‹‹ JSCM Issues

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 13 (2007) No. 1

A New Froberger Manuscript

Bob van Asperen*


An autograph keyboard manuscript by Johann Jacob Froberger (1616–1676), “Livre Primiere,” from his last creative period and hitherto unknown, was sold at Sotheby’s in London on 30 November 2006. The volume contains 20 works, 15 completely new, and offers new biographical data as well. In this fair copy the aging composer seems to offer a digest of his last sojourn in Paris, using French devices associated with Louis Couperin and François Roberday. Particularly surprising in this manuscript, which could aptly be called Froberger’s “Sixth, French Book,” is the innovative, sensuous style of two hitherto unknown laments, which invite stylistic comparison with the known laments. For the works hitherto unknown in autograph manuscripts, this new source gives greatly superior and authoritative readings of what must be considered Froberger’s main masterpieces.

1. Introduction

2. The Manuscript’s Appearance

3. The Manuscript’s Contents and Provenance

4. The Fantasies and Caprices

5. The New Readings of the Dance Movements, Méditations, and Tombeaux

6. Three Previously Unknown Works

7. Textual Characteristics of the New Manuscript

8. Musical Characteristics of the New Manuscript

9. Contributions to Froberger’s Biography

10. Genesis of this “French Book”: Froberger’s Last Sojourn in Paris

11. Conclusion







1. Introduction

1.1 Johann Jacob Froberger, who was born in Germany (Stuttgart) in 1616 and died in France (Héricourt in the Franche-Comté) in 1667, may be regarded as a key figure of seventeenth-century music and the inventor of German idiomatic keyboard style. On the one hand, the polyphonic output of the imperial chamber organist, who excelled in a range of fugal genres, contributed greatly to the developments that led to Bach’s fugues; and later Mozart started a transcription of Froberger’s “Hexachord” Fantasia (K. Anh. A 60). On the other hand, Froberger must be considered the first expressive keyboard virtuoso/composer, directly influencing the suite and toccata styles of composers such as Böhm, Reinken, Weckmann, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and J.S. Bach. Froberger’s laments on deaths, including a meditation on his own future death, have great emotional depth.1 (Two fragments of this work are provided in facsimile on pages 4, 8, and 9 of Maguire, Sotheby’s catalogue devoted to this manuscript by Simon Maguire.) Because of this expressiveness and the fact that Froberger composed almost exclusively for the keyboard, the pan-European composer has often rightly been called the Chopin of the seventeenth century, a “romantic” composer avant la lettre. The new manuscript adds significantly to our understanding of the whole Froberger canon. To put its 20 works in perspective, the previously known authentic corpus can be said to consist of approximately 95 compositions: 20 Toccatas, 7 Fantasias, 6 Canzonas, 14 Ricercars, 17 Capriccios, 26 (or 29) suites, 2 Tombeaux, and possibly 2 Motets.2

1.2 To get a first impression of this manuscript and of what seem to be Froberger’s last compositions before he died, I spent three days in London to view it. Earlier, a presentation of it had taken place in the Württembergisches Landsmuseum in Stuttgart, where Jörg Halubek played the first Caprice as a sample of the manuscript’s contents, in a performance broadcast on television.

2. The Manuscript’s Appearance

2.1 The front and back covers are adorned with the Habsburg double eagle holding the Austrian-Old Burgundian double crest (Maguire, pp. 2–3, 14–5), comparable to the “Libro Secondo” of1649, as well as the “Libro Quarto” of 1656 (both dedicated to Emperor Ferdinand III), as well as the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” (1658, dedicated to Leopold I); this was the coat of arms used by Emperors Leopold I (d. 1705), Joseph I (d. 1711), and Karl VI (d. 1740).3 For a physical description of the manuscript see Maguire, p. 3. The music of the elegant manuscript is written almost exclusively in a hand that has all of the characteristics of the graceful style known from the Vienna volumes. All four manuscripts show a remarkably consistent and identifiable hand over the years; compare, for example, a page of the Lamentation on the death of Ferdinand IV in Suite 12 in the “Libro Quarto,” Figure 1, with the examples of the handwriting in the newly discovered manuscript shown in Maguire. A characteristic of the notation in all four books is the frequent use of breve-length measures. The books all use small crosses for the dots of F-clefs (see Maguire, p. 10), in the final double bars of pieces, and flanking the final “.S.” signs (Maguire, p. 13). They also use an Andreas cross for remote sharps such as A-sharp or E-sharp.

2.2 Other noticeable features are the “.S.” sign and the M-shaped zig-zag leading into what appear to be the letters “pria”; the final fermatas in the manuscript are eye-shaped in the same style as in the Libri (for a facsimile of a typical ending of a piece, see Maguire, p. 13). The alla breve sign tends to have the barline cross the “C.”

2.3 The abundance of letters in the elaborate titles provide many examples of the Latin letter style that we see in Froberger’s letters to Athanasius Kircher.4 Almost all letter types in the new manuscript can be found in Froberger’s two letters as well as in the address, which is almost completely in Roman style (see Figure 2). One must remember, however, that the new manuscript is a fair copy, whereas the letters obviously represent everyday handwriting. The prominent capital “M”s in the headings of the two meditations, nos. 29 and 33, and in the motto “Memento Mori” for no. 29 (Maguire, pp. 4, 10, and 9, repectively) are clearly different, but Froberger might well have created them on the basis of other letters in his formal hand. We may therefore safely conclude that the headings in the new manuscript are in Froberger’s hand, in addition to the music, his Viennese calligrapher not being available in Montbéliard/Héricourt. This provides confirmation that the three Viennese volumes are indeed autographs.5

2.4 The caprices and fantasies that open the volume use open score notation, which is typical for the time, with the usual C, F, and G clefs (C1, C2, C3, C4, F3, F4, G2), with one system per page (see Maguire, p. 11). This last feature is in contrast to the three Viennese volumes: the format here has room for only four staves per page. The free works are principally notated on two five-lined staves using soprano and bass clefs (C1, F4), as is true with almost all the suites in the Viennese manuscripts.

2.5 The opening general title page is transcribed in Maguire, p. 3, and my reading of the page is given below (par. 3.1).6 In the right top corner, in a more recent hand, is a date in pencil: “Anno16[?]6.” The third digit, not quite legible, is probably a 6, rendering 1666, one year before Froberger’s death. Judging by the consistency of the handwriting, the contents of the volume seem to have been written without significant interruptions; in any case it cannot have been completed earlier than June of 1662, the death date of Leopold Friederich of Württemberg-Montbéliard, who is memorialized with the last piece in the manuscript.

2.6 The volume contains three sections, each preceded by a separate title page. The title “Primiere [sic] Partie” is surprising because of the careful and unfrobergian exuberant capital letters, but apart from that it seems possible that it is in the composer’s hand; the dot at the end even resembles a cross. Assuming that Froberger here wrote the separate title pages himself, it is possible that he created these shapes for the “P”s for the occasion, as he probably did for the “M”s. That the composer took special care in the calligraphy for this manuscript can be observed more generally, for example in the exceptionally connected style of writing in the motto “Memento Mori Froberger?” for no. 29 (Maguire, p. 9). If this title page is indeed in Froberger’s hand, the idiosyncratic spelling of “primiere” would be Froberger’s.

2.7 The main title page is written in an unknown hand, different from that of the title pages for the sections. Neither hand resembles that of Duchess Sibylla, Froberger’s patron during that period, based on a comparison to one of her letters to Constantijn Huygens in 1667.7 In any case the princess was not versed in French, as she herself states. The words on the main title page contain several irregularities in spelling, particularly in the dance movements, diverging from those in Froberger’s hand elsewhere in the volume.8

3. The Manuscript’s Contents and Provenance

3.1 An inventory of the manuscript is in Maguire, pp. 10–2; to this I offer following comments:


Comment (see Sources and Editions for identifications of short titles of sources)

Title page

Liure Primiere.

Des Fantasies, Caprices,

Allemandes, Chigues, Couranttes,

Sarebandes, Meditations.



Jean Jacque Froberger. Organist.

de la chambre de Sa Majeste Imperiale.

No. 2

This Fantasy is in G (major), not E (minor).9

No. 8 This Caprice is in G (major), not E (minor).

Nos. 13–35

The generic headings for the tonal groupings (“partita”) are editorial.

Nos. 13–16

Concordances are found in “Bulyowsky” (Allemande, Gigue [duple version], Courante, Sarabande; “Roger” (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue [triple version]; “Bauyn” (Gigue [triple version], placed between the Allemande of Suite 28 and the Courante of Suite 2.

