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Hamburger Deluxe

The music of Baroque Hamburg is in focus this week on Harmonia as we look at its composers for both the church and opera house.

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engraving of town square

Photo: Anonymous

Hamburg town center during the 18th Century.

Just before the end of 17th century, Hamburg was one of the most important musical centers in all of Germany. Its churches and opera house boasted some of the finest composers around. With the inception of public opera, a new era came into full bloom in Hamburg’s musical life, filled with musical riches in a town mostly known for commerce.

Composers Johann Theile and Johann Conradi made a name for themselves at Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt opera house.

The greatest success for the opera house came with Reinhard Keiser who brought it fame (and heavy debt). During his on again/off again tenure, he composed over sixty operas, raised its musical standards, and attracted some serious talent (including a young George Frideric Handel).

One cannot get a complete picture of Hamburg music-making without looking at its churches. Organ music played an especially important part in church services. Out of the many well-known German organists from the 17th century, Hamburg had some of the greatest. In particular, Johann Adam Reincken and Matthias Weckmann were the most outstanding improvisers. The toccata and canzona were the improvisations of choice.

The city’s church music was also influenced by two famous musicians from the neighboring town of Lübeck, a reasonably short coach ride away. For over half a century, Franz Tunder and his successor Dietrich Buxtehude made a distinct impression from afar…

Our new release this week features lutenist Andrew Maginley performing the works of J.S. Bach, Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Adam Falckenhagen. An AVIE label release, Maginley performs the final movement from Falckenhagen’s sonata in F major.

Here’s a video of countertenor Andreas Scholl performing Buxtehude’s “Jubilate Domino”:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=advh_zkQK-w

Music Heard On This Episode

Johann Sigismund Kusser: Suite No. 1 in G minor: Rondeau. gay
Aura Musicale — Johann Sigismund Kusser: Festin des Muses (Hungaroton, 2005)
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Johann Sigismund Kusser: Suite No. 1 in G minor: Rondeau. gay
Aura Musicale — Johann Sigismund Kusser: Festin des Muses (Hungaroton, 2005)
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album cover
Johann Sigismund Kusser: Suite No. 1 in G minor: Autre Air. viste-viste
Aura Musicale — Johann Sigismund Kusser: Festin des Muses (Hungaroton, 2005)
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Johann Sigismund Kusser: Suite No. 1 in G minor: Choeur. gay
Aura Musicale — Johann Sigismund Kusser: Festin des Muses (Hungaroton, 2005)
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Johann Theile: Canzonetta: So geh ich hier alleine
Les Amis de Philippe — Secular Arias & Canzonettas, 1667 (Cpo Records, 2005)
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Johann Georg Conradi: Ariadne: Overture
BEMF Orchestra and Chorus — Ariadne (Cpo Records, 2005)
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Reinhard Kaiser: Sinfonia and Menuet
Fiori Musicali — Masaniello Furioso (Cpo Records, 1995)
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Johann Adam Reincken: Toccata in G major
La Fenice — Ex Libris …The Musical Library of J.S. Bach (Opus 111, 2002)
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Matthias Weckmann: Canzon in G major
Wolfgang Zerer — Matthias Weckmann: Organ Works Volume 2 (Naxos, 1999)
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Dietrich Buxtehude: O Jesu dulcissime
The Netherlands Bach Society — Death and Devotion (Channel Classics NI, 2004)
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Adam Falckenhagen: Sonata no. 5 in F major: Vivace
Andrew Maginley — The Baroque Lute (AVIE, 2004)
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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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