Born 1702, died 1762. One or two
of his pieces are found in compilations of early German keyboard music.
Six preludes and fugues (1745) are included in the "Tresor des
Pianistes" volumes brought out from 1861-1872 (Farrenc & Co), and reprinted
by Da Capo Press, New York, in 1977 (available from the British
Library). The original
collection was called "8 Toccatas and Fugues for organ" ( Nuremberg, 1745);
it appeared in its second edition as 9 toccatas and fugues in 1747, and
these were republished
by Coppenraths in about 1958. Novellos issued no. 2 (Gm) from the original collection in their
organ series. He wrote some short versets for
church use, recently reprinted, which are OK but short; about a page
The pieces were written for organ. The following remarks
are my comments on how well they work on the piano.
The different editions of the toccatas & fugues
(original) and [Farrenc]
First few melody notes given to identify each toccata, accidentals ignored
gdgf(2)-also pub by Novello, Gm
USING ORIGINAL NUMBERING
Toccata & Fugue 1
Toccata- Good piece but not suitable for piano. Sounds very modern in spite
of being 250 years old. Fugue - excellent organ piece; tolerable on
Toccata & Fugue 2, Gm
Toccata- competent two-part writing with
an occasional third part. Fairly ordinary; would be OK on organ but
not worthwhile on the piano. Fugue- an excellent piece in rather severe
style; not too congested; places to breathe, and quite effective on
the piano though not worth recording. Fugue-second part-
this degenerates into mechanical sequences of the sort I used to
write when learning about composition. Not worthwhile on the piano but
tolerable on the organ with a light registration.
Toccata & Fugue 3, Am
Toccata-not pianistic; too many held notes, but would be very
effective on the organ. Beautiful inner melody on page 2. Fugue-
rather chromatic subject, but a highly competent piece of fugal
writing. It would not record well on piano; some of the part-writing
in the bass is too close and sounds congested. Fine on organ.
Toccata & Fugue 5
Toccata-not suitable for piano. Fugue- tolerable on piano but
Toccata & Fugue 6
Toccata- not suitable for piano but I think would be OK on organ.
Fugue- has a cheerful distinctive subject which sounds reasonable on
the piano though would not be worth recording.
Toccata & Fugue 7
Toccata-terrible on piano - sounds like a musical box which
hasn't been fully wound. Reminded me of the C major prelude of JSB.
Fugue- cheerful piece in D with a distinctive, happy subject; good on piano. The
last half of the penultimate bar: double all the note values, otherwise the ending is too
abrupt. "Pars Secunda" - avoid - this is less well written.
Toccata & Fugue 8
Least good of the set. I could find no music in either the
toccata or the fugue.
Toccata & Fugue 9
Toccata -not suited to piano. Fugue: more mother-in-law music.
Chromatic and tuneless.
Book 1: Not many of these sound well on the piano - about one in 4
is tolerable, with the occasional piece being better.
are generally a little more appealing than the toccatas and fugues,
mainly because they are shorter; the ideas are not over-worked.
Overall, I am disappointed in Eberlin. I used to enjoy his work,
and was impressed by the technical mastery of the writing, but
on revisiting these pieces fifteen years later my taste seems to
have changed. With only a few exceptions, these pieces do not
suit the piano.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website
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