No. 13

This Allemande can be dated fairly precisely because the coronation of Leopold I took place in the Dom or Stiftskirche St. Bartholomaei at Frankfurt, 12 July to 1 August 1658.

No. 14

This Gigue was incorrectly associated with his Suite 28 in “Adler.”

Nos. 17–20

Concordances include “Minoriten-Suiten” (Allemande, Sarabande, [ later in the manuscript:] Gigue); “Bulyowsky” (Allemande “fait à l’honneur de Mad. Sybille Duchesse de Wirtemberg,” Gigue “nommè la Philotte,” Courante, Sarabande; “Roger” (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue); “Bauyn” (Allemande, Gigue, Courante, Sarabande); “Edgeworth” and “Egerton” (both have transposed and obviously corrupted arrangements in D minor, perhaps derived from the same source: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue).

No. 17

Title transcription: “Allemande, faict à Montbeliard, a l’honneur de Son Altesse Serenis[si]me Madame Sibÿlle, Duchesse de Wirtemberg, Princesse de Montbeliard.” The place of composition, Montbéliard, was not previously known.

Nos. 21–24

The Gigue follows the Allemande (as in the new manuscript) in “Bulyowsky,” but follows the Sarabande in “Roger.”

Nos. 29–32

Concordances include “Minoriten-Aria” (Courante, Sarabande, fragment of Gigue); “Neresheim” (Gigue); “Hintze” (Méditation); “SA” (Méditation, Gigue, Courante, Sarabande); “Roger” (Méditation, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue.”

No. 29

Title transcription: “Meditation, la quelle se joüe lentement avec discretion, faict sur ma Mort future.” The piece is dated in “SA”: “â Paris le 1 Maÿ Anno 1660,” providing new and more specific evidence for Froberger's sojourn in Paris around 1660.

No. 34

The title in “SA” is “Lamentation, faite sur la mort tres douloreuse de Sa Majesté Impériale Ferdinand le troisieme; et se joue lentement avec discretion. An. 1657.” Emperor Ferdinand III died on 2 April 1657.

No. 35

Duke Leopold Friedrich, spouse of Sibylla, died on 15 June 1662 in Montbéliard

3.2 This manuscript is the first known autograph of some of Froberger’s most important works, probably all dating from the last decade of his life. These include his opus magnum, the lamentation for his patron, Emperor Ferdinand III (no. 34, 1657); the equally important Suite 20 (nos. 29–32) including the “Memento Mori Froberger”(no. 29, 1660), which one may well call his musical testament; and Suites 15 (nos. 13–16, presumably 1658, the coronation of Leopold I), 18 (nos. 17–18) and mature Suite 19 (nos. 21–24, which could well be another tombeau). In addition, the fifteen hitherto unknown compositions include the twelve polyphonic works (nos. 1–12), another suite for Sibylla (nos. 25–28), the “Memento Mori Sibylla” (no. 33), and a memorial for her husband Leopold Friedrich (died 1662; no. 35).

3.3 For whom was this book written? The curious French title page seems not a likely choice under the arms of a Hapsburg Emperor. Apart from this, the repertory, including three works explicitly dedicated to the Lutheran Princess of Montbéliard, seems hardly appropriate as a gift to an emperor. The volume carries no dedication, neither to any Emperor nor to Sibylla, nor does it have a shelf mark from the imperial library.10 Further, the language used in all dedications of the Libri is Italian, in accordance with practice at the imperial court, not French. It seems as if the the caligraphy of the general title page was made to conform to the visual style of the words "Primiere Partie,” with their exuberant capitals. The general title page’s heading of “Livre Primiere” is difficult to scrute: in what sense is this a first book? The first book to be owned by the intended recipient? One may well conclude that there was a change in the intended purpose for the volume at some stage.

3.4 The general title page (cf. par. 2.7) was clearly written without the supervision by the composer, unlike those for the Libri, or even after his death. It is only on this title page that the composer’s name was attached to the volume. Possibly this was done following the wish of a new owner, perhaps Sibylla, who called herself his “Kein Lachender Erb.”11 More likely, at a still later stage such a “first book” was to be a political gift from the House of Württemberg to the Habsburgs, as the presence of the coat of arms on the covers suggests. One could imagine that the Princess would not easily have parted with such a posession. The plan was apparently never realized and the volume was forgotten, to rest in an unknown collection for more than 300 years. These hypotheses demand the test of a close study of the physical state and binding of the manuscript, particularly as they relate to the main title page.

3.5 This small volume may have been intended to remain Froberger’s private copy: it was certainly practical to carry on travels and suitable to be copied from by musicians, which he only allowed, as we know from Sibylla’s letters, to those he knew would not misrepresent his works, people like Constantijn Huygens. For performance, on the other hand, the small format is less practical, since in the polyphonic pieces a page has only one system. For the composer himself, this would have been less problematic. It is seducing to think that the missing volumes of Froberger’s autographs, which he probably carried with him on his travels all over Western Europe, will one day come to light.

4. The Fantasies and Caprices

4.1 The opening twelve polyphonic works, hitherto unknown, may have been intended to be played on the organ or harpsichord. The organ would sometimes have advantages because of its possibilities for colorful registration, from which the skipping dotted endings of some of the Caprices would profit. It is here that we encounter elements from two of Froberger’s contemporaries Louis Couperin (ca. 1626–1661) and François Roberday (1624–1680).

4.2 The Fantasies, basically built on one relatively solemn theme, consist of several sections. The first Fantasy opens with a theme that could be called the “Louis Couperin theme”: it is the one quoted by François Roberday in the eighth Fugue of his Fugues, et Capricespour l’Orgue—virtually a musical liber amicorum.12 Roberday writes in his Avertissement that the themes he used were given to to him by several composers, including Couperin, Froberger, and Frescobaldi. The thematic idea used in this first Fantasy appears to have been in Couperin’s mind over the years: apart from various allusions in the organ works, it appears clearly in a Gigue in D Minor.13 The opening of this Fantasy, with the soprano and alto introducing the theme, is almost identical to Roberday’s exposition. Its first section is also exactly the same size as the corresponding part of Roberday’s Fugue. It therefore could be essentially the same work. The second section, in 3—as is Roberday’s second section—is written in black notation. At the beginning of the third section, Froberger did not mark the quadruple time signature, as happens elsewhere in the manuscript. The fact that this late manuscript opens with Louis Couperin’s theme may be understood as an explicit homage to his younger Paris colleague; Froberger may well have been in the French capital at the time of Couperin’s premature death.

4.3The theme of the second Fantasy represents one of the better known soggetti of the seventeenth century. Froberger used closely related thematic material in his Ricercar 2 (1658), and its subject is also found in the “Fantasia sexti toni” in GB-Lbl Add. Ms. 23623, f. 113, attributed to John Bull, but perhaps actually by Peeter Cornet (see “Dirksen-Ferrard,” pp. ix–x). A variant of the theme was also used by Cornet in his Fantasies 5 and 6, and by Peter Philips (Fantasy 13); all three of these composers were organists in Brussels. This tradition probably goes back to Philips’s teacher, William Byrd (Fantasy 62). A chromatic variant of the theme also circulated, such as the Fantasy 6 by Anthony van Noordt (Amsterdam, 1659). Froberger used this variant in his Canzona 4 and Fantasy 7, the triple section of which appears related to the final triple section of the second Fantasy in the new manuscript. This triple-time ending is not unique in Froberger’s works: his Ricercar 2 and Fantasy 4 also close in 3.

4.4 In the Caprices, the initial themes, which are generally lively, undergo a transformation in each section (as in the Fantasies) with changes of meter in the manner of a variation canzona. The first Caprice (no. 7 in the manuscript) uses a variant of the “Louis Couperin theme” (see Example 1a) and thus can be seen as related to the first Fantasy. The Caprice uses elements related to no fewer than three composers. Froberger is undoubtedly responsible for the opening section, but the next two sections are almost entirely the same as those of Roberday’s eighth Caprice, which is itself linked thematically to the eighth Fugue cited above. In the final cadenzas Froberger’s composition diverges from Roberday’s.

