Baroque Era



1641
Thousands of Protestants are massacred in Ulster rebellion • English parliament’s ‘Grand Remonstrance’ lists grievances against King Charles I; royal advisor Earl of Strafford executed • The Norwegian city of Kristiansand is founded by King Christian IV of Denmark• Rene Descartes (Fr) publishes Meditationes de Prima Philosophia 

1642
English Civil War begins between Royalists (Cavaliers) and Parliamentarians (Roundheads); in Battle of Edgehill both sides claim victory, but Royalists then fail to take London at Battle of Turnham Green • Isaac Newton (Eng) born • Astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (It) dies • Rembrandt -The Night Watch 

1643
King Charles I holds most of England except the south east as the English Civil War continues • Louis XIII (Fr) dies; is succeeded by his son Louis XIV, aged five • Physicist Evangelista Torricelli (It) makes the first mercury barometer • Navigator Abel Tasman (Neth) discovers Tonga and Fiji after unknowingly circumnavigating Australia

1644
In English Civil War, Scots invade England; parliamen tary cavalry general Oliver Cromwell defeats Royalists under Prince Rupert at Marston Moor • In Thirty Years’ War, French army under Vicomte de Turenne and Due d’Enghien invades the Rhineland •  Rene Descartes (Fr) describes various phenomena mechanistically in
Principia philosophiae • John Milton (Eng) writes the tract Areopagitica to defend press freedom • Pierre Corneille (Fr) publishes tragedy Pompee 
1645
In English Civil War, Marquis of Montrose arouses Scottish clans to fight for Charles I, but is defeated by parlia mentary army; Archbishop Laud, former advisor to Charles, is executed; Generals Fairfax and Cromwell lead parliament’s ‘New Model Army’ which defeats Charles conclusively at Naseby, Northamptonshire • In Thirty Years’ War, Swedish troops beat forces of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III in Bohemia and take Moravia; Sweden and Demark make peace • Turks start a long war with Venice


 

Justus Sustermans - Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636

 

1641

The building of the Palais Royal is completed in Paris. In the second half of the century the venue becomes home to the Academie Royale de Musique. 

The Palais Royal in Paris

Neapolitan composer Gioanpietro Del Buono (? — in or before 1657) publishes the earliest known sonatas for harpsichord, in Palermo. 

Gioanpietro del Buono: "Sonata VII, Stravagante, e per il Cimbalo Cromatico"

Monteverdi’s opera Le nozze d’Enea con Lavinia (The Marriage of Aeneas and Lavinia) has its premiere at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo. No music survives. 

The Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo (often written as Teatro SS. Giovanni e Paolo) was a theatre and opera house in Venice located on the Calle della Testa, and takes its name from the nearby Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. Built by the Grimani family in 1638, in its heyday it was considered the most beautiful and comfortable theatre in the city. The theatre played an important role in the development of opera and saw the premieres of several works by Francesco Cavalli, as well as Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea.


















 

Carlo Fontana's 1654 sketch of the theatre's floor plan

Francesco Cavalli's opera La Didone (Dido) is introduced at the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice. Adapting the story from Virgil’s Aeneid to contemporary tastes, librettist Giovanni Busenello avoids Queen Dido’s suicide and instead marries her off to King larbas of the Gaetuli. 

Act 2 scene 10 of Pier Francesco Cavalli opera La Didone / Dido.

Pier Francesco Cavalli - La Didone - Finale

Death of Dido, by Guercino, 1631

January
Francesco Sacrati and librettist Giulio Strozzi enjoy a resounding triumph with their opera La finta pazza (The Pretended Madwoman), which inaugurates the Teatro Novissimo in Venice.

September
Franz Tunder, aged 27, becomes organist of the Marienkirche in Lubeck, where he later begins the renowned Abendmusiken concerts. 

Abendmusik - Buxtehude & Tunder. Præludium n°4
& Ach Herr, lass deine liebe Engelein 

Wolfgang Printz, German composer, born.

Wolfgang Printz

Wolfgang Caspar Printz (10 October 1641 – 13 October 1717), normally referred to as Wolfgang Printz, was a German composer who studied theology and was appointed cantor at Promnitz, Treibel and Sorau. His Historische Beschreibung der edlen Musik- und Kleinkunst...von Anfang der Welt bis auf unserer Zeit (Historical description of the noble music and cabaret ... from the beginning of the world until our time) was the first history of music written in Germany.

