Schütz: Baroque Before Bach

by Ken Myers

Exactly one hundred years before the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1685, his greatest German predecessor was born in Köstritz, a small town in what is now Saxony. Heinrich Schütz was arguably the greatest German composer before Bach, and the first German composer to enjoy an international reputation. Unlike Bach's extensive clan, the Schütz family was more involved in commerce and civil service than in music. Heinrich's father, Christoph, eventually became mayor of nearby Weißenfels, but he worked as an innkeeper in that town when Heinrich was a boy. It was there that Heinrich's natural musical talent emerged through his participation in the local Lutheran church choir.

One night in 1598, Landgrave Moritz . . .

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Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

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