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Scheidemann: Harpsichord Music / Peter Dirksen


Release Date: 03/25/2008 
Label:  Etcetera Records   Catalog #: 1311   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Heinrich ScheidemannOrlando de LassusJohn DowlandFelice Anerio,   ... 
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHEIDEMANN Praeambulum in d. Betrübet ist zu dieser Frist. Ballett and Variatio in F. Allemand and Courant in G . Omnia quae fecisti (after di Lassus). O Gott, wir danken deiner Güt. Pavana lachyrmae (after Dowland). Mio cor, se vera sei salamandra (after Anerio). Englische Mascarata and Variatio in g. Mascarata in C (after R. Read more class="ARIAL12b">Johnson). Französischer Allemand in d. Courant and Variatio in d (after Gibbons). Ballett and Variatio in d. Fantasia in G. Allemand in d. Courant and Variatio in d. Praeambulum and Canzon in F. Galliarda and Variatio in d (after Bull). SIEFERT Pavana in F/d (after Dowland) Pieter Dirksen (hpd) ET’CETERA 1311 (69:44)


The modern reputation of Heinrich Scheidemann (c. 1595–1663) rested for a very long time on his prestigious position as organist of Hamburg’s Catharinenkirche, as well as the recorded remarks and friendship of such colleagues as Johann Schop and Jacob Praetorius (who studied alongside him under Sweelinck). It wasn’t until Gustav Fock rediscovered his organ tablatures at Clausthal-Zellerfeld in the 1950s that attention finally began to be paid to this musician. He is now regarded as among the leading lights of the North German organ school in the early 17th century, though Werner Breig ( New Grove I ) has this dour assessment of the current material: “Scheidemann’s harpsichord pieces, on the other hand, are generally insignificant, though one or two notable ones . . . have survived.”


Dutch harpsichordist and scholar Pieter Dirksen is of a different opinion, however. He states that the composer’s harpsichord music “equals his organ music in quality if not in quantity,” and forms “a lively and attractive facet of this fascinating musical personality.” It is, of course, difficult to tell just how much of Scheidemann’s harpsichord music was available to Breig when he wrote his article, but the original works included in this album are without exception graceful, and often subtle in their learning. Typical is Betrübet ist zu dieser Frist , with its three variations, employing a refined tapestry of imitative and scalar figuration. Most of Scheidemann’s praeambula are for organ; the rare examples for harpsichord included on this disc are richly chromatic and expressive. The Canzon in F (paired here with a transcription of a trumpet-like organ praeambulum, to set the stage) is a freely contrapuntal variation canzona on an elegant trilling motif in three sections.


There are also transcriptions by the composer, such as the motet intabulation in brilliant toccata manner of de Lassus’s five-part motet, Omnia quae fecisti ; or another of Felice Anerio’s five-part madrigal, Mio cor, se vera sei salamandra , that succeeds by delicately suggesting rhythmic, harmonic, and contrapuntal elements rather than elaborating them. Elsewhere, much of what Dirksen has chosen to record by Scheidemann emphasizes the composer’s love for a good tune, and draws upon the repertoire of English string-players (such as William Brade) who spent much time abroad in the various German states and the Netherlands. The Englische Mascarata and Variatio in G Minor is a typical example, with elaborately contrapuntal variations that complement rather than weighing down their theme. Another, far simpler piece is the Französischer Allemand in D Minor , though to what extent the original is incorporated in this transcription isn’t clear, given the former’s loss. By contrast, the Galliarda and Variatio in D Minor, a complete recomposition of a work by John Bull, incorporates the Englishman’s angular figurations into Scheidemann’s own freely imitative and dramatic manner.


Pieter Dirksen isn’t well known to concert audiences on this side of the Atlantic, although he gives numerous solo recitals each year in his native Netherlands, as well as the occasional Fifth Brandenburg with the Combattimento Consort. We’re distinctly the losers. He has plenty of technique, but never lets it get in the way of the music. His tempos are reasonably chosen and varied, while the pieces that are more obviously based on vocal or lute origins receive a judicious degree of rhythmic freedom. I only wish that a greater number of instruments had been used, reflecting the different styles, purposes, and genres of this music. The brightly resonant two-manual 1996 Nuñez (after a 1638 Ruckers) that Dirksen plays is a very fine harpsichord, but more suited, I think, to the praeambula than to the numerous English folk dances and variations, or the laconic madrigal transcription.


Excellent, close sound is provided, which catches the instrument without much of the mechanism. Dirksen supplies his own notes, and does a fine job within the space limitations he has. In short, this is largely a fine and unusual mix of North German and English Baroque harpsichord music and styles, performed to a turn by a master harpsichordist. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal


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Works on This Recording

1. Praeambulum for Organ in D minor by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
2. Betrubet ist zu dieser Frist, WV 104 by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
3. Ballet and Variation in F major by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
4. Allemand and Courant in G major by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
5. Omnia quae fecisti by Orlando de Lassus
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Notes: Arranger: Heinrich Scheidemann. 
6. O Gott, wir danken deiner Güt, WV 22 by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
7. Pavan for Keyboard "Lachrymae" by John Dowland
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Notes: Arranger: Heinrich Scheidemann. 
8. Mio cor, si vera sel salamandra by Felice Anerio
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Notes: Arranger: Heinrich Scheidemann. 
9. Französischer Allemand in D major by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
10. Courant and Variation in D minor by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Heinrich Scheidemann (1596 - 1663). 
11. Ballet and Variation in D minor by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
12. Fantasy for Organ in G major, WV 86 by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
13. Allemand in D minor by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: 20th Century 
14. Praeambulum and Canzon in F major by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
15. Pavana in F major/D minor by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
16. Englische Mascarata und Variatio by Heinrich Scheidemann
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
17. Galliard and Variation in D minor by John Bull
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Notes: Arranger: Heinrich Scheidemann. 
18. Mascarata in C major by Robert Johnson
Performer:  Pieter Dirksen (Harpsichord)
Notes: Arranger: Heinrich Scheidemann. 

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