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Joseph Kelemen Johann Pachelbel: Orgelwerke OC 613 SACD
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FormatSuper Audio CD
Ordering NumberOC 613
Barcode4260034866133
labelOehmsClassics
Release date09.11.2007
salesrank4785
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Pachelbel, Johann

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      Description hide

      Joseph Kelemen, Stertzing Organ (1702, Erfurt-Büßleben), Crapp Organ (1722, Pappenheim)

      In the Southern and Northern German Organ Schools, Johann Pachelbel has a special status. Although the Nuremberg-born composer probably never set foot in Northern Germany, some of his works are very Northern German in style. He was also a friend of Johann Ambrosius Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s father, as well as the teacher of the latter’s oldest son Johann Christoph. In addition, Johann Pachelbel is said to have studied the Southern German organ style with Johann Casper Kerll from 1673–75 in Vienna. Joseph Kelemen has chosen two instruments for this recording: the St. Petri organ in Erfurt-Büßleben, built by G.Ch. Stertzing in 1702, and the Crapp organ in Pappenheim from 1720, which is still in exemplary original condition. The instruments have different types of intonation: the Stertzing organ in Büßleben is still conservative mean tone, as was frequently the case around 1700, while the Pappenheim Crapp organ with its original well-tempered intonation points toward the future.

      Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) Organ Works

      And does it not have the unfeigned appearance / that eternal heavenly joy could not be better represented than through music (which masters and rules the soul / the most noble and almost Godly part of man) / verily, that it is the right-hand crown and the most magnificent throne of all other arts…

      Johann Pachelbel, Preface to Hexachordum Apollinis, Nuremberg 1699

      Johann Pachelbel was born in 1653 in Nuremberg, where he received his first musical instruction from Heinrich Schwemmer (1621–96) and Georg Caspar Wecker (1632–95). According to the report by Johann Mattheson 1 Pachelbel spent time in Vienna between 1673 and 1675, where he is said to have studied with as well as stood in for cathedral organist Johann Caspar Kerll (1627– 93) at St. Stephan’s cathedral (although the Vienna Cathedral Archives contain no records on this). After a short period in 1677 as court organist in Eisenach, Pachelbel was given a position at the Erfurt Predigerkirche in 1678. From 1690 to 1692, he was the organist at the court of Duchess Magdalena Sibylla in Stuttgart, and from 1692 to 1695 the city organist in Gotha, before being appointed successor to his teacher Wecker at the St. Sebaldus Church of his home city Nuremberg in 1695. Pachelbel died in Nuremberg in 1706.

      In addition to around sixty sacred vocal works and some instrumental compositions, Pachelbel primarily composed music for keyboard instruments, like his Southern German colleague Johann Jacob Froberger (1616–67). In the context of the major 17th century German organ schools (Northern and Southern Germany) Pachelbel’s style is unique. His stay in Vienna acquainted him with the Southern German style, which finds its expression in his organ-point toccatas and fugues. And although Pachelbel never visited Northern Germany, some of his works, e.g. some chorales, can be thoroughly placed within the Northern German stylistic realm 2. The title page of his Hexachordum Apollinis, published in 1699, shows that he was thoroughly familiar with both stylistic directions. It is dedicated to both the Viennese organist Ferdinand Tobias Richter (ca. 1649–1711) as well as to the most important Northern German organ composer of the time: Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707).

      But Pachelbel also had close ties to the Bach family. He was a friend of Johann Ambrosius Bach (1645–95), the father of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) and the teacher of Ambrosius Bach’s oldest son Johann Christoph (1671–1721). Because the latter is presumed to be the most important teacher of his youngest brother Johann Sebastian, Pachelbel significantly influenced the development of following generations of keyboard music. Copies of his organ works were found well into the 19th century, making Pachelbel one of the best accepted organ composers ever.

      The instruments

      The organ in St. Petri in Erfurt-Büssleben was originally built for the St. Petri Benedictine monastery on the Erfurt Petersberg by organ-builder Georg Christoph Stertzing (1660–1717). The oldest building in Erfurt (construction began in 1103), St. Peter’s Church dominated the city’s skyline with its high twin towers (c.f. illustration on page 9, the fourth tower from the left). In the course of secularization, which began in 1802, the church’s entire inventory was sold. At an auction in 1811, the organ was bought for the Büssleben parish for 900 talers. It nearly didn’t fit in the organ balcony: the coat of arms which had originally crowned the organ cabinet had to be affixed to the wall adjacent to the instrument. But the move of the organ proved to be a stroke of luck, however, because St. Peter’s Church was completely burned down after Prussian bombardment in 1813.

