Heinrich Schutz

(1585 - 1672)

German composer and organist, one of the greatest of Bach's predecessors. Studied law, but patron, impressed by his musical ability, sent him in 1609 to study in Venice with G. Gabrieli until 1612. Court organist, Kassel, 1613. Kepellmeister, Dresden electoral court, 1617-1657. Spent three periods as court conductor in Copenhagen 1633-1645. In Dresden with court orchestra from 1645. Composed first German opera, Dafne, 1627 (music destroyed by fire 1760). Revisited Italy 1628-1629. His special importance lies in his grafting of Italian choral and vocal style on to German polyphonic tradition.

Wrote magnificent settings of Passions, Christmas oratorio, 7 Words from Christ on the Cross, etc. Works published in 16 volumes 1885-1894, edited by Spitta, with supplement volume 1927, content as follows:

I. 4 Passions, Resurrection oratorios, and Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz; II and III. Psalms and Motets, 1619; IV. Cantiones sacrae, 4 voices, 1625; V. Symphoniae sacrae, Part I, 1629; VI. Geistliche Concerte, 1-5 voices, 1636 and 1639; VII. Symphoniae sacrae, Part II, 1647; VIII. Musicalia ad chorum sacrum 1648; IX. Italian madrigals, Venice 1611; X and XII. Symphoniae sacrae, Part III, 1630; XII-XV. Motets, concertos, arias, psalms, etc; XVI. Psalms for 4 voices. Supplement: Christmas oratorio: Die Historia von der freuden und gnadenreichen Geburt Gottes und Mariens Sohns (1664, lost until 1908).

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