Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Matthias Weckmann (Composer)

Born: 1616 (or 1619 or earlier) - Niederdorla, Thuringia
Died: 1674 - February 24, 1674 - Hamburg, Germany

Matthias Weckmann [Weckman] was a North German musician and composer of the Baroque period. His musical training took place in Dresden, as a chorister at the Dresden court chapel (Saxon Court) (1630-1633), where he was a pupil of Heinrich Schütz and studied organ and singing. In 1633 he went to Hamburg to study with famous organist Jacob Praetorius (Schultze) at the Saint Peter's church (Petrikirche). He was introduced to the Italian concertato, polychoral and monodic styles - because Schütz had journeyed in Italy when a young man and he had met Giovanni Gabrieli and Monteverdi - as well as the style of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's pupils, some of whom had settled in Hamburg. Weckmann travelled for the first time to Denmark in 1637 with Heinrich Schütz.

Upon his return to Dresden in 1637, Matthias Weckmann became organist at the Electoral Court of Saxony from 1638 to 1642. In 1642 he followed Schütz to Nykøbing (Falster), Denmark, and was organist at the chapel there until 1647 (during the Thirty Years War). During a new (and his last) stay in Dresden from 1649 to 1655, he met Johann Jakob Froberger during a musical competition which had been organized by the Elector. They remained friends and in correspondence with each other. In 1655, after a competition, he was named titular organist at Saint James church (Jakobkirche) in Hamburg, and spent his remaining life there. He founded a renowned orchestral ensemble, the so-called Collegium Musicum in Hamburg. This was the most productive period of his life, and he composed much of his extant music, which includes cantatas, choral works, canzonas, sonatas, and keyboard music. His compositions of this time include a collection of 1663, which set sacred texts mentioning the terrible plague which killed many of his colleagues in Hamburg that year, including Johann Heinrich Scheidemann.

Matthias Weckmann composed sacred concertos, songs, various sonatas for 3-4 instruments, sacred and secular keyboard works. He composed, for the organ, choral variations and chorale preludes, for the harpsichord, pieces that mix Italian and French influences (harpsichord suites, canzonas etc.), as well as orchestral and vocal sacred music. He copied a lot of different genres of music of his teachers and contemporaries: Monteverdi, Heinrich Schütz, Froberger (Froberger and Weckmann were friends), Chambonnieres, J.H. Scheidemann, Sweelinck, Jacob Praetorius. Stylistically, he mostly followed the progressive tendencies of Heinrich Schütz, including the concertato idiom and the trend to increasing chromaticism and contrapuntal and motivic complexity; in this regard he went against the prevailing trends of the time towards simplification, much of which can be seen in Schütz's later music. Weckmann is a good example of a composer whose works would have been completely lost to history, had it not been for the 19th century interest in researching the predecessors of J.S. Bach.


Source: HOASM Website; Go Art Website; Notfach Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Chorale Variations for Organ (with a canonic cantus-firmus setting, some variations with thick, 6-voice imitative polyphony with double pedal, but also variations with soloistic figurations over sustained backgrounds

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, Two Chorale Preludes for Organ

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Gelobet seist du Jesu Christ, 2 variation cycles for keyboard

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Links to other Sites

HOASM: Matthias Weckmann
San Francisco Bach Choir: Matthias Weckmann
Matthias Weckman (Weckmann) 1616-1674 (GoArt)

Matthias Weckmann (Wikipedia) [German]
Matthias Weckmann (, the free encyclopedia)



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


Back to the Top

Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 15:59