Music from the times of the Gabler-Organ

15 août 2017

Pure baroque music by Böhm, Bach and Krebs in the Basilica

This Summer there are three Italian organists in Weingarten for the organ concerts. “Purely coincidence”, says Stephan Debeur, the organist, church musician and choir director of St. Martin. Every year he makes the choices for the International Organ Concert Series. After all, a lot has to fit together: the quality, the dates, the program selection. Giorgio Parolini, born in 1971, from nearby Monza performed on the Gabler organ last Sunday. It was his first time in Weingarten.
A stable community of interested listeners is always present on these Sunday afternoons in the basilica, whose architecture is bathed in golden sunlight by good weather. The projection with the double numbering for the composers and the works was also good, so that everyone found their way through the program. Because just when the registrations take longer in between the movements, the inclined listener sometimes comes into pondering whether the organist may have already arrived at the next work. However, the one (1) which indicated Georg Böhm’s Partita « Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele » was left standing for a long time, because the piece consists of twelve variations and seems very long due to the fact that the tenth variation with its large Plenum already sounds like a majestic finale. At the beginning, this always carries the risk that the concentration of the listener may ease off a bit. But the attention was immediately drawn back with the following three works by Bach: Prelude and Fugue in c-minor BWV 546, very clearly and precisely worked out, and the two polyphonic chorale cantatas “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland” BWV 659 and “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam” BWV 684 with their varied registration.
The two composers which followed – Giovanni Battista Martini (1706-1784) and Giuseppe Gherardeschi (1759-1915), the youngest of them all – were probably not known by everyone. Martini worked as a clergyman, composer and music theorist in Bologna and taught many famous musicians. The beautiful « Largo » in F minor was registered by Giorgio Parolini with the « unda maris », the « Toccata per il Deo Gratias » had a striking musicality despite its brevity. Gherardeschi, who worked in Pistoia as organist and music director, achieved a quite different effect with the « Rondo G-Major ». At first it sounded a bit mundane, but then, in its different variations with bird-calls of a Nightingale, elicited a cheerful Italian form of Baroque music.

Brilliantly played, strongly rhythmic

Finally two pieces by Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780) had their turn. « Fantasia a gusto italiano » was also heard in the last concert, and thus was to be experienced once again, how differently the same piece can sound – with different registration and played by someone else. At the end the brilliantly played « Toccata and Fugue E major » impressed the listeners, strongly rhythmic, concisely registered with the Bombard basses in which the individual voices made music together side by side.

Dorothee L. Schaefer