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Johann Jacob Froberger

May 19, 1616 - May 7, 1667
born in Stuttgart, Germany, composed during the Baroque period
The cosmopolitan composer and harpsichordist Johann Jacob Froberger (1616-67) was born in Stuttgart. He spent much of his professional life at the court of Vienna but traveled widely to Italy, France, England, and the Netherlands. In his keyboard compositions, he acknowledged the divergent styles of his European contemporaries while forging a highly personal and musically powerful synthesis. Serving the Viennese Hofkapelle from 1634 until 1645, he was granted a stipend from the Italophile Emperor Ferdinand III to travel to Italy and supplement his musical training by studying with Girolamo Frescobaldi. He studied in Rome from late 1637 until 1641 and made a second trip to Rome, Florence, and Mantua before 1649. An extensive period of travel from 1649 to 1653 probably included trips to Paris (where he met Chambonnières and Louis Couperin), the Spanish Netherlands, and England. After a second period in Vienna as principal organist to the Imperial court from 1653 to 1658, he retired to the estate of Princess Sybilla of Württemburg-Montbeliard, where he died suddenly at a Vespers service in 1667.

Most of his (almost exclusively keyboard) music was published posthumously beginning in the last decade of the seventeenth century, at a ripe moment in the forging of High Baroque German national artistic consciousness. Thus his style, blending Italian and French genres and techniques with quintessentially "German" contrapuntal thinking, was immediately perceived as a foundation of this national style. In many of Froberger's autographed copies of his music, the different genres are separated and anthologized, with attention to the distinctive notational practices. The ricercars, fantasias and other polyphonic pieces are notated in open score, to highlight the independence of the voices. Conversely, the Italianate toccatas, are notated in the Italian style of one six-line staff above a seven-line staff, clearly delineating the two hands. These pieces show the influence of his teacher Frescobaldi as well as of Merulo; Froberger's organization of the pieces into contrasting rhapsodic and fugal sections, however, follows more the practice of Michelangelo Rossi. The other Italian genre in which Froberger composed is the canzona, or capriccio. Froberger's harpsichord suites published in the 1690s gave the impression that he "invented" the generic structure which would dominate eighteenth century keyboard music: a suite of bipartite dance movements in the same key, in the order Allemande - Courante - Sarabande - Gigue. This misconception, disproved by the presence of regular, but differing, orders in his own manuscripts, has long been the cornerstone of the composer's historical position. Nevertheless, Froberger did assimilate the French dance genres, grouping them in suites by key, and (especially in the Allemandes), incorporating some of the Italian improvisatory character into the dance structure. This yielded fuller-voiced pieces in a lute-derived style the French called style brisé. His other personal innovation in the dance suites was the substitution of the first dance by an affective miniature character piece with a descriptive title; these were often laments on the death of prominent court figures. ~ Timothy Dickey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Froberger: Harpsichord Works [Germany]

Title: Toccata (No.12), for Keyboard in a Minor, Fbwv 112

1. Toccata (No.12), for Keyboard in a Minor, Fbwv 112: Toccata No. 12 In A Minor

Title: Suite for Harpsichord No. 20 in D Major

2. Suite for Harpsichord No. 20 in D Major: I. Allemande

3. Suite for Harpsichord No. 20 in D Major: II. Gigue

4. Suite for Harpsichord No. 20 in D Major: III. Courante

5. Suite for Harpsichord No. 20 in D Major: IV. Sarabande

Title: Fantasia (No.2), for Keyboard in a Minor/e Minor, Fbwv 202

6. Fantasia (No.2), for Keyboard in a Minor/e Minor, Fbwv 202: Fantasia No. 2 In E Minor

Title: Lamentation-faite Sur La Mort Très Douloureuse De Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand III, for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 633

7. Lamentation-faite Sur La Mort Très Douloureuse De Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand III, for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 633: I. Lamentation, Faite Sur La Mort Très Douloureuse De Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand III

Title: Toccata (No.3), for Keyboard in G Major, Fbwv 103

8. Toccata (No.3), for Keyboard in G Major, Fbwv 103: Toccata No. III In G Major

Title: Suite No. 1 in a Minor

9. Suite No. 1 in a Minor: I. Allemande

10. Suite No. 1 in a Minor: II. Courante

11. Suite No. 1 in a Minor: III. Sarabande

Title: Toccata (No.10), for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 110

