AEOLUS continues the successful cooperation with the Dutch organist and harpsichordist Léon Berben.
The now presented new SACD "Melchior Schildt: complete organ works" is linked with the award-winning ("Diapason d'Or") complete recording of all keyboard works of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, released in 2015: firstly, because the composer Schildt has been a pupil of Sweelinck, and on the other hand, since the already for Sweelinck's music extremely suitable meantone organ (1624) by Hans Scherer the Younger in the St.Stephanuskirche of Tangermünde can be heard here again, now even in surround sound!
Although the composer Melchior Schildt may be very nearly forgotten today, we actually know more about him than about many of his contemporaries. His grandfather Gerdt and father Anto- nius held prominent posts as church organists in the city of Hannover from the second half of the sixteenth century, and in those days it was only logical that Melchior and his brother Ludolf should follow in their footsteps.
Schildt was born in summer 1592, and undoubtedly in Hannover (where his father was organist of the Kreuzkirche before moving to the Marktkirche in 1593).
His father may well have given him music lessons; he was at the very least greatly concerned to provide his son with a solid training as an organist, to which end he requested financial support from the city of Hannover to send him to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in Amsterdam. Since a sum of 36 guilders was granted, it may be assumed that Melchior was in Amsterdam by early 1610 at the latest.
The following record concerns Schildt‘s appointment as organist of the church of Beatae Mariae Virginis in Wolfenbüttel in 1623.Two years later he took up the post of court organist and royal tutor in the service of King Christian of Denmark. After three years at the Danish court he went to Hannover in 1629 to substitute for his gravely ill father at the Marktkirche St. Georgii et Jacobi. Upon his decease that same year Melchior succeeded him and held the post until he died in 1667.
On Schildt’s artistic merits Walther writes “He could play as he pleased to make people laugh or cry“. His playing was considered versatile, his surviving compositions “wide-ranging in terms of composition technique, form and expression, and indeed of high quality“, as the organist Klaus Beckmann attests in his edition of the organ works (1999).
The program of the present SACD is completed by Delphin Strungk's Magnificat for organ. Delphin Strungk was born around 1601. Like his contemporary Melchior Schildt, he was employed from 1631-1634 at Wolfenbüttel‘s main church of Beatae Mariae Virginis, where he succeeded Melchior and his brother Ludolf. Thereafter he moved to court, as Melchior had done before. Although we do not know whether Delphin Strungk was a pupil of Melchior Schildt, there must have been a connection, for the manner in which their paths crossed can hardly have been coincidental. The extent of Strungk‘s œuvre remains unknown.
Magnificat is a true masterpiece, demonstrating his skill in combining the accomplishments of his musical forefathers with innovation and experiment.