Thomas Selle

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Thomas Selle

Thomas Selle (23 March 1599 2 July 1663) was a seventeenth-century German baroque composer.



Selle was born in Zörbig but received his first instruction in 1622 in Leipzig where he was a pupil of Johann Hermann Schein. It was around this time that he encountered the works of Thomaskantor Sethus Calvisius. Selle was cantor in Heide (Holstein) in 1624 and in 1625 in nearby Wesselburen. From 1634 he was cantor in Itzehoe and from 1641 Music Director at the Johanneum of the four main churches of Hamburg; from 1642 as well as minor canon at St Mary's. While in Hamburg, he premiered his Passion nach dem Evangelisten Johannes, which garnered favorable reviews. He died in Hamburg after serving 22 years in his position as music director.


Selle's contributions to the German Passion tradition include his use of intermedia, which are poly-choral motets that are interspersed within the Passion story to summarize and comment on the narrative. These were the first non-gospel texts that were included as part of the Passion tradition. Selle himself allowed for the removal of these intermedia to accommodate more conservative churches. [1]



Theoretical works


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  1. Duff, Robert Paul David, "The Baroque Oratorio Passion", DMA diss., University of Southern California, 2000