4.5 It seems clear that Froberger must be the author of the first section, as his style can be recognized throughout. The theme resembles that of his Caprice 2 (Example 1b), the voices enter in the same order (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), and the episodes are similar, reflecting Froberger’s characteristic playfulness. Some episodes are in fact identical to passages found in other known works by Froberger; they spin out ideas, sometimes the initial motive, in irregular phrase lengths. They use such typical Frobergian devices as parallel thirds with suspensions and “empty” moments when a voice is silent at the conclusion of its phrase, a characteristic also found in the music of Froberger’s teacher, Frescobaldi. Other Frobergian characteristics are maintaining an altered ending of a theme, only to restore the original version later; ending with stretto or false stretto; and a continuous mild chromaticism. Conspicuously absent, in this first section and in the other polyphonic works in the new manuscript, are toccata-like passages. Such writing diminishes gradually in Froberger’s output: the “Libro Quarto” from 1656 still contained five works with ending viruosic flourishes, the 1658 “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” only two.

4.6 Roberday’s craftmanship, not always free from academicism, can be seen in the second and third sections of this Caprice, however. Episodes are completely absent during the the second section (Example 2a). This is quite unlike Froberger, who normally enlivens his expositions in an asymmetrical way with episodes (Example 2b). Moreover, the regularly occurring syncopated entries of the theme may be regarded as a typical Roberday device: in the rare instances where Froberger does this, it is for one entry only. In the third section, the transformation of Roberday’s triplets into dactyls matches Froberger’s idiom well; they are comparable to the dactylic sections of Canzona 1, and duple-meter gigues in more harpsichordistic style such as the one from Suite 20. See Examples 3a–c.

4.7 The conclusions of both sections two and three, however, seem to reflect Froberger’s more radical interventions. In the second section, instead of Roberday’s conventional final cadence on the fifth degree, the manuscript’s Caprice usesthe more colourful sixth tonal degree with seventh as appogiatura (see Example 4a). This Frobergian dramatic device is one the composer must have been particularly fond of for chordal endings (Example 4b). More consequential is the change at the end of the third section, which concludes the work; one and a half measures have been removed, achieving a more effective conclusion, replacing the static pedal point. Roberday’s soprano entry is thus cut off half way and reforged into a pseudo-entry; the head motive is immediately followed by the bass stating the theme in unabridged form. The final result of this operation is a newly created false stretto. A harmonic gesture in Froberger’s version is the introduction of the major/minor second degree. This daring progression can be found elsewhere in Froberger’s oeuvre. See Examples 5a–b.

4.8 The borrowing of passages and themes seen here reminds us of a comment by Froberger’s friend Constantijn Huygens, writing on 6 April 1655 to composer Henri Du Mont in Paris: “You give too much honor to one of my allemandes by having borrowed its opening to apply to one of yours.”14 Such creative reuse of material has a parallel in the work of another contemporary of Froberger, Rembrandt, who radically reworked a Hercules Seghers etching, undoubtedly in admiration.15 A question that remains unanswered is whether this musical fusion originated in Paris around 1660, when Roberday and Froberger apparently met, or if it dates from the following years when Froberger was mainly in Héricourt. In any case, there are other borrowings in the new manuscript (including one from Roberday’s second Caprice that was, in my view, in turn borrowed from Frescobaldi’s third Canzona from the second book of toccatas of 1627) that can only be discussed in detail when and if the new manuscript is made available for careful study. This second Caprice has no thematic link with the second Fantasy.

5. The New Readings of the Dance Movements, Méditations, and Tombeaux

5.1 The third section of the manuscript includes five previously known works: the Tombeau for Ferdinand III (no. 34) and Suites 15, 18, 19 and 20 (nos. 13–16, 17–20, 21–24, and 29–32) which constitute the core of Froberger’s mature compositions and for which mostly no authoritative versions exist in other sources. The new manuscript offers highly interesting readings, obviously diverging from those in any modern edition. The discussion below deals with selected examples, suggesting the potential for future study of the manuscript.

5.2 The opening of the Tombeau for Ferdinand III has two F minor chords followed by two B-flat minor chords; this contrasts with the previously known versions which have F–f–b-flat–b-flat or F–f–B-flat–b-flat (in “SA” and “Minoriten Suiten” respectively).16 Otherwise, the reading in the new autograph confirms the hitherto best version (in “SA”), including the surprising connecting figure written after the ending (see Maguire pp. 5 and 6): it leads back to the last reprise after the ascent on the concluding F harmony that could be understood as a “Jacob’s Ladder” to heaven (see also the comparable heavenly scale ending in Figure 1). This potentially symbolic gesture seems, however, to be a purely musical gesture. The new source offers ties which seem omissions in “SA,” a problematic characteristic of that manuscript.17 “Minoriten-Suiten” also has some not unskilled variants in pitches and rhythms, raising the question of whether they may stem from the composer.

5.3 Suite 15 appears in this manuscript in what seems an optimal reading that largely confirms the reading in “Bulyowsky,” which claims that this piece was copied “ex autographo.” Surprisingly, many French ornaments in “Bulyowsky” are also in the new source, quite unlike the relatively unadorned style of the suites in the Libri. “Bulyowsky” gives a more elaborate and extended version—including even one additional measure—than is found in “Roger.” It is surprising that several of these elaborations are not in the new manuscript, or are only partially present. Examples are supplied by the Allemande (Example 6), including Bulyowsky’s completed arpeggiation in the opening measure. It would seem, therefore, that these embellishments are not Froberger’s, that the phrase ”ex autographo” was already present in the source being copied in “Bulyowsky,” or that it represented a more-or-less reliable oral tradition known to Bulyowsky.

5.4 In the Gigue of Suite 15, on the other hand, the sources mainly agree: this weighty fugal movement is here in quadruple meter, casting serious doubt on the authenticity of the triple version that is also known, but not from an autograph source. This could change our general view of other triple-meter gigues in the Froberger canon: the three easy-going 6/8 versions of this Gigue are surely arrangements by lesser artists, denying Froberger’s basic fugal concept and notated in one case by three different hands (Gigue 13).18 The rhythmically changed upbeat to the Courante in “Bulyowsky” is not in the new autograph, nor is the “doucement” appearing towards the end in “Roger.” In fact, no such instruction appears anywhere in the new manuscript. In short, we might well question the full trustworthiness of the claim in “Bulyowsky” that the suite was copied from an autograph. The late date of the new source diminishes the likelihood that a currently unknown autograph would have a revised version of the work.

5.5 The new association of the A-minor Allemande of Suite 15 with the coronation of Emperor Leopold I is mystifying in view of its plaintive figures, such the exlamatio—the emphaticly ascending minor sixth—and the descending chromatic tetrachord. For another coronation, of Ferdinand IV as King of Hungary and Bohemia in June 1653, Allemande 11, the composer chose a major key and high tessitura, opening with a dotted figure, for his homage. Given that the other movements of the suite seem not of radically contrasting character, it is surprising that its Gigue uses a “harrowing” cross relation (Example 7). This major/minor second-degree figure—the F-sharp is first followed chromatically by F before progressing to the fifth degree, thus making a major/minor–minor passage rounded off by a Picardy third—is certainly one of Frescobaldi’s compositional traits that Froberger brought back to Vienna. It seems rather suited for a plaint, and Froberger did indeed use it in the now famous “Tombeau de Mr Blancrocher.”19 In addition, the Sarabande of Suite 15 uses the Neapolitan sixth-chord several times, another harmony often associated with sorrow and never used by Froberger again.20 Finally, one wonders why the piece was not offered to the Emperor immediately in 1658 when surely the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” was dedicated (though apparently in vain) to the “sacra Cesarea Maestà di Leopoldo primo.”

5.6 In mature Suite 18, the Allemande is the first composition to come to light that was dedicated to princess Sibylla, in “Bulyowsky” and now in the new manuscript. Moreover, the new source tells us that it was composed in Montbéliard, perhaps during one of his visits from Paris around 1659/60. The new manuscript confirms the order of movements in “Bauyn” and “Bulyowsky,” as opposed to the order in “Roger”: the Gigue follows the Allemande, not the Sarabande, in accordance with Froberger’s “new order” (see par. 8.4). The Gigue’s subtitle here, “nommé La Philette,” corrects the spelling “Philotte” in “Bulyowsky.” We do not yet know who the person in question was, and the use of such a French-style title is unique for Froberger. The opening of this dotted gigue in quadruple meter may for that matter quote a gigue by the French lutenist, François Dufaut.21 The Sarabande corresponds for the most part with the reading in “Bulyowsky,” albeit with enlightening variants.

