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Daniel Vetter (Composer)

Born: 1657-8 - Breslau [now Wrocław]
Died: February 7, 1721 - Leipzig, Saxony. Germany

Daniel Vetter was a German organist and composer. He was a student in Leipzig from 1678. In 1679 he was chosen to succeed his teacher, Werner Fabricius, as organist of the Nikolaikirche, and he assumed the post on 11 August 1679, remaining there until his death.

Daniel Vetter's Musicalische Kirch- und Hauss-Ergötzlichkeit (1709-1713) was apparently the first collection of organ pieces by a Leipzig organist published in over a century. In it, well-known chorale melodies are presented in simple four-part harmonizations intended for the organ. Most of the settings are followed by a variation in broken style to be played on a spinet or clavichord. Although these pieces have been severely criticized by modern writers as primitive, the appearance of a second part suggests they were popular in their time.

The collection provides evidence of the Leipzig chorale tradition inherited by J.S. Bach. It is also of some importance in the history of the Lutheran chorale: D. Vetter significantly advanced the trend towards the prevailing use of even note-values in chorale melodies. One of the four hymn tunes appearing here for the first time, Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben, which Vetter composed in 1695, was appropriated by J.S. Bach (BWV 8).

Daniel Vetter composed at least two cycles of church cantatas for the liturgical year as well as many occasional works. A humorous wedding cantata of 1698, for which Vetter created both the libretto and the music (now lost), ‘A Debate … on the Propriety of a Bachelor’s Marrying a Widow’, is an early example of the genre later perfected in J.S. Bach’s ‘Peasant’ (BWV 212) and ‘Coffee’ (BWV 211) cantatas.


Der Gutte Muth des … Herrn Joh. von Guttsmuths, S, 2 vn, 2 va, vle, bc (?Leipzig, after 1675), wedding aria
Musicalische Kirch- und Hauss-Ergötzlichkeit, org, clvd, i (
Leipzig, 1709/R); ii (Leipzig, 1713/R)
1 German cantata, D-Bsb; 2 German cantatas, Dlb; funeral motet on the death of
Johann Schelle, Dlb
Lost works: over 2 annual cycles of church cantatas, formerly in Jacobikirche, Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland), see Freytag, and Krummacher (1965), 186; wedding cantata, 1698


Source: Grove Music Online, © Oxford University Press 2006, acc. 5/11/06 (Author: Robert L. Marshall)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (May 2006)

Works previously attributed to J.S. Bach

Chorale Du Friedefuerst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV Anh 201
Chorale Gott hat das Evangelium, BWV Anh 202
Chorale Ich hebe meine Augen auf, BWV Anh 203
Chorale O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid, BWV Anh 204

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 290

Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben



Links to other Sites



EitnerQ | FrotscherG | WinterfeldEK, iii | ZahnM
R. Vollhardt: Geschichte der Cantoren und Organisten von den Städten im Königreich Sachsen (Berlin, 1899), 179; rev. 2/1978 by E. Stimme
R. Wustmann: ‘Konnte Bachs Gemeinde bei seinen einfachen Choralsätzen mitsingen?’, BJb 1909, 102–28
R. Wustmann: ‘Vom Rhythmus des evangelischen Chorals’, BJb 1910, 86–102
A. Schering: Musikgeschichte Leipzigs, ii: Von 1650 bis 1723 (
Leipzig, 1926/R)
W. Freytag: Musikgeschichte der Stadt Stettin im 18. Jahrhundert (Greifswald, 1936)
F. Krummacher: ‘Zur Sammlung Jacobi der ehemaligen Fürstenschule Grimma’, Mf, xvi (1963), 324–47
W. Neumann and H.-J. Schulze, eds.: Bach-Dokumente, i: Schriftstücke von der Hand Johann Sebastian Bachs (
Kassel, 1963)
F. Krummacher: Die Überlieferung der Choralbearbeitungen in der frühen evangelischen Kantate (Berlin, 1965)
W. Neumann and H.-J. Schulze, eds.: Bach-Dokumente, ii: Fremdschriftliche und gedruckte Dokumente (
Kassel, 1969)
D.P. Walker and P Walker: German Sacred Polyphonic Vocal Music between Schütz and Bach (Warren, MI, 1992)

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