Lechner, Leonhard(also Leonardus Lech-ner Atheses or Athesinus)

views updated

Lechner, Leonhard(also Leonardus Lech-ner Atheses or Athesinus)

Lechner, Leonhard(also Leonardus Lech-ner Atheses or Athesinus), outstanding Austrian-born German composer; b. in the Adige valley, Tirol, c. 1550; d. Stuttgart, Sept. 9, 1606. He was a chorister under Orlando di Lasso at the Munich Hofkapelle (15647–68) and under Ivo de Vento and Antonius Gosswin at the Landshut Hofkapelle (1570). After serving as an asst. teacher at the St. Lorenz school in Nuremberg (1575–84), he obtained the position of Kapellmeister to Count Eitelfriedrich IV von Hohenzollern-Hechingen. However, being an adherent to Lutheranism, he found his position untenable at the Catholic Hofkapelle. In 1585 he secretly made his way to Tübingen. The Count sent Lechner a letter in which he promised to release him without prejudice. Lechner’s reply was one of uncompromising defiance, prompting the angry Count to order his bodily return forthwith. Lechner then took refuge in Stuttgart in 1585 at the court of Duke Ludwig of Württemberg, who successfully mediated his dispute with his former patron and the Nuremberg town council. Lechner began his service in Stuttgart as a tenor, but soon was named composer in 1586. He served as asst. Hofkapellmeister until 1594; was formally installed as Hofkapellmeister in 1595, and proceeded to upgrade the Kapelle to a high level. Lechner’s innovative genius is most strikingly revealed in his lieder. He was the first composer to set a complete cycle of German poems to music. A complete ed. of his works commenced publication in Kassel in 1954 under the editorship of K. Ameln et al.


(all publ. in Nuremberg):vocal: sacred:Motectae sacme for 4 to 6 Voices; …addita esta infine motecta for 8 Voices (2 Choirs) (1575); Sanctissimae virginis Mariae canticum, quod vulgo Magnificat inscribitur, secundum octo vulgäres tonos for 4 Voices (1578); Sacrarum cantionum, liber secundus for 5 to 6 Voices (1581); Liber missarum…adjunctis aliquot introitibus in praecipua festa, ab Adventu Domini usque ad festum Sanctissimae Trinitatis for 5 to 6 Voices (1584); Septum psalmi poenitentiales…ad-ditis aliis quibusdam pits cantionibus for 6 and More Voices (1587); also Historia der Passion und Leidens Christi for 4 Voices (perf. in Stuttgart, 1593).lieder:Neu teutsche Lieder, nach art der welschen Villanellen gantz kurtzweilig zu singen, auch auf allerley Seytenspil zu gebrauchen for 3 Voices (1576; 3rd ed., 1586); Der ander Theyl neuer teutscher Lieder, nach art der welschen Villanellen for 3 Voices (1577; second ed., 1586); Neue teutsche Lieder for 4 to 5 Voices (1577; includes sacred lieder); Neue teutsche Lieder, erstlich durch…Jacobum Regnart…componirt mit drey Stimmen, nach art der welschen Villanellen, jetzund aber..mit funff Stimmen gesetzet…con alchuni madrigali in lingua Italiana for 5 Voices (1579); Neue teutsche Lieder for 4 to 5 Voices (1582; includes sacred lieder); Neue lustige teutsche Lieder nach art der welschen Canzonen for 4 Voices (1586); Neue geistliche und weltliche teutsche Lieder for 4 to 5 Voices (1589); also several works for special occasions.


M. Schreiber, L L. A. 1553-1606: Sein Leben und seine Kirchenmusik (Birkeneck, 1932); idem, Die Kirchenmusik des Kapellmeisters L. L. A. (Regensburg, 1935); K. Ameln, L L. (um 1553-1606): Leben und Werk eines deutschen Komponisten aus Etschtal (Lüdenscheid, 1957); U. Martin, Historische und stilkritische Studien zu L. L.s Strophenliedern (diss., Univ. of Göttingen, 1957).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire