Approaching baroque spanish organ music

Until now, I struggled to get access to baroque spanish organ music. The recrodings I listened to gave me little clue about the spirit of that era.

This very eve I accidentally stumbled upon a recording of the Tiento XXIII por A la mi re (part II, part III, part IV) by Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712) as shared by Olivier Thuault. Jan Willem Jansen also perfomed the piece. Another recording shows Francis Chapelet acting at the console.

Suddenly, I get the link to the Fantasia in e minor by Abraham van den Kerckhoven I’m still struggling with. This work is totally different to his other works I’ve noticed so far, since it is reminiscent of spanish organ music.

A couple of things are special to spanish organs and the music written for those instruments:

  • The instruments often lack a pedal board, and so does the music. As a consequence, the left hand has to do a lot more work.
  • The instruments often just provide one keybed. As a consequence, the ranks are split to two stops, one for the bass portion and one for the discant portion. This way, the left hand can do the accompaniment, while the right hand can play a solo voice, all using one single keybed.
  • A further thing spanish organs often provide is a chamade, reed pipes protruding outwards.

I’m glad I found the recording of Olivier Thuault, since it will help me to fine tune my interpretation of Kerckhoven’s fantasia.