Thomaskantor

Last updated
Thomaskantor of Thomanerchor
Thomaskirche Leipzig (1749) Foto H.-P.Haack bearbeitet.jpg
Incumbent
Gotthold Schwarz

since 2015
Type Director of music
Reports to Leipzig
Formation1518 (1518)
First holder Georg Rhau

Thomaskantor (Cantor at St. Thomas) is the common name for the musical director of the Thomanerchor , now an internationally known boys' choir founded in Leipzig in 1212. The official historic title of the Thomaskantor in Latin, Cantor et Director Musices, describes the two functions of cantor and director. As the cantor, he prepared the choir for service in four Lutheran churches, Thomaskirche (St. Thomas), Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas), Neue Kirche (New Church) and Peterskirche (St. Peter). As director, he organized music for city functions such as town council elections and homages. Functions related to the university took place at the Paulinerkirche. Johann Sebastian Bach was the most famous Thomaskantor, from 1723 to 1750.

Thomanerchor boys choir in Leipzig

The Thomanerchor is a boys' choir in Leipzig, Germany. The choir was founded in 1212. At present, the choir consists of about 90 boys from 9 to 18 years of age. The members, called Thomaner, live in a boarding school, the Thomasalumnat, and attend the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, a Gymnasium school with a linguistic profile and a focus on musical education. The younger members attend the primary school 76. Grundschule in der Manetstraße. Johann Sebastian Bach served as Thomaskantor, director of the choir and church music in Leipzig, from 1723 to 1750.

A boys' choir is a choir primarily made up of choirboys who have yet to begin puberty or are in the early to middle stages of puberty and so retain their more highly pitched childhood voice type. Members of a boys' choir are technically known as trebles and often termed boy sopranos," although occasionally some boys sing in the alto range. Some boys' choirs of churches or cathedrals are further supported by older male voices singing tenor and bass; these singers are sometimes former choirboys.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017, it is Germany's tenth most populous city. Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleiße and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain.

Contents

Position

Leipzig has had a university dating back to 1409, and is a commercial center, hosting a trade fair first mentioned in 1165. It has been mostly Lutheran since the Reformation. The position of Thomaskantor at Bach's time has been described as "one of the most respected and influential musical offices of Protestant Germany. [1]

Leipzig University university in Germany

Leipzig University, in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the world's oldest universities and the second-oldest university in Germany. The university was founded on December 2, 1409 by Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and his brother William II, Margrave of Meissen, and originally comprised the four scholastic faculties. Since its inception, the university has engaged in teaching and research for over 600 years without interruption.

The Leipzig Trade Fair is a major trade fair, which traces its roots back for nearly a millennium. After the Second World War, Leipzig fell within the territory of East Germany, whereupon the Leipzig Trade Fair became one of the most important trade fairs of Comecon and was traditionally a meeting place for businessmen and politicians from both sides of the Iron Curtain. Since 1996, the fair has taken place on the Leipzig fairgrounds, located about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of the city centre.

The readings and required music of the Lutheran services in Leipzig were regulated in detail. The Church Book (Complete Church / Book / Containing / The Gospels and Epistles / For Every Feast-, Sun-, and Apostle Day Of the Entire Year ...) lists the prescribed readings, repeated every year. [2] The church year began with the First Sunday in Advent and was divided in feast days, fasting periods and the feast-less time after Trinity Sunday. For music, there was mainly no concert music such as a cantata during the fasting times of Advent and Lent. Modest music was performed during the second half of the church year, and rich music with more complex instrumentation and more services per day on feast days. Christmas, Easter and Pentecost were celebrated for three days each, and many other feast days were observed. [3] The library of St. Thomas contained works in vocal polyphony from the fifteenth century onward. [4]

Advent Christian church season

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming". The term "Advent" is also used in Eastern Orthodoxy for the 40-day Nativity Fast, which has practices different from those in the West.

Trinity Sunday calendar date

Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity. Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir.

The Thomaskantor reported to the city council, the rector of the Thomasschule and the church superintendent. [5] He had the duty to prepare the choir for service in the city's four Lutheran churches: [6] the main churches Thomaskirche (St. Thomas) and the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas), [7] and also the Neue Kirche (New Church) and the Peterskirche (St. Peter). [8] [9]

Superintendent is the head of an administrative division of a Protestant church, largely historical but still in use in Germany. It replaced the title of bishop in Northern Germany and Scandinavia after the Protestant Reformation, since bishop was associated with Roman Catholicism. Later, the title was adopted to describe clerical positions in the hierarchy of Methodist churches.