5.7 In Suite 19, the Allemande, with its repeated emphatic use of the minor sixth in its exclamatio might possibly be a tombeau. The reading of the work in the new manuscript seems largely the same as that in “Bulyowsky” rather than that of “Roger,” confirming better readings for several complex places. However, it is remarkable that the indication ”NB. avec discretion lentement” towards the end of the Gigue in “Bulyowsky,” again claiming to be copied “Froberg. Ex Autographo,” is lacking here. This again suggests that “Bulyowsky” contains additions, albeit some with musical logic.

5.8 Suite 20 has a central place in Froberger’s works, and the reading in the new manuscript is generally the same as the one in “SA.” The relatively abundant use of French ornaments found there is here confirmed as authentic, and both sources use a cross for A-sharp and E-sharp. It is remarkable, however, that the title in this autograph does not include the date for the Méditation found in “SA”: “â Paris le 1 Maÿ Anno 1660,” suggesting that the composer did not always mark or copy his subtitles completely. A clear example is that the lengthy subtitles for Suite 11 in “SA” are missing in “Libro Quarto,” dedicated to Ferdinand III. This suggests that the explanatory passages found in “Minoriten” for “volé” and “Blancrocher” (translated into Latin and thereby certainly abbreviated) are not necessarily corrupt, even though they are not in “SA.” “SA” has a slur at the end of the fourth measure that is not in the new manuscript; manuscript copies of works typically omit some slurs and ties, which is contradicted here. The new manuscript frequently has ties that are not in “SA.”

5.9 The four facsimiles in Maguire of the Méditation, no. 29 in the manuscript, provide a good deal of the piece for study. Froberger uses double-length measures compared to modern standards and the readings in “Hintze.” It may be daring to suggest that Froberger conceived this and other pieces in C (4/4), though notating them in measures twice that long, but that seems to be the case: it is the only logical explanation for the frequent half measures. The new manuscript has AF-sharp in the bass of m. 16, notes 3–4, as in “Hintze” (which is in the hand of Froberger’s friend, Matthias Weckmann), whereas “SA” has GF-sharp. The ornament on that F-sharp in Hintze is not in the new manuscript, which does provide two mordents in m. 13 found in no other source.

5.10 Given the pattern of the variants—seemingly authentic variants in “SA” and “Hintze” that do not appear in the new manuscript, and variants here that are not in “SA” nor “Hintze”—it is possible that at least one more autograph of this particular work may have existed. One candidate is the volume Sibylla refers to when she writes in 1667 to Huygens that she practiced this Méditation with special diligence, having learned it from Froberger himself. She could be referring to the manuscript under discussion here when she wrote, “it [the Méditation] is difficult to understand from the score … although it has been notated clearly.”22

5.11 The Gigue, no. 30 in the manuscript, confirms the instruction, towards the end, “NB. avec discretion,” also found in “SA” and the “Roger.” A central passage in A minor in the Courante (no. 31) has a surprise. On the second beat of m. 11, “SA” has an f '-sharp in the alto, resulting in major/minor, while the frequently faulty “Roger” has f '-natural, by cancelling the f '-sharp of the key signature. The new source confirms “Roger,” one more illustration of the problems of editing Froberger. In the Sarabande (no. 32), in a passage that is otherwise harmonically parallel to the one just cited, the composer does not hesitate to use major/minor harmony, perhaps emphasizing the more emphatic character of this dance. The reading in the new manuscript of this movement introduces new important ties right from the beginning; “SA” has again, curiously enough, one more.

6. Three Previously Unknown Works

6.1 The Suite in F Major (nos. 25–28) opens with a movement dedicated to Froberger's patroness Sibylla, Duchess of Württtemberg (1620–1707).23 The Gigue is in the style of the French predominantly homophonic—even simple—gigue in 6/4 time.24 It elegantly combines a full-voiced but uncomplicated texture in low tessitura with broken style and lilting syncopations on the second beat. The harmonic rhythm is relatively slow, in a style which is surprisingly reminiscent of one of Louis Couperin’s F-major Gigues (no. 79 in “Moroney”). It is not clear what caused Froberger to abandon here one of his major achievements, the polyphonic duple-meter gigue, where his mastery of fugal artifice could be displayed to the full. This Gigue, being less fugal than any of its known predecessors, might have been the result of the composer’s striving for a moderate degree of complexity. It is not inconceivable that this relates to the dedication to the duchess. The Sarabande is truly in full-voiced style, comparable to the sumptuous one in Suite 28.

6.2 The Méditation for Sibylla (no. 33, see Maguire p. 10) and the Tombeau for Leopold Friedrich (no. 35) show a surprising departure from Froberger’s known compositions in these genres. The composer seems suddenly to indulge in a lavish and meditative jeu coulé, abandoning his earlier rhetorical style. The style is different from that of the Allemande for Sybilla described above (no. 17), which probably had been composed not long before. The style of the Sibylla Méditation and the Tombeau for her husband that follows (no. 34) are generally more fantastic, reminiscent at times of French unmeasured preludes, a genre the composer seems to evoke particularly here. There are several pedal points lasting as long as four semibreves over which there are subtle harmonic changes, creating a serene atmosphere rather than the animated one we generally associate with Froberger.25 The opening lombardic rhythms of no. 33 are applied in an unusual skipping way: the composer’s traditional handling of such accentando have the falling pairs of notes imbedded in a more linear texture.26

6.3 In these two meditative works in the new manuscript (nos. 33 and 35) French prelude style seems to be evoked by the many ascending and descending arpeggios in a quasi-unstructured fashion, repeatedly “tasting” the harmony; previously, Froberger preferred these broken harmonies to sound in a delicate, incomplete way. The device (see Maguire, p. 10, m. 3 on the lower system) is somewhat comparable to some rare ascending and descending apeggio figures in other pieces by Froberger.27 The kinship with the French unmeasured prelude is confirmed by the identification of a borrowing: a phrase in the Tombeau for Leopold Friedrich appears to be a lenghthy paraphrase of a passage in a Prelude by Louis Couperin (Figure 3). Froberger follows the Frenchman’s distinctive harmonic progression, including the double arpeggio. Pseudo-polyphony (or quasi-homophony), a particularly Frobergerian device created by sustaining notes that were initially perceived as part of a melodic line, is often to be found in these works: elaborated in minute detail, he uses a complex notation for it, especially in his mature works. (Unfortunately, this most beautiful of Froberger’s artifices became a stumbling block for many a copyist.)

6.4 Certain wavering melodic twists, hitherto not known in Froberger—one resembles the opening of a Toccata by Michelangelo Rossi28—seem difficult to explain. Despite his recognizable personal language, the composer obviously used certain formulas only once.29 One of these “new” figures is a dotted triple repetition of a tone, found conspicuously in the upper voice of the Tombeau for Leopold Friedrich (no. 35) always occurring on the last (weak) beat of a bar and even serving as its final One is reminded of the previously unique elevated ending of the Tombeau for Ferdinand III (no. 34, Maguire, p. 5), albeit there in undotted notation. In both Tombeaux, the figure was probably inspired by French unmeasured prelude style: Couperin seems to use the device and Jean Henry D’Anglebert was also acquainted with this configuration.30

6.5 The fact that this influence of the French prelude in Froberger appears here for the first time (perhaps from 1662 on), could suggest either that many of Couperin’s preludes were written after Froberger completed his first visit to Paris (which was probably at the end of 1652) or that Froberger had become more susceptible to the genre during his second stay in the French capital. In my opinion, however, about a dozen quotations from Froberger’s works in those of Couperin, mostly from the 1649 book, make it apparent how deeply Couperin’s prelude style was indebted to Froberger; the most obvious example is the “Prélude à l’imitation de Mr Froberger.”31 A French taste of the Princess may or may not have played a role here, but it appears that Froberger intended to memorialize the deceased Couperin: the Stuttgart master unexpectedly uses elements of Parisian composer’s prelude idiom, as well as the “Couperin theme” at the beginning of the first two sections of the new manuscript.

6.6 Numerous progressions and melodic lines in these two meditative works, however, bear Froberger’s unmistakabe stamp. One of the places that allows a comparison to the known corpus is the exuberant toccata flourish also found in Canzona 1 (Example 8a), a version of which is also used in the Tombeau for Ferdinand III (no. 34, Maguire, p. 5). This is of particular interest, because the passage was apparently once borrowed by Couperin in a Prelude. Also recognizable is a certain mildly waving arpègement figuré from the Tombeau for Ferdinand III, here modernized by a raised leading tone. Also familiar from Toccata 6 “per la Levatione” is the “mystic” chromatic progression, as is the composite melancholic chain of wavering chromatisms from “Lamentation sur ce que j’ay été volé.” (See Examples 8b–e.)

