Stölzel (also Stözl, Stöltzel), Gottfried Heinrich

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Stölzel (also Stözl, Stöltzel), Gottfried Heinrich

Stölzel (also Stözl, Stöltzel), Gottfried Heinrich, eminent German composer; b. Grund-städtl, near Schwarzenberg, Erzegebirge, Jan. 13, 1690; d. Gotha, Nov. 27, 1749. He began his musical training with his father, and at age 13 he entered the Schneerberg grammar school, where he received musical instruction from the Kantor, Christian Umlaufft. After attending the Gera Gymnasium, where he was encouraged by the Kapelle director, Emanuel Kegel, he went to Leipzig to study at the Univ. (1707); however, he soon turned to music and found a mentor in Melchior Hofmann, whom he served as copyist; his first compositions were performed under his teacher’s name. He went to Breslau in 1710 and taught singing and keyboard; also brought out his first stage work there, Narcissus. After traveling throughout Italy (1713–15), he was active as a composer in Prague (1715–17) and in Bayreuth (1717–18). In 1718 he became Kapellmeister at the Gera court; in 1719 he went to the Saxe-Gotha court, where he then held the post of Kapellmeister from 1720 until his death. In addition to composing, he devoted much time to teaching. He also wrote the first significant treatise on recitative, Abhandlung vom Recitativ (MS; ed. by W. Steger, Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel’s “Abhandlung vom Recitativ,” diss., Univ. of Heidelberg, 1962). In 1739 he was elected to membership in Mizler’s Societät der Musikalischen Wissenschaften. A great portion of his music, including his stage and sacred vocal works, is lost.


W. Schmidt-Weiss, G.H. S. als Instrumentalkomponist (diss., Univ. of Munich, 1938); W. Steger, G.H. S.s “Abhandlung vom Recitativ” (diss., Univ. of Heidelberg, 1962); F. Hennenberg, Das Kantatenschaffen von G.H. S.(diss., Univ. of Leipzig, 1965; publ, in a rev. and abr. ed., Leipzig, 1976).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire