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Johann Balthasar Christian Freißlich (Composer)

Born: March 1687 (baptised: March 30, 1687) - Immelborn, near Bad Salzungen, Germany
Died: 1764 - Danzig [now Gdańsk], Germany

Johann Balthasar Christian Freißlich [Freislich, Fraißlich] was a German composer, half-brother of Maximilian dietrich Freisslich In 1719 or 1720 he became director of the Hofkapelle in Sondershausen, where he wrote a St Matthew Passion (performed in 1720 at St John, Danzig), a cycle of cantatas and a short opera. He was sent to Dresden for a year by his employer, Prince Günther Schwarzburg. He went to Danzig about 1730 and in 1731, on the death of his half-brother Maximilian, he became Kapellmeister at St Mary, remaining in that position to the end of his life.

As a prolific composer and a skilful Kapellmeister, Johann Balthasar Christian Freisslich played an important role in the city’s cultural life. Many of his compositions were connected with notable anniversaries, such as the 300th of the city's freedom from the Teutonic Knights, the 100th of the Peace of Oliva, and others at the Gymnasium Dantiscanum. He also wrote several cantatas (1733, 1755, 1763) connected with the Polish kings August II and III, and numerous cantatas on the appointments of teachers, the election of members of the town council, and for weddings and burials of eminent citizens. His music has been praised for its warmth and fluency, its accomplished imitative writing and its wide-ranging coloratura (even in bass parts); the lyrical style suggests Italian influence.


Die verliebte Nonne (op); Was hِr ich (serenata): D-SHs
Passio Christi (
B.H. Brockes), solo vv, chorus, orch, PL-GD
St Matthew Passion
(M. Vulpio), solo vv, chorus, orch, GD
, B solo, orch; 13 chorales, chorus, insts: GD
Jauchzet, jauchzet
(Ps c), D-SHs
Cantatas: Cycle of 66 for church year, SHs; 14 sacred cants., solo vv, 1–2 choruses, orch,
PL-GD; 14 occasional cants., 1-2 choruses, orch/solo vv, insts, GD; 2 secular cants., D-SHs ; 8 sacred cantatas, doubtful authenticity, PL-GD

c40 occasional and sacred cants., text only, GD; St Matthew Passion; Ich ruf zu dir, chorale; O ewige Weisheit, school cant.; Turbabor, occasional cant.; 8 chorales, doubtful authenticity: formerly GD ; Sonata, harpsichord, cited in Breitkopf catalogue, 1763


Source: Grove Music Online, © Oxford University Press 2006, acc. 5/24/06 (Author: PaweŁ Podejko)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (April-May 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her, Chorale for Choir and Instruments

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Chorale for Choir and Instruments

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Links to other Sites



BrookB | MatthesonGEP | MGG1 (F. Kessler) | PSB (M. Pelczar)
F. Kessler, ed.: Danziger Kirchen-Musik (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1973)
K. Neschke : Das Leben und Schaffen von J.B.Ch. Freislich (1687– 1764) in seiner Amtzeit als Kapellmeister am Sonderh
نuser Hof (ca.1720-1730) (diss., U. of Leipzig, 1992)
K. Frycz : Pasje J.B.Ch. Freislicha ze zbior
ów Biblioteki Gdańskiej Polskiej Akademii Nauk PL-GD [The Passions of Freisslich from the Collections of the Library of the Polish Academy, Gdańsk] (diss., Akademia Muzyczna, Gdańsk, 1994)

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