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Johann Friedrich Alberti (Composer)

Born: January 11, 1642 - Tönning, Schleswig, Germany
Died: June 14, 1710 - Merseburg, Germany

Johann Friedrich Alberti was a German composer and organist. A versatile man, he studied theology at Rostock, intending to enter the ministry. Dogged by ill-health he read law instead at Leipzig University, concurrently studying music with Werner Fabricius to such good purpose that Duke Christian I of Saxony appointed him organist at his court and at Merseburg Cathedral. Alberti also studied with Vincenzo Albrici An apoplectic stroke caused paralysis, which incapacitated him for the last 12 years of his life.

Although Johann Friedrich Alberti apparently wrote much sacred and keyboard music, unfortunately only four chorale compositions survive. They are in various manuscripts, mainly in libraries in Berlin, and they have been included in several modern anthologies of organ music such as Orgelmeister des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. K. Matthaei (Kassel, 1933); 80 Choralvorspiele des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. H. Keller (Leipzig, 1937); and EDM, 1st ser., ix (1937); for some lost works see Seiffert in AMw, ii, 1920, p.371.

In both Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, O Herr and Gelobet seist du the first chorale line alone is stated in skilful association with two contrasting countersubjects, giving, particularly in the former, a sense of singular intimacy. The two-movement Te Deum consists of a ricercare-like double fugue on the first two chorale lines, followed by another on the first line combined with an animated free countersubject. The three variations of O lux beata Trinitas treat only the first line of the chorale, the second variation being notable for the fourfold repetition of the theme accompanied by its double diminution. The high quality of these works makes regrettable the loss of 12 ricercati by Alberti which, according to Johann Mattheson, explored every facet of contrapuntal art.


Source: Grove Music Online, © Oxford University Press 2006, acc. 5/24/06 (Author: G.B. Sharp)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005); Thomas Braatz (May 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, Chorale Prelude for Keyboard

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Links to other Sites



ApelG | MatthesonGEP
P. Spitta: Johann Sebastian Bach (
Leipzig, 1873-9)
F. Dietrich: Geschichte des deutschen Orgelchorals im 17. Jahrhundert (
Kassel, 1932)
H. Joelson-Strohbach : Nachricht von verschiedenen verloren geglaubten Handschriften mit barocker Tastenmusik, AMw, xliv/2 (1987), 91-140

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Bach & Other Composers


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