7. Textual Characteristics of the New Manuscript

7.1 An elegant sign, somewhat resembling an S flanked by two dots shaped as cross marks, closes both headings and movements, just as in the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” (see Maguire, p. 13 for the clearest example). (In the “Libro Secondo” and “Libro Quarto,” where the titles are in the calligraphy of another hand, it appears only at the endings.) This stimulates a renewed investigation into the origin and significance of this seemingly enigmatic mark, which has been interpreted in divergent ways without having been thoroughly studied.32 It is certainly a humanistic cursive S, not a somewhat similarly shaped gothic H. Only a few of the numerous specimens in Froberger’s hand slightly resemble his roman S; perhaps for him it had become merely a glyph. The use of the humanistic cursive certainly means that it refers to a Latin or Italian word.

7.2 The “.S.” sign served as a canonization and verification mark in legal documents and letters all over Europe since at least the sixteenth century. Reduced forms ( ./.   ./   / ) can be found as early as 1519 at the Vatican. The sign was placed after the address or the heading, or at the the end of the main text, either before or after a signature. It is traditionally understood to stand for “scripsi,” Latin for “I have written this,” possibly a reference to the well known quotation from Pontius Pilate, “quod scripsi scripsi” (“what I have written, I have written,” John 19:22).33 We may thus speak of the “scripsi sign.” The habit of placing such an abbreviation between two dots stems from a medieval tradition of sigla, one-letter abbreviations for common words, such as “.e.” (est) or “.sc.” (scilicet).34 In musical scores it is attached to a title of a composition or movement, eventually associated with the name of its author, and at the end of a piece, sometimes following the word “fin” or “fine.” Examples can be found in “Bauyn,” “Parville,” “Oldham,” “Brussels,” “Leipzig Suiten,” F-Psg MS 2348, and numerous partbooks. J.S. Bach used it regularly above work and folio numbers; Anna Magdalena Bach imitated his habit and sometimes added it even to titles (BWV 691 in D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 225), or marking it at the end of a set of suites (BWV 1007–1012 in D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 26).

7.3 The various shapes of the scripsi signs in Froberger, always associated with a preceding “[pro]pria,” suggest that the two notations were not always written as a single gesture. Even when there was little space, the nature of the sign apparently dictated that it be placed immediately to the right of the very last word of the text; there is not a single instance of it being below the last word to solve a space problem. In about a dozen instances in the Libri this resulted in a problematic situation, where not enough space had been calculated: the sign landed in the clefs, if at the beginning of a composition, or (at the end of a composition) deep into the fold or at the extreme outer edge of the page, being easily trimmed off later.35 These observations suggest, in my view, both the importance of the scripsi sign and that it was added later than the other text. It is most likely then, that the sign was added after proof-reading. The sign would then serve as a statement of correctness of the preceding. If this is correct, “.S.” functions both as a final canonization of a text,36 title, heading, postscript (see Maguire, p. 5) or composition (attatched in that case to the formula “propria manu”) and as a confirmation of a previously mentioned copyist’s or author’s name. Since the scripsi sign is found in both in copies and autographs, it is obvious that by itself the sign does not actually represent an authentification of a work. In the case of the new source, then, either it was Froberger’s personal copy, not needing his name in it, or there was an original title page, now missing, with his name to which the scripsi signs refer.

7.4 Froberger used a stylized version of the traditional formula “manu propria [scripsi],” (“with [my] own hand [I wrote this]”) at the ends of movements. First, there is an extensive descending M-shaped flourish that rounds off every movement, immediately following its final chord, in an oblique direction when space allowed (see Maguire, p. 13). It is connected with, or even springs from, Froberger’s characteristic eye-shaped final double fermatas. A similar, usually oblique, idiosyncratic zig-zag can be found in numerous old legal documents where it traditionally replaces the word “manu.” The abbreviation “pria” for “propria” was in use since the medieval era, and here it is attached to the lower end of this chain of “M”s. The “pria” consists of the letter “p” with a curled line bisecting the descender, sometimes forming a loop on the left side of the descender, followed by the letters “ria”;it is found in the new source (Maguire, p. 13) and more carefully executed in the “Libro Secondo” (Figure 4a). This bisector of the “p” traditionally replaced the letters “r o,” resulting in a meaning of “pro.” The “p” also serves as the beginning of “pria,” completing the formula “manu propria [scripsi],” proof of authenticity, at times proudly copied, and probably re-copied.37 7.5 The original shape of the “p”, in which the stroke makes a “squiggle” before actually crossing the descender of the “p”—compare the comparably shaped “q” in Froberger’s “Requiescat” (Maguire, p. 5)—is regularly found in the “Libro Secondo.” In the “Libro Quarto” it is formed less literally, and it disappears completely in the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati,” where at the most the descender and stroke partly coincide. (See Figure 4a–f). As far as I was able to observe in person and judging by the facsimiles in Maguire, the earlier shape does not return in the new manuscript, in accordance with its presumed date.

8. Musical Characteristics of the New Manuscript

8.1 The manuscript uses ornaments considerably more frequently than any other known autograph by Froberger. In addition, we find a new differentiation between what must signify a short trill—somewhat resembling an “m” or at times a “w”—and a mordent, the same sign with a cross stroke (see Maguire, pp. 8 and 9). This contrasts with the universal “t” in the earlier Libri, a sign that allows both interpretations.38 The French distinction of ornament signs found in “SA” and to some extent in “Bulyowsky” is hereby confirmed as authentic. At the same time we learn that the other ornament symbols in “Bulyowsky,” partly difficult to interpret, are undoubtedly an addition, not reflecting Froberger’s concept.39 Thus the new source shows that Froberger’s interest in French ornaments, as with his adoption of prelude style, is more evident only in his later years than in the period immediately following his first Paris sojourn.

8.2 The volume contains only three sections, whereas the first two Libri have four. Conspiciously absent here are toccatas, suggesting that this idiom may not have held Froberger’s interest any more (as in the case of J.S. Bach, who wrote all his harpsichord toccatas in his youth). That the canzona is not represented in this late repertory is also no surprise: it seems to have disappeared from Froberger’s palette after he presented six in the “Libro Secondo” of 1649 when the genre seems to integrate with the capriccio; the venerable style of the ricercar apparently survived longer, as their presence in the “Libro Quarto” (1656) and “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” (1658) shows, but it was eventually absorbed by the fantasy.

8.3 Froberger’s sudden interest in French style is seen in a number of characteristics in this manuscript:

  • The adoption of “free floating” arpeggios, lute style, and a preference for larger harmonic blocks obviously modelled after Louis Couperin’s unmeasured preludes, a stylistic innovation for Froberger.
  • Development of a more reflective, lyrical style, contrasting with Froberger’s earlier Italianate imitative Figurensprache.
  • Assimilation of Roberday’s fugal compositions.
  • Thorough elaboration of Couperin’s theme from Roberday’s Fugues et Caprices, conspiciously at the very opening of the manuscript.
  • Application of Frescobaldi’s thematic material as interpreted by Roberday.
  • Absence of Italianate toccata-style sections and toccatas as a genre.
  • The exclusive use of French for titles of pieces, sections, and the book itself, in contrast with the earlier autographs.
  • Introduction of the French genre of the “musical portrait.”
  • Application of French, differentiated ornament signs.
  • The use of Louis Couperin's homophonic gigue style.

8.4 The order of the dances in the suites in this late new manuscript, always placing the gigue in the second place, confirms what could be concluded on the basis of “SA”: Froberger’s new “order for almost all his [dance] movements” (as mentioned by Weckmann in “Hintze”) was probably introduced between the summers of 1653 and 1654.40

8.5 A tonal expansion is noticeable here as if Froberger were exploring tonality at the cost of modality. On the one hand, the choice of B-flat major in two compositions can be seen as a logical development following the incidental exploration of the circle of fifths to the A-flat major chord in the Tombeau for Ferdinand III (1658) and the F-sharp major chord in the Méditation on his own death (1660). On the other hand we have seen how the D-minor scale superseded the dorian and aeolian modes in Leopold Friedrich’s Tombeau (1662, no. 35) and how Froberger accepted the Neapolitan sixth-chord in the Sarabande from Suite 15 (see Par. 5.5), thus paving the way for a more tonal approach. This modern trend does not surprise us, since Werckmeister suggests that it was just around the same time (“ca. 1667”) that the composer wrote a Canzona “passing through all 12 keys … and … the circle of fifths, until he returned to the key he started in.”41

8.6 The new manuscript also allows us to follow Froberger’s use of accidentals, which undergoes a change over the years. The natural sign, youngest among accidentals, was used in only one piece in the “Libro Secondo” of 1649, the Hexachord Fantasia for Kircher where he apparently followed a version he prepared for Kircher); and it is not used at all in the “Libro Quarto” (1656). In the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” (1658) it appears not infrequently, and it is on an equal footing with sharps and flats in this new manuscript.

