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Johann Hermann Schein (Composer, Hymn-Writer, Thomaskantor)

Born: January 20, 1586 - Grünhain, near Annaberg [now Annaberg-Bucholz], Sachsen (Saxony), Germany
Died: November 19, 1630 - Leipzig, Germany

Johann Hermann Schein was a German composer (and poet) of the early Baroque era. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music, and was one of the most polished composers of the period.

Life

Johann Hermann Schein was son of a minister and teacher. At the age of seven, when his father died, he moved with his family to Dresden, where within six years he joined the choir of the Elector of Saxony as a boy soprano. In addition to singing in the choir, he received a thorough musical training with Rogier Michael, the Kapellmeister, who recognized his extraordinary talent. He went on to study at the University of Leipzig (1603), from 1603 to 1607 he studied at Pforta (or Schupforta near Naumburg), and finally, from 1608 to 1612, attended again the University of Leipzig, where he studied law in addition to liberal arts.

Upon graduating, Johann Hermann Schein was employed briefly by Gottfried von Wolffersdorff as the house music director and tutor to his children. Due to his demonstrated abilities, he became later, in 1615, Kapellmeister at Weimar, and shortly thereafter became Kantor at the Thomasschule (and Thomaskirche) in Leipzig, a post which he held for the rest of his life. He preceded J.S. Bach in this post by more than a century.

Unlike his friend Heinrich Schütz, he was afflicted with poor health, and was not to live a happy or long life. His wife died in childbirth; four of his five children died in infancy. He died at age 44, having suffered from tuberculosis, gout, scurvy and a kidney disorder.

Style

Johann Hermann Schein was a gifted composer. He was one of the first composers to absorb the innovations of the Italian Baroque - monody, the concertato style, figured bass - and use them effectively in a German Lutheran church music. While Heinrich Schütz made more than one trip to Italy, Schein apparently spent his entire life in Germany, making his grasp of the Italianate style all the more amazing. His early concertato music seems to have been modeled on Viadana's Cento concerti ecclesiastici, which was available in an edition prepared in Germany.

Unlike Heinrich Schütz, who wrote only sacred music, Schein wrote sacred and secular music in approximate equal quantities, and almost all of it was vocal. In his secular vocal music he wrote all of his own texts. Throughout his life he published alternating collections of sacred and secular music, in accordance with an intention he stated early on - in the preface to the Banchetto musicale - to publish alternately music for use in worship and social gatherings. The contrast between the two kinds of music can be quite extreme: while some of his sacred music uses the most sophisticated techniques of the Italian madrigal for a devotional purpose, some of his secular collections include such things as drinking songs of a surprising simplicity and humor. Some of his works attain an expressive intensity matched in Germany only by those of Heinrich Schütz, for example the spectacular Fontana d'Israel or Israel's Brünnlein (1623), in which Schein declared his intent to exhaust the possibilities of German word-painting "in the style of the Italian madrigal."

Possibly his most famous collection was his only collection of instrumental music, the Banchetto musicale (Musical banquet) (1617) which contains 20 separate variation suites; they are among the earliest, and most perfect, representatives of the form. Most likely they were composed as dinner music for the courts of Weißenfels and Weimar, and were intended to be performed on viols. They consist of dances: a pavan-galliard (a normal early Baroque pair), a courante, and then an allemande-tripla. Each suite in the Banchetto is unified by mode as well as motivically.

Works

Sacred vocal
Cymbalum Sionium (1615)
Opella nova, geistlicher Concerten (1618)
Fontana d'Israel, Israelis Brünlein (1623)
Opella nova, ander Theil, geistlicher Concerten (1626)
Cantional oder Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession (1627, 1645)

Secular vocal
Venus Kräntzlein (1609)
Musica boscareccia (1621, and several portions published later)
Diletti pastorali, Hirten Lust (1624)
Studenten-Schmauss (1626)

Instrumental
Banchetto musicale (1617)

Source: Cyber Hymnal Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2003, February 2006), Thomas Braatz (September 2005)

Thomaskantors: Thomanerchor Leipzig | Gewandhausorchester Leipzig | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 156, BWV 293, BWV 295, BWV 296, BWV 377

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt

1628

321

Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt

1628

321

2383

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works

Title

Chorale Melody

Year

In the “Cantional oder Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession…,” 4–6 voices (Leipzig, 1627, enlarged 2/1645) [1627 or 1645] Ach Gott und Herr, a 4-pt. setting for SATB and bc (1627)

Ach Gott und Herr

1627/1645

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, cantata for 2 voices & continuo (Opella nova, Part 1, No. 19)

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

1618

Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein, hymn for 4 voices (& continuo) (Cantional...)

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

1627

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, cantata for 3 voices (SST) & continuo (Opella nova, Part 2, No. 3)

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

1626

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, hymn for 4 voices (SATB) & continuo (Cantional...) (1627)

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

1627

Ehr' sei Gott in der Höh' allein, motet for 10 voices (Cymbalum Sionium)

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (?)

1615

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Setting for SATB [bc]

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

1627

A setting of Auf meinen lieben Gott SATB, bc

Auf meinen lieben Gott

1627

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, SS, bc

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

1618

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, SATB [bc]

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

1627

Christ ist erstanden, SATB [bc]

Christ ist erstanden

1627

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, SATB [bc]

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam

1627

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, SS, 2 instruments, bc

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam

1618

Christum wir sollen loben schon, setting for SATB [bc]; A ii/1, 12

Christum wir sollen loben schon

1627

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, hymn for 4 voices (& continuo) (Cantio...)

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, cantata for 2 voices & continuo (Opella nova, Part 1, No. 26)

Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt

1618

Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem for 6 voices

Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem (Puer natus in Bethlehem)

Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag for SATB + bc

Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag

1627

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, Settiung for 2 sopranos, bc

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her

1618

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, Setting for SATB, bc

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her

1627

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, hymn for SATB [bc]

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

1627

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, Cantata for SST, bc (Opella nova, Part 1, No. 2)

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

1618

Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen for 2 Sopranos (parts) + bc

Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen

1626

Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen for SATB + bc

Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen

1627

Herr Christ der einig Gottes Sohn, SS, bc

Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn

1618

Herr Christ der einig Gotts Sohn, SATB [bc]

Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn

1627

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, SS, bc; A iv, 139, P v, 113

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir

1618

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, SATB [bc]; A ii/1, 76

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir

1627

Das Tedeum in 4 Chor und 2 Capellen ausgeteilet (“divided into 4 choirs of instruments and 2 vocal choirs”)

Herr Gott, dich loben wir [The German Tedeum]

1618

Herr Gott, dich loben wir, SATB [bc]

Herr Gott, dich loben wir [The German Tedeum]

1627

Rex Christe (1627) from a 4-pt. setting of the Latin hymn which is really Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht I

Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht

Ich lasse dich nicht, motet for 5 voices & continuo (Israelis Brünlein No. 4)

Ich laß dich nicht

1623

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, SATB [bc] A ii/1, 26

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset

1627

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, SST, bc

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

1618

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, S, 4 insts, bc

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

1626

Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn, hymn for SATB [bc]

Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn

1627

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, SATB [bc]

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin

1627

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, SS, bc

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin

1618

Herr, dein Ohren zu mir neige, motet for 4 voices (& continuo)

Mon Dieu preste moy l'aureille

1627

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, SATB [bc] (1627); A ii/1, 3

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

1627

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, SSATB [bc] (1627); A ii/1, 4

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

1627

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, SST, bc (1618); A iv, 3, P v, 1

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

1618

O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort, SATB [bc] (1627)

O Herre Gott, dein göttlich(s) Wort

1627

O Welt, ich muss dich lassen, SATB [bc]; A ii/2, 69

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen

1627

Vater unser im Himmelreich, cantata for 2 soprano voices & continuo (Opella nova, Part 1, No. 12); A iv, 60, P v, 52

Vater unser im Himmelreich

1618

Vater unser der du bist im Himmel, cantata for 2 voices, 5 voices, instruments & continuo (Opella nova, Part 2, No. 18)

Vater unser im Himmelreich

1618

Vater unser im Himmelreich, hymn for 4 voices (& continuo) (Cantional...); A ii/1, 86

Vater unser im Himmelreich

1627

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, SATB with bc

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen

1627

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz, SST, bc.

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz

1626

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz, SATB bc.

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz

1627

Was mein Gott will, das gscheh allzeit, hymn for 4 voices (& continuo), A II/2,55

Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit

1627

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist, SATB [bc; A ii/2, 59 (Schein may be using a different melody for this text)

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist

1627

Wir Christenleut habn itzund Freud a setting for SATB + bc

Wir Christenleut habn jetzund Freud

1627

Links to other Sites

Johann Hermann Schein (Cyber Hymnal)
HOASM: Johann Hermann Schein
Johann Hermann Schein, Biography, Discography (Goldberg)
Schein, Johann Hermann (1586 - 1630) (Karadar)
Baroque Composers - Johann Hermann Schein
San Francisco Bach Choir: Johann Hermann Schein

Johann Schein (Wikipedia)
Sxhein, Johann Hermann (BBKL) [German]
Johann Hermann Schein (Encyclopædia Britannica)
The Johann Hermann Schein Biography Page on Classic Cat
BJohann Hermann Schein: New Schein Edition
Heinrich-Schütz-Haus Bad Köstritz - Johann Hermann Schein

Bibliography

Manfred Bukofzer: Music in the Baroque Era (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1947). ISBN 0393097455
Article "Johann Hermann Schein," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vols. (London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980). ISBN 1561591742

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Last update: ýJuly 29, 2009 ý09:09:04