Johann Heinrich Buttstett - Works


Aside from a lost sacred opera, a fragment of a cantata and two concerted masses, all minor works, Buttstett's surviving output consists exclusively of keyboard music, which he apparently composed in great numbers. In the only surviving collection, Musicalische Clavier-Kunst und Vorraths-Kammer of 1713, he stated that he had more than a thousand pieces available in manuscript, such as fughettas, fantasias, large fugues and ricercars, capriccios, preludes and so on; but so far the said collection, two marches included in Ut, mi, sol.. and several dozen chorale preludes are the only extant keyboard works by him. Predictably, most pieces show the influence of Pachelbel; however, numerous signs indicate that Buttstett was more than familiar with the north German organ school - both his free (preludes, fantasias) and strict (fugues, ricercars) compositions may feature long virtuosic passages quite unlike Pachelbel's more relaxed writing, but very akin to Dieterich Buxtehude and Nicholas Bruhns. Particularly interesting are the Prelude & Capriccio in D minor of the Musicalische Clavier-Kunst: the prelude begins with a long single-voice monophonic passage filled with pauses, single note exclamations and virtuosic figures, and the Capriccio is fugal, building on a similarly complex subject written out in 32nd- and 16th-notes (and related to the prelude):

Musicalische Clavier-Kunst also contains a few dance suites, with obvious French influences and somewhat different from the typical German suite of the time.

A particularly interesting fugue by Buttstett is found in the so-called Andreas Bach manuscript. It features an extreme example of a repercussion subject, which includes a leap of a diminished 7th:

Repercussion is also used throughout the fugue, sometimes applied to full chords in both hands.

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