Kauffmann is best known for the “Harmonische Seelenlust”. This work, containing all of his known chorale preludes together with figured bass settings for all but one of the used chorale melodies, was first initiated by Kauffmann as a serial publication. The first volume appeared in 1733. Kauffmann died of tuberculosis in 1735 before he could finish the work. His widow, however, saw it through, and the series was completed in 1740.
Today the “Harmonische Seelenlust” is a rich source of inspiration. Not only does it include every form of choral prelude writing developed in the central German Baroque area, it also has very specific registration indications for each piece. Even though Kauffmann writes in his prefaces that “hat es doch die Meinung nicht dass es absolut so sein müsste” (it does not mean the indications should be absolutely followed) they nevertheless provide an intruiging insight in the way Kauffmann heard these pieces himself. At the very least it shows us the very colourful way in which Kauffmann registered his own work.
In the months (years?) to come, I intend to publish all the choral preludes from the “Harmonische Seelenlust”. I already published 18 from the manuscripts of Walther. So, only 80 left to go…
The second prelude on the melody of “Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her” in the “Harmonische Seelenlust” is a bicinium. And Kauffmann indicates the stops to be used: Fagott, Gedackt and Vox Humana. However, he does not indicate which voice should be played on which stops. So it is a bit of a puzzle: Fagott 16′ in left hand or right hand, and played as written or an octave higher?
I tried all four combinations and none are (to my ears) really satisfying. So Kauffman is right: don’t rely solely on his indications, but follow your own ears as well.
The recording was done on the sample set of the Müller-organ in the Sint Bavokerk in Haarlem by Voxus Organs for Hauptwerk. As a kind of experiment the recording contains all four combinations.
Bw: Baarpijp 8′, Vox Humana 8′ (LH, LH, RH, RH)
Rw: Fagot 16′ (RH, RH one octave higher, LH one octave higher, LH)
Ped: Subbas 16′, Octaaf 8′
Kauffmann, Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her