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Reviewed by:
  • Sämtliche Werke für Clavier (Orgel)
  • Patrick Russill
Georg Muffat and Wolfgang Ebner. Sämtliche Werke für Clavier (Orgel). Herausgegeben von Siegbert Rampe. Erstausgabe. Kassel: Bärenreiter, c2003–2004. [Vol. 1 (Muffat: Partiten, pt. 1; Ebner: Toccata, Capriccio, Partita, Versetten): pref. (composers, sources, editorial method and performance practice, comments on the works, ornamentation) in Ger., Eng., p. iv–xix; score (with 3 facsims.), 64 p.; crit. commentary, p. 65–69. ISMN M-006-52062-6; BA 8419. €24.95. Vol. 2 (Muffat: Partiten, pt. 2; Aria, Ciacona, Passagagli, Toccata; Ebner: Variationen in a, Capriccio, Partiten): pref., p. iii–xx; score (with 7 facsims.), 75 p.; Ebner’s treatise on basso continuo (in facsim.), p. 77–80; crit. commentary, p. 81–85. ISMN M-006-52512-6; BA 8460. €29.95.]

This review must start with a warning regarding content and express one major caveat regarding presentation. The word of warning: the inclusion of the parenthetical "Orgel" and "organ" together with the initial "sämtliche " and "complete" in the publication's German–English parallel titles is likely to mislead. Unwary users not unreasonably expecting to find in these two volumes the complete keyboard works of both composers, including those solely for organ, will be disappointed. Siegbert Rampe's editorial preface (p. xii in both vols.) is more precise: "The present two-volume edition is the first to present the complete clavier works of Georg Muffat (1653–1704) and the complete keyboard music of Wolfgang Ebner (1612–1665)." In other words, the twelve great toccatas (with pedals) of Muffat's Apparatus musico-organisticus (Salzburg: Johann Baptist Mayr, 1690; facsim. eds., Dokumente zur Aufführungspraxis alter Musik, 1 [Innsbruck: Musikverlag Helbling, 1979]; Performers' Facsimiles, 181 [New York: Performers' Facsimiles, 1997]) are absent. Curiously, however, Rampe does include the three pieces that complete the Apparatus—the Ciacona, the Passacaglia (the edition retains the original spelling "Passagagli"), and the curious aria-variation set "Nova Cyclopeias harmonica" —since they "should be regarded as clavier works" (p. 2:xviii). He acknowledges the Ciacona and the variation set "will admit of [sic] performance on the organ" (ibid.), but the Passacaglia "being a 'passacaille en rondeau,'is at root pure stage music" (ibid.). But one of the major features of Muffat's character, exemplified above all in the Apparatus, is his desire to transplant and absorb diverse national idioms and forms. Moreover, except for dance forms and pedaliterworks, the South German baroque keyboard tradition, at least from Johann Jacob Froberger (1616–1667) to Gottlieb Muffat (1690–1770), tends to resist as much as possible (as part of its essential character) strict instrumental classification, thus encouraging a highly creative idiomatic flexibility from the performer with regard to the notation, depending on the instrument. Toccatas, fugal forms (such as [End Page 1058] canzonas, ricercars, and capriccios), as well as ostinato pieces are all fair game. Rampe's distinction for Muffat's keyboard music is an uneasy one, particularly since he does not apply it (and rightly so) to Ebner's output included in the same publication.

This brings me to my major caveat. Why are these two composers, who worked in different generations and in different courts, coupled together at all, particularly when the discomfort of this forced marriage is compounded by having the works of both parties irritatingly divided between the two volumes (rather as in a messy divorce)? Rampe himself offers no justification, leaving the suspicion that this is the result of a misconceived publisher's force majeure. Two separate, single-composer issues would have presented these composers' work and characters (and Rampe's editorial thrust) with greater clarity and coherence.

That said, this edition is another valuable example of Rampe's phenomenal scholarly industry, one which relates not so much to his landmark intégrales for Bärenreiter of Froberger (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Clavier- und Orgelwerke [from 2002: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke], 5 vols. to date [1993– ]), Johann Krieger (Sämtliche Orgel- und Clavierwerke, 2 vols. [1999]), Vincent Lübeck (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Orgel- und Clavierwerke, 2 vols. [2003–4]), Jean Philippe Rameau (Pièces de clavecin: Nouvelle édition intégrale, 3 vols. [2004]), and Matthias Weckmann (Sämtliche freie Orgel...


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