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Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

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8 Sonatas à 4 in F majorConcerto for Oboe and Violin in F majorLiebster Jesu deine Liebe findet ihresgleichen nichtSonata a 4 in F major, IGS 168Trio Sonata in C minor

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8 Sonatas à 4 in F major

Parts for: Violin

Ach was soll ich Sünder machen, H.366Alles was ihr tut mit Worten oder mit WerkenConcerto Grosso a Quattro ChoriDie da reich werden wollen, H.308Gottfried Heinrich StölzelHerr lehre doch mich daß es ein Ende, H.310Ich will wiederkommen, H.331Jesus, als der für das verlohrne Schäflein leidende und sterbende Gute HirteSeid barmherzig wie auch euer Vater barmherzig ist, H.318Was betrübst du dich meine Seele
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (13 January 1690 in Grünstädtel [de] – 27 November 1749 in Gotha) was a prolific German composer of the Baroque era. Stölzel was an accomplished German stylist who wrote a good many of the poetic texts for his vocal works.
Stölzel was born in Grünstädtel, in the Erzgebirge, on 13 January 1690. His father, organist in Grünstädtel, gave him his first music education. When he was thirteen, he was sent to study in Schneeberg, where he was taught music, including thoroughbass, by cantor Christian Umlaufft, a former student of Johann Kuhnau. A few years later he was admitted to the gymnasium in Gera, where he further practiced music under Emanuel Kegel, the director of the court chapel. Some of his educators took a dim view of music, and tried to divert his attention from it: apart from engaging in poetry and oratory, Stölzel nonetheless continued to develop his interest in music.
In 1707 he became a student of theology in Leipzig. The city had a lot to offer from a musical point of view: its opera had been reopened shortly before, which Stölzel liked to visit. He became acquainted with Melchior Hoffmann, at the time music director of the Neukirche and conductor of the Collegium Musicum, both in succession of Georg Philipp Telemann, who had left Leipzig in 1705. Perfecting his art under Hoffmann, Stölzel also acted as his copyist, and started composing: initially Hoffmann performed these compositions as his own, Stölzel gradually coming to the open as their composer.
In 1710 Stölzel went to Breslau in Silesia, where his first opera, Narcissus, on his own libretto, was performed in 1711. Returning to Halle after over two years in Silesia, he composed the operas Valeria, instigated by Johann Theile, for Naumburg, and Rosen und Dornen der Liebe for Gera. In 1713 he composed two further operas on his own librettos, Artemisia and Orion, both premiered in Naumburg.
Late in 1713 he travelled to Italy, where he met composers like Johann David Heinichen and Antonio Vivaldi in Venice, Francesco Gasparini in Florence and Antonio Bononcini in Rome. Returning after more than a year, he spent some time in Innsbruck, and travelled over Linz to Prague where he worked for nearly three years (1715–17).
In 1715 the post of Kapellmeister at the court of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen became vacant. Stölzel applied, but Prince Christian William I promoted Johann Balthasar Christian Freißlich, the court organist, to Kapellmeister in 1716. Court musicians such as Johann Christoph Rödiger felt disappointed with their master's choice.
In Prague Stölzel premiered three more operas, several oratorios, masses, and many instrumental compositions. Stölzel was for a short time court Kapellmeister in Bayreuth (1717–18) and in Gera (1719). His opera Diomedes was premiered in 1718 in Bayreuth. Stölzel married with Christiana Dorothea Knauer on 25 May 1719. They had nine sons and one daughter. Three sons died at a young age.
On 24 November 1719 Stölzel assumed the position of Kapellmeister at the court in Gotha, where he worked under the dukes Frederick II and Frederick III of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg until his death in 1749.
Stölzel initiated several theoretical works about music, but only one of these was published during his lifetime: a treatise on the composition of canons, of which 400 copies were printed in 1725.
In 1720 Prince Günther I succeeded his father in Sondershausen. He too regretted his father's choice for the court Kapellmeister. He asked Stölzel to provide music for the court chapel. Stölzel did however not comply to this request until 1730, when Freißlich was leaving for Danzig (where he was appointed in 1731). Until Günther's death in 1740 Stölzel provided music for the Sondershausen court, which included four cycles of church cantatas, other sacred music, and secular music such as serenatas.
In 1739 Stölzel became a member of Lorenz Christoph Mizler's Society of Musical Sciences [de]. As a member of this Society he composed a cantata and wrote a treatise on the recitative, which was published as Abhandlung vom Recitativ in the 20th century.
The last two years of his life Stölzel suffered from ill health, becoming feeble-minded ("im Haupte schwach"). Some of Stölzel's manuscripts were sold to cover expenses. He died 27 November 1749, less than 60 years old. Mizler printed Stölzel's obituary as second of three (of which Johann Sebastian Bach's was the third), in the fourth volume of his Musikalische Bibliothek [de], the organ of the Society of Musical Sciences.
According to an 18th-century source Stölzel would have composed eight double cantata cycles.
Stölzel composed twelve complete annual cycles of sacred cantatas, which amounts to 1,358 cantatas. 1,215 of these are at least partially extant, 605 surviving with music. Additionally, Stölzel set cantatas to secular texts.
Among his extant compositions are a Brockes Passion of 1725, two Christmas Oratorios, made of cantatas, and a Deutsche Messe (German Mass), a Lutheran Mass consisting of Kyrie and Gloria, in German, set for four-part choir, strings and basso continuo. Extant instrumental works include four concerti grossi, many sinfonias, and a concerto for oboe d'amore. He also wrote for organ and harpsichord.
His five operas, Diomedes (1718), Narcissus, Valeria, Artemisia, and Orion, have not survived. Stölzel is reputed to have composed over 18 orchestral suites alone (none survive), as well as 90 serenatas (vocal pieces performed as "table music").
Half of Stölzel's output, never engraved, is lost. Out of what had to have been thousands of compositions in Gotha, only twelve manuscripts survive there today. The archive at Schloss Sondershausen retains many of his manuscripts, found in a box behind the organ in 1870.
In his catalogue published in 1976 Fritz Hennenberg numbered 442 of Stölzel's church cantatas and 27 of his secular cantatas as surviving with music. Hennenberg also numbered the cantata cycles, although some of his assumptions in that regard were later revised after further research. After the publication of Hennenberg's catalogue over 50 other extant church cantatas have been authenticated as Stölzel's.
In the listing below Hennenberg (H., also HenS) numbers are indicated where available. H. numbers can be preceded by "KK" (for church cantatas), "WK" (secular cantatas) or "apokr." (apocryphal composition with lyrics by Stölzel). "A", "B" and "C" respectively indicate cantatas surviving with music, cantatas surviving by their libretto exclusively and cantatas only known by their title. If there is no indicator between the "H." abbreviation and the number, then the number refers to a church cantata with extant music (e.g., H. 438 = H. KK A 438). Alternatively the sublist to which a cantata belongs can be indicated by a page number: e.g. HenS 438 p. 131 = H. KK A 438 and HenS 21 p. 160 = H. KK C 21.
Shortly after assuming his office in Gotha Stölzel wrote a cycle of six Christmas cantatas. Year cycles of church cantatas include:
From 1730 to 1745 Stölzel wrote six more cantata cycles, including:
Most of the sacred cantatas are for occasions of the liturgical year, although there are also church cantatas for other occasions such as birthday celebrations of his employer.
H. 1–297:
In some instances Hennenberg's numbering follows the sequence of cantatas in manuscripts conserved at the Berlin State Library (SBB). Digital facsimiles of such manuscripts are often available at the website of that library and at the IMSLP website. For example, from a collective manuscript containing 26 church cantatas:
From a composite manuscript containing 16 cantatas (copied c.1770):
From a series of 12 cantatas copied c.1750:
A series of 17 cantatas copied c.1760:
A series of 15 cantatas copied c.1760:
From a manuscript containing 14 pieces of church music:
Six birthday cantatas for Frederick III:
H. 397–442: 40370 of the Berlin State Library contains 51 cantatas of Stölzel's 10th cycle, 49 of which were written for the liturgical year 1737–38, and two more possibly for the liturgical year 1741-42:
Parodies are indicated with ",2" or ",3" after the H. WK A number:
16 cantatas for soprano and basso continuo:
According to the obituary published by Mizler Stölzel would have written around fourteen Passions and Christmas oratorios. Stölzel's librettos for his Passions and oratorios approach the cantata format: they are reflective in nature, and lack the dramatic-narrative component of, for instance, a sung Gospel reading.
Passion oratorios premiered on Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday:
Christmas oratorios:
Other oratorios (music lost):
Kyrie–Gloria masses (mass compositions consisting of a Kyrie and Gloria exclusively) and other settings of (parts of) the mass:
Other vocal church music:
Stölzel is known to have composed 18 operas (music almost entirely lost):
"Ja ihr angenehmsten Wangen" is an extant aria of the opera Berenice, possibly composed by Stölzel and premiered in Zeitz in 1713.
Composed in Gotha:
Restaged in Gotha:
Some compositions are alternatively indicated as opera or serenata (see also secular cantatas section above):
Several pieces of instrumental music, orchestral as well as chamber music, survived in Dresden, in what is known as "Schrank II" (book-case 2). Most of these manuscripts remained in Dresden and are conserved at the Saxon State and University Library (SLUB). This library made scans of Stölzel's scores available through their website.
Concerti grossi:
Concertos with soloists:
Eight sonatas in F major for oboe, horn, violin and continuo, from the manuscripts Mus.2450-Q-1 to Mus.2450-Q-5:
A similar sonata for oboe, horn, violin and continuo is kept in the library of the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles.
The manuscript Mus.2450-Q-6 contains a trio sonata:
Twelve trio sonatas in a collective manuscript by multiple scribes:
Two trio sonatas in a collective manuscript:
Three trio sonatas for violin, flute and harpsichord:
Three trio sonatas copied by "Copyist J. S. Bach I" (=Copyist Anon. 401):
Two trio sonatas for violin, flute and continuo:
From a manuscript conserved in the Czech Republic (CZ-Pnm XXXIV B 342):
Two trio sonatas for two flutes and continuo:
Two trio sonatas for flute, violin and continuo:
For harpsichord:
Stölzel enjoyed an outstanding reputation in his lifetime. Shortly after his death some of his compositions were still performed, and Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg rated him slightly above Bach in his list of prominent composers of the 18th century. By the 19th century he was largely forgotten. From the second half of the 20th century there was an increase of musicological research about the composer, and recordings of his work.
Before he settled in Gotha for the last thirty years of his life Stölzel had already seen his music performed from Germany to Italy. His operas had been staged in several major cities in the 1710s. His sacred music was performed from Catholic Prague to the Protestant German principalities. Even after his music production became concentrated on Gotha and Sondershausen, his music was still performed outside these places. One of his operas was performed in Altenburg in 1722, the Saitenspiel cantata cycle was performed under Johann Friedrich Fasch in Zerbst in 1724–25, and the first Passion he had composed for Gotha, and reworked around 1730, was taken up in several German cities:
Bach didn't only perform the work: around 1742–43 he reworked the aria "Dein Kreuz, o Bräutgam meiner Seelen" from Die leidende und am Kreuz sterbende Liebe Jesu into Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200. The music of this work had originally been believed to have been Bach's own.
Before that, Bach and his family had shown their interest in various genres of Stölzel's music:
Johann Mattheson reckoned Stölzel among "the level-headed, learned, and great music masters" of his century. Lorenz Christoph Mizler rated Stölzel as great as Johann Sebastian Bach.
