Heinichen, Johann David

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Heinichen, Johann David

Heinichen, Johann David, notable German music theorist and composer; b. Krössuln, near Weis-senfels, April 17, 1683; d. Dresden, July 16, 1729. He received training in organ and harpsichord from Kuh-nau at the Leipzig Thomasschule (1695–1702). After studying law at the Univ. of Leipzig (1702–06), he worked as an advocate in Weissenfels. His first opera, Der Karneval von Venedig, oder Der angenehme Betrug, may have been performed in Weissenfels as early as 1705. In 1709 he went to Leipzig as an opera composer, where he was director of the Collegium Musicum; he also was court composer in Zeitz and opera composer to the court in Naumburg. He accompanied Councillor Buchta of Zeitz to Italy (1710–16), during which sojourn he brought out several operas. In 1717 he was named court Kapellmeister to the Prince-Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus, in Dresden, sharing his duties with J. C. Schmidt. After a violent quarrel between Heinichen and the singer Ber selli, the Dresden Opera was dissolved. However, Heinichen remained at the court as director of church and chamber music until his death. In addition to operas, he also composed 4 syms., 2 overtures, 30 concertos, much chamber music, 2 oratorios, 16 masses, 63 cantatas, and over 100 other sacred works. Many of his MSS housed in the Dresden Court (later State) Library perished in the Allied fire-bombing of the city in 1945. Few of his works have been published, although the championship of his music by Reinhard Goebel via recordings has proved noteworthy. Heinichen’s importance rests principally upon his valuable theoretical work, Neu erfundene und grundliche Answeisung zu vollkommener Erlernung des General-Basses (Hamburg, 1711; 2nd ed., rev. and greatly aug., Dresden, 1728, as Der General-Bass in der Composition, oder: Neue und gründliche Anweisung).


G. Seibel, Das Leben des Königliche Polnischen und Kurfürstlich Sächsischen Hofkapellmeisters J. D. H. (Leipzig, 1913); R. Tanner,J. D. H. als dramatischer Komponist (Leipzig, 1916); G. Hausswald,J. D. H.s Instrumentalwerke (Wolfenbüttel and Berlin, 1937); G. Buelow, Thorough-Bass Accompaniment According to J. D. H (Berkeley, Calif., 1966; 3rd ed., rev., 1992); M. Unger, The German Chorale Compositions of J. D. H. (1683–1729) (Lang, N.Y., 1990).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire