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Dietrich Buxtehude 

1637 - 1707

Dieterich Buxtehude (German pronunciation: [ˈdiːtəʁɪç bʊkstəˈhuːdə]; Danish: Diderich, pronounced [ˈdiðəʁɪk buksdəˈhuːðə]; c. 1637/39 – 9 May 1707) was a Danish-German organist and composer of the Baroque period. His organ works represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire and are frequently performed at recitals and in church services. He composed in a wide variety of vocal and instrumental idioms, and his style strongly influenced many composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach. Today, Buxtehude is considered one of the most important composers in Germany of the mid-Baroque.

Dieterich Buxtehude

Dietrich Buxtehude playing a viol

Although he spent his first 30 years on Danish soil, he was considered the leading German composer of his era. On separate occasions both Handel (1703) and J. S. Bach (1705) made pilgrimages to Lubeck to hear him play, but neither was willing to marry his by then hopelessly spinsterish daughter (it being the custom at St. Mary’s, as in many German churches of the day, to keep the job of organist in the family), so neither succeeded him there.

This is Buxtehude House. The spire of St. Olaf's is in the background.

Buxtehude’s powerful, imaginative, and rigorously argued organ works, as well as his cantatas, had a significant influence on Bach. The sublimely sonorous pages of his Prelude in G for organ are typical of his approach to the instrument. 

St. Mary's Church, Lübeck
Buxtehude was organist at Lubeck's Marienkirche but also ran concert series in the church, at which sacred dramatic works were performed.

Buxtehude was effectively director of music for the city of Liibeck, Germany, and such was his reputation that J S Bach walked 300 km to hear him play. Only two major collections of his work (sets of ensemble sonatas) were published in his lifetime; his music was circulated mainly in manuscript copies. Though he wrote a wide range of vocal music, including the secular cantata “Alles, was ihr tut” (All That You Do), he is now remembered for his organ works - Lutheran chorales, wide-ranging impro\isatory preludes, and the ostinato pieces which inspired Bach.
He had four daughters, and a condition of employment for his successor was to marry one; Johann Mattheson, a candidate in 1703, lost interest in the job when he realised this.

1668    Becomes organist at Liibeck; marries daughter of predecessor
1678    Introduces sacred dramatic works in Abendmusiken (evening concerts)
1680    Writes set of cantatas Alembra jesu nostri
1703    Handel and Mattheson visit
1705    J S Bach visits


Key Works

This domestic music scene by Johannes Voorhout (1647–1723)  shows Dietrich Buxtehude playing a viol, with Johann Adam Reinken at the harpsichord.

Cantatas & Sonatas

1 Quemadmodum desiderat cervus BuxWV 92  0:00 for soprano, violin, cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
2 Sonate in G minor op. 2 Nr. 3 BuxWV 261  05:53 for cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
3 O Gottes Stadt BuxWV 87  19:17 for soprano, violin, cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
4 Sonate in F major BuxWV 269  28:36 for violin, cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
5 O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater BuxWV 82  37:17 for soprano, violin, cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo)
6 Klag-Lied "Muß der Tod denn auch entbinden" BuxWV76b  43:43 for soprano, cornett & b.c. (organ, theorbo)
7 Sonate a tre in G major BuxWV 271  51:31 for violin, cornett, sackbut & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
8 Lauda anima mea BuxWV 67  1:00:59 for soprano, cornett, violin, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)
9 Quemadmodum desiderat cervus BuxWV 92  1:10:36 for soprano, violin, cornett, sackbut, dulcian & b.c. (organ, theorbo, harpsichord)


Buxtehude Sonata 1 Op 1 Ensemble L'Estravagante BuxWV 252
Buxtehude Sonata 1 Op 2 BuxWV 259
Buxtehude Sonata 2 Op 2 BuxWV 260
Buxtehude Sonata 3 Op 2 BuxWV 261 Part 2
Buxtehude Sonata 3 Op 2 BuxWV 261
Buxtehude Sonata 4 Op 2 BuxWV 262
Buxtehude Sonata 6 Op 2 BuxWV 264
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 3 Op 1 BuxWV 254
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 4 Op 1 BuxWV 255
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 5 Op 1 BuxWV 256
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 5 Op 2 BuxWV 263
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 6 Op 1 BuxWV 257
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 7 Op 1 BuxWV 258
Dietrich Buxtehude Sonata 7 Op 2 BuxWV 265

 Prelude in G Minor

Organ Works Vol I

Organ Works Vol II

(b. Oldesloe, ca. 1637; d. Liibeck, May 9, 1707)

German composer born in Denmark.

He was appointed organist at St. Mary’s in Liibeck in 1668, and remained there the rest of his life.

Membra Jesu Nostri

Ciaconna: Il mondo che gira

Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab, BuxWv 38
Sonata en Fa Mayor, BuxWV 269
Passacaglia en Re, BuxWV 161
Sonata en La, BuxWV 272
Sonata a dos en Re. Dietrich Becker
Sonata III, op. secunda en Sol, BuxWV 261
Ciaconna en Mi, BuxWV160
Sonata VI op. seconda en MI Mayor, BuxWV 264

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