Georg Benda, Stölzel's immediate successor at the court in Gotha, restaged church music of his predecessor, sometimes with score revisions, until 1768: Passion settings and many cantatas such as the 1728–29 double cantata cycle (restaged in the liturgical years 1752–53, 1763–64 and 1765–66) were included in such repeat performances. Stölzel's legacy was however disintegrating through sales of manuscripts, which court musicians had continued after the composer's death. In 1778 Benda wrote: "... Only the best works of my predecessor, which could be used even today for church music, are saved, because already a long time ago I separated them from useless junk and kept them in my own house."
Through Benda's neglect manuscripts of Stölzel's works in Gotha were lost. In Sondershausen Stölzel's works were copied, performed and conserved. Surprisingly Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf did not list any church cantatas by Stölzel in his catalogues of 1761, 1764 and 1770. Johann Kirnberger considered Stölzel to be one of the greatest contrapuntists, and illustrated his Die Kunst des reinen Satzes with music by Stölzel. C. P. E. Bach adopted several movements of Stölzel's Sechs geistlichen Betrachtungen des leidenden und sterbenden Jesus in his 1771 Lukas-Passion and his 1772 Johannes-Passion pasticcios. After C. P. E. Bach's death in 1788 three of Stölzel's cantata cycles were found in his legacy.
Reference works by Johann Adam Hiller (1784) and Ernst Ludwig Gerber (early 1790s) contain biographies of Stölzel. Hiller describes part of Stölzel's music production as "heard today and forgotten tomorrow": over-all light in spirit and, according to the standards of the time when these pieces originated, with pleasurable singing lines over a sparse instrumental accompaniment. Hiller qualifies Stölzel's choral music as full in texture and rich in harmony, and names the Canonic Mass in thirteen real voices and the German Te Deum as examples of Stölzel's accomplished style, fully mastering the composition of canons and fugues. Gerber largely repeats Hiller's biographical notes and judgement about Stölzel's music, adding descriptions of Stölzel's 1736 double cantata cycle and vocal chamber music, where the singing voice is treated as an instrumental part, in some passages rather an accompaniment than the leading voice. Gerber praises Stölzel for his art of composing recitatives and summarizes the content of the then still unpublished Abhandlung vom Recitative.
Georg Pölchau [de] collected manuscripts of Stölzel's music, many of these ending up in the Berlin State Library. Pölchau edited Stölzel's Missa canonica for thirteen real voices for publication in 1818. Pölchau offered a copy of this edition to Carl Friedrich Zelter, leader of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin. In 1832 Pölchau published a selection of Stölzel's choral music. In the first half of the 19th century one of Stölzel's masses was copied by Johann Gottfried Schicht, and, with the orchestral part arranged for organ by Carl Ferdinand Becker, performed in Leipzig. Becker also arranged some of Stölzel's music for organ solo.
The pieces from the Anna Magdalena and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach notebooks, "Bist du bei mir" and Partita di Signore Steltzeln, were published by the Bach Gesellschaft in the second half of the 19th century. Stölzel's solo cantata Die Rose bleibt der Blumen Königin was published in 1884. Arnold Schering published Stölzel's Concerto Grosso a quattro Chori in 1907. The aria BWV 200 was first published, as a composition by Johann Sebastian Bach, in 1935. The trio sonata in F minor for 2 violins or oboes and basso continuo was published in 1937. In 1938 Wolfgang Schmidt-Weiss wrote a thesis about Stölzel's instrumental music, which was published as a book in 1939.
The 1940s and 1950s saw a number of score publications:
The New Bach Edition republished the three Bach-related pieces in the second half of the 20th century. The Concerto for Oboe and Violin in F major was published in 1963. In the 1970s Jean Thilde published, in a series named after Maurice André, several compositions of the baroque era in an arrangement for trumpet, including, by Stölzel, the D major oboe concerto (1972), the F major double concerto (in 1975 with a piano reduction of the orchestral material and in 1976 with the orchestral score), a sonata in D major after the "Sonata V" for two violins (1976), a concertino in E minor (1976), a concerto in C (1976), and a concerto in B-flat (1976).
