John Collins - Organist, Harpsichordist Iberian Musicologist, Translator


In 2011 there are several composers whose anniversaries can be commemorated, including several less well-known names whose compositions are well worth exploring.

Simon Lohet 1550-1611. Organist at the court in Stuttgart, he left 20 short fugues, a canzona, 2 chorales, and transcriptions of a motet and a chanson, which were included in Woltz’s tablature of 1607, a few of these also appear in MS. All have been edited by Larry Peterson for American Institute of Musicology, CEKM vol 25.

Cajus Schmiedecke 1555 –1611. Included here since he has been considered as possibly the author of the Gdansk Tablature of 1591 which contains 42 pieces, including 16 Fantasias, 5 chorale arrangements, a Pavan and 20 chanson intabulations. None require pedals and are excellent examples of late Renaissance compositions. Edited by Jerzy Erdman for Polski Instytut Muzyczny, Lodz, unfortunately I can find no trace of it being still in print, but well worth tracking down. An edition by Kessler presents the pieces on three staves and also includes a few extra pieces by Volckmar, Gronau and Mohrheim. Available

Pablo Bruna 1611-79. Organist in Daroca and most important Spanish composer for keyboard between Cabezón and Cabanilles, he left some 30 pieces in MSS, including 19 Tientos, many of them of considerable length and difficulty, comprising 3 Falsas, 4 Llenos ie for non-divided registers and 12 Partidos ie for divided keyboard (of which 3 have the solo in the treble, 2 in the bass, 2 for two trebles, 1 for two basses, 2 for one treble followed by two trebles, 1 for one bass followed by two basses and 1 for one bass followed by ecos and two basses) and 1 is a Batalla. Further pieces include 3 sets of versos, an Ave Maris Stella and 7 Pange Linguas. The complete edition by Carlo Stella was published in 1993 by Institución Fernando el Católico and available from

Carl van der Hoven 1580-1661 organist in Salzburg, left a few keyboard works in MS. Two Toccatas, A Ricercar, Fugue and Fantasia have been edited by Siegbert Rampe for Bärenreiter in Organ and Keyboard Music at the Salzburg Court BA8499. A Ricercar not included in this edition, together with the Toccatas and Ricercar, has been included by Clare Rayner for American Institute of Musicology, CEKM vol 40 part 1, and a further Toccata attributed to Van der Hoven is in part 3.

Louis Couperin 1626-61, organist, harpsichordist and violist in Paris, left well over 100 dances, and some 16 unmeasured preludes for harpsichord, as well as 70 pieces for organ including plainchant settings, fantasias and fugues, many specifying registrations; they represent the transition from the strict counterpoint of Titelouze to the more concertante style of Nivers and his successors. A complete edition by Guy Oldham was published by Oiseau-Lyre, available from and a further commentary is scheduled for future publication.

Georg Böhm 1661-1733. Organist in Lüneburg where he met the young J.S.Bach. Keyboard pieces specifically for organ left in MSS include three preludes and fugues with an obligatory and demanding pedal part, as well as 15 chorale preludes and partitas. Four of the five chorale partitas (and only the last verse of Freu dich sehr requires pedals) as well as one setting of Christ lag in Todesbanden, a Capriccio and a Prelude, Fugue, Postlude and Chaconne are manualiter. Modern edition by Beckmann for Breitkopf & Härtel. EB8087.

Giacomo Perti 1661-1756. Maestro di Capella at Bologna and better known for his operas and choral music, he also left several pieces for organ, of which 10 Fughe, 2 Elevazione, an Aria, 2 versetti and a Pastorale have been edited by Genesi and Rossi for Carrara.

Ferdinand Tobias Richter 1651-1711 Organist in Passau and Vienna, he was a joint dedicatee (with Buxtehude) of Pachelbel’s Hexachordum Apollinis of 1699. He left a few works in MSS, including 6 Partitas or Suites, a Capriccio, a Toccata, a set of 10 Versetti preceded by a Toccata on the 1st Tone, and 2 Versetti on the third Tone. Modern edition by Markus Eberhardt published by Edition Walhall.