Printz was the son of a forester in Oberpfalz. He had hardly any training before he enrolled in 1659 in Altdorf, near Nuremberg. A musical aptitude is likely but undocumented. At the age of 21 in 1662 he moved to Dresden, where he became Kapellmeister at the court of the arts-friendly Silesian magnate Count Erdmann I. 
After the count's death in 1664 he accepted a position as cantor at the Sorau church, started a family and spent the next 52 years as a composer and musicologicist. Similar to Johann Kuhnau, he released several popular musical compositions alongside novels. Under Erdmann II of Promnitz he again took over the management of the court orchestra, until succeeded by the young Georg Philipp Telemann in 1704. His musical oeuvre has largely disappeared, but his historical description still offers useful information on contemporary composers.

Gianpietro Del Buono

About Gian Pietro Del Buono's life has so far hardly been hints, either about his life data, nor about his effects. He was known for his collection of vocal and instrumental works, published in Palermo in 1641, "Canoni, obligi et sonata in varie maniere sopra l'Ave maris stella ... a 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 voci e le sonata a 4 ". The collection contains 84 canons and 14 sonatas for key instruments, on the theme contained in the title. The composer of the collection was the Genoese noble Giovanni Ambrosio Scriabini, who lived in Sicily. In the preface, Del Buono explicitly refers to the model of his work, which is based on Francesco Sorianos Canoni e obligati di cento e di sorte, sopra l'Ave maris stella (Rome, 1610).

For the 14 sonatas, the term "sonata" emerges for the first time in a solo piece for keyboard instruments. For this reason, the musicologist Willi Apel, in his book History of Organ and Piano Music, was one of the most important representatives of the southern Italian piano school of the seventeenth century until 1700, although these pieces have little in common with the almost simultaneously developing solosonates.

A handwritten copy of the collection is preserved in the "Civico Museo bibliografico musicale" in Bologna, which may indicate an activity of Del Buonos in this city.

 
 
 

1642

With the onset of the English Civil War, musical life in London is restricted as the Puritans close the theatres and outlaw acting. King Charles flees London and sets up court in Oxford. 

German composer and theorist Johann Andreas Herbst publishes Musica practice, the first independent singing tutorial with practical exercises. 

Monteverdi begins work on L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) in collaboration with the librettist Giovanni Busenello. Based on the licentious life of Nero, the opera sets new standards for characterisation and breaks fresh ground with its focus on non religious historical subject matter. 

L'incoronazione di Poppea is an Italian opera by Claudio Monteverdi, with a libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello, first performed at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice during the 1643 carnival season. One of the first operas to use historical events and people, it describes how Poppaea, mistress of the Roman emperor Nero, is able to achieve her ambition and be crowned empress. 

22 February
Musician to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Luigi Rossi sees his first opera, Il palazzo incantato (The Enchanted Palace) premiered at the Barberini Theatre in Rome. With text by Rospigliosi, the seven-hour epic includes performances by the leading castrati of the day — Loreto Vittori and Marc’Antonio Pasqualini

Atto Primo "Il Palazzo Incantato" de Luigi Rossi

Marco Antonio Pasqualini (25 April 1614 – 2 July 1691) was an Italian castrato opera singer who performed during the Baroque period. He has been described as "the leading male soprano of his day". Pasqualini joined the choir of the Sistine Chapel in 1630. He was also a composer, having written more than 250 arias and cantatas.

Despite being historically addressed as a soprano, Pasqualini's vocal range extended no higher than B5. Thus, he was a mezzo-soprano by modern classification.

Marcantonio Pasqualini Crowned by Apollo (1641) by Andrea Sacchi.

29 August
Giovanni Battista Buonamente, renowned for his pioneering violin music, dies in Assisi, probably aged in 
his late 40s. For the last nine years he had served as maestro di cappella at the Basilica of San Francesco. 

Autumn
Unsalaried in Dresden due to the ongoing war, Heinrich Schutz secures further leave and returns to Copenhagen
as Hofkapellmeister to the court of King Christian IV. He remains there for just over two years. 

