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François de Cuvilliés Morceaux de caprice a divers usages (1745; detail) - Dumbarton Oaks, Research Library and Collection, Washington

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JOHANN PETER
KELLNER
(Gräfenroda [Thuringia] 1705 - 1772)

CERTAMEN MUSICUM (1749-56)
bestehend aus Präludien, Fugen, Allemanden, Couranten, Sarabanden, Giguen, wie auch Menuetten

This performance by Fernando De Luca has been supported by Michael J. Barltrop, who has kindly provided his own critical edition and text introduction

FERNANDO DE LUCA
harpsichord

Issue 2019-09

Recorded in Cagliari: June 3-4, 2019 / July 1-5, 2019; Flemish harpsichord built by F. Granziera (1993) after a Ruckers-Taskin model (Taskin 1780); Temp. Vallotti, Pitch A = 415Hz

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All’inizio di quest’anno siamo entrati in contatto col Dr. Michael Barltrop. Lo studioso, abitante della ventosa ed affascinante Cornovaglia, ha messo a disposizione del maestro Fernando De Luca la sua minuziosa edizione critica (seppur ancora manoscritta) del Certamen musicum di J. P. Kellner. Si tratta di musica di così raro ascolto ed unicità che non poteva essere messa da parte o registrata chissà quando. Se non altro, per le strette relazioni stilistiche che intercorrono tra queste 6 suite di Kellner e molti brani per tastiera del coevo Johann Sebastian Bach, in particolare quelli del Wohltemperierte Klavier.

Le brevi note che seguono, in lingua inglese, sono state gentilmente fornite dallo stesso Michael Barltrop, allo scopo di introdurre l'interpretazione che Fernando De Luca ha dato del Certamen musicum.

saladelcembalo.org, 7 agosto 2019


Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772) was a German organist and composer. It is not known whether he was a student of J S Bach but he was certainly an admirer of this famous composer. He played a very important role with regard to the preservation of much important music by Bach through many manuscript copies from his own hand.

As a harpsichord player myself, I became aware in 2012 of an interesting keyboard work by Kellner named 'Certamen Musicum' which consisted of 6 substantial suites composed between 1749 and 1756. The original print was practically impossible to follow due to careless engraving by the printer and no accurate modern edition was available. In view of the high musical quality evident in this work, I decided to copy this music by hand for my own study and enjoyment { using a microfilm copy of the original print as kindly supplied to me by The University of Uppsala, Sweden } : the greatest attention was taken by myself with regard to accuracy and all details concerning the layout of the original score.

The influence of J S Bach is clearly seen in the fugues of the 'Certamen Musicum' as well as in the strict part-writing evident throughout this work. The galant style is also evident in Kellner's music. For example, the opening Preludes of the 3rd and 5th suites are in effect sonatas as indeed is the florid Andante in a minor from suite 3. The suite in E major also has a most impressive Adagio movement in the form of a fantasia in e minor. We hear Kellner, the organist, in the opening Prelude and Fugue in d minor from the 4th suite { some musicians believe that Kellner may have been the composer for the well-known Bach ' Toccata and Fugue ' in d minor }. The high point of the 6th suite in C major is the superb and extended fugue. I should also mention that Kellner was very fond about the crossing of individual parts along with memorable chromatic melody and harmony.

In summary, the keyboard music of the 'Certamen Musicum' is of high musical worth and needs to be better known. In my view, it makes an excellent companion to Bach's set of six partitas.

I am both honoured and extremely grateful that Fernando De Luca has taken interest in my work and has now given the musical world a splendid recording of this music using my handwritten copy as his performing edition.

Michael J. Barltrop { Cornwall, United Kingdom }
July 25th 2019


My handwritten copy is available as a digital download from Michael Barltrop.
Please enquire by email to: spiral2812@yahoo.com

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