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Michael Franck (Poet, Composer)

Born: March 16, 1609 - Schleusingen, Thuringia, Germany
Died: September 24, 1667 - Coburg, Germany

Michael Franck was a German poet of church hymns and composer. He was the son of a merchant and a councillor. In 1622, when his father was lay on his sickbed, he determined that because of the small means of his five sons only the oldest, Sebastian, and the youngest, Peter, should study.

In 1625 Michael Franck became a baker in Coburg, and acquired himself master right of teachings in Schleusingen. However, he became completely impoverished, because of nocturnal thefts and plunders of his house, so that in 1640 he had to emigrate with woman and child. He found work as a baker and accommodation in Coburg, and dedicated himself at the end of the workdays and on Sundays to writing hymns and composing tunes. In 1644 he became a teacher at the city school in Coburg. The well-known minister and hymn poet Johann Rist crowned him in 1659 as imperial Pfalzgraf with the poet laurel and accepted him later to his “Elbschwanorden” under the name “Staurophilus”.

The most famous hymn of Michael Franck is Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig ist der Menschen Leben! (EKG 327). The hymn appeared in print for the first time in 1650 (or 1652) and found a wide spread, as much as the hymns of Paul Gerhardt from about the same time. The hymn had such a success because it showed the sadness and hope, which fulfilled the people after the generation of the terrible war. It was reprinted in Nuremberg, Augsburg, Hof, Erfurt and elsewhere. J.S. Bach wrote a cantata to this hymn (BWV 26). Other well-known hymns by Franck are: Sei Gott getreu, halt seinen Bund, o Mensch, in deinem Leben and Was mich auf dieser Welt betrübt, das währt nur kurze Zeit.

Works

Das alte sichere u. in Sünden schlafende Teutschland (gereimte Gesch. des 30j. Krieges u. seiner eigenen Schicksale) (Coburg, 1651)
Geistl. Harfenspiel (mit 36 Liedern u. eigens dazu v. ihm gefertigten 4st., v. einem Generalbaß begleiteten Melodien) (Coburg, 1657)
Geistl. Lieder erstes Zwölf (in Noten mit 4 St.) (Coburg, 1662)

 

Source: Source: BBKL Website (Author: Friedrich William Bautz, 1990, English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2006)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003, May 2006)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 26, BWV 477

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

1652

327

Kein Stündlein geht dahin

1688

4243

Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

1652

327

1887b

Links to other Sites

Franck, Michael (BBKL) [German]

 

Bibliography

Johann Caspar Wetzel: Hymnopoeographia oder Hist. Lebensbeschreibung der berühmtesten Liederdichter I, Herrnstadt 1719, 276 ff.
Unschuldige Nachrr. 6. Btr., Leipzig 1725, 904 ff.; - Heinrich Cornelius, Schleusinger Dichterbrüder, Sebastian, M. u. Peter F., in: Schrr. des Henneberg. Gesch.ver. 4, 1914, 3 ff.
Ders., Sebastian, M. u. Peter F. Die Thüringer Dichterbrüder u. ihre Werke, in: Siona 14, 1915, 85 ff.
Th. Linschmann, Die Dichterbrüder Sebastian, M. u. Peter F., in: MGkK 1918, 29 ff.
Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz, ... u. lobten Gott um Mitternacht. Liederdichter in Not u. Anfechtung, 1966, 48 ff.
v.Winterfeld II, 473 ff.; - Koch III, 435 ff.; IV, 115
Kümmerle I, 424 f.
Fischer-Tümpel IV, 218 ff.
Hdb. z. EKG II/1, 167 f.
Eitner IV, 57
Blume 162
Kosch, LL I, 539
Goedeke III, 177
ADB VII, 259 f.

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Last update: ýMarch 23, 2008 ý20:53:51