6 December
Johann Christoph Bach, German composer and organist, born.

Johann Christoph Bach

Johann Christoph Bach (6 December 1642 – 31 March 1703) was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. He was born at Arnstadt, the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach's great uncle, hence he was Johann Sebastian's first cousin once removed. He was also the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach, J.S. Bach's first wife. He is not to be confused with Johann Sebastian Bach's son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.













 



Johann Christoph had a reputation as a composer that was only equalled by that of Johann Sebastian within the Bach family during his lifetime. He was organist at Eisenach and later a member of the court chamber orchestra there.
 

His brother, Johann Michael Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach's father-in-law and Maria Barbara's father), was also a composer. Some of the works were later attributed to Johann Sebastian, but were recently recognized as written by Johann Christoph. One of the most famous works is the cantata Meine Freundin, du bist schön, based on the Song of Solomon. His eldest son, Johann Nicolaus Bach, was also a composer.
Despite his success as a musician, Johann Christoph experienced financial difficulties, which may have resulted in his not having been selected as the guardian of Johann Sebastian when the latter's parents died. Johann Christoph was heavily in debt when he died at Eisenach.

Sebastian Bach described him in his Genealogy (1735) as "the profound composer", thus hinting at his reputation, not just within the family, but within society.

Johann Christoph Bach - Lamento: Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte

 
 

1643

The French printer Ballard issues the final collection of solo airs de cour. 

Francesco Cavalli's richly lyrical L’Egisto, on a libretto by Giovanni Faustini, triumphs at the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice. A tale of love lost and found, the opera is soon performed in many major Italian cities. 

Cavalli - L'Egisto  (1 of 15)

Composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier is born in Paris. 

Johann Andreas Herbst publishes his Musica poetica, the first German language compositional treatise. In this and Marco Scacchi's Cribrum musicum (also published this year) are some of the earliest printed criticisms of parallel fifths and octaves. 

Thomas Selle, kantor at Hamburg’s Johanneum (grammar school), composes his St John Passion. Notable for its inclusion of instrumental interludes, the work begins the history of the German oratorio Passion. 

Thomas Selle - Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt

Johann Adam Reincken, Dutch/German organist and composer, born.

28 January
Francesco Sacrati’s opera Venere gelosa (Jealous Venus), with sets by Torelli, opens to great acclaim at the Teatro Novissimo, Venice. 

Stage design by Giacomo Torelli (1608-78) for the opera ‘Venere Gelosa’ performed in 1643 at Teatro Novissimo in Venise

1 March
Girolamo Frescobaldi
one of the foremost keyboard composers of the era, 
dies in Rome, aged 59. 

Autumn
Love, even of an immoral kind, seems to conquer all in Monteverdi’s final and finest opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea, premiered at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo in Venice. Some of the music is thought to be by Benedetto Ferrari and Francesco Cavalli.

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea (Part 1)

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea (Part 2)

29 November
Claudio Monteverdi, the most famous and revered composer in Europe, dies in Venice, aged 76. He is buried in the 
Church of the Frari, Venice. 

Johann Adam Reincken

Johann Adam Reincken (also Jan Adams, Jean Adam, Reinken, Reinkinck, Reincke, Reinicke, Reinike; baptized 10 December 1643 – 24 November 1722) was a Dutch/German organist and composer. He was one of the most important German composers of the 17th century, a friend of Dieterich Buxtehude and a major influence on Johann Sebastian Bach; however, very few of his works survive to this day.











 











Reincken received primary music education in Deventer in 1650–54, from Lucas van Lennick, organist of the Grote kerk (Lebuinuskerk). In 1654 he departed for Hamburg to study under Heinrich Scheidemann, a pupil of Sweelinck, organist of St. Katharine's Church (Katharinenkirche). In 1657 he returned to Deventer and became organist of the Bergkerk on 11 March; however, after only a year he left for Hamburg again, this time to become Scheidemann's assistant. When the older composer died in 1663, Reincken succeeded him at St. Katharine's. In 1665 he married one of Scheidemann's daughters, and their only child Margaretha-Maria was born three years later.

The composer kept his position at St. Katharine's until his death in 1722, although in 1705 some of the church elders attempted to appoint Johann Mattheson as Reincken's successor. Unlike many other contemporary organists, Reincken died wealthy.
In his lifetime he was heralded as one of the best organists in Germany; he knew Dieterich Buxtehude closely and influenced Vincent Lübeck and Johann Sebastian Bach.

 

Johann Adam Reincken - An Wasseflüssen Babylon

Johann Adam Reincken "Fugue in g minor"

Johann Adam Reincken - Suite in a minor

J.A. Reincken: Toccata in G 

 
 

1644

As the English Civil War continues, the Puritan parliamentarians step up their nationwide campaign to purge all churches of organs, stained glass windows and ‘superstitious’ images.

The Book of Common Prayer is abolished and replaced with the Directory for the Puhlique Worship of God, advocating only the unaccompanied singing of metrical psalms. 

Sigmund Theophil Staden, aged 36, composes the pastoral Singspiel Das geistliche Waldgedicht oder Freudenspiel genant Seelewig (The Sacred Forest Poem or Play of Rejoicing called Seelewig), a Christian morality play scored for soprano, bass, a supporting cast of six and a small ensemble of strings and winds. Performed this year at court in Nuremburg, Seelewig explores the conflicts between body and soul. It is the earliest surviving German opera. 

Sigmund Theophil Staden - Seelewig - Act I. Mein hoher Adel Stand läßt mich nicht

Francesco Cavalli and the librettist G. Faustini present to the public their third operatic collaboration, Ormindo, at the Teatro San Cassiano, Venice. Highlights include the tender prison scene duet of Act 3, as Erisbe and Ormindo, believing themselves poisoned, prepare to die. 

Cavalli - Ormindo. Ormindo and Erisbe, in their "death" scene.

Composer Giovanni Rovetta is appointed successor to Claudio Monteverdi as maestro di capella of St Mark’s, Venice. He remains in the post until his death in 1668. 

St Mark's Basilica

Instrument maker Antonio Stradivari is born around this time in Cremona. 

Singer and composer Barbara Strozzi - adopted (perhaps natural) daughter of the librettist Giulio Strozzi - publishes her first opus, Il primo libhro de madrigali. Her first of eight volumes of vocal music contains madrigals for two to five voices on texts by her father. The music is deeply expressive and frequently virtuosic. 

Giulio Strozzi (1583 - 31 March 1652) was a Venetian poet and libretto writer. His libretti were put to music by composers like Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, Francesco Manelli, and Francesco Sacrati. He sometimes used the pseudonym Luigi Zorzisto

BARBARA STROZZI-- GODERE EN GIOVENTU

Barbara Strozzi - Mercé di voi
Duet for Two Sopranos and Continuo
from Il primo libro di madrigali op. 1 (1644)

Samuel Scheidt, Kapellmeister to Duke August of Saxony in Halle, publishes his LXX Symphonien— short instrumental pieces in trio style to be performed as introductions or ritornellos within vocal concertos. 

Samuel SCHEIDT
a) Die IX, Symphonia aus dem A (LXIX) ,
b) Die VII. Symphonia aus dem D (XVII) ,
c) Die III. Symphonia aus dem D (XIII)

12 August
Austrian violinist and composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber is born in Wartenberg, Bohemia. 

December
Heinrich Schutz having left Copenhagen earlier this year, presents Theatralische neue Vorstellung von der Maria Magdalena at the Wolfenbuttel court. Some of the music may be by his pupil, Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg, Duchess of Brunswick-Luneburg. 

Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg

Antonio Stradivari
 

Antonio Stradivari, Latin Stradivarius, (born 1644?, Cremona, Duchy of Milan—died Dec. 18, 1737, Cremona), Italian violin maker who brought the craft of violin-making to its highest pitch of perfection.













Stradivari was still a pupil of Nicolò Amati in 1666 when he began to place his own label on violins of his making. These at first followed the smaller of Amati’s models, solidly constructed, with a thick yellow varnish. In 1684 Stradivari began to produce larger models, using a deeper-coloured varnish and experimenting with minute details in the form of the instrument. His “long” models, dating from 1690, represent a complete innovation in the proportions of the instrument; from 1700, after returning for a few years to an earlier style, he again broadened and otherwise improved his model.

He also made some fine cellos and violas. The Stradivari method of violin making created a standard for subsequent times; he devised the modern form of the violin bridge and set the proportions of the modern violin, with its shallower body that yields a more powerful and penetrating tone than earlier violins. It was long thought that the secret of Stradivari’s acoustically perfect violins lay in their varnish, the formula of which, though much debated, has never been discovered. However, modern research has isolated certain factors that influence the beauty of a violin’s tone. Among these are the thickness (and, hence, the vibrational properties) of its wooden top and back plates, the condition of the microscopic pores within the wood of the violin, and lastly the formula of the varnish. Stradivari’s success probably came from expertly optimizing all these and other factors within his designs.
 

Stradivari’s sons Francesco (1671–1743) and Omobono (1679–1742) were also violin makers. They are believed to have assisted their father, probably with Carlo Bergonzi, who appears to have succeeded to the possession of Antonio’s stock-in-trade.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
 

(b. Wartenberg, Bohemia, August 12, 1644; d. Salzburg, May 3, 1704)















 

Austrian violin virtuoso and composer, considered the most capable violinist of his age. His remarkable integration of 17th-century improvisatory practices into fantastical works for solo violin placed him among the elite of his era’s performer-composers. His first major post was in Graz, followed in 1668 with an appointment as musician to the Bishop of Olmutz at Kromerlz in Moravia. In 1670 he left without giving notice and entered the service of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Maximilian Gandolph von Khuenburg, where his exceptional talents as a performer and composer won him fame and status. He was named deputy Kapellmeister in 1679, and by 1684 he had become Kapellmeister and dean of the choir school at the Salzburg Cathedral. During his years in Salzburg he composed a handful of operas and cantatas, as well as a significant body of sacred works including vespers settings, several masses, and two Requiems. He twice petitioned Emperor Leopold I to be elevated to the nobility (1681,1690), meeting with success on his second attempt and acquiring the right to style himself Heinrich Biber “von Bibern.”

Biber was a careerist and social climber of the first order. Fortunately, he showed the same dedication in his art that he brought to his personal and professional advancement. His most important achievement by far was his set of Mystery or Rosary Sonatas (named for the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, or Rosenkranzen), written for violin and bass and completed ca. 1676. These works embody the most extensive use of SCORDATURA (an alternate tuning of a string instrument) in the repertoire: 14 of the 15 call for unconventional tunings, all different, creating a seemingly endless kaleidoscope of moods and colors. To cap this monumental cycle of meditations on the events of the life of the Virgin Mary, Biber composed a masterful unaccompanied passacaglia that foreshadows Bach’s unaccompanied string works, written some 50 years later.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Missa Salisburgensis

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Requiem f moll
Introitus 0:00
Te decet hymnus 1:42
Requiem 2:41
Kyrie 3:44
Dies irae 5:51
Domine Jesu Christe 15:10
Sanctus 22:00
Benedictus 24:48
Agnus Dei 28:10

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber - Partia I - IV

1. Partia I in D minor 0:00
2. Partia II in B minor 17:47
3. Partia III in A major 28:35
4. Partia IV in E flat major 39:14

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber - Missa Christi Resurgentis
1. Introit Resurrexi a 5
2. Sonata 3:40
3. Kyrie 4:51
4. Gloria 7:28
5. Credo 29:49
6. Sanctus, Benedictus 47:00
7. Agnus dei 58:43
8. Mystery Sonata 1:04:45

 
 
 

1645

In Venice Giovanni Antonio Bertoli publishes his Compositioni musicali, containing the earliest- known collection of bassoon sonatas. 

Giovanni Antonio Bertoli: Sonata VI for bassoon

February
The guardianship of Francesca Caccini’s teenage son passes to the boy’s uncle, Girolamo Raffaelli, indicating the possible recent death of the composer and singer. She is remembered above all as the first female opera composer. 

Andreas Hammerschmidt publishes his Gesprache zwischen Gott und einer glaubigen Seelen (Conversations Between God and a Believer), comprising 22 concertos for two to four voices and continuo. A second, shorter set of dialogues, scored principally for one to two voices, is also published this year. 

Andreas Hammerschmidt: Danket dem Herrn

Around this time Juan Hidalgo is promoted as court composer of chamber songs, villancicos and theatre music at the Spanish court. He also becomes director of the court’s chamber musicians. 

Johann Rosenmuller, aged about 26, brings out his first instrumental collection, Paduanen, Alemanden, Couranten, Balletten, Sarabanden, with some of the dances presented in suite form. 

