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HPSCHD-L  January 2017

HPSCHD-L January 2017

Subject:

Re: Transpositions in WTC II

From:

Ibo Ortgies <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Harpsichords and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:55:55 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

Dear Claudio,

> Am 11.01.2017 um 19:06 schrieb J. Claudio Di Veroli <[log in to unmask]>:
> 
>> Ibo wrote: Dear Claudio!
>>> Ibo wrote ...  I actually don't see how that would be evidence for an
>>> assumption of repertoire playing on an organ.
>> Which sources? 
>> If you have evidence, please, present it. I at least am eager to learn.
> 
> Dear Ibo. We have disagreed in the past on Bach-organ matters, for example
> on temperament, where the absence of large intact Bach organs and their
> documents do not allow to deduce anything.

The organs need not be there, if there is documentation.  How do you come to the conclusion that there is a (great) absence of documents? 

There is absolutely no absence of documentation – of course not for every single case – but enough to give a very clear picture of the topic at hand. For the status of organs in Sxony and Thuringia in Bach’s time and immediately before, there a loads of reports, examination reports, contracts, church records of all kind.
Take only a town like Naumburg – last spring I digitalised the organ history of that town, as documented in the beautiful municipal archive. Ca. 800 pages of organ history only until. And the creme de la creme of organ history in autographs: Scheidt, Bach, CPE Bach, L. Compenius Z. Hildebrandt, Albert Schweitzer etc. And Naumburg is only one small city. 
Before I was in Sangerhausen, where Hildebrandt built one of his beautiful instruments. Parish archive. Hundreds of pages, too. Only about one instrument.
Afterwards I visited the archives in Leipzig and Dresden, where I waded through the files of six, seven parishes. Hardly enough time in a week only for that.

Organs by the, in whatever state they are preserved, very seldom at all can give more than the roughest idea of the temperament after the last work on it. I have written about the problem in my article "Bach and Temperament” (Orgelpark Research Reports 5/1, freely available online).


> But IMHO just because evidence is
> not there it does not mean that it was not done. On this fact you will
> agree, there is lots of evidence! 

No, because that premise is not valid: 
One cannot base any claim on the non-existence of evidence. If, one could then prove  “Father Christmas” by the shere absence of evidence for his existence 
(you could also google for "Russell’s teapot”)

> Some awful biases in Mattheson have been explained in a recent book,

Well. Who isn’t biased?
And even if one book happens to show that Mattheson had some misconceptions. It would be a fallacy to assume that all his other statements must be wrong.
In this case his writings match precisely the other sources 

> and if
> some German organists would find "unprofessional" to play a simple keyboard
> piece on an organ,

Not just “some”, organists, authors, who belong to the most read authors in music of their time. 

> perhaps JSBach did not mind if a student completed the
> 
> 
>>>> Claudio wrote: >>> Even a few large scale organ works (such as the Fuga
>>>> on the Magnificat >>> BWV 733 and the Pastorale BWV 590) use this restricted
>>>> pedal range.
>>> is too much of a fitting to be a coincidence. 

> 
>> But for what exactly should it be coincidence? That there were different
>> types of organ pedals in Saxony and Thuringia? No. We know that the standard
>> pedal compass of large and small organs in Bach's area and time was
>> CDEFGA-c1 or CDE-c1. Seldom a chromatic compass ...
> 
> Maybe, you are the specialist (on extant organs but surely not on those
> majority of Bach organs that have gone and we lack most of the info
> thereof!).

I don’t need to be the specialist in some area to be able to know the literature quite well. 
To start with, Ulrich Dähnert’s monumental, very thorough study  Historische Orgeln in Sachsen. Ein Orgelinventar (Frankfurt, 1980) and study the writings mentioned in Felix Friedrich’s (he’s the organist in Alteburg) Orgelbau in Sachsen. Bibliographie (Kleinblittersdorf, 1995).

>  But if the chromatic compass was so rare, then I fail to
> understand why JSBach wrote so many Fantasias and Preludes and Fugues with
> all those C# and Eb and F#.

Because it was no “organ repertoire” according to the sources of the time.
Simply put, the historical situation was highly different from our’s. As long as you try to match something from one time  with something that wasn’t the practice at another time, you are likely to get a mismatch as result.
 
Even more problems you’ll have to explain, why Bach would write and even publish pieces that consistently need c#’ and d’ in the pedal when this was regulary not available (Saxon and Thuringian pedal keyboards standardly did not have these notes).


> Obviously he had uncommon organs at his command,
> and this explains both temperaments and ranges.

Obviously not. The organs he had at hand are in the respect of compasses well known and their status has been published again and again, even in English.
About temperament,I have published the latest knowledge in  “Bach and Temperament”.

>> And not one single case for Contra-B which is required three times in
>> Bach's "organ works".
> 
> Thanks for giving evidence for my way of looking at things, Ibo!

I didn't

> The answer
> is, IMHO, very simple: I find this compelling evidence that, among those
> Bach-organs that are now lost and no info is available about their
> pedalboard range (I got this info from you, remember!), possibly there was
> just ONE with a Contra-B! 

That is again arguing from non-existence (see above). 
Would you likewise concede that Father Christmas also exists - like such an unheard of organ?

Best

Ibo
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
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