John Collins - Organist, Harpsichordist Iberian Musicologist, Translator


In 2010 there are several composers whose anniversaries can be commemorated, albeit some of the dates are not known for certain; many of their works would sound well on the clavichord. There are several lesser-known names here whose compositions are well worth exploring.

Antonio de Cabezón 1510-66 Leading Spanish composer for keyboard of 16th century, several of his works (including 14 tientos, many liturgical pieces and two short diferencias) were published in Venegas de Henestrosa’s Libro de Cifra Nueva 1557; modern edition by Anglés in two volumes (Groen’s catalogue mentions a reprint in 4 volumes) for Monumentos de la Música Española. Available through or The posthumous Obras de Música para Tecla, Arpa y Vihuela, published by his son Hernando in 1578, includes much liturgical music in addition to 14 tientos, 9 diferencias (Variation sets) and over 40 glosadas (Intabulations) in up to 6 parts including four by Hernando, one by Juan de Cabezón and one anon. Modern edition in 3 volumes excluding the glosadas is edited by Anglés published by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and available from A new edition is in preparation ed C. Astronio for Ut Orpheus The glosadas are edited by Maria Ester Sala for Union Musical Ediciones available through A few pieces in MS 242 at Coimbra published in Portugaliae Musica vol XIX have tentatively been assigned to de Cabezón, although the ascription to A.C may well have meant Antonio Carreira.

Ercole Pasquini ca1560-1620. Organist in Verona and Rome, from which post he was apparently dismissed in 1608. He left over 30 pieces in MSS (none autograph) including six toccatas (some with interesting rhythmic patterns in the notegroupings), ten canzonas, one fuga, sets of variations including Ruggiero, two on Romanesca and two Pass è Mezzi, an intabulation of Ancor che co’l partire, a sonata, a gagliarda, and the earliest known examples of two durezze and two corrente. Collected edition by W Shindle published by American Institute of Musicology, Corpus of Early Keyboard Music 12.

Peter Philips ca1560-1628 Spent much time in Italy, Spain, France and Belgium, where he died in Brussels. Left some 34 compositions, including pavans, galliards, two fantasias, and several intabulations of madrigals. Nineteen are to be found in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book vol 1. A further eight pieces including an almande, pavana, fantasia, four intabulations and a setting of Veni Creator Spiritus are edited by John Harley for Stainer and Bell Early Keyboard Music K40. The complete keyboard works edited by David Smith are in Musica Britannica vol 75.

Johann Benn ca1590-1660 worked in Messkirch (Baden) and Luzerne, and left seven Ricercare and two Canzonas in a MS now in the BL. A modern edition by R. Schächer is published by Cornetto Verlag CP342

Henri Dumont 1610-84 Born in Belgium, Dumont became organist in Paris and left 17 pieces including 11 allemandes, 1 courante, 1 pavane and 4 Préludes. Modern edition P. Bonfils. Éditions Musicales de la Schola Cantorum et de la Procure Générale de Musique, L’organiste Liturgique 13, 1956. is their website, although since the volume is not listed it is probably out of print.

Bernardo Pasquini 1637-1710 Organist in Rome, composer of almost 200 pieces for keyboard covering all the main genres (suites, dance movements, toccatas, contrapuntal pieces and variations) and including over 300 Versos and some 28 Sonatas for one or two instruments with just a figured bass. Available in seven volumes edited by Maurice Brook Haynes published by American Institute of Musicology, Corpus of Early Keyboard Music 5 which is very unreliable see but does group the works by genres. The far more accurate Italian edition in seven volumes which follows the haphazard groupings of the (mainly autograph) MSS is available through Facsimile edition of the Landsberg MS edited by Emer Buckley in 2 parts + CD is published by Anne Fuzeau Classique.

Alessandro Scarlatti 1660-1725. Better known for his sacred and secular vocal music, he left many toccatas in MSS, most of which are multi-movement (with some loose fugues as well as dance movements) including lengthy sets of variations on the Folia. Some toccatas are retrospective, others are forward-looking with many dissonant clashes, and lengthy passages of chords to be arpeggiated. An excellent new edition by Andrea Macinanti and Francesco Tasini with a most illuminating introduction on performance is published in five volumes by Ut Orpheus.

