Christian Erbach was a German composer, organist and teacher. Three documents from his own time give his age variously as 40 in 1610, 42 in 1615 and 50 in 1619, thus placing his birthdate between 1568 and 1573. Throughout most of his life, Erbach held the position of assistant or chief organist for the city of Augsburg. His duties in this position included instructing selected pupils from the cathedral choir school in composition and organ playing. Erbach enjoyed a wide reputation as a teacher and attracted both Catholic and Protestant pupils from Augsburg and other cities (he himself was a Catholic). Among more than 15 musicians known to have studied with him are Daniel Bollius, Johann Klemm, Johann Aichmiller and Georg Philipp Merz.
Italian influence is evident in Erbach’s keyboard music, which is similar in style to Hassler’s, as well as in his vocal music, especially in the large polychoral motets and the smaller sacred canzonettas. The corpus of some 120 keyboard works comprises mostly toccatas, ricercares and canzonas.
Recently The Staatsbibliothek Berlin published a digital copy of the organbook of Matthias Rottenau. Written in German organ tablature it contains dozens and dozens, perhaps even hundreds of pieces from various composers both famous and little known like Erbach, Hassler, Frescobaldi, Gabrielli (both Giavanni and Andrea), Vendi, Luzzarri, Romane, Holzern and others. And a lot of pieces are not ascribed to an author. It is a wonderful source for my editing efforts.
The first piece taken from this organbook is a Ricercar by Erbach. As far as I could find hardly any organ music from Erbach is available in the public domain so any publiction is a welcome addition, I think. This Ricercar is in strict counterpoint and features just one theme. It’s actually more like a fugue than anything else.
The recording was done on the sample set of the Silbermann organ of the Stadtkirche Zöblitz by Prospectum.
Man: Principal 8′, Quintadena 8′, Octava 4′
Erbach, Ricercar secundi toni
Clicking the above link opens a new tab where you can listen to a recording of this piece. Clicking the play button is free. If you like my efforts of creating and publishing scores, I invite you to click the button and stream the recording.