Weckmann: Complete Organ Music

Album cover art for upc 5028421952291
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI95229
Format: COMPACT DISC

Venturini, Matteo

Born in 1616 or thereabouts, having displayed considerable talent from an early age, the 11-year-old Matthias Weckmann was brought to Schütz, who took the boy under his wing. As soon as his voice broke, he became organist at the court chapel in Dresden, and Schütz took him to Hamburg for lessons with the most celebrated German organist of the day, Jakob Praetorius. Weckmann also spent time with Heinrich Scheidemann, enabling him, in the words of one contemporary commentator ‘to moderate Praetorius's severity with Scheidemann's gentleness’. In due course Weckmann took over Schütz’s post as director of the court chapel in Dresden, but he returned to Hamburg in 1655 and settled there as organist of the city’s most prestigious churches, enjoying great success before his death in 1674. Weckmann’s organ music is remarkable for its originality above all: richly textured with a sophisticated use of harmony and counterpoint, occasionally quirky but infused with an expressive intensity matched by few of his contemporaries. There are nine surviving sets of chorale variations for organ and they count among his masterpieces, ranging in texture from thick, six-voice imitative polyphony with double pedal to effusive soloistic figurations over sustained, sensuous backgrounds. Interspersed with the variation sets here are shorter Canzons, Toccatas, Preludes and Fugues which present Weckmann at his most intimate, exuberant and inventive. With only one rival set of Weckmann’s organ music presently available, this new recording from Matteo Venturini will command the attention of all organ-lovers. His previous Brilliant Classics album of the organ music by Daniel Magnus Gronau (BC94843) was made record of the month by MusicWeb International: ‘Matteo Venturini's performances leave nothing to be desired. They are technically impressive, but also stylistically convincing. His phrasing and articulation are very good, and his performances really breathe.’

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