John Collins - Organist, Harpsichordist Iberian Musicologist, Translator

Editions of the keyboard works of Johann-Jakob Froberger (1616-67) – an overview.

This year sees the 400th anniversary of the birth of Johann-Jakob Froberger in May 1616, who is rightly regarded as one of, if not the most, influential composers for keyboard instruments of the period ca. 1640-1667. We are extremely fortunate that three of his autograph manuscripts containing polyphonic pieces (Fantasias, Canzonas, Capricci and Ricercars) and Toccatas, in addition to partitas or dance suites which are clearly far better suited to stringed keyboard instruments, have survived (at least two are known to have been lost). Two of these manuscripts were dedicated to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III in 1649 (Libro Secondo) and 1656 (Libro Quarto), and the third in 1658 was dedicated to Leopold I, and a few years ago a further manuscript, considered an autograph, which contained several pieces unknown form other sources, was sold by auction at Sotheby’s. For many pieces these autographs offer a unique source, but some exist in other sources, both printed and manuscript, which provide variant readings, which may offer clues to performance. It was well known that his final pupil, the Princess Sybilla, remarked that only those who had studied personally with Froberger could play his pieces as he intended. In addition to the autograph manuscripts, a further corpus of pieces in different compositional genres has come down to us in both printed and manuscript sources from 1690 until well into the 18th century compiled across Europe. Only the Fantasia on Ut, re, mi, fa, sol la was printed in his lifetime, appearing in Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia Universalis, printed in 1650 in Rome.

A widely travelled man, Froberger visited Italy, where he studied with Frescobaldi and there assimilated both the Toccata and polyphonic styles, France, where he would have heard the dance movements from the clavecinstes and lutenists, and also to England; several of his pieces were copied by John Blow complete with a plethora of ornament signs common in the manuscripts of the Restoration composers. His importance in transmitting the Toccata style developed by Frescobaldi which incorporated and expanded the Neapolitan forms of Trabaci and Mayone, and Michaelangelo Rossi, with even more abrupt modulations and short imitative sections based on rhythmic motifs, and the impact of these on such luminaries as Buxtehude and Bach, as well as on the development of the unmeasured prelude in France, should not be underestimated.

Froberger’s extensive output for keyboard has been published in three “collected” editions including those by Guido Adler in three volumes ca. 1900 for the DTO, Howard Schott ca. 1980 in four volumes for Le Pupitre (Œuvres complètes pour clavecin, Heugel, Paris); and most recently by Siegbert Rampe in eleven volumes for Bärenreiter, Kassel (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Clavier- und Orgelwerke/New Edition of the Complete Keyboard and Organ Works). These 11 volumes, issued over a period of some 15 years and incorporating many pieces from newly evaluated manuscripts which have only recently come to light, are available at the special price of £295.00 for the set, BA9299.

For those readers who do not have any or all of the latter edition I hope that the following listing of the contents of each volume may be of assistance in making decisions about purchases, especially given the overall expense. The numbers are those of the FbWV (Froberger Werkverzeichnis) catalogue listing, which groups works by genre; the biggest changes to the Schott edition is in the Partitas (sometimes called Suites), to which a large number has been added from newly evaluated sources, with a few excisions from the existing canon. The opinion of scholars is still divided as to whether several of these pieces are indeed by Froberger. Each volume of the Rampe edition contains an extensive commentary on sources used and individual pieces; consulting this before playing is a most worthwhile exercise.

Each volume contains an extensive commentary on sources used and individual pieces; consulting this before playing is a most worthwhile exercise. Throughout this overview lowercase letters (ie e) indicate minor keys and uppercase letters (ie F) major keys. Volumes V and VI part 1 have been reviewed in past issues of The Organ, and I shall be writing an overview of Volumes I-II for publication in a future issue.

Volume I BA8063 - £32 - contains the pieces included in the autograph of 1649 (the Libro Secondo), which was divided into four parts, each part being dedicated to just one compositional genre. Prima Parte contains six Toccatas in a, d, G, C, d and g, the final two being headed “da sonarsi alla levatione” (101-106), The Seconda Parte contains six Fantasias in C on Ut-re-mi- fa-sol-la, a, F, G on Sollare (ie G-A-D), a and a (Nos. 201-206). The Terza Parte contains Canzonas in d, g, F, G, C and a(Nos. 301-306). The Quarta Parte concludes this volume with its six Partitas in a, d, G, F, C (Nos. 601-606) each of which contains Allemande, Courante and Sarabande, a Gigue has been added to no. 2 as the final movement. The final Partita is in G and is headed “auf die Mayerin” and comprises six Partite, the final one headed “Grammatica (ie Chromatic)”, followed by a Courant and its Double and a Saraband.

