Johann Schneider was a German organist, violinist and composer (1702, Lautertal–1788, Leipzig). He was a pupil of Nicolas Mueller in his hometown and continued his studies with Johann Hartmann Reinmann in Saalfeld between 1717 and 1720. Around 1720, he became Johann Sebastian Bach's organ and harpsichord pupil in Köthen. In conjunction with his keyboard work with Bach, he studied violin with Johann Gottlieb Graun in Merseburg and with Johann Graf in Rudolstadt. In 1721, Johann Schneider became court organist and first violinist (concertmaster) in Saalfeld in his native Coburg. From 1726 he was employed as violinist in the court chapel in Weimar (Weimarer Hofkapelle), and he was later appointed organist of the Nicolaikirche in Leipzig in 1729, holding this position for the rest of his career. Schneider achieved a commendable reputation as a truly great organist, as Lorenz Mizler quotes: 'His organ preludes are of such good taste in this field, with the exception of Mr. Bach, whose pupil he was, that one cannot hear better in Leipzig'.
A small number of his works are contained in the manuscript Mus. Ms. 30377, preserved in the Berlin State Library. His style shows a correlation with that of J.S. Bach, but the influence of the Galant style is also detected in various moments of his music.
Johann Philipp Kirnberger was born in Saalfeld in 1721 and died in Berlin in 1783. He received his first training in harpsichord and violin within his family and then continued his studies with the organist Johann Peter Kellner in Gräfenroda. In 1738, he was an organ pupil under Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber in Sondershausen, then pursued further studies with Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig between 1739 and 1741, which proved pivotal to his development. More than a composer, he is remembered as a 'witness' to Bach's work: he took charge of copying much of his master's music. He kept the manuscript of the Brandenburg Concertos and collected several chorales known today as the 'Kirnberger Chorales' in which we find BWV numbers 690 to 731a – sincerely feeling himself vested with the mission of divulging Johann Sebastian Bach's greatness. His personality was that of a didact, and his compositions are predominantly the consequence of his treatises (L'arte di comporre bene, 1774/79). This attitude is exemplified in the Clavierübung compiled between 1762 and 1766 containing pieces structured in order of increasing difficulty and carefully fingered according to the precepts of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. He wrote only a handful of pages for organ: a few sporadic preludes to chorales, the eight fugues for organ or harpsichord (featured on this CD) and a 'Clavierfuge mit dem Contrapunct in der Oktava'. His figure is thus summed up not so much in an innovative spirit as in that of a person careful to pass on the inheritance he received.
- Recorded March & September 2022 in Vigliano Biellese, Italy
- Booklet in English contains liner notes by Walter Gatti, a biography on the artist, and the organ specifications
- This new recording presents two German organ composers, both students of Johann Sebastian Bach, in the middle of the 18th century, the transition from Baroque to the Classical Style.
- Johann Schneider was a German organist, violinist and composer. He was taught music from an early age, first by the Unterlauter cantor Nicolaus Müller, then by the Saalfeld Kapellmeister Reinmann. In his hometown Oberlauter, when around 1720, he became Johann Sebastian Bach's organ and harpsichord pupil in Köthen. At the same time he studied violin with Johann Gottlieb Graun. From 1726, he was employed as violinist in the court chapel in Weimar (Weimarer Hofkapelle) and finally, in 1729, he was appointed organist of the Nicolaikirche in Leipzig. His style obviously shows relations with that of J.S. Bach, but the influence of the Galante style is also clearly perceptible.
- Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721-1783) received his first training in harpsichord and violin within the family and continued his studies with the organist Johann Peter Kellner in Gräfenroda. It is actually uncertain whether Kirnberger continued his training in keyboard playing and composition with Bach in 1739-41 or whether his stay there was limited to a few months in 1741. In any case, he was familiar with J.S. Bach's music and appreciated it very much. In 1739 he continued his studies with Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig till 1741, which marked him deeply. He worked in Poland, in the service of local noblemen and, on his return to Germany in 1751, as violinist of the Royal Chapel in Potsdam and finally from 1758 on in Potsdam as composition teacher, Kapelmeister and musical advisor for Princess Anna Amalia, the sister of Friedrich II. More than a composer, he is remembered as a 'witness' to Bach's work: he took charge of copying much of his master's music - he kept the manuscript of the Brandenburg Concertos and collected several chorales known as the 'Kirnberger Chorales'. His 'Clavieruebung', compiled between 1762 and 1766, contains pieces in order of increasing difficulty and carefully fingered according to the principles of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. For organ he wrote preludes to chorales, the eight fugues for organ or harpsichord (featured on this CD) and a 'Clavierfuge mit dem Contrapunct in der Oktava'.
- Played on the Dell’Orto & Lanzini (2007) organ at the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano, Italy, the specifications of which are contained in the booklet.
- Walter Gatti graduated in several musical disciplines, specializing in Harpsichord, in Organ and Organ Composition, Choral Music and Choir Direction at the Conservatoires “Antonio Vivaldi” in Alessandria and “Giuseppe Verdi” in Torino. Since 1988 he has performed in regular concerts both as a soloist and as an accompanist for choirs, soloists and orchestras, playing at important festivals and on prestigious stages.