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Gottfried August Homilius (Composer, Bach's Pupil)

Born: February 2, 1714 - RosenthaI near Königstein, Saxony, Germany
Died: June 2, 1785 - Dresden, Saxony, Germany

The German composer and organist, Gottfried August Homilius, was a pupil of J.S. Bach, and master of Johann Adam Hiller. He matriculated at the University of Leipzig in 1735, studying law (until 1742?). He also studied privately with J.S. Bach during these years. In 1742 he became organist of the Frauenkirche in Dresden, and in 1755 director of the music in the three principal churches there, and Kantor of tbe Kreuzschule, the choir of which he brought to a high pitch of excellence. He enjoyed a considerable reputation among his contemporaries as an organist, especially for his skill in registration. He was an industrious composer, and in the latter part of the 18th century his larger church works were ranked very high.

Gottfried August Homilius' numerous sacred compositions are characterised by a peculiarly happy vein of melody, and, in accordance with the taste of the day, an avoidance' of polyphonic treatment of the parts. On the other hand, it is difficult to compare his music with more modern homophonic compositions. His treatment of his themes - as is the case throughout this period in which J.S. Bach's influence was paramount - is always interesting, and sometimes masterly. His most important works are his motets, model compositions of the kind.

Little of his music has been printed, but he was very liberal in allowing copies of his works to be taken. Of his 32 motets some excellent examples are to be found in his pupil Johann Adam Hiller's Vierstimmige Motetten, in Sander's Heilige Caecilia (Berlin, 1818-1819), Weeber's Kirchliche Chorgesänge (Stuttgart, 1857), and Trautwein's Auswahl. Specimens of his organ works are to be found in Körner's Orgelvirtuos. A Pater Noster for four voices, fully bearing out the description of his style just given, is printed in Hullah's 'Vocal Scores.' His published works include, a Passions-Cantate (1775); a Christmas oratorio, Die Freude der Hirten über die Geburt Jesu (1777); Sechs deutsche Arien fiir Freunde ernsthafter Gesänge (1786) and a Weihnachtsmotette. Those still in manuscript are much more numerous, and comprise a course of church music for Sundays and festivals; several Passions, including one according to St. Mark, perhaps his best work; a Choralbuch containing 167 chorales; and finally organ music, consisting of fugues, chorales with variations, and trios.

 

Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition, Author: A. Maczwesky)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005, June 2014)

Bach's Pupils: List of Bach's Pupils | Actual and Potential Non-Thomaner Singers and Players who participated in Bach’s Figural Music in Leipzig | Bach’s Pupils - Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

Works previously attributed to J.S. Bach

Chorale Prelude for organ Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 759
Chorale Prelude for organ Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV Anh 74 (Emans 157) (?)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works

Title

Chorale Melody

Year

Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Her, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Christ lag in Todesbanden, Fugato for Organ

Christ lag in Todesbanden

Durch Adams Fall Ist Ganz Verderbt for organ & oboe

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, a Cantata

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Gelobet Seist Du, Jesu Christ, Chorale for Organ

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Choral Prelude for organ, Herr Jesu Christ, Du Höchstes Gut

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland, Choral Prelude for Organ

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

O Gott, du frommer Gott, Cantata

O Gott, du frommer Gott

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, Chorale Prelude for Organ (previously attributed to J.S. Bach as BWV 769)

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, Chorale Prelude for Organ (previously attributed to J.S. Bach as BWV Anh 74)

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele

Schmücke Dich, O Liebe Seel, for organ & oboe

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele

Cantata: Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott

Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott

1783

So gehst du nun, Mein Jesu, hin, Motet for Chorus

So gehst du nun, mein Jesu, hin

Mache dich mein geist Bereit, Choral Prelude for Organ

Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn

Straf Mich Nicht in Deinem Zorn

Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn

Panta kalos pepoinke with the German Chorale Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, Motet

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

1768

Chorale Prelude for organ Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten,

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten

Wir Christenleut, Chorale Prelude for Organ (at one time considered to be a composition by J.S. Bach)

Wir Christenleut habn jetzund Freud

Links to other Sites

HOMILIUS, Gottfried August (BBKL) [German]

Gottfried August Homilius (St Martin Chamber Choir)

Bibliography

 

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Last update: ýJune 28, 2014 ý01:01:51