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Hans Kotter (Composer)

Born: c1480 (or c1485) - Strassburg
Died: 1541 - Berne, Switzerland

The German/Swiss organist and composer, Hans Kotter, studied with Paul Hofhaimer from 1498 to 1500. He was was organist at the Saxon court at Torgau until 1508, and then held posts at Freiburg im Breisgau and Fribourg (Switzerland). As a Protestant he was imprisond, tortured and exiled in 1522. At the instance of the Strassburg oouncil he obtained his freedom in 1530. He went to Berne c1532; but, as the Reformation had banished all church organs, the only employment he oould find was that of a schoolmaster (from 1534). He remained at Berne undil his death, except for a few fruitless journeys to obtain a more suitable position.

The organ-book in tablature written by Hans Kotter for Bonifazius Amerbach in 1513, now in the University library, Basle, is one of the oldest monuments of the German school of organ-playing. He wrote also a second organ book (1522?) without name of author. These organ-books contain the first German dances for organ, transcriptions of pieces by Hofhaimer, Josquin, Heinrich Isaac and others, and ten preludes of his own in a not entirely idiomatic style. The earliest extant organ setting of a Protestant chorale is an intabulation of Aus tiefer Not by Hans Kotter. No other Protestant organ chorales are known from the first half of the 16th century and only isolated examples from the 1560s. He also wrote a Salve Regina a 3 v. for organ (in the same library) (Riemann, Q.-L.).

Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition); HOASM Wewbsite
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2006), Thomas Braatz (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Aus tiefer Not, the earliest extant organ setting of a Protestant chorale

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

Links to other Sites

HOASM: Hans Kotter

Naxos: Hans Kotter



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Last update: ýFebruary 19, 2006 ý08:18:52