Gaspard le Roux ca 1660-1705/7. Almost nothing is known of this composer, who published a set of seven suites, including one in the unusual key of F♯ minor, consisting of unmeasured preludes and the usual dances, many with doubles, in Paris in 1705. A splendid sarabande en douze couplets is the penultimate movement of suite seven. All pieces are richly ornamented and there are several arranged also for two harpsichords. Two facsimiles are available, one with the clefs in the original position from Performers Facsimiles PF222 and also from Musica Repartita MR124F, the other with modern G and F clefs from Musica Repartita, MR124SF. All are available from A modern edition, with an excellent introduction, by Albert Fuller for Alpeg editions via Peters in 1959 is unfortunately probably out of print.

Johann Kuhmau 1660-1722 worked in Leipzig and published two sets of suites (one of seven in major, the other of seven in minor keys plus a sonata in Bb), seven sonatas and Biblical Histories in six sonatas. All are available in facsimile published by SPES available from The modern edition by Moser for Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst volume 1/ 4 is out of print; A new edition in two volumes edited by C Harris in Art of the Keyboard vol 6 for Broude Brothers includes four pieces from MSS.

Christian Witt ca1660-1717, organist in Altenburg, left about 20 pieces in MSS including suites, preludes, fugues, ciaconas and a passacaglia with 30 variations formerly attributed to J.S.Bach and there chorale preludes. Modern edition of 12 pieces edited by Laura Cerutti for Armelin in two volumes AMM 026/053 three pieces from the Mylau Tablaturbuch are edited by J Shannon American Institute of Musicology, Corpus of Early Keyboard Music 39 see A capriccio is in the Andreas-Bach book. Edited by Robert Hill for Harvard University see

Christoph Graupner 1683-1760. Worked in Darmstadt and composed well over 100 pieces including many suites. Facsimiles of Monatliche Clavir Früchte and 17 Suites pour clavecin published by Anne Fuzeau Classique. Modern editions include January to September in three volumes by Edition Baroque, Bremen, and Eight Partitas edited Hoffmann-Erbrecht for Breitkopf & Härtel Mitteldeutsches Musikarchiv Reihe 1, no. 5832 A complete list of his pieces is available online at

Thomas Arne 1710-78. His Eight Sonatas or Lessons for the Harpsichord were published in 1756. A modern facsimile edited by Beechey and Dart is published by Stainer and Bell: Early Keyboard Music K27.

Thomas Gladwin 1710-99. Worked in London, where he published Eight Lessons for the Harpsichord or Organ, three of which have violin accompaniment, in 1750s. Facsimile edition of these two-movement pieces published by Jacks, Pipes and Hammers.

Giuseppe Paganelli 1710-63. Worked in Venice, Bayreuth, Munich and Madrid where he may have succeeded D. Scarlatti. He published XXX ariae pro organo et cembalo in 1756, facsimile edition in Minkoff Modern edition by M. Machella for Armelin AMM163 He also published in 1757 Amusement for the fair sex or Six sonatines for the harpsichord, modern edition by Laura Cerutti for Cornetto Verlag CP388. Three sonatas are included in volumes 2, 3, and 4 of the Haffner Raccolta. Facsimile edition of volumes 2 and 3 in Raccolta musicale… Bibliotheca Musica Bononiensis IV/56 Bologna.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach 1710-84. Oldest son of Johann Sebastian, he left relatively few keyboard works, including eleven sonatas, eight fugues, twelve polonaises and ten fantasias in addition to pieces in the Notebook for W F Bach compiled by Johann Sebastian and several chorale preludes and fugues for organ. Unfortunately there is no collected edition. See for a list of his works and further details of editions.

Theodore Smith ca 1740-1810, German composer active in England, published Six Sonatinas for harpsichord or piano forte ca1785. Modern edition Performers’ Facsimiles PF126

Luigi Cherubini 1760-1842. Born in Florence, settled in Paris where he composed several operas and church music.He published Sei sonate per cembalo ca1783. Facsimile edited by Emer Buckley for Anne Fuzeau Classique. Modern edition by Carli Ballola for Ricordi 1983. May well be out of print as no details on website.

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© John Collins 2013