Just before the end of 17th century, Hamburg was one of the most important musical centers in all of Germany. Its churches and opera house boasted some of the finest composers around. With the inception of public opera, a new era came into full bloom in Hamburg’s musical life, filled with musical riches in a town mostly known for commerce.
Composers Johann Theile and Johann Conradi made a name for themselves at Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt opera house.
The greatest success for the opera house came with Reinhard Keiser who brought it fame (and heavy debt). During his on again/off again tenure, he composed over sixty operas, raised its musical standards, and attracted some serious talent (including a young George Frideric Handel).
One cannot get a complete picture of Hamburg music-making without looking at its churches. Organ music played an especially important part in church services. Out of the many well-known German organists from the 17th century, Hamburg had some of the greatest. In particular, Johann Adam Reincken and Matthias Weckmann were the most outstanding improvisers. The toccata and canzona were the improvisations of choice.
The city’s church music was also influenced by two famous musicians from the neighboring town of Lübeck, a reasonably short coach ride away. For over half a century, Franz Tunder and his successor Dietrich Buxtehude made a distinct impression from afar…
Our new release this week features lutenist Andrew Maginley performing the works of J.S. Bach, Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Adam Falckenhagen. An AVIE label release, Maginley performs the final movement from Falckenhagen’s sonata in F major.
Here’s a video of countertenor Andreas Scholl performing Buxtehude’s “Jubilate Domino”: