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Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (Composer)

Born: January 13, 1690 - Gründstadtel, near Schwarzenberg in Saxony, about 30 km. south-east of Zwickau - Germany
Died: November 17, 1749 - Gotha, Germany

The German composer, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, studied at Leipzig University from 1707 to 1710, where he joined the Collegium Musicum, which had been headed by Telemann before Stölzel's arrival at the University. For the next ten years travelled widely, studying, teaching and composing in Breslau, Halle, Venice (where he met Antonio Vivaldi), Rome, Florence, Prague, Bayreuth, and Gera, and refusing several offers of permanent employment. In 1719 he married and the following year was appointed Kapellmeister at Gotha (Saxe-Gotha), where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1739 he joined the Lorenz Christoph Mizler's Correspondirenden Societät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften, of which J.S. Bach was later a member.

J.S. Bach was said to have great respect for Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, who was known to be a prolific composer in nearly every genre of his time. Most of Stölzel's works have been lost. J.S. Bach's familiarity with Stölzel's music may account for the use J.S. Bach made of it in the little exercise books he created, first for his son Wilhelm Friedemann and later for his second wife Anna Magdalena. J.S. Bach included a Partita in G minor by him in the Clavierbüchlein für W.F. Bach. As a learning exercise, Friedemann (as J.S. Bach addressed him) was given musical works by his father to copy out much as J.S. Bach himself had done as a young music student. This same method of copying music as a learning exercise was introduced to Anna Magdalena. Bist du bei mir BWV 508, one of the best-known items in the 1725 Clavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach, may have been transcribed and set by J.S. Bach as a solo aria appropriate for his wife's voice, and she may also have had to do some of the copying. No one will ever know how the actual transmission occurred. This popular song was attributed to J.S. Bach by the BGA editors, but now Stölzel is credited with the composition.


Source: Oxford Composer Companion - J.S. Bach, edited by Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1999); Bist di bei mir Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2005)

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works | Cantata BWV 200 | Bist du bei mir BWV 508 | Brockes-Passion | Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel & Bach | Music Examples
Is there another cantata cycle by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel that belonged to Bach’s performance repertoire? [Bach-Jahrbuch 2009] | List of Stölzel's cantatas performed by Bach

Works previously attributed to J.S. Bach

Cantata BWV 200 is actually an arrangement by J.S. Bach of the Aria Dein Kreuz, o Bräutgam meiner Seelen from the Passion-oratorio Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld by G.H. Stölzel (Peter Wollny n Bach-Jahrbuch 2008)
Aria for soprano Bist du bei mir,
BWV 508

Works performed by J.S. Bach

Passion Oratorio Ein Lämmlein geht und trät die Schuld, performed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig on Good Friday April 23, 1734
Complete cantata cycle from 1st Sunday after Trinity
1735 to Trinity Sunday 1736. See: List of Stölzel's cantatas performed by Bach

Works in J.S. Bach's Library

Missa brevisae [unpublished]

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Passion O Welt! sieh hier dein Leben (Passion Oratorio)

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen


O Welt! sieh hier dein Leben (= Textinzipit des Schlußtl., Fragment; Textbuch LB Gotha (Fragment)

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen


Links to other Sites

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel [German]

Bist du bei mir



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 15:52