Little is known of his early life; however, he did have early keyboard training with J. Buttstett in Erfurt. His latter years of education were under J. Alberti in Merseburg with whom he studied organ and composition. In , Alberti suffered an injury to his right hand, inhibiting his ability to play the organ at the cathedral.
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This work, containing all of his known chorale preludes together with figured bass settings for all but one of the used chorale melodies, was first initiated by Kauffmann as a serial publication. The first volume appeared in Kauffmann died of tuberculosis in before he could finish the work.
His widow, however, saw it through, and the series was completed in That his widow completed the publication is probably the reason some of the works included are in fact not composed by Kauffmann. Not only does it include every form of choral prelude writing developed in the central German Baroque area, it also has very specific registration indications for roughly half of the pieces included in the collection.
At the very least it shows us the colourful way in which Kauffmann registered his own work. This makes it the most extensive source of Baroque registration examples available to us today. The chorale preludes in the Harmonische Seelenlust represent the typical seventeenth- and eighteenth-century style of Central Germany where the text of the particular chorale is ideally set to music for an instrument such as the organ.
It essentially entails 96 preludes based on 63 well-known German chorales. Kauffmann is undoubtedly the creator of this combination. The hobo is employed to play the chorale melody, while the organ accompanies the melody in a trio-like texture.
Well, three actually, otherwise the result would be too voluminous. The works in present Edition appear in the order in which they appear in the source, with a few exceptions where reversing the original order of two pieces contributed to ease of page turning.. They are not ordered alphabettically, nor are they ordered according to the liturgical year.
This is probably because of the serial nature of the original publication. Kauffmann made sure each volume contained something for each liturgical season. Present edition does not follow the separation of the original volumes, but the result is the same. Each of the three parts contains chorale preludes that are suitable for each of the liturgical seasons.
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Harmonische Seelenlust (Kauffmann, Georg Friedrich)
Georg Friedrich Kauffmann