The Organ

Christian Flor. Todes-Gedancken auff meinen lieben Gott, und andere Clavierwerke

Christian Flor. Todes-Gedancken auff meinen lieben Gott, und andere Clavierwerke

Editors: Arndt Schnoor and Jörg Jacobi

Published by Edition Baroque eba4052. 11 Euros
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The thirteen short chorale preludes by Christian Flor, (1626-97) organist of the Lambertikirche in Lüneburg from ca 1654, published by Edition Baroque as eba4006, were reviewed in The Organ in 2012. In this new publication Arndt Schnoor and Jörg Jacobi unite four of Flor’s pieces preserved in manuscripts with the set of pieces based on the hymn Auf meinen lieben Gott, a copy of the print of 1692 being discovered in the Russian national library, St. Petersburg. The first two pieces in the new edition are short, both included in manuscript KN207/15 in the Ratsbücherei, Lüneburg, the first is headed Praeludium CF, and mixes chordal passages with rapid figuration over pedal points, the second, headed Praeludium E: CF, is longer at 18 bars, and has figuration throughout, sometimes in sixths, after a flamboyant opening flourish. Pedals are required in both for the held bass notes. These are followed by an attractive Fuga in D minor found in a MS in the Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. Opening in the canzona rhythm of a minim followed by two crotchets, the Fuga continues with the subject frequently changed into a crotchet rest followed by three crotchets, the first answer overlapping the close of the subject, including a diminished fourth from F-C#-D. The subject appears in triple time in the second section which leads into the closing section in which the subject is treated in quavers, with semiquaver figures obscuring the diminished fourth. Playable on manuals only, this is a fairly rare North German example of the variation canzona developed by Froberger from models by Frescobaldi. The fourth piece, also found in a manuscript in the Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, is a Suite of dances in C, opening with a prelude, followed by an Aria, Courant, Sarabanda, each of which has its Double, and a Gigue. These attractive and competent pieces are clearly for stringed keyboard instruments, but may well have been played on domestic chamber organs.

The four-voice settings of Auf meinen lieben Gott consist of Contrapunctus I- Evolutio – Contrapunctus II - Evolutio – Contrapunctus III – Resolutio. These were highly praised by Johann Gottfried Walther.. In the first Contrapunctus, in D minor and headed Auf meinen lieben GOtt, the melody is heard in minims in the treble against crotchets and quavers. The Evolutio, in A minor, is headed Ob mich die Sünd’ anficht and presents the chorale in the bass. The second Contrapunctus is also in A minor and is headed Ob mich der Todt nimmt hin and presents the chorale in the treble, while the Evolutio, in E minor, is headed O MEIN HERR JESU Christ (sic) and presents the melody in the bass in minims line by line in reverse. The final Contrapunctus and its Resolutio, based on Amen zu aller Stund from the fifth stanza, are majestic settings in minims and semibreves with a few crossed parts, the melody being heard in the alto. Pedals are needed for this piece, and also in some places in the preceding pieces where there are big stretches between tenor and bass or alto. The Resolutio presents the Contrapunctus in reverse. The original version in score follows, which contains the complete text for each verse in German.

The printing is clear with no awkward page turns, but the preface, which contains biographical details and source information, is in German only. Credit is due to the editors for searching out these little-known pieces, which are useful in the liturgy, and to Edition Baroque for publishing them.

John Collins