      Like Pachelbel, Eisenach native Stertzing also had close contact to the Bach family, various of whose members performed at three of Stertzing’s instruments. Stertzing worked closely with Johann Christoph Bach (the cousin of Johann Sebastian’s father Johann Ambrosius); in 1696, they collaborated on the disposition of the organ in the Church of St. George in Eisenach.

      Altogether, Stertzing built some ten organs, of which only the instrument in Erfurt- Büssleben’s St. Petri has survived.

      In 1701, Stertzing was commissioned by the city of Eisenach to travel to Magdeburg to study the latter’s cathedral organ 3 as well as two large instruments of the famous Hamburg organ-builder Arp Schnitger (1648–1719). Schnitger would have stayed several times in Magdeburg during the first years of the 18th century, because he completed his work on the organ in St. Jacobi in 1703. Stertzing and Schnitger might have met during this time, although no evidence for such conjecture exists. It is certain, however, that in Magdeburg, Stertzing obtained profound insights in the Northern German school of organ-building.

      The Büssleben instrument, the only remaining Thuringian organ from Pachelbel’s time, was altered a number of times during its 300-year history. During its restoration in 1999–2002 and 2005, carried out under historical aspects by the Alexander Schuke organbuilder’s shop (Potsdam), 20 of 28 stops could be completed with the existing pipe ranks (for exact information, see disposition on p. 22).

      Noteworthy for the organ’s sound are its three Quintadena stops. Even the Nachthorn of the Brustwerk – heard in Variation 2 [31] of the Aria tertia – is despite its name a 4’ Quintadena. The Traversa 8’ (= Transverse flute) of the Brustwerk was added to the instrument circa 50 years after its construction by an anonymous builder. The stop fits into the overall organ sound well, however, which justifies its use in this program, i.e. beginning in measure 160 of the Ciacona in f [03].

      The Mixtures have a brilliant character; from c1, the Brustwerk Mixtur no longer repeats, enabling the greatest possible transparency of polyphony in the plenum. One of the organ’s further special features is its “breathing” wind, i.e. that produced by a human bellows operator, which gives the organ sound its vitality.

      The Augustinian Eremite Church of the Holy Spirit was founded in 1372 by Count von Pappenheim, but its monastery dissolved in 1550. Since then, it belongs to the descendants of the founding family, and is currently in the property of Countess Iniga von und zu Egloffstein.

      The builder of this church organ cannot be conclusively determined.

      Johann Christoph Crapp (?–1755/60), was born in Erfurt and moved to Middle Franconia. Records show that he resided in Pappenheim between 1719 and 1722, and because the organ in the monastery church was built during this time, he is considered to be its builder.

      The so-called Crapp organ in Pappenheim – Middle Franconia’s most valuable historical organ – is impressive particularly due to its exemplary original condition: its mechanism, console including stop-knobs, all pipes including intonation as well as three bellows are all original. The lower case as well as the pedalboard (see illustration on page 21) is richly decorated with wood inlay. The toeboard of the Principal 8’ previously contained a Gamba 8’; when the Principal was added is unknown, but this could have been some 50 years after the instrument’s creation.

      The organ’s Southern German elements include its lack of reeds as well as a limited pedal range, which only allows supporting tones to be played. Complicated pedal lines would have been impossible on the Pappenheim organ due to the slow reaction of the pedals; furthermore, the lowest and highest pedals must be played with the outside edge of the foot because the wooden ends of the pedal keys impede the usual manner of playing. Of particular note are two characteristic (wooden) stops: the soft Coppel 8’ heard in the Fuge in d [13] and the Kleingedackt 4’ used in the Partita 6 [22] of the chorale prelude Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan. The individual sound of the 4’ stop could be best described as “sweet”. Unplayable for decades, the organ was made accessible to the music world again by its 1997 restoration through the G.F. Steinmeyer organ-building shop of Oettingen.

      The instruments have different types of intonation: the Stertzing organ in Büssleben is still conservative mean tone, as was frequently the case around 1700, while the Pappenheim Crapp organ with its original well-tempered intonation points toward the future. The mean tone intonation makes performing pieces in foreign keys difficult. In this recording, for example, the Ciacona in f [03] and Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her [28] were thus transposed. The tone D# – a very “grating” tone in mean tone – is only used four times in the chorale prelude Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn [26], which was therefore left in its original key of G major.