8.7 A comparable modernization took place in Louis Couperin’s notation of key-signatures, where tonal notation was sometimes introduced, albeit apparently not without pain, as the ambivalent notation of “Allemande de la paix” (no. 63 in “Moroney”) may suggest. That this transition took place in the late 1650s can be deduced from Sarabande in A (no. 113): in “Bauyn” the two systems for key signatures are used in the same piece, and the dance seems to quote Froberger’s Sarabande from Suite 8 (1656). The probable occasion for the “Allemande de la paix” was the Peace of the Pyrennees, 1659, supporting this dating of the transition to tonal key signatures for these composers.

9. Contributions to Froberger’s Biography

9.1 The new elaborate titles provide some new information about Froberger’s life after 1658:

  • A journey to Madrid, perhaps in Sibylla’s presence. As a possible occasion, David Schulenberg has pointed to the wedding of princess Margherita Teresa to Leopold I by proxy in 1666 (see Recent Editions and Recordings of Froberger …, par 3.5. The actual preparation of the match had started as much as four years earlier, when Leopold agreed to it.
  • Froberger’s apparent stay in Frankfurt July–August 1658.
  • The re-establishment of his contact with the Württemberg court, eventually leading to his sojourn at Montbéliard, might be moved back now by two years to 1662 or before.42

10. Genesis of this “French Book”: Froberger’s Last Sojourn in Paris

10.1 Following the apparent debacle of Vienna in 1658—Froberger’s post as imperial organist was not renewed by the new emperor Leopold I43—Paris is the first place where we find a trace of the composer, in the heading of the “Memento Mori” in “SA” (no. 29 in the new manuscript). He had lived in the world of musicians like Blancrocher probably from mid 1650 until the end of 1652, except for a journey to London that he apparently made. It is possible that his visits had a political aspect, with Froberger acting as an observer for the Habsburg court.44 At least during this first Paris sojourn, the period of the Fronde, Froberger had been supported by the Marquis de Termes, as shown by the “anti-Mazarin” heading of the Suite 13 in “SA.”45 Politically independent but probably without means in 1658, the composer/virtuoso may well have set off from Vienna to Paris in the summer of that year, with his former benefactor in mind. The alledged personal contact with Roberday during the period preceding the appearance of his 1660 edition seems to suggest this, and it would concord with the date of his Méditation on his own death, “â Paris le 1 Maÿ Anno 1660” (no. 29). The renewed contact with Sibylla could have been initiated around that time.

10.2 The arrest of Louis XIV’s superintendant of finance, Nicolas Fouquet, in September of 1661 led to the ruin of financiers like Pierre Aubert, in whose Palais Salé the flamboyant Marquis de Termes lived. (This could in turn have resulted in an end to Froberger’s resources, leading to the acceptance of Sibylla’s invitation.) Thus, Froberger may well have performed works from the new “French Book” in this mansion, the grandest and most magnificently decorated in the Marais district of Paris, today the Picasso Museum.

11. Conclusion

11.1 The authoritative versions of known pieces in the new autograph manuscript make it clear that the wide dissemination of Froberger’s works resulted in corruption of the texts, “creative” copying with rhythmic adaptations, arrangements, and adaptations for different instruments. The wide admiration for Froberger’s style also led to numerous stylistic imitations that circulated under his name, such as pieces incorrectly attributed to Froberger in “Bulyowsky,” “Brussels,” “Kloeckhoff,” and “Grimm.”

11.2 The fact that an autograph version of Froberger’s most personal piece (the Méditation on his own death, no. 29) comes together in a single source with an autograph of another masterpiece in the same genre (the Tombeau for Ferdinand III, no. 34) characterizes this manuscript as the most significant discovery ever made in this field. Its readings of pieces that it has in common with “SA” and “Bulyowsky” also confirm the high quality of those manuscripts, even though they sometimes have readings that are not in the authoritative new source. On the whole, however, the new autograph offers important solutions for places where other sources contradicted each other.


The author is grateful to Gustav Leonhardt for calling his attention to the new manuscript and to Simon Maguire, Stephen Roe, and the staff of Sotheby’s London for allowing him to view it; to David Schulenberg and Diez Eichler for sharing their observations about the manuscript; and to Olivier Baumont, Francesco Corti, Alan Curtis, Hendrik Dochhorn, Johannes Jansen, Clemens Kemme, Irmgard Müsch, Guy Oldham, Alexander Silbiger, and Sonja van Londen for their friendly help and support.


* Bob van Asperen (bobvanasperen@hetnet.nl), professor of harpsichord at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, is a recitalist on harpsichord, clavichord, and organ, and a scholar and teacher of masterclasses. A former pupil of Gustav Leonhardt, he has made over 60 solo harpsichord recordings of music from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, including J.S. Bach’s major works. He is currently engaged in recording the complete works of Louis Couperin and Froberger on historical harpsichords and organs for AEOLUS.

1 An interpretation of the composer’s intention is perforce a modern one. However, we should note that Rembrandt was explicit about his meaning in his passion series for the Prince of Orange, when he describes his intention to depict “Meeste end die Natureelste Beweechgelijkheit” (“the greatest and most natural emotion”) in a letter to Constantijn Huygens of 12 January 1639. For a transcription of the letter see Constantijn Huygens: de Briefwisseling, ed. Jacob Adolf Worp, 6 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1911–1917), no. 2020; the entire Worp edition is now available and searchable at http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/Huygens/en/index_html.

2 I count the suites here as one work, the inventory in Maguire numbers the 18 movements individually. The numbering of the works used here follows that established in “Adler” and essentially maintained by “Schott” (for identification of such abbreviations see Sources and Editions). The work list by Siegbert Rampe in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2nd ed. s.v. “Froberger”) and “Rampe” combines clearly authentic works with both “attributed” and “dubious” ones in a single numbering system, “FbWV.” At the same time the corpus was increased by around thirty pieces; for the most part these concern suites, predominantly anonymus works in “Grimm,” “Stoos,” and “Leipzig-Suiten.” In my opinion, all of these have no relationship to Froberger. In addition, I hesitate to accept the following canonized works: Suites 22, 25, and 26; and, to a lesser extent, Suites 21, 29 nova, and the “Aria Froberger.” Concerning new candidates, possibly to be added to this corpus, see Bob van Asperen, “Frobergeriana: Neue Erkenntnisse über die ‘Allemande, faite en passant le Rhin,’ Teil 1,” and “… Teil 2” Concerto (March, 2004): 25–8 and (April, 2004): 27–30, esp. endnote 11 (http://www.concerto-verlag.de/projekte/BvA.pdf).

3 See “Sources and Editions” for identifications and comments on these and all cited manuscripts. Information on the arms was kindly supplied by the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Vienna.

4 Claudio Annibaldi observed that the capital “R”s and cross-shaped period in the address of one of these letters are very similar to corresponding symbols in the Ricercari in the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati.” It concerns the 1654 letter that Froberger addressed to Kircher in Italian (Rome, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, AUG, vol. 557B, fols. 309r–310v; the other surviving letter from Froberger to Kircher is in the same collection, fols. 305r–306r, dated 18 September 1649). See Claudio Annibaldi, “Froberger à Rome: de l’artisanat frescobaldien aux secrets de composition de Kircher” in Froberger, musicien européen (Paris: Klincksieck, 1998), 39–66, esp. p. 51, no. 43; an English version of this article appeared as “Froberger in Rome: from Frescobaldi's Craftmanship to Kircher’s Compositional Secrets,” Current Musicology 58 (1995): 5–27. The comparison of the handwriting could not be made with the “Libro Secondo”and “Libro Quarto” since those were executed by a graphic artist.

