Melchior Hoffmann (composer)

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Melchior Hoffmann
Traversa part of Melchior Hoffmann's 1707 magnificat.jpg
Early 18th-century manuscript copy, likely written by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, of the "Traversa" part of Hoffmann's c.1707 Magnificat in A minor (BWV Anh.  21, formerly attributed to Bach). [1]
Born1679 (1679)
Died1715 (aged 3536)
Other namesGeorg Melchior Hoffmann
Spouse(s)Margaretha Elisabeth Philipp

Georg Melchior Hoffmann (c. 1679 – 6 October 1715) was a Baroque composer who was influential as the leader at the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig. His compositions have been mistaken for those of Johann Sebastian Bach.



Hoffman was born sometime around 1679 (or 1685 according to some sources) in Bärenstein, Saxony, Germany. [2] His first musical service was as a choirboy in Dresden, under the tutelage of Johann Christoph Schmidt. [2] In 1702 he moved to Leipzig to study law. Simultaneously he joined Georg Philipp Telemann at the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig [2] and acted as the organization's copyist. [3] Hoffmann succeeded Telemann as director of the Collegium Musicum in 1705, a position that did not end until Hoffman's death ten years later. [4] In this position he became an educator, [5] and his students included Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. [4] He was noted for expanding the orchestra at the Collegium to more than 40 musicians. [6] Other responsibilities included being the organist at the Neukirche, and director of the Leipzig civic opera, for which he composed several works. He is known to have journeyed to England sometime around the years 1709-1710. In 1713 he began to suffer from the malady which would eventually prove fatal. [2] He accepted a position as the organist at the Liebfrauenkirche at Halle in the spring of 1714, but resigned July 12 of that year having never served in that capacity. [2] He married Margaretha Elisabeth Philipp on 9 September 1714. [2] He succumbed to illness, in otherwise prosperous circumstances, on 6 October 1715. [2]


Hoffmann's compositions have been mistaken for the work of J. S. Bach. Research has indicated that an aria for alto, Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53, and the solo cantata for tenor, Meine Seele rühmt und preist, BWV 189, [7] are likely works by Hoffmann, and of more positive identification is a Magnificat in A minor for solo soprano and small group, which during the 19th century was assigned a BWV number of BWV Anh. 21. [4] He has been sometimes confused with composer Johann Georg Hoffmann  [], although there is no relation. [2] None of his operas survive, but contemporary reviews indicate they were well received. [6] He has been identified as the first composer to use bells in a serious manner. [8]

Sacred music

Kyrie–Gloria Masses:


Magnificats and church cantatas:

Secular music

Arias and Operas:

Cantatas (at least in part based on operas):


Trio sonata:


Joshua Rifkin has identified Hoffman's style as having "freshness and charm" while noting the "occasional melodic angularity". [4]


German Magnificat in A minor
See Magnificat in A minor (Hoffmann) § Recordings
Meine Seele rühmt und preist
See Meine Seele rühmt und preist, BWV 189 § Recordings
Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde
See Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53 § Recordings
  • "Schlaf, Scandon, schlaf", "Schöne Mädgen bringen Schwäger" and "Wenn die Mütter erst erfahren" recorded by the United Continuo Ensemble in 2010. [99]
Echo und Narcissus
  • "Ach, komm und eile" and "Frische Blätter, grüne Zweige" recorded by the United Continuo Ensemble in 2010. [99]
Ismenie und Montaldo
  • "Verlass mich nicht, mein liebstes Leben" recorded by the United Continuo Ensemble in 2010. [99]
Rhea Sylvia
  • "Ich will euch küssen" recorded by the United Continuo Ensemble in 2010. [99]

Related Research Articles

The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis is a catalogue of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was first published in 1950, edited by Wolfgang Schmieder. The catalogue's second edition appeared in 1990. An abbreviated version of that second edition, known as BWV2a, was published in 1998.

The year 1723 in music involved some significant events.

<i>Meine Seel erhebt den Herren</i>, BWV 10 Church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

In 1724 Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV 10, as part of his second cantata cycle. Taken from Martin Luther's German translation of the Magnificat canticle, the title translates as "My soul magnifies the Lord". Also known as Bach's German Magnificat, the work follows his chorale cantata format.