      The works and their stops

      Most of the pieces recorded here have come down to us in handwritten form with the exception of the Aria Tertia [29], which appeared in the Hexachordum Apollinis, as well as the chorale preludes [02], [26], [27], [28] and [36]. These were printed in the collection entitled Acht Choräle, which appeared during Pachelbel’s lifetime. Pachelbel’s chorale preludes were chosen according to their various formal characteristics: the melodies are sometimes heard in the soprano, tenor or bass, and the accompanying voices show different features as well.

      Büssleben. The Praeludium in d [01] is based on Northern German models, and is more or less in the Buxtehude style. It has various sections with differing characters, without, however, the fugue typical for the Northern German style. Pachelbel’s prelude begins with a long pedal solo that goes immediately into cascade-like figuration in the manual. The rapidly descending 32nd-note passages in the middle of the composition are very elegant (m. 33). After a quiet interlude (m. 46) and powerful chords (m. 62), we hear a free passage in parallel thirds (m. 80), before the piece moves towards its strong close with a renewed pedal entrance in the last three measures. Of the overall twelve different plenum registrations in the program, this prelude uses five (uncoupled and coupled).

      The chorale prelude Wir glauben all an einen Gott [02] (likewise oriented on Northern German models) consists of a richly colored melody, stopped with the Brustwerk Quinte over the supporting accompaniment of the Oberwerk 8’ Principals in the left hand.

      The bass ostinato of the Ciacona in f [03] includes two repetitions of the four-measure subject f E-flat D-flat C. Because of their obvious buildup of tension, ostinato pieces (= those with constantly repeating themes) were well loved in the baroque. The moving composition performed here (with 21 variations) is one of seven that Pachelbel wrote in this genre. Quintadena sounds dominate the stops; through this a certain degree of dynamics was not exceeded.



      The Magnificat fugues heard here illuminate the alternatim practices of St. Sebald in Nuremberg. The Magnificat, the Marian hymn, was performed there in alternation between the organ and the choir. The organ played the odd verses i (Magnificat), ii, v, vi, ix, xi (Gloria Patri), with the choir singing the even verses. Verses i and xi were usually improvised by the organist in plenum, as is done here. The verses inbetween, from Pachelbel’s Magnificat octavi toni [05–08] are fugues, each in a different style.

      The Ricercar in C [10] is built around the ascending pentachord c-d-e-f-g. After presentation of the thematic material, it is surrounded in the second half of the piece by parallel thirds.

      Pappenheim. The plenum composition Toccata in C [11] lives from its ornamented figuration over an organ point – as is frequently found in Pachelbel’s music. The origin of this composition style is Kerll’s Toccata sesta – the first work of this type north of the Alps. Even if it cannot be directly proven that Pachelbel studied with Kerll, Pachelbel’s toccatas make such a supposition likely.

      The theme of the Ricercar in c [12], very similar to its major-variant [10], is an ascending chromatic line. The beginning of the ricercari lets us make an interesting comparison of both Principal 8’ stops used (i.e. in Büssleben and Pappenheim). The contrapuntal structure of the latter ricercar is illuminated in the following sections with an economical use of stops. Similar to the previous ricercar, the theme of the gentle Fuga in d [13] consists of chromatic line – in this case, however, descending.

      The dominating affect of the Toccata in c [14] could be considered – despite its fast passages – as dolor 4 . The numerous 32nd-notes in the descant of the toccata drive hastily forwards, not finding their repose until the final chord. In contrast, the Fuge in C [15] sets a joyful tone. Its character is determined by the repetition of tones in the subject, which may have caused someone to note “Nightingale” in one of the handwritten copies. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan [16] is a set of chorale variations which begins with the chorale played in four voices. The chorale proceeds through the nine variations with ever-smaller note values (diminutio), with the sound often being determined by individual stops, before the final Partita (= variation in the baroque) comes to a close in the festive plenum.

      Büssleben. After an introductory fugal section, the melody of the chorale prelude Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn [26] enters in the pedal (m. 34) and is played in the left hand one octave higher colla parte as reinforcement. The chorale prelude (stopped in plenum) provides the opportunity to compare the plena of the Stertzing and the Crapp organs; the latter in the previous Partita 9 [25] Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.