Anton Estendorffer 1670-1711. Organist at Münsteuer and Reichenberg, he left a collection of 19 sets of variations in an MS of 1695 including 7 Arias, 5 Ciaconnas, 3 Galliards and 4 Chorale melodies, edited by Konrad Ruhland and available from Carus Verlag A further variation set attributed to him is in a collection of Christmas music published by Edition Baroque as eba4003.

Juan Moreno y Polo 1711- 76. Organist at Tortosa, according to contemporary sources he composed many pieces, mainly bipartite sonatas in the style of Scarlatti, but most sources have long since disappeared. Eight including a Tiento were edited by Preciado in Doce compositores aragoneses de tecla, and four by Luisa Morales in Tecla Aragonesa vol v. A lengthy and adventurously dissonant Paso para Ofertorio and a Sonatina in two movements were included by Pedrell in vol 2 of Antologia de Organistas Clasicos Españoles. Available from More Pasos and other pieces published in anthologies by Pedrell are, regrettably, long out of print.

John Keeble 1711-86. Organist at St. George’s, Hanover Square, he published 4 volumes of Select Pieces for the Organ in ca1777-8, each volume containing six Pieces; they are numbered consecutively through to 24. According to Robin Langley, he was “the first English composer to construct large-scale pieces in several inter-connected movements, and the first to make a distinguished contribution to decorative writing in the Rococo style”. His dedication to counterpoint is described in his preface to the first book, and many movements have a detailed description of the artifices employed; for example, the four movements of no. 12 “is composed on part of the B. quadro hexachord”. The fashionable movements for solo stops are conspicuously absent, there being just one for Cornet (no.6) and one for Trumpet (no.8). A modern edition by Greg Lewin of the first three volumes is available from He also contributed 25 items to “Forty interludes to be played between the verses of the Psalms”, the other 15 being by Jacob Kirkman.

William Boyce 1711- 1779. He was a pupil of Maurice Greene and held several organists’ posts. A set of Ten Voluntaries for Organ or harpsichord was published ca1785; the collection (each voluntary is in two movements, five being for Diapasons, and one being for Swell and Choir) includes four voluntaries for Trumpet, one for Vox Humana and Swell, one for Cornet and four Preludes and Fugues each headed Full organ. Facsimile edition published by OUP and a modern edition by Greg Lewin is available from Boyce was named as a contributor to Ten Select Voluntaries for the Organ Book 3 published ca 1780 by Longman and Broderip, but his voluntary is not identified in the print.

Ignazio Cirri 1711-87. Organist of Forli cathedral, his set of 12 two-movement sonatas, with no registration indications, was published in London ca1770 by Welcker. A facsimile edition also including 24 organ sonatas by Gian-Domenico Catenacci was published as Biblioteca Classica dell’organista vol 28 by Paideia Brescia. Available from

John Mantel 1706-61. Born as Johann Scheidemantel, he is first known in England in 1738 and published a set of 6 Lessons for Organ or Harpsichord ca1743 when he was organist at South Benfleet. Each set opens with a prelude and includes a fugue, as well as dances and pieces with tempo indication. A facsimile edition, albeit in very small print, has been published by Jacks, Pipes and Hammers.

Octavian Panzau 1683-1761. Organist in Augsburg, he published Octo-Tonium Eccliastico-organicum in 1745, a collection of 16 Fugues comprising two Fugues on each of the 8 Tones, the subject of the second one being an inversion of the first. Modern edition by Rudolph Walter available from

Tomas Ciurana 1761-1829. Organist in Játiva, Valencia, he left some 40 pieces in MSS including 30 sonatas, many of which show the influence of Haydn and Mozart (almost all are playable on manuals only and very few have any registration indicated), a Tema with variations, as well as 7 pasos and 2 fugues designated “para órgano”, versos on Ave Maris Stella and Pange Lingua. The modern edition by Vicente Ros is available from

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© John Collins 2013