Georg Böhm (2 September 1661 – 18 May 1733) was a German Baroque organist and composer. He is notable for his development of the chorale partita and for his influence on the young J. S. Bach.
Little is known about Böhm's university years or his life after graduation. He resurfaces again only in 1693, in Hamburg. We know nothing of how Böhm lived there, but presumably he was influenced by the musical life of the city and the surrounding area.
In 1698 Böhm succeeded Christian Flor as organist of the principal church of Lüneburg, the Church of St. John (Johanniskirche). Soon after Flor died in 1697, Böhm applied for an audition for the post, mentioning that he had no regular employment at the time. He was promptly accepted by the town council, settled in Lüneburg and held the position until his death.
Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, writing toJohann Nikolaus Forkel in 1775, claimed his father loved and studied Böhm's music, and a correction in his note shows that his first thought was to say that Böhm was Johann Sebastian's teacher. Böhm is mainly known for his compositions for the flute, organ and harpsichord (primarily preludes, fugues, and partitas). Many of his works were designed with flexibility of instrument in mind: a particular piece could be played on the organ, the harpsichord, or the clavichord, depending on the situation in which the performer found himself. Böhm's music is notable for its use of the stylus phantasticus, a style of playing based on improvisation.
Böhm's chorale partitas feature sophisticated figuration in several voices over the harmonic structure of the chorale.
From this lengthy partita (12 variations) “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele” I played variations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11.
11 in particular seems to me to be the real apotheosis of the work, although it is followed by yet another one in trio form.