Volume II BA8064 - £33.50 - contains the pieces included in the autographs of 1656 (the Libro Quarto) and c.1658 (the Libro di Capricci e ricercate). The Libro Quarto was divided into four parts, with each part again being dedicated to just the one genre. Prima Parte contains six Toccatas in G, e, C, F, e (in the style of the da sonarsi alla levatione Toccatas of volume I) and a (Nos. 107-112). The Seconda parte contains six Ricercars in d, g, e, G, d and f♯ (Nos. 407-412). The Terza Parte contains six Capricci in G, g, e, F, F and a (Nos. 507, 508, 514-517), and the Quarta Parte contains six Partitas in e, A, g, a, D and C (nos. 607-612; the Courante, Sarabande and Gigue from 610 are also in 629, and an early version of the Gigue from 611 can be found in 624). The first five contain Allemande, Gigue, Courante and Sarabande, and the final one opens with the Lamento sopra la dolorosa perdita della Real M.sta di Fernando IV in place of the Allemande, followed by the Gigue, Courante and Sarabande. The 1658 MS. contains six Capricci in G, a, d, F, g and C (Nos. 501–506), followed by six Ricercars in C, G, F, C, g and c ♯ (Nos. 401–406). The appendix includes the version of 407 by François Roberday, published in 1660 as no. 5 of his Caprices et Fugues, a version in triple time of the Gigue from 607 and a reconstruction of 611 using the version of the Allemande and Courante from the Hintze Ms compiled by Weckamm in 1653, the Allemande being entitled Meditation sur ma Mort future, followed by the Gigue, Courante and Sarabande.

Volumes III and IV contain non-autograph readings of many of the 12 Partitas contained in the autographs plus a large number of pieces from other Ms and printed sources. Each volume is divided into two parts (although volume III was originally issued in one part), the contents of each volume being listed below.

Volume III part 1 BA8065 -£41.50 - contains works of certain authenticity including variants of the Partitas 601-606, as follows: 601a A-G-C-S, 602a A-C-S-G, 602b & c A-G-C-S, 603a A-C-S-G, 604a A-C-S-G, 605a A-C-S+D-G, 606a including an extra Sarabande. There follow two variants of the Gigue in e 607b & 607c, the Partita in D 611b (A-G-C-S), the Gigue in D 611c, the Partita in C 612a (Lamentation faite sur la mort tres douloureuse de sa majésté Imperial Ferdinand le quatrieme Roy de Romanis et se joüe lentement avec discretion. An.1654 -G-C-S), and also the non-autograph Partitas in d 613 && 613a , both A-C-S-G, nommée la rusée Mazarinique. In 613 the Allemande is subtitled Fait a Paris and the Gigue is in C time, whereas in 613a the Chique (sic) in C time is followed by a Gique in 6/8 which is headed “Pcedens in Proport” plus three variants of the Gigue 613b/1-3, and the Partita in g 614 Lamento. J.J.Froberger. Adagio con discretione. Lamentation sur ce, que j’ay êté volé. Et se joüe à la discretion, et encore mieux que les soldats m’ont traicté -C-S-G.

Volume III part 2 BA8435 contains a further 17 pieces of certain authenticity including Partitas in a 615 & 615a, both A-G (also found in 628)-C-S, in G 616 Allemanda, repræsentans monticidium Frobergeri -G-C-S, in F 617 A-G-C-S, in g 618 Allemande fait à l’honneur de Mad. Sybille Duchesse de Wirtemberg –Gigue nommé la Philotte-C-S, in c 619 A-G-C-S, in D 620 Meditation faist sur ma mort future laquelle se joue lentement avec discretion -C-S-G, in F 621 A+D-C+D-S+D-G, in e 622 A-C-S-G (variant also in 623a), in e 623 A+D-C+D-S+D-G (early version in C time of Gigue from 607), in e 623a A-C-S-G (later version of Gigue from 622), variants of the Saraband and Gigue from the above 623b/c, Partitas in D 624 A+D-C+D-S+D-G (early version of 611) & variants of 624 as no.624a C+D-S+D, in d 625 A-C-S+D and the variant Courante in d 625a.

