Wilhelm Karges (1613 or 1614 – 1699), was a German organist and composer in the North German organ tradition. He was born in Berlin, where he spent much of his life. In January 1646 he was appointed chamber musician and composer at the court of the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg in Berlin, and subsequently became organist at the cathedral there. Common musicological knowledge has it that 6 of Karges’ pieces for organ have survived. Three of those pieces can be found in manuscript Am.B. 340., available as digital copy at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. This manuscript contains some 45 organ pieces, presumably copied by Wilhelm Karges. The composers are sometimes given with there initials, but most pieces remain anonymous in the manuscript. As a source for pieces by other composers than Karges this manuscript has been called “utterly unreliable”. Yet I think it is a fascinating manuscript, because it gives us some insight in the practical sides of Karges’ duty as organist: pieces cannot be longer than two facing pages (to avoid awkward page turns), have a certain length in time (three or four minutes), and some pieces have handy indications where to perform a repeat so the length of the piece can be varied if need be. It is a practical organists organ book. And though most pieces are heavily adapted when compared to their original, the adaption is skillfully done and it remains beautiful music. In the coming months I’ll bring these ‘utterly unreliable’ pieces to live, so anyone can judge for themselves.

This piece is by Karges himself. The initials “W.K” appear under the title of the piece. It is a lively Fantasia, in a style typical for the period. Two lively segments surround a more subdued middle segment.

The recording was done with the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradis, of the Silberbauer organ in Kdousov.

Score
pdf_iconKarges, Fantasia primi toni

Performance
Karges, Fantasia primi 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.

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