Magazine article The American Organist

Johann Praetorius Selected Organ Works

Magazine article The American Organist

Johann Praetorius Selected Organ Works

Article excerpt

JOHANN PRAETORIUS SELECTED ORGAN WORKS. Friedhelm Flamme, organist. 1/9 organ of the Peter-und-Paul-Kirche of the Cloister Estate in Holthausen bei Büren, Germany (unknown builder, 1764; restored by Joachim Stade, Orgelbau Waltershausen, 2007). Classic Produktion Osnabrück epo 777 344-2 (SACD). Available at http://www. jpc.de/jpcng/cpo/detail/-/art/JohannPraetorius-OrgeIwerke/hnum/4125370.

The son of Hieronymus Praetorius, Johann Praetorius (1595-1660) studied organ with his father and with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. He served as organist and church secretary at St. Nicolas in Hamburg from 1612 until his death. He also served as organist at Old St. Michael's Church and the Cloister of St. Mary Magdalene in Hamburg. He was a member of the selection committee that appointed Mathias Weckmann as organist of the Church of St. James. Between 1615 and 1635 Praetorius published six wedding motets for five, six, and eight voices, two of which are extant, along with a fragment of an epithalamium. His organ works have only recently come to light following the research of musicologist Klaus Beckmann, who edited them as Johann Praetorius: Sämtliche Orgelwerke, Vol. 7 of Schott's Meister der Nordeutschen Orgelschule. Based on chant and chorale melodies, the organ works are variation sets linked to choral sources. Each variation would have served as a versus played in alternatim fashion. The music, primarily for manuals only, displays a level of compositional skill, creativity, and musical appeal that is no less significant than that of Praetorius's contemporaries such as Scheidemann, Reincken, Weckmann, or Johann's father, Hieronymous, and his brother Jacob. …

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