Anonymous, Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein
These anonymous compositions contained in the manuscript with the designation “KN 209”, owned bij the Ratsbücherei, Lüneburg, are largely unedited. And that is a shame, because even though anonymous it is fine music and some of them are even real gems of great quality. It is therefore my pleasure to be able to publish at least five of them. The second of these is a chorale prelude on the melody of “Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein”. It is a cleverly constructed composition, that makes one all the more regret the composer is not known. The base of the composition is the choral melody. And it is quite literally based on it, as the melody is played with the bass voice (the pedals) The accompaniment in the other three voices is based on the first phrase of the choral melody, played in double tempo. The second half of the phrase becomes a motive that appears throughout the composition several times in the other three voices. Melody and motive creat a strong coherent form.
The difficult choice in pieces like this is always how to registrate it, i.e. which stops to use. As the melody is in the bass voice it needs perhaps some stronger stops than the other voices, because otherwise it might not be heard. On the other hand, as it is the bass, it is perhaps the most easy voice to discern from the rest. Using softer stops can add to the mystery because the listener can somehow recognize what the music is about, but it eludes him/her how he/she knows. In the performance of the first composition I published from this manuscript I chose the more subtle approach. This time, I chose the more traditional approach of a strong pedal registration. Allthough, because it is played on a relatively small organ, the result is not as punch-it-in-your-face as it can be on a large organ, with big raoring stops for the pedals.
The recording was done on the sampleset, made by Voxus, of the Matthijs van Deventer-orgel in the Grote Kerk, Nijkerk.