Benedict Schultheiss (c1653-1693) spent his life in Nuremberg. He
published two volumes of keyboard music in 1679 and 1680. Schultheiss
himself etched the music on copper plates.
Richard Hudson has edited these pieces in the CEKM series, volume 21.
He says "I have prepared the present volume with the feeling that
his works are significant not inly in the history of the German
keyboard suite, but also as pieces of music that can still give
pleasure to the performer and listener today".
The pieces make up the earliest published German keyboard
suites; there are eight of them. Apel
does not appear to be over-impressed. He says that they are
fairly average for the time, similar to the level of suites by
Buxtehude, Bohm, Krieger or Pachelbel. "To hear something really fine
we have to turn to France - to d'Anglebert, or wait for Bach".
The pieces were for clavichord or harpsichord. As for playing
them on the piano, I don't agree with Apel. It's
and the suites transfer successfully and fit under the
hands well. There are a few places where the tonality seems a little
uncertain and the return to the home key is rather abrupt, but the
problem disappears by altering an occasional accidental.
The most noteworthy
feature of the suites is the variety shown by the gigues, which have
unusual time signatures and figurations.
No trace here of the commonplace 6/8 movements used by so many
later writers to get their suites finished. It's a pleasure to work at
these and get them right.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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