Volume IV part 1 BA8066 - £41.50 - contains the following 11 works considered as works of certain authorship: Partitas in b 626 A-C-S-G, in e 627 Allemande (nommée Wasserfall)-G-C-S, in a 628 A-G (also found in 615a)-S+D, in a 628a A+D-C+D-S+D-G, in a 630 Plainte faîte à Londres pour passer la melancholi: la quelle se joüe lentement avec discretion -C-S-G, in E♭ 631 (formerly attributed to Georg Boehm) A-C-S-G, in c 632 the Tombeau faît à Paris sur la mort de Monsieur Blancheroche; lequel se joüe lentement avec discretion, sans observer aucune mesure in f 633 the Lamentation faîte sur la mort tres douloureuse de sa majésté Imperial Ferdinand le troisieme, et se joüe lentement avec discretion. An. 1657, the Aria in d 636, the Partita fragment in G 637 A-C and the Sarabande in c 640. The following seven works are of uncertain authorship: Partitas in d 618a A-C-S-Jigg, Allemande in d 634a, Allemande tres bonne in d 634b, Allamand in d 635, Partitas in A 638 A+D-C+D-S & 638a A+D-C+D-S and in d 639 A+D-C+D-S+D-G.

Volume IV part 2 BA8434 £40 - contains the following 11 works of uncertain authorship: Partitas in g 641 A-C-G, in e 642 A-C-S-G, in e 643 A-C-Aria-S-G, in c 644 A+D-C+D-S+D-G, in E 645 A-C-S-G in f♯ 646 A-C-S-G, Courante in d 647, Partita Dolorosa in e 648 A-C-S+D-G, Partita in g 649 A-C+D-S+D-G, Allemande in g 650 and Partita in e 651 A+D-C-S+D-G. Appendix one includes 12 doubtful works, a Partita fragment in C 605a A-S, Partita in a 629 A-C-C-S-G of which the 2nd Courante, Sarabande and Gigue are also found in 610, followed by 10 pieces catalogued as Anhang IV/01-10 comprising a Gique in G, Partita in B♭ A-C-S-G, Gigue in A, Saraband in g, Partita fragment in g A-S+D, Allemanda in d, Courant fragment in g, Partita in F A-C-S-G, Allemande in A and Saraband in F. Appendix two includes 23 additional movements by either C. Grimm or anonymous, 18 of which are Preludes in keys of the Partitas, three are Gigues and two are Sarabands. Appendix three includes a Praeludium in C and a Partita in C A-C-S-G both possibly by Johann Anton Coberg, and Appendix four contains a Partita in B A-C-S+D considered as an addendum to Volume IV part 1.

Volume V part I BA9211 - £35.50 - contains Toccatas from copied sources comprising 14 works of certain authorship, some of which are shortened versions: in e 113 & 113a, in G, 114, in g 115 & 115a, in C 116 7 116a, in F 118 & 118a, in d 119 & 119a, in a 120, in D 121 and in g 130. Four Pieces of uncertain authenticity follow, the Praeludium in G 126, and Toccatas in C, F and c nos. 127-129. The appendix presents three Toccatas of doubtful authorship in d, a and F, nos. 123-125.

Volume V part 2 BA9212 - £37 - contains Polyphonic works from copied sources, including some 21 pieces of certain authenticity, some of which are shortened versions: Fantasia in G 207, Fuga in d 307, Fuga in C 413/Ricercar in C 413a, Fugas in d, F and d 414-416, Capriccio in e 502a, Fuga in C 504a, Fuga in g 505a, Capriccio in G 509, Fuga in G 509a, Capricci in G 509b, in d 510/510a, in F 512/512a, in e 513, in C 518 and in a 519/519a. These are followed by new readings of a further 11 pieces including Fantasias 201-204, Canzonas 301-304 and 306 and Ricercars 401 and 407 from the autographs (see volumes I and II). Appendix I contains the doubtful work Fantasia Duo in d 208, Appendix II contains two spurious arrangements of the Capriccio in F 303.

