georg Böhm was born September 2, 1661 near Ohrdruf, Thuringia (now central Germany), the same area where the Bach family had been active as musicians for generations. Through his father, also an organist, Böhm was introduced to many members of the Bach family and their former pupils (now professional musicians). Presumably, they had an influence on Böhm’s musical education. After attending schools in Goldbach and Gotha, Böhm matriculated at the University of Jena in 1684, but further information about his university days is unknown. By 1693, he was living in Hamburg; however, records do not show church employment at this time. While in Hamburg, Böhm had opportunities to further his musical development. It is believed he studied with Johann Adam Reincken at St. Katharinen. The Hamburg opera, directed by Lully’s student Sigismund Kusser, provided opportunities to hear French opera. Böhm also may have heard the organists Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck and Vincent Lübeck in Stade because these cities were not far from Hamburg. In 1697, Böhm asked the city council of Lüneburg for an audition to fill the post of organist at Johanniskirche, which was granted and held until his death in 1733. During Böhm’s tenure, the organ was extensively rebuilt by Matthias Dropa (see article in the May 2014 issue). French music strongly influenced Böhm’s compositions because he had multiple opportunities to encounter the style. French music was popular in Germany, especially north Germany, so they employed many musicians who studied in France. The French dancing master, Thomas de la Selle, was a teacher at Lüneburg’s Ritterakademie, a school for young noblemen that offered many opportunities to hear French music. Travels to nearby cities such as Hannover and Celle, where Duke Wilhelm imported the French style to his court, are not documented, but were possible. There has been much discussion as to whether or not J.S. Bach studied with Böhm while Bach was a student at Michaelisschule (the choir school at St. Michael’s) in Lüneburg from 1700 – 1702. In 2005, this student-teacher connection was firmly established through the discovery of early Bach autographs (Wollny and Maul). The young, teenage Bach was able to copy works by notable North- German composers such as Buxtehude and Reincken from Böhm’s personal library. Bach also absorbed the French style through Böhm and other musical influences in Lüneburg. Sources for Böhm’s Works No autograph manuscripts exist for the works of Georg Böhm. Although his career as an organist was in Lüneburg, his works spread to Berlin and central Germany through

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