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Johann Heinrich Scheidemann (Composer)

Born: 1595 - Wöhrden (Süderdithmarschen), Holstein
Died: September 26, 1663 - Hamburg, Germany

Johann Heinrich Scheidemann was one of the leading organ composers of the early to mid seventeenth century; as a founder of the north German organ school, he was an important predecessor of Dietrich Buxtehude and J.S. Bach. From 1611 to 1614, Scheidemann studied in Amsterdam with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. It's not clear what he did during the ensuing decade, but perhaps as early as 1625 he was serving as organist at St. Kathrinen in Hamburg. He remained in this position until he died of the plague in 1663.

Hamburg was a vibrant musical city and would remain so at least through the time of Telemann. Scheidemann maintained good relations with his colleagues in the city, made substantial money as church organist, and had his church's instrument enlarged in the mid-1630's; this was about the time he was developing a reputation as an expert on organs themeselves, as well as an able composer, performer, and teacher.

Scheidemann's compositions circulated widely; he wrote almost exclusively for the organ, although he also produced a few harpsichord pieces and very few songs. His organ works combine Sweelinck's interest in virtuoso figuration with more traditional polyphony, all carefully adapted to the resources of the north German Baroque organ. Sweelinck's influence is strongest in Scheidemann's most admired works, his chorale arrangments, with their flowing, minimally embellished use of the cantus firmus in one part while more complex things go on around it. Scheidemann's own innovations included the monodic organ chorale, which was essentially the organ version of the solo song with continuo accompaniment, and the virtuosic chorale fantasia. Many of Scheidemann's chorale preludes have such extensive fugues in the middle that they point the way to the prelude and fugue form that would reach its pinnacle in the works of Bach. Scheidemann's harpsichord music tends to be less innovative, more beholden to the florid variations of Sweelinck, although he also employed more homophonic dance forms that would characterize much of Bach's harpsichord music.


Source: All Music Guide Website (by James Reel)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Ach Gott, Von Himmel Sieh Darein, Chorale for Organ

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

Christ lag in Todesbanden, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Christ lag in Todesbanden

Durch Adams Fall Ist Ganz Verderbt, Chorale for Organ

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, for Organ

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn, 2 Chorale Preludes for Organ (one of these is marked anonymous, but it probably by Scheidemann nevertheless)

Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn

Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

3 Chorale Preludes for Organ (the KN numbers are those given to them by the library of Lüneburg where they are located now):
Vater unser im Himmelreich I (KN 207-17, 2)
Vater unser im Himmelreich II (KN 208-1)
Vater unser im Himmelreich III (KN 208-2)

Vater unser im Himmelreich

Links to other Sites

Johann Heinrich Scheidemann (AMG)




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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 16:21