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Leonard Lechner (Composer)

Born: 1553 - Etschthal, Austrian Tyrol
Died: September 9, 1606 - Würtemberg, Germany

Leonard [Leonhard] Lechner was an Austrian composer of the school of Orlando di Lasso.


From Leonard Lechner's birthplace comes the designation Atheainus, which he usually appended to his name. He was brought up as a chorister in the Bavarian court chapel at Munich under Orlando di Lasso, of whose works he always remained an ardent admirer. In 1570 he held some post as schoolmaster in Nuremberg, and while still there began to be known as a diligent composer of motets and German songs in the madrigal or villanella. style, also as editor of various collections of music. Thus in 1579 he introduced some degree of order into the chaos of the frequent republications of earlier works of di Lasso, by bringing out, evidently in concert with the composer himself, a revised and enlarged edition of his two books of motets of 1568, one a 4 and 5, the other a 6-10, incorporating more of di Lasso's earlier work of the same kind. In 1581 he brought out a book of five previously unpublished masses by di Lasso; and in 1583 a collection entitled Harmoniae miscellae, containing motets a 5 and 6, mostly by composers connected at one time or another with the Bavarian chapel. Dehn in his Sammlung aelterer Musik, published a selection from this latter work, including a good motet by Lechner himself, Ne intres in judicium.

In 1584 (or 1583), probably on the recommendation of Orlando di Lasso, Leonard Lechner was appointed Kapellmeister at Hechingen to Count Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern, but suddenly gave up his post in 1585, without any ostensible reason. Religion may have been the determining motive, as we know that he was succeeded at Hechingen by Ferdinand Lassus, the son of Orlando di Lasso; and it was also in 1585 that Orlando dedicated to Count Eitel Friedrlch a book of motets, and meanwhile Lechner, after an unsuccessful application for the post of Kapellmeister at Dresden to the then Lutheran court of Saxony, in 1587 became Kapellmeister at Stuttgart to the court of Würtemberg, where he remained till his death. It would almost appear as if he continued to cherish a hankering after the Saxon court, and endeavoured to keep up some relation with ii, since his last work was the composition of a wedding-motet (Laudate Dominum, forr fifteen voices) for the marriage of the Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony.


A product of The Orlando di Lasso school, Leonard Lechner developed a new kind of German song motet and was the first to set a complete cycle of German poems. The majority of his work is vocal and was widely known in his day. Besides his editorial work already referred to, Lechner's own works may be summarised as follows:

1. Two books of Mottetas or Sacrae cantiones a 4-6, containing 86 numberss (1575, 1581).
2. Liber Missarum 6 et 5 voc. (1584), containing 3 masses ans 10 introits..
3. Magnificat sec. Octo tonos (1578), 8 numbers.
4. Septem Psalmi Poenitentiales, etc., 6 v. (1587).
5. Various collections of Teutsche Lieder, geistliche und westliche a 3, 4 and 5 (1585-1589).

F. Commer, in his volume of Geistliche und weltliche Lieder, republished four good specimens of Lechner's work: two geistliche Lieder, Christ ist erstanden, a 4, and Herr Jesu Christ dir lebe ich, a 5; two weltliche, Wol komt der Mey, a 4, and Will uns das Meidlein nimmer han, a 5. Also in the Publikation der Geaellschaft für Musikforschung, Bd. xix. (1895), Eitner has republished Lechner's lieder (1579), containing his rearrangement, a 5, of 21 Lieder a 3, from Regnart's Tricinia, and three Italian madrigals of Lechner's own. See also D.D.T. (2nd series), vol. v. 1.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition; Author: J.R. Milne); All Music Guide Website (Author: Lynn Vought)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Christ ist erstanden, 4-pt. setting

Christ ist erstanden


Links to other Sites

Leonard Lechner - Biography (AMG)




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