Volume VI part 1 BA9213 - £30.50- contains 13 pieces from copied sources including new sources, new readings and new works. These are all taken from MS4450 in the Berlin Sing-Akademie: Toccatas with new readings in d 102, in G 114, in F 118, in e 113, in a 101, in g 115, Partita 613in d Allemande faite pour remercier Monsieur le Marquis de Termes des faveurs et bien faits de luy receüs â Paris -C-S-G, in G 616 Allemande fait sur le Subject d’un Chemin Montaigneux laquelle se joüe à discretion -C-S-G, in F 617 Allemande faite en honneur de Madame la Duchesse de Wirtemberg, la quelle se joüe fort lentement et à discretion -C-S-G, in e 627 Allemande faite en passant le Rhin dans une barque en grand peril la quelle se joüe lentement à la discretion -C-S-G, in a 630 Plaincte faite à Londres pour passer la Melancolie la quelle se joüe lentement et à discretion C-S-G, in g 614 Lamentation sur ce, que j’ay esté vole, et se joüe fort lentement, à la discretion sans observeur aulcune mesure -C-S-G and in c 632a Affligée et Tombeou (sic) sur la mort de Monsieur Blancrocher faite à Paris, et se joüe bien lentement et à la discretion. Note that the inscriptions to the Allemandes, apart from no. 614, are found only in the source used for this volume.

Volume VI part 2 BA9269 £30.50 - contains a further eight pieces from MS4450 with different readings and, in some cases, descriptive titles not included in other sources: Partita in D 611 Allemande faite sur L’Election et Couronnement de sa Majesté Ferdinand le Quatrieme Roy des Romains se joüe lentement et à discretion – Courante faite au jour de naissance de la Jeune Princesse Imperiale - Sarabande faite sur le couronnement de sa Majeste Imperiale l’Imperatrice Eleonore, née duchesse de Mantoue- G, in C 612 Lamentation faite sur la tres douloureuse Mort de sa Majesté, Ferdinand le Quatriesme Roy des Romains 1654, et se joüe lentement, avec discretion G-C-S, in a 608 A-G-C-S, in g 609 A-G-C-S, in D 620 Meditation faite sur ma mort future, la quelle se joüe lentement avec Discretion â Paris 1May Anno 1660. -G-C-S, in f 633 Lamentation faîte sur la mort tres douloureuse de sa majésté Imperial Ferdinand le troisieme, et se joüe lentement avec discretion, Partita in e 607 A-G-C-S and in a 610 A-G-C-S. Pieces from further MS 4442-5, 4447/8 in the same location include: five Partitas - in f 653 (Die Hochstädter Leuchte) A-C-S+D-G, in E♭ 654 (Das Nachtlager) A-C-S+D-G in Bb 655 (Der Naseweise Orgelprobierer) A-C-S+D-G, in E 656 (Der Clavier Trompler) A-C-S+D-G and in G 616a A-C-S. Appendix I contains anonymous preludes in f, E♭, B♭ and E and Appendix II contains an anonymous Praeludium in B♭ from MS4441.

Volume VII BA9298, £37.00, which completes the edition, contains the three surviving works for ensemble, comprising two Motets (Soprano, Tenor, Bass, 2 Violins and Organ) Alleluia absorta est mors FbWV701, Apparuerunt Apostolis FbWV702, a Capriccio in C for four instruments FbWV706 and a Catalogue of the Complete Works (FbWV) including incipits and primary sources. Further Motets are listed as 703-5, but these are known only from references in the literature; it is probable that they form part of a much larger corpus of such pieces, all of which have disappeared.