Lutheranism branch of Protestantism based on the teachings of Martin Luther

Lutheranism is a major branch of western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

St. Matthew, Leipzig Church

St. Matthew was a church in the old town of Leipzig. During its history it had several names and functions. As a church of the Franciscan order, built in 1488, it was known as Barfüßerkirche and Heiliggeistkirche. It served as a Lutheran church, known as Neukirche, from 1699. A new congregation formed in 1876 and named the church Matthäikirche. The building was destroyed in a bombing in 1943.

As cantor, the Thomaskantor had to compose and take care of copying, rehearsals and performances. [10] He also had to teach music and general subjects. [6] He took part in the admission process for new students to the school. [11] The choir was divided in groups: the most advanced singers performed a cantata every Sunday, alternating between St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, a second group sang at the other church, beginners on feast days at the smaller churches. On high holidays, the cantata was performed in both churches, a morning service in one and a vespers service in the other. To earn additional funding, the choir performed also for weddings and funerals. [12]

St. Thomas School, Leipzig is a co-educational and public boarding school in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. It was founded by the Augustinians in 1212 and is one of the oldest schools in the world.

Vespers sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours

Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek ἑσπέρα ("hespera") and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening". It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe evening services.

As director of music, the Thomaskantor was Leipzig's "senior musician", responsible for the music on official occasions such as town council elections and homages. [6] Functions related to the university took place at the Paulinerkirche.

Paulinerkirche, Leipzig Church in Leipzig, Germany

The Paulinerkirche was a church on the Augustusplatz in Leipzig. It was built in 1231 as the Klosterkirche St. Pauli for the Dominican monastery in Leipzig. From the foundation of the University of Leipzig in 1409, it served as the university church. After the Protestant Reformation it was donated to the university and was inaugurated in 1545 by Martin Luther as the Universitätskirche St. Pauli, later also called Unikirche. Johann Sebastian Bach was director of music for "festal" (holiday) services in 1723−25.

Today, the Thomaskantor leads the music in services at the Thomaskirche, including weekly afternoon services called Motette which often contain a Bach cantata. He also conducts the choir in recordings and on tours.

Known holders of the position

The following table shows the names of the known people in the position, and their time of service, in chronological order from the Reformation to now.

No.No. after BachImageNameTenureBornDiedNotes
1 Georg Rhau.jpg Georg Rhau 1518–1520
2 Johannes Galliculus 1520–1525
3 Valerian Hüffeler 1526–1530
4 Johannes Hermann 1531–1536
5 Wolfgang Jünger 1536–1539
6 Johannes Bruckner 1539–1540
7 Ulrich Lange 1540–1549
8 Wolfgang Figulus 1549–1551
9 Melchior Heger 1553–1564
10 Valentin Otto 1564–1594
11 Calvisius.jpg Sethus Calvisius 1594–1615
12 Johann Hermann Schein.png Johann Hermann Schein 1615–1630
13 Tobias Michael 1631–1657
14 Sebastian Knüpfer 1657–1676
15 Johann Schelle 1677–1701
16 Johann Kuhnau.jpg Johann Kuhnau 1701–1722
17 Johann Sebastian Bach 1746.jpg Johann Sebastian Bach 1723–1750
181 Johann Gottlob Harrer 1750–1755
192 Johann Friedrich Doles.JPEG Johann Friedrich Doles 1756–1789Longest-serving in the role.
203 Johann Adam Hiller.jpg Johann Adam Hiller 1789–18011781–1785 Gewandhauskapellmeister
214 August Eberhard Muller.JPEG August Eberhard Müller 1801–18101810–1817 Großherzoglich-Sächsischer Hofkapellmeister
225 Johann Gottfried Schicht.jpg Johann Gottfried Schicht 1810–1823
236 Christian Theodor Weinlig 1823–18421814–1817 Kreuzkantor
247 Moritz Hauptmann.jpg Moritz Hauptmann 1842–1868
258 EFE Richter.jpg Ernst Friedrich Richter 1868–1879
269 Wilhelm Rust 1885.jpg Wilhelm Rust 1880–1892
2710 Gustav Schreck.jpg Gustav Schreck 1893–1918
2811 Karl straube.jpg Karl Straube 1918–1939
2912 Fotothek df roe-neg 0002787 003 Podium der Bachfeier, Gunther Ramin im Vordergrund.jpg Günther Ramin 1939–1956
3013 Kurt Thomas.gif Kurt Thomas 1957–1960
3114 Erhard Mauersberger 1961–1972
3215 Hans-Joachim Rotzsch 1972–1991
3316 Georg Christoph Biller 1992–2015
3417 Gotthold Schwarz am 20. Dezember 2015 in der Thomaskirche.JPG Gotthold Schwarz 2016–

Related Research Articles

St. Thomas Church, Leipzig Church in Germany

St. Thomas Church is a Lutheran church in Leipzig, Germany. It is associated with a number of well-known composers such as Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, but mostly with Johann Sebastian Bach who worked here as a Kapellmeister from 1723 until his death in 1750. Today, the church also holds his remains. Martin Luther preached here in 1539.

