Monday, 9 May 2016


Dieterich Buxtehude
One name not commonly mentioned amongst Western Classical Music’s most influential composers is that of 17th century Danish-German Baroque master Dieterich Buxtehude. This was certainly not the case in 17th century Europe, wherein Buxtehude would find himself much revered as a musician and composer.

Probably born in 1637 in what is now a part of Sweden, young Buxtehude would begin his love affair with music at a very early age, receiveing lessons on the organ by his father, Johannes Buxtehude, who was himself organist at St. Olaf's church in Helsingør. The son Buxtehude would likewise make his entrance into the field of music as organist to several churches from the period of 1657-1668. His foray into the world of composition would experience much growth and project much influence on the musical public following his move to Lübeck in Germany, where he had accepted what would become his final post as church organist at the city’s Marienkirche.

In 1673, Buxtehude would co-found Lubeck’s own Abendmusik - a series of evening performances featuring the works of contemporary musicians, often with the composers themselves appearing in their own productions. Buxtehude's keen business sense and musical acuity would influence many a great maestro of the later baroque era, not the least of whom were George Frideric Handel, Johann Mattheson, Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The latter personage was said to have so much revered Buxtehude that he set off on foot from his home church at Arnstadt to the city of Lübeck – a trek of some 250 miles (400km!) telling friends that his mission was "to comprehend one thing and another about [Buxtehude’s] art!"

With the video below displaying just a small preview of the beauty contained within Buxtehude's vast oeuvre, (only a small portion of which survive in the present era) it is easy to see what inspired Bach to take to his arduous journey!

Listen below to Dieterich Buxtehude's sacred cantata Herzlich lieb hab ich dich o Herr (excerpt):

Today's post is written in honor of the 17th century Baroque composer Buxtehude, who left this earthly sphere 309 years ago today on the 9th of may, 1707 at Lübeck in Germany.


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