In 1965 Fritz Hennenberg wrote a two-volume thesis about Stölzel's cantatas. In 1976 an updated version of that thesis was published in one volume as Das Kantatenschaffen von Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. An Urtext edition of the G minor Oboe Concerto was published in 1979. The cantata Ich bin beide was published in 1981. Stölzel's O wie ist die Barmherzigkeit des Herrn so groß was published in 1989. Two sonatas, Nos. 3 and 4 of the eight sonatas à quattro for oboe, violin, horn and basso continuo collection, were published in 1993. Hofmeister published the fifth Sonata à Quattro for oboe, violin, horn and basso continuo in 2001.
Stölzel's Ave Regina, Sind wir denn Kinder, Ehre sei Gott, and a new edition of the 1725 cantata Kündlich groß ist das gottselige Geheimnis were published in 2003. Stölzel's 1725 setting of the Brockes-Passion was also published in the first decade of the 21st century. The 1772 St. John Passion pasticcio which included four movements by Stölzel was published as Vol. 7.1 in Series IV of C. P. E. Bach's complete works. The German Te Deum was published in 2010.
In the 21st century facsimiles of large portions of Stölzel's work became available on websites such as those of the Berlin State Library and the Saxon State and University Library Dresden.
The vocal music that was published as part of the Bach legacy is frequently recorded:
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau recorded the cantata Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu Dir, H. 442, in the early 1950s, and again, for Deutsche Grammophon, in 1965. Erik van Nevel, conducting the Ricercar Consort, recorded this cantata in 1991. Günter Wand recorded the Concerto grosso a quattro chori in 1956. Carl Schuricht's performance of the work at the Salzburger Festspiele was recorded in 1961.
Maurice André performed the D major Oboe Concerto as a trumpet concerto, and recorded it several times, for example in the 1960s for Philips, in 1977 with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Charles Mackerras, and in 1983 with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner. In 1971 he recorded Stölzel's Concerto Grosso a Quatri Chori with five other trumpetists, Pierre Pierlot on the oboe and the Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra conducted by Philippe Caillard. In 1980 André recorded the Sonata in D major, reconstructed and orchestrated by Thilde after Stölzel.
André Bernard's recording of the D major trumpet concerto appeared in 1973. The Ricercar Consort recorded and released the Sonata à 4 of the Brussels Conservatory in 1988.
Stölzel's Brockes Passion, in a performance conducted by Ludger Rémy, was recorded in 1997.
Rémy also recorded ten (half) cantatas from the Christmas season 1736–37 in Sondershausen, released as Christmas Oratorio on two CDs:
Rémy's recordings of the 16 chamber cantatas H. WK A 12–27 were released on two CDs, in 2002 and 2004 respectively.
C. P. E. Bach's 1772 Johannes-Passion pasticcio, containing some movements by Stölzel, was recorded in 2003.
Rémy's Cantatas for Pentecost CD was released in 2004, containing:
Two CDs recorded by the Handel's Company conducted by Rainer Johannes Homburg contained the Epistle cantatas and the Gospel cantatas of the 1728 Christmas Oratorio respectively, along with a selection of other works by Stölzel:
Rémy recorded the serenatas Alles, was sonst lieblich heisset (H. WK A 7) and Seid wilkommen, schöne Stunden (H. WK A 11) in 2007.
The first decade of the 21st century saw new recordings, and reissues of older recordings, of the Concerto grosso a quatro chori and of the Trumpet Concerto in D major. Lajos Lencsés recorded Stölzel's oboe concerto in G minor in 2008.
The nine Quadros (Sonatas à 4) for oboe, horn, violin and continuo were recorded in 2008. A recording of the version for two trumpets of the F major concerto was released in 2015.
Chamber music for string instruments and continuo was recorded in 2009:
The Partia di Signore Steltzeln has been recorded, with inclusion of Bach's Trio BWV 929, on harpsichord, piano and organ. The Enharmonische Claviersonate has been recorded on harpsichord.