Bach cantata cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

The cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach consist of at least 209 surviving works.

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225 motet by Johann Sebastian Bach

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225 is a motet by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was first performed in Leipzig around (probably) 1727. The text of the three-movement motet is in German: after Psalm 149 for its first movement, the third stanza of "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren" for the second movement, and after Psalm 150:2 and 6 for its third movement Psalms 150:2,6.

<i>Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe</i>, BWV 22 Church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for the last Sunday before Lent within the liturgical year

Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for Quinquagesima, the last Sunday before Lent. Bach composed it as an audition piece for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig and first performed it there on 7 February 1723.

<i>Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen</i>, BWV 66 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for Easter

Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66.2, is a church cantata for Easter by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it for the Second Day of Easter in Leipzig and first performed it on 10 April 1724. He based it on his congratulatory cantata Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück, BWV 66.1, first performed in Köthen on 10 December 1718.

<i>Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn</i>, BWV 23 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Köthen between 1717 and 1723 for Quinquagesima Sunday and performed it as an audition piece for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig on 7 February 1723. The Sunday was the last occasion for music at church before the quiet time of Lent.

Georg Christoph Biller is a German choral conductor. He conducted the Thomanerchor as the sixteenth Thomaskantor since Johann Sebastian Bach from 1992 to 2015. He is also a baritone, an academic teacher and a composer.

Gustav Schreck German composer and music educator

Gustav Ernst Schreck was a German music teacher, composer and choirmaster of St. Thomas School, Thomasschule zu Leipzig, in Leipzig from 1893 to 1918.

Erhard Mauersberger was a German choral conductor, conducting the Thomanerchor as the fourteenth Thomaskantor since Johann Sebastian Bach. He was also an academic teacher and a composer.

<i>Die Elenden sollen essen</i>, BWV 75 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 30 May 1723. The complex work in two parts of seven movements each marks the beginning of his first annual cycle of cantatas.

<i>Christen, ätzet diesen Tag</i>, BWV 63 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for the first day of Christmas

Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the Christmas cantata for the First Day of Christmas, possibly in 1713 for the Liebfrauenkirche in Halle. He performed it again for his first Christmas as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, on 25 December 1723.

<i>Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin</i>, BWV 125 chorale cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for the Purification of Mary

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the cantata Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, BWV 125, for use in a Lutheran service. He composed this chorale cantata in Leipzig in 1725 for the feast for the Purification of Mary which is celebrated on 2 February and is also known as Candlemas. The cantata is based on Martin Luther's 1524 hymn "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin", and forms part of Bach's chorale cantata cycle, written to provide Sundays and feast days of the liturgical year with cantatas based on a related Lutheran hymn.

Gotthold Schwarz opera singer

Gotthold Schwarz is a German bass-baritone singer and conductor. Based in Leipzig, he started as a member of the Thomanerchor and has conducted the Gewandhausorchester. He is the 17th Thomaskantor after Johann Sebastian Bach.

Martin Petzoldt was a German Lutheran theologian, Bach scholar and academic teacher. He was a professor at the University of Leipzig and president of the Neue Bachgesellschaft.

Leipziger Universitätsmusik Music at the Leipzig University, especially musical ensembles

Leipziger Universitätsmusik refers to music education and performance at the University of Leipzig. Music at the university dates back to its founding of the university in the 15th century. At present, Leipziger Universitätsmusik is the name of several musical ensembles formed by students and professors, and supported by professional musicians, the choir Leipziger Universitätschor, an orchestra, two smaller instrumental ensembles, and a big band.

Hannes Kästner was a German organist and harpsichordist.

References

  1. Wolff 1991, p. 8.
  2. Petzoldt 2013, p. 1.
  3. Petzoldt 2013, p. 5–6.
  4. Wolff 1991, p. 93.
  5. Wolff 1991, p. 38.
  6. 1 2 3 Wolff 1991, p. 30.
  7. Dürr 1971, p. 219.
  8. Peter 2015.
  9. Wolff 2002, p. 251–252.
  10. Wolff 1991, p. 39.
  11. Wolff 2002, p. 247.
  12. Wolff 2002, p. 246.

Bibliography