5 The initial “A” in “All” which opens the address (Figure 2c) may have been a model.

6 The transcription in Maguire modernizes “Chiques” to “Gigues” and has other slight differences in transcription style. A French form of Froberger’s name appears here for the first time; even in the French “Bauyn” manuscript and on title pages in French, where he is called “Monsieur” (as in “Roger”), he is referred to as “Giovanni Giacomo” or an abbreviation of that such as “Giacomo,” “Gio. Giacomo.” Froberger himself used a German form of the name in the three known autograph signatures,“Hanns Jacob Froberger,” but the Stuttgart baptismal record reads “Joannes Jacob.” I am indebted to Harald Shukraft for this last information.

7 For a transcription and English translation of the Huygens-Froberger-Sibylla correspondence see Rudolf Rasch, “The Huygens-Froberger-Sibylla Correspondence” in The Harpsichord and its Repertoire (Utrecht: STIMU Foundation for Historical Performance Practice, 1992), 233–45. A newly transcribed, larger collection is offered in Driehonderd brieven over muziek van, aan en rond Constantijn Huygens, collected and translated by Rudolf Rasch (Hilversum: Verloren, 2007); a facsimile of this letter is included (no. 6607). See also Worp no. 6607, and Correspondance et œuvre musicales de Constantin Huygens, ed. W. J. A. Jonckbloet and J. P. N. Land (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1882), pp. CC–CCII. A copy of the original was kindly provided to me by Rudolf Rasch.

8 The main irregularities are Primiere, Chigues, Couranttes, Sarebandes, Composées, Jaque and Organist. Similar spelling variants, Chique or Chiqve, for Gigue are encountered in seventeeth-century manuscripts from the western, central, and southern parts of Germany. Examples can be found in several manuscripts that contain Froberger’s music: “Bulyowsky,” “Brussels,” “Leipzig-Suiten,” “Neresheim,” and “Partitur-Buch Ludwig.” The spelling “Organist” in a French context might also point to German influence.

9 The use of the tonal terms “major” and “minor” throughout this article reflects the raised or lowered third scale degree in this quasi-modal music.

10 This was confirmed by by Peter Wollny (private communication). The “Libro Secondo”and “Libro di capricci, e ricercati” are marked “N.1.N.3” and “N.1.N.4,” a feature hitherto unmentioned in the literature. These are shelfmarks from the famous Schlafkammerbibliothek of Leopold I; Froberger’s two volumes obviously stood together there, only one volume away from Monteverdi’s opera Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (“N:1:N:1”); see the edition of this opera by Alan Curtis (London: Novello, 2002), p. xix, n. 2.

11 Letter sent from Montbéliard to Constantijn Huygens on 25 June (old style; 5 July in new style) 1667. See ref. 7 for modern editions.

12 Paris: Sanlecque, 1660; for a modern edition, see “Ferrard,” 44.

13 No. 122 in “Moroney.” For the organ works, see Louis Couperin: pièces d’orgue, ed. Guy Oldham (Monaco: L’Oiseau-Lyre, 2003), nos. 24, 29, 49, and 64; cf. nos. 26, 57.

14 “A l’une de mes alemandes vous faictes trop d’honneur, d’en avoir emprunté l’entrée, pour l’appliquer à une des vostres” (transcribed in Worp, no. 5399; Rasch “Brieven,” no. 5399; and Jonckbloet, p. 23).

15 Seghers’ “Tobias and the Angel” (ca. 1615/20) was metamorphosed by Rembrandt into his “Flight into Egypt” ca. 1653, after scraping away about one third of the image on the original copper plate, thus actually replacing its main theme.

16 The key signature has only one flat in the new manuscript and in “SA”; “Minoriten-Suiten” alternates between one and two flats. This is not Froberger’s only piece in minor mode that uses a key signature in which the third is not lowered in the key signature: Suite 19 and the “Tombeau de Blancrocher” are in C minor, but there is no E-flat in the signature.

17 On the other hand, it appears to us that, as in Frescobaldi’s carefully engraved editions, Froberger himself did not mark all of his ties. Our supposition that, for example, considerably more ties were intended in Froberger’s Elevation Toccatas than he wrote receives support by comparing the openings of Toccatas 6 (m. 3) and 11 (m. 5) in the autographs, containing the same material. Another example of a similar divergence is Froberger’s Toccata 5 mm. 11–2, comparable to Frescobaldi’s Toccata “per la levatione in the Messa degli apostoli” mm. 4–5, and even Louis Couperin’s unmeasured Prelude 13 in F Major, lines 10–11 in “Moroney,” both suggesting a tie. One must assume in Froberger’s fair copies such “missing” ties were not just forgotten, but consciously not marked, probably following an old organistic tradition. As several Italian seventeenth-century authors suggest, tied dissonant notes may under certain circumstances be repeated, albeit gently and with charm (“leggiadramente,” as Diruta describes it so well) out of consideration for the essentially “concealed” dissonance.

18 Thus the term “variant,” practical to designate relevant authentic versions, is not apt here: assigning numbers to these arrangements as authentic works by Froberger, is the same as giving BWV numbers to arrangements of Bach works.

19 See Frescobaldi’s sixth Toccata “per l’organo sopra i pedali, e senza” from his Il secondo libro di toccate … (Rome, 1627), m. 76; and Froberger’s “Tombeau de Mr Blancrocher,” m. 5.

20 See the second beats of mm. 22, 26, and 30 for examples.

21 See the opening of no. 75, p. 83, in Œuvres de Dufaut, ed. André Souris and Monique Rollin (2nd ed., Paris: CNRS, 1988).

22 “…das Memento mori Froberger … ist schwer aus den Notten zu finden. Habe es mit sonderlichem Fleis darum betracht, wiewol es deutlich geschrieben, Und bleibe auch des hern Grieffgens seiner Meinung das wer die Sachen nit von ihme Hern Froberger seliger. gelernet, unmüglich mit rechter Discretion zuschlagen, wie er sie geschlagen hat” (transcribed in Rasch, “Brieven,” no. 6629A, with English translation; and Jonckbloet, p. CCIV).

23 The renewed contact with Sibylla may have begun around 1659, possibly stimulated by the presence in Paris of her brother Ulrich, who had entered the service of Louis XIV in 1658; see my “Frobergeriana.” For her biography, see Yves Ruggeri, “Froberger à Montbéliard” in Froberger, musicien européen (Paris: Klincksieck, 1998), 23–37; Das Haus Württemberg: ein biographisches Lexikon, ed. Sönke Lorenz, Dieter Mertens, and Volker Press (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1997), p. 183; and Jean-Marc Debard, “Le Grand Musicien et compositeur baroque J-J Froberger à Héricourt (1664–1667),” Mémoires de la Société d’Emulation de Montbéliard 86, fascicle 113 (1991): 341–61. Her moving correspondance with Constantijn Huygens after the death of Froberger is introduced and transcribed in Jonckbloet, pp. CXCVIII–CCV; a French translation is given by Ruggeri, pp. 28–9. See also the notes to my recording, Froberger Edition (AEOLUS (Germany), 2000– ) vol. 2 , “A l’honneur de Madame Sibylle.”

24 The time-signature is C 6/4. Other authentic gigues in triple meter are from Suites 27, 12, 30, and 19, all of which are predominantly homophonic and in C 6/4 in the autograph and relatively reliable “SA”; however, they are in fact in 6/8 rhythm notated in double-lenghth measures. Froberger’s fugal Gigue in Suite 10 has a meter signature of C3, which is rhythmically the same as 6/4 in this case.

25 Constantijn Huygens heard “excellent Frobergher”on 16 September 1665 at the electoral-archiepiscopal court in Mainz. He commented that “nothing pleased me so much as to heare that excellent Frobergher his rare improvements [i.e., innovations]….” This letter represents the only earwitness of the master’s performances in these later years and provides a rare glimpse into Froberger’s state of mind around that time through the line Huygens finishes his phrase with, “and to see him take the patience to heare me with some indifferent satisfaction” (letter in English to Ultricia Ogle Swann of 29 December 1666; Worp, no. 6594; Rasch, “Brieven,” no. 6594). One wonders if Froberger still included the extroverted, daring toccata genre in his performances at all during that period, for example in Héricourt and Mainz.

26 “Accentando” is used by Gregorio Strozzi, Capricci da Sonare (Naples: N. di Bonis, 1687). For an example of Froberger’s use of the figure, see his Toccata 6, “Da sonarsi alla levatione,” mm. 37–8 and Toccata 11, mm. 32–4.

27 See the Plainte in Suite 30, m. 2, the Allemande from Suite 18, mm. 6 and 7, and the “Tombeau de Blancrocher,” m. 3.

28 The opening figure of the seventh toccata in his Toccate e corrente (Rome, [1634?]).

29 For example, the soprano line of the final measure of the “Méditation sur ma mort future,” no. 29, is unique in all of Froberger’s Allemandes, despite its otherwise traditional cadence (see Maguire p. 9).

