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.

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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.

Glinka “Ruslan and Ludmila overture and Mozart Marriage of Figaro overture (Jonathan Scott organ)

Jonathan Scott

Jonathan Scott was born in Manchester, England. He has a varied performing career as an organist doing solo recitals and performing with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic. Jonathan also performs with his brother Tom Scott in a piano duo called the Scott Brothers Duo. With his brother Tom Scott, Jonathan Scott has released many recordings to critical acclaim on their own label entitled the Scott Brothers Duo label.

Here is a recording of an arrangement for organ solo by Jonathan Scott of Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila overture recorded at the organ of Lancaster Priory, and another recording of an arrangement by Jonathan Scott for organ solo of Mozart’s overture to the Marriage of Figaro recorded on the Marcussen Concert Organ of Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK. I hope that you enjoy these performances.