Ballet by Johann Rosenmüller - Leipzig 1645

Johann Rosenmuller - Sonata VII a 4 

Johann Rosenmuller - Sonata Decima à 5 In F Major

Heinrich Schutz  60 this year, returns to Dresden eager to retire. The elector grants him only semi-retirement: the composer has to continue working for six months each year for the next ten years. 

Andreas Werckmeister, German composer, born.

22 February
Johann Ambrosius Bach, German musician, born.

 

22 February
Johann Christoph Bach, German musician, born.

30 July
Giovanni Legrenzi takes up the post of organist at Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo. 

24 September
William Lawes. aged 43, is killed in crossfire at the battle of Rowton Heath (near Chester) during the English Civil War. The Royalist poet Thomas Jordan writes an epitaph:

Concord is conquer’d;
in this urn there lies
The Master of 
great Musick’s mysteries;
And in it is a riddle like the cause
Will Lawes was slain 

by such whose will were laws. 

14 December
Francesco Sacrati’s opera La finta pazza (first performed at Venice, 1641) is presented in the hall of Le Petit Bourbon, Paris. Instigated largely by Cardinal Mazarin, the occasion appears to mark the first staging of an Italian opera in Paris. 

A scene from Francesco Sacrati’s opera La finta pazza (The Pretended Madwoman). The French production owed much of its success to the impressive sets and machinery of Giacomo Torelli. 

Johann Ambrosius Bach

Johann Ambrosius Bach (22 February 1645 – 2 March 1695 [O.S. 20 February]) was a German musician, father to Johann Sebastian Bach.











The son of Christoph Bach (1613–1661), Ambrosius was born in Erfurt, Germany, as the twin brother of Johann Christoph Bach (1645–1693). Ambrosius was employed as a violinist in Erfurt.

In 1671, he moved his family to Eisenach, in present-day Thuringia, where he was employed as a court trumpeter and director of the town musicians. He married his first wife Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt on 1 April 1668, and had eight children by her, four of whom became musicians, including Johann Sebastian. She was buried on 3 May 1694. On 27 November 1694 he married Barbara Margaretha, née Keul (she had already been twice widowed). He died in Eisenach less than three months later. After Johann Ambrosius Bach's death, his two children, Johann Jacob Bach and Johann Sebastian Bach, moved in with his eldest son, Johann Christoph Bach.

Johann Christoph Bach

Johann Christoph Bach (Erfurt, 22 February 1645 – 7 September [O.S. 28 August] 1693, Arnstadt) was a German musician of the Baroque period.

A court and town musician in Arnstadt, he was the third son of Christoph Bach and the twin brother of Johann Ambrosius Bach. He was the uncle of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Andreas Werckmeister

Andreas Werckmeister (November 30, 1645 – October 26, 1706) was a German organist, music theorist, and composer of the Baroque era.Born in Benneckenstein, Werckmeister attended schools in Nordhausen and Quedlinburg. He received his musical training from his uncles Heinrich Christian Werckmeister and Heinrich Victor Werckmeister. In 1664 he became an organist in Hasselfelde; ten years later in Elbingerode; and in 1696 of the Martinskirche in Halberstadt.
Of his compositions only a booklet remains: pieces for violin with basso continuo, with the title Musikalische Privatlust (1689).Werckmeister is best known today as a theorist, in particular through his writings Musicae mathematicae hodegus curiosus... (1687) and Musikalische Temperatur (1691), in which he described a system of what we would now refer to as well temperament (named after Bach's opus, "The Well-Tempered Clavier") now known as Werckmeister temperament.

Werckmeister's writings were well known to Johann Sebastian Bach, in particular his writings on counterpoint. Werckmeister believed that well-crafted counterpoint, in particular invertible counterpoint, was tied to the orderly movements of the planets, reminiscent of Kepler's view in Harmonice Mundi. According to George Buelow, "No other writer of the period regarded music so unequivocally as the end result of God’s work,"  a view harmonious with that of Bach. Yet in spite of his focus on counterpoint, Werckmeister's work emphasized underlying harmonic principles.

Andreas Werckmeister: Praeludium ex G

 
 
 

Rembrandt van Rijn - The Night Watch

 

Our Facebook Page

  • Facebook - Black Circle

© 2017 music-world.org