Not as yet available in a modern edition, the autograph MS sold at Sothebys in November 2006 contains six Fantasies (sic) in a, G (not e as cited in Volume VI.i), F, g, B♭ and F assigned FbWV 209-214, six Caprices ((sic) in d, G (not e as cited in Volume VI.i), B♭, e, G and F assigned FbWV 520-525, all of which are previously unknown, five Partitas comprising versions of FbWV615/618/619 and 620 (see volume Volume III.2 above), a previously unknown Partita in F FbWV657, a Meditation in g faict à Madrid sur la Mort future de Son Altesse Serenisme Madame Syblle, Duchesse de Wirtemberg, Princesse de Montbeliard FbWV658, a Tombeau in d faict sur la tres douloureuse Mort de Son Altesse Serenisme le Duc Lepold Friderich de Wirtemberg, Prince de Montbeliard FbWV659, both of which are previously unknown, and a version of the Tombeau in f FbWV633 (see Volumes IV.1 and VI.2 above). A description of this MS and further details are included in Volume VI.1 above. Up to now the current owner has not been identified and the MS remains inaccessible. An excellent article by Bob van Asperen on this MS including extremely useful information about the unica in addition to providing detailed concordances for the known pieces can be found online at and further comments in section 8 of I am most grateful to Terence Charlston for kindly mentioning these sources to me.

There follows a table of pieces by genre and reference number, with the number of the volume(s) in which each piece can be found. Spelling has been regularised. There is questionable authenticity of several of the pieces the numbers of which include a suffixletter, the reader should consult the volume for details.

