An Emblem Book Fit for an Emperor: Exploring Georg Muffat’s Apparatus Musico-Organisticus(1690)
The new claviorganum for Göteborg Baroqueprovided an opportunity to explore Georg Muffat’s 1690 book Apparatus Musico-Organisticusboth as possible repertoire for claviorganum, rather than organ, and as a carefully constructed Emblem Book to flatter Emperor Leopold I.
The Göteborg International Organ Academy, HSM
Description of project
The new claviorganum for Göteborg Baroqueprovided an opportunity to explore Georg Muffat’s 1690 book Apparatus Musico-Organisticusin two ways. First, it is postulated that this music is particularly relevant repertoire for claviorganum, an instrument combining the organ and harpsichord, rather than just one or the other. Secondly, the final three works in the collection were presented and as a carefully constructed emblematic opera for keyboard to flatter Emperor Leopold I. The lecture recital begins by looking at the development of the Emblem Book tradition from the Renaissance onward, gives a brief overview of several related published books of keyboard books that may also be functioning within the Emblem Book tradition. Then a brief introduction to the first and fourth Toccatas from the book give examples for how the structure of the works are intended to take advantage of a southern German instrument with a permanent pull-down pedal. From the North German perspective, where instruments at this time already had extensive independent pedal divisions, the southern instruments lack the ability to play independent pedal solos, and these instruments are sometimes looked upon, wrongly, as inferior. But the way that Muffat, and others, use the pedal line as a way of extending the manual playing, operating really more as a third hand, to create rich polyphonic effects in all voices, shedsa different light on the sophistication of the instruments from this period without independent pedals. Effects can be achieved by sharing voices back and forth between the manuals and pedal that cannot be reproduced on the instruments in the North. The second half of the presentation posits that because of the visual emblems present in the book, and because the opera of Acis and Galatea can be proven to be important emblematically for Emperor Leopold, the three appended pieces in the collection, the Ciacona, Passacaglia and Final Aria and Variations, can be read emblematically to tell the story of Acis and Galatea. This rhetorical reading of the pieces is then presented on the new claviorganum in performance. The audience had a of the proposed dramaturgy for the story of Acis and Galatea along with all of the registrations for each variation. This presentation is a preliminary study for a larger project on books of keyboard music that may possibly be read as emblem books, and the possible ramifications for keyboard performers when treating this music as full of dramatic and well-defined characters from Biblical and mythological stories, rather than abstract and objective music.
Description of work included
PDFs of the two original lecture handouts as well as the pdf of the festival program are included plus the urlto the full lecture recital plus discussion afterward on YouTube. The entire YouTube playlist for the festival may also be accessed through the Organ Academy website organ academy.se
Type of work
The Cerman Christnae Church, Göteborg
Link to web site