Heinrich Scheidemann Keyboard Music

Heinrich Scheidemann was born in about 1596. He studied with Sweelinck from 1611 to 1614, and was one of his star pupils. In 1625 he took over his father's job as organist at St. Catherine's church, Hamburg. He kept the position until his death in 1663. According to contemporary reports, Scheidemann was a friendly, affable person; his playing was nimble, merry and full of humour.

There are 86 compositions thought to be by Scheidemann (preludes, toccatas, organ chorales, intabulations) plus about 20 dance pieces.

The recently discovered Celle Klavierbuck (1662) contains 15 dances. On playing them I am struck by their English style; we have Alimanda, Courant, Allemand, la doble, etc...most attractively figured, tuneful and witty, and almost reminiscent of Byrd, Gibbons and Cosyns. This is quite a surprise.

Apel, in his "History of Keyboard Music to 1700", p. 372, comments that a galliard by this composer (Uppsala Ms. 408, fol.3v) follows the English models. A "Ballett" by Scheidemann found its way into the Anna Maria van Eijl Klavierbook, and is "an agreeable little dance of English flavour"....written with English ornaments.

These pieces are very effective on the piano.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website

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