Composer of the Week

Sunday, 31 August 2014
Dieterich Buxtehude (1637?-1707)

Dieterich BuxtehudeBorn in Denmark, Buxtehude went on to define music in the North German city of Lübeck. Working for nearly 40 years at the beautiful Marienkirche (St Mary's Church), he had considerable freedom to run concerts and write music in a highly original, dramatic style dubbed "stylus phantasticus".

A considerable amount of Buxtehude's music has been lost, notably his vocal music. Perhaps because of this, history has enhanced his reputation as an organist and organ composer. After all, a young Johann Sebastian Bach walked 400km to meet Buxtehude, to hear him play the organ, to attend his Abendmusik concerts during Advent, and to absorb the old master's compositional style.

In his Composer of the Week talk, Indra Hughes presents a selection of Buxtehude's vocal and chamber works. There's also plenty of organ music for Organ Week, much of it recorded on North German instruments that Buxtehude would have known.

Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions.

Music details

BUXTEHUDE: Fanfare & Chorus - Hannes, Wolfgang & Bernhard Läubin (tpts), Norbert Schmitt (timp), Simon Preston (organ of Lübeck Cathedral) (DG 419 245)
Field recording: Bells of the inner city churches of Lübeck (AGK 12 214)
BUXTEHUDE: Toccata in D minor - Marie-Claire Alain (organ of Martinikerk, Groningen) (Warner 2564 65179-0)
BACH: Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr - Ernst-Erich Stender (organ of Jakobikirche, Lübeck) (AGK 12 214)
BUXTEHUDE: Prelude, Fugue & Chaconne in C BuxWV137 - Ton Koopman (organ of Ludgerkirche, Norden) (Novalis 150 048)
BUXTEHUDE: Prelude & Fugue in D BuxWV139 - Ton Koopman (organ of Ludgerkirche, Norden) (Novalis 150 048)
BUXTEHUDE: Prelude & Fugue in G minor BuxWV163 - Ton Koopman (organ of Ludgerkirche, Norden) (Novalis 150 048)
BUXTEHUDE: Viola da Gamba Sonata in D BuxWV268 - Jonathan Manson (vla da gamba), Mike Fentross (lute), Ton Koopman (hpschd) (Challenge CC 72251)
BUXTEHUDE: ‘Vulnerasti cor meum’, from Membra Jesu nostri, Cantata 6, Ad cor - The Sixteen, Symphony of Harmony & Invention/Harry Christophers (Linn CKD 141)
BUXTEHUDE: ‘Muss der Tod denn auch entbinden’, from Fried- und freudenreiche Hinfahrt BuxWV76 - Raphaële Kennedy (sop), Da Pacem (K617 227)