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Adam Nicolaus Strungk (Composer)

Born: Novembe 1640 - Celle, Saxony, Germany
Died: September 23, 1700 - Dresden, Germany

Nicolaus Adam Strungk [Strunck] was a German violinist, organist and composer. He studied music with his father, the organist and composer Delphin Strungk (1601-1694), and at the age of 12 was acting as organist at the Magnuskirche, Brunswick. Later he entered Helmstadt University, and worked there for some years, taking violin lessons in the vacations from Schnittelbach of Lübeck. In 1660 he was appointed first violin in the Wolfenbüttel Hofkapelle, but changed subsequently to a similar post at Celle, with a yearly salary of 200 thalers. In 1665 he joined the Hofkapelle of the Elector Johann Friedrich of Hannover.

About this time he paid his first visit to Vienna, and played the violin before the Emperor Leopold I. In 1678 he was appointed director of music in Hamburg, where a great effort was being made to foster German musical talent, long overshadowed by Italian influences. There he wrote and produced many operas: Der glückselig-steigende Sejanus, and Derunglücklich.fallende Sejanus in 1678, the German libretto by Christoph Richter being adapted from the Italian of Nicola Minato; Esther, Die drei Tochter Cecrops, Doris and Alceste in 1680; Theseus, Semiramis and Floretto in 1683.

Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg, when visitng Hamburg, tried to secure Nicolaus Adam Strungk's services as Kapellmeister, but this was not allowed, Hannover having a prior claim. The Elector Ernst August appointed Strungk chamber organist, and presented him to a canonry at Einbeck, and eventually Strungk accompanied him to Italy and remained there some time. It was at Rome that the meeting between Strungk and Arcangelo Corelli took place, so graphically described by Hawkins (edited 1875, volume ii. p. 676). Strungk again visited Vienna, this time playing on the clavier before the Emperor with much success. From 1682 to 1686 he remained a member of the Hannover Hofkapelle, but on January 26, 1688, Johann Georg II of Saxony appointed him Kammerorganist and vice-Kapellmeister to the Dresden Hofkapelle, with a salary of 500 thaler. He was the successor of Carlo Pallavicini. who died on January 29, leaving an unfinished opera which Strungk was asked to complete. The libretto was by Pallavicini's son, Stefano. Strungk apparently contributed the music to the third act, and the opera, L' Antiope, was performed four times in February 1689, at Dresden. Strungk seems to have suffered at Dresden from the usual friction between the Italian and German musicians, although the Germans were gradually gaining the upper hand, for on March 30, 1688, Elector Johann Georg III was appealed to because the Italians refused to join in any performance of Strungk's compositions, and would only acknowledge his authority when Bernhard the Kapellmeister was absent through illness. This resulted in the dismissal of the ringleader Fedeli in the following September.Bernhard died on November 14, 1692, and was succeeded by Strungk, who composed some music in his memory.

On June 13, 1692, Nicolaus Adam Strungk obtained permission from Johann Georg IV of Saxony to found an opera-house in Leipzig. With the aid of two associates, Glaser and Sartorio, an architect, the work was put in hand in March 1693, and a theatre of wood was erected in the Brühl, at a cost of 10,000 thaler. It was opened on May 8, 1693, with Strungk's opera Alceste; the German libretto by Paul Thiemich was adapted from the original Italian of Aurelio Aureli. A contemporary chronicle (Leipzigisches Geschicht-Buch, 1714, p. 883) narrates that pictured announcements were suspended in the streets of Leipzig, giving a description of the opera, and the time of its performance. Johann Georg IV came from Dresden to be present at the opening performance. In 1693 Strungk's opera Nero was also given, and his Agrippina in 1699. Strungk was financially much embarrassed by his Leipzig undertaking, although he retained his Dresden post and salary until 1697, when he retired with a pension. His daughters Philippine and Elisabeth were two of the principal singers in the Leipzig theatre from 1705 to 1709.


Nicolaus Adam Strungk wrote many operas, an oratorio, keyboard and chamber music. In a letter to Forkel, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach named Strungk as a composer whose works his father, J.S. Bach, had admired. Very little of Strungk's music is known at the present day, and it nearly all remains in MS. He composed a Ricercar auf den Tod seiner Mutter, verfertiget zu Venedig am 20. Dec. 1685, also Die Auferstehung Jesu, first performed on April 21, 1688; and he published at Dresden in 1691:

Musikalische Übung auf der Violin oder Viola da gamba, st Wohl zur Ehre Gottes als menschlicher Ergötzlichkeit bestenhend, in etlichen Sonaten über die Pestesänge, dann aucb etliche Ciaconen mit zwel Violinen.

A selection of his opera airs was published in Hamburg, 1684:

Ein hundert auaerlesene Arien zweyer Hamburgischen Operen, Semiramis und Esther. Mit beigefügten Ritornellen.

A MS copy is in the Königsberg Library as well as some MS Choralvorspiele also attributed to Strungk, although they may be the work of his father, Delphin Strungk (see Müller's Catalogue). MS copies of a sonata for two violins and viola da gamba, and a sonata for six strings, are in the Upsala. Library. Various MSS are also in the Berlin and Dresden Libraries, and in the Wolfenbüttel Library, MS 253 Les Aires avec les Flauts douces pour son Altesse Serenme monseigneur le Prince Ludwig Rudolf, Duc de Bruns. et Lüneburg, containing ten numbers, chiefly dances.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition, Author: Miss C. Steiner); Sojurn Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2008)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Canzona on Christ ist erstanden, attributed to Georg (von) Reutter (i), probably by N. A. Strungk

Christ ist erstanden

Es woll uns Gott gnädig sein for Soprano, Tenor, Bass , 2 Violins, Viola, Bassoon and Organ

Es woll uns Gott genädig sein

Links to other Sites

Strungk, Nicolaus Adam: Biography (Sojurn)
Artist Profile for Nicolaus Adam Strungk (WindowsMedia)

Nicolaus Adam Strungk (German composer) (Britannica Online)



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