Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

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Born: 13 January 1690

Died: 27 November 1749


German composer and theorist. He received his first music instruction from his father, a pupil of the Halle court organist Moritz Edelmann. At the end of 1713 Stölzel went to Italy, meeting Francesco Gasparini, Alessandro Marcello, Carlo Francesco Pollarolo and Vivaldi in Venice, and Antonio Bononcini and Domenico Scarlatti in Rome. In Florence, where he was a guest of the court, he wrote numerous cantatas and a duet as his contribution to a gala concert. In 1715 he went to Prague, where he remained for three years; he took a lively part in the musical activities there, and composed dramatic works, oratorios, masses and instrumental music. In 1717 he returned to Bayreuth, where he was commissioned to compose church music for the 200th anniversary celebration of the Reformation and other pieces to mark the duke's birthday.

By the beginning of 1718 Stölzel was Kapellmeister at the court at Gera, and on 24 February 1720 he was appointed to the same post at the court at Saxe-Gotha. For 30 years he held this appointment, which obliged him to compose for the church, the opera and other court festivities.

The extent of Stölzel's reputation is reflected in the fact that Mizler placed him above Johann Sebastian Bach in his list of leading German composers. Bach himself valued Stölzel's music, and included his Partia in G minor (with his own trio added to the minuet) in Das Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Stölzel's only work printed in his lifetime is a treatise on canon. His other works on music theory are merely compilations, except for his Abhandlung vom Recitativ, the first major specialized treatise on recitative, which reflects his unrivalled superiority in this field, acknowledged by his contemporaries.

View the Wikipedia article on Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.

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