WORKS: Apparatus musico-organisticus (1690) – Toccata No. 1; Toccata No. 2; Toccata No. 3; Toccata No. 4; Toccata No. 5; Toccata No. 6; Toccata No.7; Toccata No. 8
PERFORMER: Martin Haselböck (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553917
Too often 17th-century German music for organ is equated with the great composers of the northern Hanseatic cities to the exclusion of other, equally important composers from other parts of German-speaking Europe. Unjustly, Georg Muffat (1653-1704), arguably one of the most important international composers ever, is one such composer.
Martin Haselböck, an acclaimed musician of many guises (organist, conductor, editor), puts us in the musical picture with great aplomb in this release from Naxos, convincingly promoting an understanding of Muffat’s diverse musical styles with the solemn and frequently ravishing sounds of the 1636-42 Freundt organ at Klosterneuberg Abbey. Of Scottish ancestry, the accomplished Muffat moved from Savoy to Alsace, from there to Paris and, in due course, from Ingolstadt to Vienna, Prague, Salzburg and (finally) Passau; there was also a two-year sojourn in Italy. Expressing a lifetime of well-travelled musical preoccupations (French and Italian), this collection was published in the year Muffat moved for the final time.
Although fast passagework is sometimes too matter-of-fact and frenetic (highly appropriate in something like the opening of the fifth Toccata, however), Haselböck is always convincing in his handling of these multi-section pieces (for example, excellent readings of the fourth and eighth Toccatas) and spot on in his use of registrations, general tempi and Affekt. Andrew McCrea