Thomas Selle

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Thomas Selle

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

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.



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.

Zörbig Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Zörbig  is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approximately 15 km west of Bitterfeld, and 20 km northeast of Halle (Saale). Zörbig is well known for its molasses made from sugar beets.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the German federal state of Saxony. With a population of 587,857 inhabitants as of 2018, it is Germany's eighth most populous city as well as the second most populous city in the area of former East Germany after (East) Berlin. Together with Halle (Saale), the largest city of the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt, the city forms the polycentric conurbation of Leipzig-Halle. Between the two cities lies Leipzig/Halle International Airport.

Johann Hermann Schein German composer

Johann Hermann Schein was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was born in Grünhain and died in Leipzig. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music, and was one of the most polished composers of the period.


Thomas 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
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