12. Toccata (No.10), for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 110: Toccata No. 10 In F Major

Title: Suite No. 15 in a Minor

13. Suite No. 15 in a Minor: I. Allemande

14. Suite No. 15 in a Minor: II. Gigue

15. Suite No. 15 in a Minor: III. Courante

16. Suite No. 15 in a Minor: IV. Sarabande

x

Track List: Froberger: Suites de clavecin & Toccatas

Title: Partita (No.30), For Keyboard In A Minor, For Keyboard, FbWV 630
Title: Toccata (No.9), For Keyboard In C Major, FbWV 109
Title: Partita (No.19), For Keyboard In C Minor, FbWV 619
Title: Tombeau Fait À Paris Sur La Mort De Monsieur Blancrocher, For Keyboard In C Minor, FbWV 632
Title: Toccata (No.14), For Keyboard In G Major, A 14
Title: Partita (No.18), For Keyboard In G Minor, FbWV 618
Title: Toccata (No.2), For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 102
Title: Partita (No.20), For Keyboard In D Major, FbWV 620
Title: Toccata (No.18), For Keyboard In F Major, A 18
Title: Lamentation-faite Sur La Mort Très Douloureuse De Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand III, for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 633
x

Track List: Froberger: The Unknown Works

Title: Partita For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 639
Title: Partita For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 618a
Title: Allamand For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 635
Title: Partita For Keyboard In E Major, FbWV 645
Title: Partita For Keyboard In F Sharp Minor, FbWV 646
Title: Partita For Keyboard In B Minor, FbWV 652
Title: Partita For Keyboard In G Minor, FbWV 641
Title: Partita For Keyboard In C Minor, FbWV 644
Title: Sarabande, For Keyboard In C Minor, FbWV 640
Title: Capriccio For Keyboard In A Minor, FbWV 519
Title: Fuga For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 307
Title: Toccata For Keyboard In G Minor, Tone 2, FbWV 130
x

Track List: Johann Jacob Froberger: Toccatas and Partitas

Disc 1
Title: Partita (No.20), For Keyboard In D Major, FbWV 620
Title: Toccata (No.1), For Keyboard In A Minor, FbWV 101
Title: Toccata (No.2), For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 102
Title: Toccata (No.3), for Keyboard in G Major, Fbwv 103
Title: Partita (No.6) Auf Die Maÿerin, For Keyboard In G Major, FbWV 606/606a
Title: Tombeau Fait À Paris Sur La Mort De Monsieur Blancrocher, For Keyboard In C Minor, FbWV 632
Disc 2
Title: Partita (No.30), For Keyboard In A Minor, For Keyboard, FbWV 630
Title: Toccata (No.7), For Keyboard In G Major, FbWV 107
Title: Toccata (No.8), For Keyboard In E Minor, FbWV 108
Title: Toccata (No.12), for Keyboard in a Minor, Fbwv 112
Title: Partita (No.12) "Lamento Sopra La Dolorosa", For Keyboard In C Major, FbWV 612/612a
Title: Lamentation-faite Sur La Mort Très Douloureuse De Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand III, for Keyboard in F Major, Fbwv 633
x

Track List: Johann Jakob Froberger: The Complete Keyboard Works, Volume 1

Disc 1

1. Toccata (No.1), For Keyboard In A Minor, FbWV 101: Toccata I Fbwv 101

2. Toccata (No.2), For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 102: Tocatta II In Re Mineur

3. Toccata (No.3), for Keyboard in G Major, Fbwv 103: Toccata No. III In G Major

4. Toccata (No.4), For Keyboard In C Major, FbWV 104: Toccata IV C Major

5. Toccata (No.5): Da Sonarsi Alla Levitatione, For Organ In D Minor, FbWV 105: Toccata V Alla Levatione D Minor

6. Toccata (No.6) Da Sonarsi Alla Levitatione, For Organ In G Minor, FbWV 106: Toccata VI Alla Levatione G Minor

7. Fantasia (No.1): Sopra Ut . Re . Mi . Fa . Sol . La., For Keyboard In C Major, FbWV 201: Fantasia I Sopra Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La C Major

8. Fantasia (No.2), for Keyboard in a Minor/e Minor, Fbwv 202: Fantasia No. 2 In E Minor

9. Fantasia (No.3), For Keyboard In F Major/C Major, FbWV 203: Fantasia III F-c Major

10. Fantasia (No.4) Sopra Solare, For Keyboard In G Major, FbWV 204: Fantasia IV Sopra Solare G Major

11. Fantasia (No.5), For Keyboard In A Minor, FbWV 205: Fantasia V A Minor

12. Fantasia (No.6), For Keyboard In A Minor, FbWV 206: Fantasia VI A Minor

13. Canzona (No.1) For Keyboard In D Minor, FbWV 301: Canzon I D Minor

14. Canzona (No.2) For Keyboard In G Minor, FbWV 302: Canzon II G Minor

15. Canzona (No.3) For Keyboard In F Major/C Major, FbWV 303: Canzon III F-c Major

Disc 2

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s.carton
Froberger, ah, so passionate and uplifting!
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