Heinrich Schwemmer

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Born: 28 March 1621, Gumpertshausen bei Hallburg, Lower Franconia

Died: 31 May 1696, Nuremberg

German teacher and composer. After his father’s death in 1627, he and his mother fled the ravages of the Thirty Years War. His mother died at Weimar in 1638, after which he was at Coburg until 1641, when he settled in Nuremberg, enrolled at the Sebaldusschule and began to study music with Kindermann. Both of these steps led to positions that he was to hold for the rest of his life: beginning in 1650 he was a teacher in Nuremberg’s schools, functioning as a Kantor, though he was never given that title; and beginning probably in 1656 he was Director chori musici, a post he shared with Paul Hainlein. His chief contribution was as a teacher. He and Georg Caspar Wecker (also a pupil of Kindermann) taught Nuremberg’s next generation of musicians: Nikolaus Deinl, Johann Krieger, Johann Löhner, Johann Pachelbel, J.B. Schütz and Maximilian Zeidler. After learning singing and the rudiments of music from Schwemmer, the pupils would go to Wecker for keyboard training and composition. Schwemmer’s role as a singing teacher is reflected in the fact that all his extant works are vocal. As with Hainlein and Wecker, the bulk of his output consists of sacred strophic songs, most of which he was asked, as Director chori musici, to write for weddings and funerals. Nearly all his other works are either cantatas or choral concertos. Here the general lack of harmonic variety found in German music of the period is partly compensated for by frequent inventive and imaginative contrasts of texture, tone-colour and note values that identify him as a master of the concertato style.

View the Wikipedia article on Heinrich Schwemmer.

List of choral works

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