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Erdmann Neumeister (Librettist)

Born: May 12, 1671 - Uichteritz, near Weißenfels, Saxony, Germany
Died: August 18, 1756 - Hamburg, Germany

Writer and theologian, Erdmann Neumeisterís importance to music history lies in his church cantata texts. He was also a theorist (he lectured on poetry at Leipzig University in 1695) and a pastor, at first for brief periods in minor posts in Saxony and Silesia, and finally for 40 years, from 1715, at the Jacobikirche, Hamburg.

Around 1695 Neumeister wrote his first cantata texts. They belong to the type common in the later 17th century, consisting of biblical verses, strophic arias, and, occasionally, single chorale strophes. In 1700 he published Geistliche Cantaten staff einer Kirchen-Music ('Sacred Cantatas in Place of Liturgical Music'), which consist only of recitatives and 'operatic' arias. The title suggests that Neumeister did not intend these as apt for performance during a normal service. It was only in cycles published in 1711 and 1714 and set by Telemann that Neumeister inserted biblical texts and chorales into his cantatas, thus mixing the forms of traditional German church music with those of contemporary Italian opera. But this mixture was already tried out at the Meiningen court in 1704. Thus, pace Philipp Spitta and many later writers, Neumeister was not the inventor of the type of cantata text so important for the further development of Protestant church music, although he was clearly influential in its adoption.

J.S. Bach set five of Neumeister's texts, two (BWV 18 and BWV 61) at Weimar, probably about 1714, and three (BWV 24, BWV 28, and BWV 59) during his Leipzig years. That Neumeister supported Bach's application for the post of organist at the Jacobikirche, Hamburg, in 1720 is suggested by the sarcastic comments he made, in one of his sermons, about the simony attached to the election.

Source: Oxford Composer Companion - J.S. Bach, edited by Malcolm Boyd (1999)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2003)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 18, BWV 24, BWV 28, BWV 59, BWV 61, BWV 81 (?), BWV 142, BWV 160, BWV 218, BWV 219, BWV 439, BWV Anh 1 (?), BWV Anh 156

Chorale Texts used in Bachís Vocal Works





Ach, daß nicht die letzte Stunde


Links to other Sites

Erdmann Neumeister (Cyber Hymnal)
Erdmann Neumeister (Heligenlexikon) [German]
Erdmann Neumeister (Deutsche Liebelyrik) [German]

NEUMEISTER, Erdmann (BBKL) [German]
Uichteritz-Der Ort an der Saale: Erdmann Neumeister [German]
Neumeister - Song Texts



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Last update: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 23:37