Throughout his life as a musician, Johann Sebastian Bach composed cantatas for both secular and sacred use. His church cantatas are cantatas which he composed for use in the Lutheran church, mainly intended for the occasions of the liturgical year.

<i>Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele</i>, BWV 69

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69, also BWV 69.2, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.

<i>Christus, der ist mein Leben</i>, BWV 95

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 95 in Leipzig for the 16th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 12 September 1723.

<i>Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde</i>, BWV 53

Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53, is an aria for alto, bells, strings and continuo. It was likely composed in the early 18th century, although its date of first performance is unknown. From the second half of the 18th century until the early 1950s the aria was attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. In 1955, it was suggested by the Bach scholar Karl Anton that the aria's composer was more likely to be a member of Melchior Hoffmann's circle.

Ich weiß, daß mein Erlöser lebt, TWV 1:877, BWV 160, is a church cantata composed around 1725 by Georg Philipp Telemann for Easter Sunday, formerly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach.

Meine Seele rühmt und preist, BWV 189, is a church cantata credited to Johann Sebastian Bach and Melchior Hoffmann.

Meine Seele erhebt den Herren is Martin Luther's German translation of the Magnificat.

The Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis, abbreviated TWV, is the numbering system identifying compositions by Georg Philipp Telemann, published by musicologist Martin Ruhnke.

Johann Sebastian Bach worked at the ducal court in Weimar from 1708 to 1717. The composition of cantatas for the Schlosskirche on a regular monthly basis started with his promotion to Konzertmeister in March 1714.

Church cantatas of Bachs third to fifth year in Leipzig

On Trinity Sunday 27 May 1725 Johann Sebastian Bach had presented the last cantata of his second cantata cycle, the cycle which coincided with his second year in Leipzig. As director musices of the principal churches in Leipzig he presented a variety of cantatas over the next three years. New cantatas for occasions of the liturgical year composed in this period, except for a few in the chorale cantata format, are known as Bach's third cantata cycle. His next cycle of church cantatas, the Picander cycle, did not start before St. John's Day 24 June 1728.

Magnificat in A minor (Hoffmann) Vocal composition by Melchior Hoffmann of the Song of Mary from the Gospel of Luke

The Magnificat in A minor, BWV Anh. 21, TWV 1:1748, is Melchior Hoffmann's musical setting of a German version of the Song of Mary from the Gospel of Luke. The composition originated around 1707, when the composer was director musices and organist of the Neue Kirche in Leipzig. Composed in A minor, the Magnificat is scored for soprano and small orchestra. The work was first published in the 1950s, and it was recorded by Magda László, by Joshua Rifkin, by Wolfgang Helbich, and by Deborah York, among others.

<i>Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen</i> Church cantata by Georg Philipp Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann composed the church cantata Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen, TWV 1:884, for bass, violin and continuo for the 21st Sunday after Trinity. He used a text by Erdmann Neumeister.


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  56. RISM   250005392
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  65. RISM   190002821; RISM   250004840
  66. RISM   190002822
  67. RISM   250004843
  68. RISM   225005249
  69. RISM   225005250
  70. RISM   190002824
  71. RISM   250004842
  72. RISM   190002825
  73. RISM   225005208
  74. RISM   225005221
  75. RISM   225005258
  76. RISM   225005207
  77. RISM   225005244
  78. RISM   225005205
  79. RISM   225005206
  80. RISM   225005263
  81. RISM   250004824
  82. RISM   250004821
  83. RISM   225005241
  84. RISM   225005209
  85. RISM   455036236
  86. RISM   455036238
  87. RISM   250004828
  88. RISM   250004830
  89. RISM   250004829; RISM   455036237
  90. RISM   250004968
  91. RISM   455030858
  92. RISM   250004969
  93. RISM   250004966
  94. RISM   250004970
  95. Horn Concerto in E-flat major : Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  96. RISM   210044722
  97. Trio Sonata in G minor : Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  98. RISM   210044723
  99. 1 2 3 4 Telemann and the Leipzig Opera: Popular Arias from the Collection Musicalische Rüstkammer at Muziekweb website


Further reading