Michel Chapuis improvisation on “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”

Michel Chapuis (1930-2017)

Michel Chapuis was a French organist. He was well known for his interpretations of French Baroque and German Baroque organ music. He devoted his career to historically informed performance. He was also one of the masters of improvisation on the pipe organ. Chapuis served as the organist of many churches including St. Severin, Notre Dame, and St. Nicolas de Champs. Michel Chapuis was the titular organist of the Royal Chapel of Versailles from 1995-2010.

Here is an improvisation by Michel Chapuis on the chorale “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (How brightly shines the morning star) from a live performance in 2001. I hope that you enjoy it.


Dieterich Buxtehude – Klag-Lied “Muss der Tod denn auch entbinden”

Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Dieterich Buxtehude was a Danish-German baroque composer and organist. His organ music is a major part of the organ repertoire and is frequently performed at organ recitals and church services. His keyboard music represents the height of the 17th century North German School of organ composition. Buxtehude wrote over 100 beautiful and very expressive vocal compositions. Today Buxtehude is often thought of as a predecessor to J.S. Bach. In 1705, 20-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach walked over 200 miles to hear Buxtehude perform his music.

Bernarda Fink (1955 -) mezzo-soprano

Bernarda Fink is an Argentine mezzo-soprano. She has sung with many of the world’s top orchestras and ensembles including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and the English Baroque Soloists. She has worked with many of the top conductors in the world including Sir Neville Mariner, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Riccardo Muti, Sir Colin Davis, and Valery Gergiev.

Bernard Foccroulle (1953-) organist, composer

Bernard Foccroulle is one of the top organists in the world. He is also a composer, conductor, and opera director. Bernard Foccroulle plays a wide repertoire of organ music from the Renaissance to contemporary music. As well as playing many world premieres of music by living composers, Bernard Foccroulle has performed and made many recordings of organ masterworks by composers such as Scheidemann, Weckmann, Buxtehude, and J.S. Bach.

Here is a recording of an aria by Buxtehude called the Klag-Lied: “Muss der Tod denn auch entbinden” (Must death then also break those chains). The aria was one part of a two part work written in homage to Buxtehude’s father who passed away in 1674. It is performed by Bernarda Fink, mezzo-soprano, and Bernard Foccroulle on the organ.

Frederick ll King of Prussia – Flute Concerto no.4 in D Major

Frederick II King of Prussia (1712-1786)

Frederick II King of Prussia (Frederick the Great) was a German monarch, patron of the arts, flute player, and composer. Frederick had his own musical ensemble with which he would perform from time to time. He had some of the finest musicians in Europe in his ensemble. Among the famous musicians in Frederick’s ensemble were C.H. Graun (Kapellmeister and opera composer), Johann Joachim Quantz (composer and flute virtuoso), and C.P.E. Bach (his accompanist and one of J.S. Bach’s famous musical sons).

Frederick the Great composed flute sonatas, flute concertos, and several arias for C.H. Graun’s operas. He also wrote librettos for several operas including Graun’s Montezuma (1755).

Here is a recording of Frederick the Great’s Flute Concerto no.4 in D Major. Unfortunately I do not know who the flute soloist or orchestra is because the person who posted the recording on youtube neglected to mention that information.

Bach Prelude and Fugue in D Major and Fantasie and Fugue in g minor- Silbermann organ Frauenkirche, Dresden (1944) – Hanns Ander-Donath (organist)

Frauenkirche, Dresden

The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden started out as a Roman Catholic parish, then became Protestant during the Reformation, and finally in the 18th century it became a Lutheran church. It was destroyed during the bombing of Dresden in WWII. The ruins of the church that remained were left for 50 years as a war memorial. In 1994 the church was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany. The exterior of the church was completed in 2004, and the interior was completed in 2005.

The organ in the Frauenkirche was built by the great German organ builder Gottfried Silbermann who came from a family of organ builders. It was one of the greatest pipe organs in Europe. The organ was installed in 1736 and the great organist and composer Johann Sebastian Bach gave an organ recital on it shortly after its installation. A new organ based on the ideas of Gottfried Silbermann and Andreas Silbermann was built by Kern (an organ builder from Strasbourg) in 2005.

In 1944, the organist of the Frauenkirche, Hanns Ander-Donath made a recording of several organ pieces before Dresden was bombed and the church and organ were completely destroyed. I discovered that both recordings were listed on youtube as being recorded in 1944 at the Frauenkirche. I am not sure if that is true as they both come from different cd compilations recorded by the same organist.

Here is a recording of the Prelude and Fugue in D Major by J.S. Bach. The recording of the Prelude and Fugue in D Major comes from a cd album entitled Ein Leben fur die Orgel. I am not sure if the recording of the Prelude and Fugue is done on the Frauenkirche Silbermann organ.
The recording of the Fantasie and Fugue in g minor by J.S. Bach was recorded on the old Frauenkirche Silbermann in 1944. What a magnificent and powerful sound that organ has.

Pietro Locatelli – Violin Sonata no.12 op.6 – Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante

Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764)

Pietro Locatelli was an Italian baroque violin virtuoso and composer. Locatelli’s playing was noted for its virtuosity and sweet tone.

Locatelli wrote mostly sonatas and concertos.

Fabio Biondi (1961 -)
Fabio Biondi is an Italian violinist and conductor. He specializes in early music. Fabio Biondi has performed with many baroque music ensembles. He founded his own early music ensemble Europa Galante in 1990.

Here is a recording of Fabio Biondi and a few musicians from his group Europa Galante playing the Violin Sonata op.6, no.12 by Pietro Locatelli.

Nicola Porpora – Morte Amara – soprano Simone Kermes

Nicola Porpora (1686-1768)

Nicola Porpora was an Italian composer and singing teacher.  He worked for the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt and the Portuguese ambassador in Naples.  Porpora composed serenatas, cantatas, oratorios, sacred operas, over 100 other sacred works, several instrumental works, and vocalization exercises, and 50 operas.  Nicola Porpora had a great understanding of the art of singing and his melodic lines are often intricate and embellished.

Simone Kermes (1970-)

Simone Kermes is a German coloratura soprano.  She is well known for her singing of the baroque and classical operatic repertoire.

Here is a recording of Simone Kermes singing an aria from Act ll scene 10 of the opera Quinto Fabio by Nicola Porpora with Claudio Osele’s Le Musiche Nove ensemble.  Enjoy!

Music for Trumpet and Pipe Organ

Here is some music for trumpet and pipe organ.  It was written during the baroque period (1600-1750).  Here is a recording of some English Masque dances.  A masque was a form of entertainment developed in England in the 16th and 17th centuries.  A masque involved poetry, music, and elaborate sets.  Here are some tunes from a masque composed in 1600.  The trumpet is played by the Swiss trumpet virtuoso Markus Wursch.  Peter Solomon is the organist.  The performance was recorded at the Catholic church in Stans, Switzerland.  Enjoy.

Here is another recording of the first movement of a Sinfonia by Allessandro Scarlatti for trumpet and organ.  The trumpet is played by Markus Wursch and the organ is played by Peter Solomon.  The performance was recorded in the Catholic church in Stans, Switzerland.  Enjoy.