Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A composer of outsize ambition and ability


Perhaps first at Reincken's Hamburg apartment, Bach came under the influence of the great Dietrich Buxtehude, organist at St. Mary's in Lübeck and a composer of outsize ambition and ability who was working with all the styles and traditions of Europe. Buxtehude would have a more than musical influence on Sebastian in his first job, and it was in him perhaps more than anywhere else that Sebastian would find the inspiration for what was perhaps his greatest gift to Western culture: forging from a multinational babel a single language of European music ~ from Evening in the Palace of Reason by James Gaines.

Dietrich Buxtehude, born circa 1637, died 9 May 1707.

* For an excellent overview of his music look no further than Pièces Pour Orgue - Dietrich Buxtehude played by Francis Jacob (Zig-Zag Territoires ZZT 030901) which very effectively alternates the solo organ with harmonisations of the chorales for three voices. Francis Jacobs plays the Bernard Aubertin organ in the church of St Martin de Vertus.

* My header picture is the only one known portrait of Dieterich Buxtehude. The painting is Allegory on friendship by Johannes Voorhout, and it shows Buxtehude with a score in his hand, and the Hamburg organist Johann Reincken, who is mentioned above, sitting at a harpsichord. The painting is dated 1674.

And for more from James Gaines take the path to Gentlemen, old Bach is here ...
The extract above is from Evening in the Palace of Reason by James Gaines published by Fourth Estate ISBN 0007153929. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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