Toccata FbWV101 a 1, VI/1 Partita FbWV601 a I
Toccata FbWV102 d 1, VI/1 Partita FbWV601a a III/1
Toccata FbWV103 G 1 Partita FbWV602 d I
Toccata FbWV104 C 1 Partita FbWV602a d III/1
Toccata FbWV105 d 1 Partita FbWV602b d III/1
Toccata FbWV106 g 1 Partita FbWV602c d III/1
Toccata FbWV107 G 2 Partita FbWV603 G I
Toccata FbWV108 e 2 Partita FbWV603a G III/1
Toccata FbWV109 C 2 Partita FbWV604 F I
Toccata FbWV110 F 2 Partita FbWV604a F III/1
Toccata FbWV111 e 2 Partita FbWV605 C I
Toccata FbWV112 a 2 Partita FbWV605a C III/1
Toccata FbWV113 e V/1, VI/1 Partita FbWV605b C IV/2
(Fuga) FbWV113a e V/1 Partita FbWV606 G I
Toccata FbWV114 G V/1, VI/1 Partita FbWV606a G III/1
Toccata FbWV115 g V/1, VI/1 Partita FbWV607 e II, VI/2
(Fuga) FbWB115a g V/1 Gigue FbWV607a e II
Toccata FbWV116 C V/1 Gigue FbWV607b e III/1
Toccata FbWV116a C V/1 Gigue FbWV607c e III/1
Toccata FbWV118 F V/1, VI/1 Partita FbWV608 A II, VI/2
Fuga FbWV118a F V/1 Partita FbWV609 g II, VI/2
Toccata FbWV119 d V/1 Partita FbWV610 a II, VI/2
Toccata FbWV119a d V/1 Partita FbWV611 D II, VI/2
Toccata FbWV120 a V/1 Partita FbWV611a D II
Toccata FbWV121 d V/1 Partita FbWV611b D III/1
Toccata FbWV123 a V/1 Gigue FbWV611c D III/1
Toccata FbWV124 d V/1 Partita FbWV612 C II, VI/2
Toccata FbWV125 F V/1 Partita FbWV612a C III/1
Praeludium FbWV126 G V/1 Partita FbWV613 d III/1, VI/1
Toccata FbWV127 C V/1 Partita FbWV613a d III/1
Toccata FbWV128 F V/1 Gigue FbWV613b/1 d III/1
Toccata FbWV129 c V/1 Gigue FbWV613b/2 d III/1
Toccata FbWV130 g V/1 Gigue FbWV613b/3 d III/1
Partita FbWV614 g III/1, VI/1
Fantasia FbWB201 C I, V/2 Partita FbWV615 a III/2
Fantasia FbWB202 e I, V/2 Partita FbWB615a a III/2
Fantasia FbWB203 F I, V/2 Partita FbWV616 G III/2, VI/1
Fantasia FbWB204 G I, V/2 Partita FbWV616a G VI/2
Fantasia FbWB205 a I Partita FbWV617 F III/2, VI/1
Fantasia FbWB206 a I Partita FbWV618 g III/2
Fantasia FbWB207 G V/2 Partita FbWV618a g IV/1
Fantasia FbWB208 d V/2 Partita FbWV619 g III/2
Partita FbWV620 D III/2, VI/2
Canzon FbWV301 d I, V/2 Partita FbWV621 F III/2
Canzon FbWV302 g I, V/2 Partita FbWV622 e III/2
Canzon FbWV303 F I, V/2 Partita FbWV623 e III/2
Canzon FbWV304 G I, V/2 Partita FbWV623a e III/2
Canzon FbWV305 C I Saraband FbWV623b e III/2
Canzon FbWV306 a I, V/2 Gigue FbWV623c e III/2
Fuga FbWV307 d V/2 Partita FbWV624 D III/2
Partita FbWV624a D III/2
Ricercar FbWV401 C II, V/2 Partita FbWV625 d III/2
Ricercar FbWV402 G II Partita FbWV625a d III/2
Ricercar FbWV403 F II Partita FbWV626 b IV/1
Ricercar FbWV404 G II Partita FbWV627 e IV/1, VI/1
Ricercar FbWV405 g II Partita FbWV628 a IV/1
Ricercar FbWV406 c♯ II Partita FbWV628a a IV/1
Ricercar FbWV407 d II, V/2 Partita FbWV629 a IV/1
Ricercar FbWV407a d II Partita FbWV630 a IV/1
Ricercar FbWV408 g II Partita FbWV631 E♭ IV/1
Ricercar FbWV409 e II Tombeau FbWV632 c IV/1
Ricercar FbWV410 G II Tombeau FbWV632a c VI/1
Ricercar FbWV411 d II Lamentation FbWV633 f IV/1, VI/2
Ricercar FbWV412 f♯ II Allemande FbWV634a d IV/1
Fuga FbWV413 C V/2 Allemande FbWV634b d IV/1
Ricercar FbWV413a C V/2 Allemande FbWV635 d IV/1
Fuga FbWV414 d V/2 Aria FbWV636 d IV/1
Fuga FbWV415 F V/2 Partita FbWV637 G IV/1
Fuga FbWV416 d V/2 Partita FbWV638 A IV/1
Partita FbWV638a A IV/1
Capriccio FbWV501 G II Partita FbWV639 d IV/1
Capriccio FbWV502 a II Sarabande FbWV640 c IV/1
Capriccio FbWV502a e V/2 Partita FbWV641 g IV/2
Capriccio FbWV503 d II, V/1 Partita FbWV642 e IV/2
Capriccio FbWV504 F II Partita FbWV643 e IV/2
Capriccio FbWV504a G V/2 Partita FbWV644 c IV/2
Capriccio FbWV505 g II Partita FbWV645 E IV/2
Fuga FbWV505a g V/2 Partita FbWV646 f♯ IV/2
Capriccio FbWV506 C II Courrante FbWV647 d IV/2
Capriccio FbWV507 G II Partita FbWV648 d IV/2
Capriccio FbWV508 g II Partita FbWV649 g IV/2
Capriccio FbWV509 G V/2 Allemande FbWV650 g IV/2
(Fuga) FbWV509a G V/2 Partita FbWV651 e IV/2
Capriccio FbWB509b G V/2 Partita FbWV652 b IV/2
Capriccio FbWV510 d V/2 Partita FbWV653 f VI/2
Capriccio FbWV510a d V/2 Partita FbWV654 E♭ VI/2
Capriccio FbWV511 d (V/2) Partita FbWV655 B♭b VI/2
Capriccio FbWV512 F V/2 Partita FbWV656 E VI/2
Canzona FbWV512a F V/2
Capriccio FbWV513 e V/2 Gigue FbWV Anh. IV/01 G IV/2
Capriccio FbWV514 e II Partita FbWV Anh. IV/02 B♭ IV/2
Capriccio FbWV515 F II Gigue FbWV Anh. IV/03 A IV/2
Capriccio FbWV516 F II Saraband FbWV Anh. IV/04 g IV/2
Capriccio FbWV517 a II Partita FbWV Anh. IV/05 g IV/2
Capriccio FbWV518 C V/2 Allemanda FbWV Anh. IV/06 d IV/2
Capriccio FbWV519 a V/2 Courant FbWV Anh. IV/07 g IV/2
Capriccio FbWV519a a V/2 Partita FbWV Anh. IV/08 F IV/2
Allemande FbWV Anh. IV/09 A IV/2
Saraband FbWV Anh. IV/10 F IV/2

Back to Publications.

© John Collins 2016