      The stops (Oberwerk Trombetta 8’ and Octav 4’) of Nun lob mein Seel den Herren [27], in which the chorale melody is in the tenor, benefit from the special intonation of the Oberwerk Trompete, which is somewhat softer in the discant. This makes it easier for the chorale to be heard in the tenor. The chorale prelude Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her [28] radiates a Christmas-like mood, particularly through its lively 12/8 rhythm, which is underscored in this recording by silvery “Southern German” registration 5.

      The arias from the Hexachordum Apollinis are series of variations over themes composed by Pachelbel. The work is one of the first collections using self-composed themes as the foundation for the variations. After the Aria [29], six variations – primarily rhythmic – are heard in the Aria Tertia.

      The chorale prelude Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt [36], which Pachelbel called a bicinium, uses a somewhat antiquated compositional technique; it is reminiscent of Northern German composer Samuel Scheidt (1587–1654). The stops have been correspondingly chosen to fit this “archaic” sound (a reed mixture in both descant and bass). The chorale melody is heard first in the upper, then in the lower voice.

      Due to the lack of a Flöte 4’ in the Stertzing organ, this register was emulated – so to speak – in the Brustwerk through the octave transposition of the Waldflöte 2’ for the chorale Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern [37]. The chorale melody, stopped with the sweetly tuned Cornett 2’, is heard in the pedal.

      The festive Toccata in C [38] at the end of the recording is played with a coupled great plenum using all three mixtures as a thirdsounding rank.

      Joseph Kelemen
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler




      1  Johann Mattheson, Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte, Hamburg 1740, Lipmannssohn, Berlin 1910, p. 244.
      2  A more extensive explanation of the Northern and Southern German schools cannot be made here. See Rudolf Faber & Philip Hartmann (Hrsg.), Handbuch Orgelmusik, Bärenreiter, Kassel 2002, pp.49–54. (Michael Belotti)
      3  III P/45, built in 1603–05 by Heinrich Compenius (1565–1631). The two Schnitger organs in Magdeburg were in St. Johannis (III P/62, 1689- 95, Schnitger’s second-largest organ) and St. Ulrich (III P/48, 1698–1700).
      4  “Dolor ist eine solche Passion der Seelen/da einer wegen eines Unglücks oder Zufalls innerlich betrübt wird.” (“Dolor is an affliction of the soul when one becomes deeply grieved for a misfortune or fate.”) Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia universalis, dt. Ausgabe, Schwäbisch Hall, 1662, facs. Kassel, 1988, p. 158.
      5  In Johann Baptist Samber: Continuatio ad Manuductionem, Salzburg 1707, p.148.

      Tracklist hide

      SACD 1
      • Stertzing-Orgel 1702, St. Petri, Erfurt-Büßleben
        • 1.Praeludium d Minor05:34
        • 2.Wir glauben all an einen Gott04:04
        • 3.Ciacona f Minor (transposed to d Minor)07:03
      • Magnificat octavi toni
        • 4.Eröffnungsvers I – Improvisation00:41
        • 5.Fuga III01:07
        • 6.Fuga V .01:06
        • 7.Fuga VII01:02
        • 8.Fuga IX01:08
        • 9.Schlussvers XI – Improvisation00:22
      • 10.Ricercar C Major03:45
      • Crapp-Orgel 1722, Klosterkirche, Pappenheim
        • 11.Toccata C Major02:09
        • 12.Ricercar c Minor05:42
        • 13.Fuga d Minor03:02
        • 14.Toccata c Minor02:59
        • 15.Fuga C Major02:22
      • Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan
        • 16.Choral00:55
        • 17.Partita 100.50
        • 18.Partita 200:49
        • 19.Partita 300:51
        • 20.Partita 401:15
        • 21.Partita 500:55
        • 22.Partita 600.56
        • 23.Partita 700:56
        • 24.Partita 800:44
        • 25.Partita 900:54
      • Stertzing-Orgel 1702, St. Petri, Erfurt-Büßleben
        • 26.Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn03:46
        • 27.Nun lob mein Seel den Herren02:13
        • 28.Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (transposed from D to C)01:22
        • Aria tertia
          • 29.Aria01:02
          • 30.Variatio 101:08
          • 31.Variatio 201:04
          • 32.Variatio 300:55
          • 33.Variatio 400.59
          • 34.Variatio 500:54
          • 35.Variatio 600:59
        • 36.Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt03:04
        • 37.Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern02:49
        • 38.Toccata C major01:49
        • Total:01:10:30