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Johann Samuel Welter (Composer)

Born: August 27, 1650 - Obersontheim, Germany
Died: July 27 (or 28), 1720 - Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

Johann Samuel Welter [Welther] was a German composer.

Johann Samuel Welter was a son of an organist and a forest master. He started his musical education at age of nine with instruction in singing and violin playing. He studied at the Gymnasium in Schwäbisch Hall; afterwards learned with his brother, Johann Welter, who was "City Musician" and Posaunist working in Nürnberg. In 1668 he was probably appointed as organist and Kanzlist in the service of the Count Joachim Albrecht von Hohenlohe-Kirchberg, who was known as "great lover of the music". The first well-known compositions of Welter were created in Kirchberg: in 1674 Musicalische Gemüthsbelustigung was published in Schwäbisch Hall . He seems to have already made himself a name there, because in 1675, although still a young musician, he was appointed as the organist of the Hauptkirche St. Michael and thus as the successor to the deceased George Wolfgang Truckenmueller, who had acquired himself likewise high reputation as musician and a composer. He served in this post for 45 years, until his death on July 28, 1720 at the age of 70 years from "stomach weakness". From three marriages he had had 16 children, from whom however only five outlived him.

The Reichsstadt Swabian Hall during Johann Samuel Welter's time had recovered slowly from the afflicting of the Thirty Years war, and active music life had developed. The city council had a lively interest in the promotion of sacred music. Welter's major task was the musical arrangement of the services. Besides he had to supervise the pupil choir of the Gymnasium and to give music instruction to particularly talented boys. Part of his tasks was also the preparation of compositions. Altogether Welter left about 400 works, most of them were lost. The 1993 published work edition contains still 11 cantatas, two Magnificats and 11 church songs. They draw only fragmentary picture of the work of a musician, who acquired himself in his time a reputation extending far beyond the region, rejecting honorable appointments to Berlin, Frankfurt/Main, Augsburg and Coburg. Music historians consider him today as one the most important chorale composers between Hieronymus Praetorius and J.S. Bach.

Source: German Wikipedia Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (February 2006)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Cantata Herr wie du willst so schick's mit mir for 2 Sopranos, A, T, B, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Violone, bc.-Organo

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (II)

Herr Jesu Christ du höchstes Gut Cantata for SATB, 2 violins, 2 violas da gamba, violone, bc.-organo

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Cantata: Jesu meine Freude for C(anto)., A., T., B., 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, (Violone), bc.-Organ

Jesu, meine Freude

Cantata Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten for C., A., T., B., 2 Violins, 2 Va. da gamba, Violone, Bc-Organo

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten

Links to other Sites

Johann Samuel Welter (Wikipedia) [German]



Andreas Traub (Hrsg.): Johann Samuel Welter (1650-1720): Das geistliche Werk. Kantaten, Magnificat, Kirchenlieder (Denkmäler der Musik in Baden-Württemberg, Bd. 1), München 1993, ISBN 3921946409

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