Abraham van den Kerckhoven – Fantasia no. 352 (Free)
Abraham van den Kerckhoven (ca. 1618 – ca. 1701) was a Flemish organist and composer. He was active in Brussels, working as organist of Church of Saint Catherine and as court organist, and was held in high regard by his contemporaries. A single collection of his works survives to this day, containing numerous short versets and several lengthy works for organ, showcasing Kerckhoven’s high contrapuntal skill, and the influence of several important composers, particularly Peeter Cornet.
In 1634 he became first organist of the Church of Saint Catherine. He held the position for almost 70 years, until his death in late 1701. He was apparently able to combine it with working as chamber organist for Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria from 1648 to 1656, and as court organist from 1656 to 1684 (and possibly for some time after 1684). There still exists some small doubt over whether Abraham the court organist and Abraham the organist of Saint Catherine’s are the same person. The latter, at any rate, died around Christmas 1701, and was buried on 9 January 1702; the records of the funeral service only refer to him as the church’s organist.
Kerckhoven’s surviving oeuvre consists mostly of organ pieces: fantasies, fugues, preludes, mass settings and other works. Most of his works were found in 1905 in a hand-written volume of organ pieces dated 1741 and compiled by Jacobus Ignatius Josephus Cocquiel, organist and priest of Sint-Vincentiuskerk in Soignies. This manuscript is sometimes referred to as the Cocquiel manuscript and is currently in possession of the Bibliothèque Royale Albert I in Brussels, catalogue number Ms II 3326.