30 See the three occurrences of triple repetitions of a note in imitative passages, reminiscent of the Tombeau for Leopold Friedrich, in the opening passage of the eleventh Prélude by Louis Couperin; the end of another Prélude, in G major, by the same composer (“Moroney” no. 129); and a dotted double repetition in the soprano at the end of the G major Prélude by D’Anglebert.

31 “Parville,” pp. 79–89; “Moroney,” no. 6.

32 The explanation offered here was inspired by Sibylla’s letter and Rudolf Rasch’s comment on it (Rasch, private communication). One gets the impression that the increasing elaborations of the “.S.” sign may have led to some of the curls, in the hand of artist J.F. Sautter, in the adorned titles in the “Libro Secondo” which evolved into mere illustrations in the “Libro Quarto,” culminating in the religious rebus—Psalm 126:5—which concludes the book (see my Froberger Edition, vol. 4).

33 I am grateful to Redmer Alma, Drents Archief, Assen (NL) for his kind assistance in this matter.

34 The heading on Bulyowsky’s title page uses such an abbreviation: “Notae .S. Signa quaedam in Seqq[uentibus] occurrenta / 1. Pollex…” Here the “.S.” obviously means “scilicet” (“namely”), functioning as a punctuation mark such as a colon, “Notes: the signs following hereafter / 1. thumb….”

35 Examples can be seen in the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati,” fol. 19r, where there there was no room for the sign; fol. 68v, where the writing disappears into the fold; and in the “Libro Secondo,” fols. 39r, 96r, and 107r, where some of the sign was trimmed away in the binding process.

36 The striking occurrence of an “.S.” sign in the “SA” copy, rounding off the lengthy descriptions of the “Plainte faite a Londres” and the “Allemande faite en passant le Rhin” (where it precedes the concluding word, “Vale”) might well stem from still undiscovered autographs of Froberger (“SA,” pp. 37 and 33; from Suites 30 and 27).

37 Examples of the intentionally copied letters “pria” (using a normal “p”) can be found at the end of the “Duresse de Frescobaldi” in “Oldham.” In “Bauyn” it appears in four instances after works by both Froberger and Frescobaldi. These two scribes, presumably Parisian, were apparently eager to stress the most direct descendance of their copy from the composer himself and therefore its reliability without the least intention to falsify. The “Bauyn” copyist, who was generally (but not always) extremely accurate, in some cases wrote the “Pria” followed by “. / .”, the simplified form of the scripsi sign. In another place, “. / .” follows the heading of a Froberger work (Toccata 21). It is likely that these combinations hark back to Froberger's habit, as a composer or transmitter, seen in the headings in the “Libro di capricci, e ricercati,” and now documented in the new manuscript as well.

The “Duresse de Frescobaldi” is transmittedamong Couperin’s organ works in “Oldham” and suddenly adds “. / ” to that title and “Pria” to the end of the piece; this seems to link Italy, Froberger, and Couperin, as do the themes, styles, and imitations in the new manuscript. See the accompanying booklets to my Louis Couperin Edition, CD recording of the complete works of Louis Couperin (AEOLUS (Germany), 2006– ). The “Duresse de Frescobaldi”is scheduled to appear in vol. 2.

38 There can be no certainty about the exact performance of the trill in Froberger’s new mixed style. He must have admired and probably heard Chambonnières, the father of the French harpsichord school, when in Paris, and his “Demonstration des Marques” (Pieces de Clavessin Livre Premier, 1670) shows that the trill (“cadence”) is begun, surely unaccentuated, on the note above the primary pitch. Another interpretation comes from Jean Denis in his Traité de l’accord de l’espinette (Paris, 1643 and 1650; facsimile ed. Alan Curtis, New York: Da Capo, 1969); he, among others, describes short trills beginning on the main note (“pincer au dessus”) for descending passing eighth notes. We don’t know, then, how musicians like Louis Couperin interpreted the ornament in various musical contexts in Paris around 1650. The contemporary Italian form may well have been predominantly the main-note trill (Merulo’s “tremoletto”), although evidence is scarce. There may have been more than one tradition for Froberger’s Italianate and French oriented styles, or even a combination of several ways of realizing the trill.

Exactly such contradictory evidence is found in “Brussels,” which has an international repertory, including pieces by both Froberger and Louis Couperin. (Regarding an unknown work in the manuscript that is probably by Couperin, see my “Werk van Louis Couperin in Duitse bronnen en een anonyme courante,” Het Clavecimbel, Stichting Clavecimbel Genootschap Nederland, 14:1 [May, 2007]: pp. 12–21.) By way of ornament table, this German tabulature gives an “applicatio,” explaining that “Tremulanten” (perhaps standing for “tremoli”) are begun from the main note, and “Cadentien” (“cadences”) from the upper note. The last word in this matter has not yet been spoken, and the change of use and frequency of ornament symbols in the new Froberger autograph might lead to new conclusions for Froberger’s earlier works as well.

39 See “Rasch,” 96–7.

40 The composer did not hesitate to rearrange the order in Suite 11 when compiling “Libro Quarto ” in 1656 (see my “Frobergeriana”).

41 Andreas Werckmeister, Hypomnemata musica, oder Musicalisches Memorial (Quedlinburg: Calvisi, 1697), 37.

42 As Jean-Marc Debard discovered: the journal of Duke George II shows Froberger’s audience on 20 September 1664. This date may represent his official settlement in Héricourt, for which—being a Roman Catholic—he needed permission from the duke, who also acted as a Lutheran bishop (Debard, “Grand Musicien,” 348–9).

43 Froberger’s name does not appear on the payroll in Vienna after 30 June 1657. The fact that Leopold kept two of Froberger’s Libri in his Schlafkammerbibliothek, including the one dedicated to him, seems to contradict the story that Froberger fell into imperial disgrace. The story was first told by Walther in 1732, and subsequently repeated by Zedler in 1735 and Mattheson in 1740. Leopold’s high regard for Froberger’s work may explain how the composer could write to Huygens on 1 September 1666 that he would “soon return to the imperial court.” See the entries on Froberger in Johann Gottfried Walther, Musicalisches Lexicon oder musicalische Bibliothec (Leipzig: Wolfgang Deer, 1732); Johann Heinrich Zedler, Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschafften und Künste (Halle: Author, 1732–1750), vol. 9, 1735; and Johannes Mattheson, Grundlage einer Ehrenpforte (Hamburg: Author, 1740). The letter from Froberger is referred to in Constantijn Huygens’ reply (Rasch, “Brieven,” no. 6583; Rasch, “Correspondence,” no. 1, with English translation; Worp no. 6583).

44 “Wollny,” p. VIII.

45 The marquis was premier valet de chambre of Gaston of Orléans, brother of the king, and was exiled for sympathising with the Fronde.


Sources and Editions


Figure 1: “Libro Quarto,” fol. 113r

Figure 2: Comparison of Froberger’s Handwriting

Figure 3: Louis Couperin, Prelude 9 excerpt

Figure 4: Formations of the Letter “p” as an Abbreviation for “pro”


Example 1: Themes of Froberger Caprice in A (no. 7) and Capriccio 2

Example 2: Comparison of Roberday Caprice and Froberger Capriccio 2

Example 3: Comparison of Roberday Caprice in A, Froberger Canzona 1, and Froberger Gigue from Suite 20

Example 4: Harmonic Comparison of Roberday Caprice 8, Froberger Caprice in A (no. 7), and Froberger Canzona 2

Example 5: Comparison of Roberday Caprice 8, Froberger Caprice in A (no. 7), and Froberger Toccata 12

Example 6: Comparison of New Version of Allemande from Suite 15 with “Bulyowsky”

Example 7: Cross Relation in Froberger Gigue from Suite 15

Example 8: Comparison of Flourish Figures


Bruce Gustafson: Plagiarized Book on Froberger

Copyright © Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. All Rights Reserved.

ISSN: 1089-747X

Items appearing in JSCM may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the Editor-in-Chief of JSCM.

Any authorized redistribution of an item published in JSCM must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which it is to appear:

This item appeared in the Journal of Seventeenth Century Music (http://www.sscm-jscm.org/) [volume, no. (year)], and it is republished here with permission.

Libraries may archive issues of JSCM in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the Editor-in-Chief of JSCM.

Website Design and Development by Crooked River Design.