Christian Gottlob Höpner, Nun danket alle Gott
Christian Gottlob Höpner (1799 – 1859) was a German composer and organist. He was born in Frankenberg and he largely taught himself how to play to piano and the organ. When it turned out that he was talented in composing as well, he started professional music lessons with Johann Gottlob Schneider in 1827 in Dresden. In dresden he became the organist of the Kreuzkirche in 1837 till his death in 1859.
I recently stumbled upon a digital facsimile of Höpner’s opus 2, ” Acht Vorspiele und zwei Fugen”. The music is very well written, thouroughly based in Baroque organ composing techniques, yet with a harmonic language that is more of Höpner’s own time (thought still rather old-fashioned). The many mild dissonants Höpner uses, lend the traditional chorale prelude with cantus firmus a colourful warm atmosphere.
The first chorale prelude from Höpner’s opus 2, the prelude to “Nun danket alle Gott” with it’s many seventh chords and suspensions, is a good example of what I mean. The manual part of the accompaniment is cleverly written to make it playable with one hand, without giving up the two part texture. When the chorale melody enters, the music loses nothing of it’s rich harmonic sound. Needless to say: I’ve become a fan of Höpner’s music.
The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Voxus, of the Müller organ in the Sint Bavokerk, Haarlem (http://www.voxusorgans.com/en/product/haarlem).