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Georg Balthasar Schott (Composer)

Born: October 22, 1686 - Schönau, near Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany
Died: March 25, 1936 - Gotha, Thuringia, Germany

Georg Balthasar Schott was a German organist and composer. After attending the Gotha Gymnasium, he studied at the Universities of Jena (1709-1714) and Leipzig. On August 9, 1720 he succeeded J.G. Vogler as organist at the Neukirche in Leipzig and director of the city's collegium musicum.

Following the death of Johann Kuhnau (June 5, 1722), Georg Balthasar Schott applied for Johann Kuhnau's position as Kantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. As part of the application process he performed cantatas on November 29, 1722 (at the Neukirche) and February 2, 1723. The position, though, went to J.S. Bach, who began his duties on May 16, 1723. During the next several years Schott deputized for J.S. Bach, possibly for four consecutive weeks in the summer of 1725. Schott's collegium may also have taken part in performances of secular cantatas by J.S. Bach during these years.Schott's position at the Neukirche was hardly ideal: his salary was only 50 thaler (J.S. Bach earned over ten times this amount) and when in July 1723 he requested a raise, the city council merely admonished him to pay closer attention to the church's organ, which had recently been renovated. But, as J.S. Bach wrote, ‘the dear Lord provided for the honest Mr Schott’, and in March 1729 he returned to his native Thuringia to become Kantor in Gotha, a position he held until his death. As a token of its appreciation, the Leipzig city council granted him 24 thaler as a leaving present. Upon Schott's departure, J.S. Bach ‘willingly’ assumed directorship of the collegium and had Carl Gotthelf Gerlach appointed as organist at the Neukirche.

Georg Balthasar Schott must have composed numerous works, but none has survived. In Gotha and Leipzig he performed pieces (all presumably of his own composition) in honour of the Saxon royal family. One such work was the ‘drama’ Der richtende Paris, which the Leipzig collegium performed in 1722 in recognition of Maria Josepha's first visit to Leipzig. Another was the ode Landesvater! Held August!, to words by the Leipzig professor Johann Christoph Gottsched, performed by the ensemble in 1728 to celebrate the birthday of August the Strong. Of Schott's music for the Neukirche, there is documentation only of two Pentecost cantatas, Du unbegreiflich höchstes Gut and Komm heiliger Geist, heiliger Gott.


Source: Copyright © Oxford University Press (2007-2012; Author: Russell Stinson; accessed: July 3, 2012)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (July 2012)

Links to other Sites



MGG1  (D. Härtwig)
Hans Theodor David and Arthur Mendel, eds.:The Bach Reader: a Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents (New York, 1945, 2/1966)
U. Siegele: Bachs Stellung in der Leipziger Kulturpolitik seiner Zeit’, BJb 
1983, 7–50; 1984, 7–43; 1986, 33-67
A. Glöckner: Die Musikpflege an der Leipziger Neukirche zur Zeit Johann Sebastian Bachs (
Leipzig, 1990)
A. Glöckner: ‘Bemerkungen zu den Leipziger Kantatenaufführungen vom 3. bis 6. Sonntag nach Trinitatis 1725’, BJb 1992, 73–6

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