This is the fifth of the unedited anonymus choral preludes from manuscript KN 209, owned owned by the Ratsbücherei in Lüneburg I have the privilige to publish. It is again a magnificent composition, based on the melody of “Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ”.

As was usual in those days and region, the composer is only indicated with his initials. Often the initials speak for them selves, as for example “H.S.M.” = Heinrich Scheideman, or “J.P.” = Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. In other instances though, they don’t, as for example “M.W.B.C.M” or , in this case “H.M.T”. Those are the initials written in the manuscript, right beneath the title of the composition. Even though the initials are known, it is not known who the man or woman behind these letters is. In effect, it is an anonymous composition.

As with the other anonymous pieces from this manuscript it is a composition of great quality. It is a small partita, in three parts, based on three different verses of the choral. The first of these three has the chorale melody in the pedal part. Intruiging is that the composer alternates the octaves in which the phrases are played: two in the great octave, then two in the small octave, then again two in the great and the last two in the small.

Versus two and three are to be played with the hands on different manuals. The right hand plays an embellished version of the chorale melody, left hand and feet provide a suitable accompaniment, often based on the fragment of the chorale melody the right hand is about to play. Botyh versus can easily compare with the best of the work in this genre of Dietrich Buxtehude. Though this description is the same for both verses, the result is vastly different.

Both the second and third part pose a problem in rendering them in ‘modern’ notation. Both hands play on different manuals and the composers uses this fact in having the voices overlap and even cross. The accompaniment is often higher than the solo voice. And in between phrases, where both hands can play on the accompanying manual, the alto and tenor voice are somtimes far apart (from e in the small octave to g in the one-lined octave). This is easy to notate in German organ tabulature. It is easy to notate using the alto clef. However, not many people can read the alto clef, so ‘modern’ notation confines it self to treble and bass clef. And that is a problem in this composition. The accompaniment should either be notated on two staves (bringing the total to four) or the accompaniment must spread out on the staff for the right and/or the staff for the pedals, obscuring readability. In the end I choose to notate the left hand part with a transposing treble clef: the notes should be played an octave lower than notated.

The recording was done on the sample set of the Bader-organ in the Walburgiskerk in Zutphen by Sonus Paradisi for Hauptwerk.

pdf_iconH.M.T., Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Score (non alto)
pdf_iconH.M.T., Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

H.M.T., Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Genre: ,


  1. Max Mueller

    August 21, 2019 at 22:28


    wrong track…

    • admin

      August 22, 2019 at 08:23


      Oops, my bad. Corrected now. Thanks for letting me know!

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