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Organ & Keyboard Music,
Salzburg Court 1500-1800:
ed. Siegbert Rampe
Review by John Collins


Organ and keyboard music at the Salzburg Court 1500-1800.
Edited by Siegbert Rampe.
Bärenreiter BA8499.

This volume contains a wide range of pieces covering some three hundred years by composers active in the court in Salzburg. Two short song-settings by Paul Hofhaimer (1459-1537), Was ich durch Gluck and Min Ainigs.a. (sic) taken from the Amerbach tabulature preserved in Basel University Library open the collection, followed by two Conzons (sic) by Liberalis Zangius (1570-after 1621) which are typical of the genre at this time with their rhythmic verve. A few bars contain writing which is awkward without pedals, but can be managed with judicious adjustments; similar treatment is required in Johann Feldmair’s Magnificat in 6 voices which contains some grand chordal writing contrasted with imitative passages. A further lively Conzon by Johann Stadlmayer contains a short section in triple time before the opening is repeated, leading to the concluding section. Five pieces by Carl van der Hofen (1580-1661) include two Toccatas that are similar to Gabrieli’s Intonazione, a short canzona-like Ricercar, a very brief Fugue and a longer more intricately-wrought Fantasia with plenty of passagework. Two further canzona-like sonatas from a set of seven by Steffano Bernardi (ca 1585-1636) contain some massive chords in which the pedal is required; these pieces are arrangements for keyboard from his Terzo libri de Madrigali of 1619 and offer an insight into the intabulation technique.

A most tuneful Parthia in Bb by Franz Xaver Neumüller (c1702-26) comprising Entrée, Gavotte, Sarabanda, 2 Minuets and Gigue is the only known surviving keyboard work by this short-lived composer, and makes one wish that more had been left. Two large-scale sonatas by Johann Eberlin (better known for his Nine Toccatas and Fugues) and Leopold Mozart (a pupil of Eberlin) offer far more substantial fare. Eberlin’s sonata in A opens with an Allegretto with typically galant figures and sweeping arpeggios, Lh doublings at the octave and in bars 102/3 and 109/10 sudden four-part chords in each hand, the following Andante contains further galant mannerisms, the minuet and trio are followed by a rather looser Fuge than customary for this composer, with a long held bass dominant pedal before the close. With its several indications of piano, forte and crescendo, the clavichord is the ideal instrument for interpreting its dynamic sweeps but Rampe sees it as quite vaibale on the organ. Leopold’s sonata in Bb is more conventional in its form, the opening allegro exploiting an oscillating octave figure, a melodious Andante containing either octaves or throbbing chords for the LH, and a final 3/8 Allegro bubbling away merrily.

The collection continues with some pieces (2 fugues and 2 versus) by the younger Mozart which Rampe suggests were intended for pedal clavichord; the first fugue, in G minor, is a stirring work reflecting Mozart’s keen interest in counterpoint, an eight-bar conclusion being provided by Maximilian Stadler. The two versus are excellent contrapuntal miniatures and the fugue in G major contains some tricky writing before it also breaks off before concluding, 6 bars being provided by Rampe himself. The final work is a set of Cadenzen and Versetten in the 8 Church Tones, the only surviving organ works by Johann Michael Haydn, Franz Josef’s younger brother. Each Tone contains a prelude, four imitative versets with subjects ranging from critchet to semiquaver movement and a postlude; most of these movements do not exceed six bars, theose on the 8th Tone being the exception, but whilst being intended primarily for alternatim performance in the Liturgy, they still offer some rewardingly pleasing writing which rises above that of mere exercises for less experienced organists.

The printing and layout of is excellent, and the preface contains much useful information about the Court, instruments, composers and sources. Whilst it would have been nice to have had available the two other sonatas known by Leopold Mozart and the two by Anton Adlgasser (like Eberlin’s, all of these appeared in the Haffner anthologies), the selection offers plenty of interesting and useful material in the main styles of the three centuries edited in the usual exemplary manner by Siegbert Rampe.

© John Collins, Jul 2011

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