Strungk, Nicolaus Adam
Strungk, Nicolaus Adam
Strungk, Nicolaus Adam, prominent German violinist, organist, and composer, son of Delphin Strungk; b. Braunschweig (baptized), Nov. 15, 1640; d. Dresden, Sept. 23, 1700. He studied with his father, whose assistant he became at the age of 12 at the Church of St. Magnus in Braunschweig. He also studied violin at Lübeck under Schnittelbach while attending Helmstedt Univ. At 20 he became first violinist in the Wöl fenbuttel court chapel; a short time later, he went to the Celle court. After appearing as a violinist at the Vienna court chapel in 1661, he decided to pursue his career there until 1665; then was in the service of the Hannover court chapel. In 1678 Strungk became music director of Hamburg’s Cathedral and of the city; wrote and produced operas in German (in keeping with the nationalist trend of the time), among them Der glücklich-steigende Sejanus and its sequel, Der unglücklich-fallende Sejanus (1678), Alceste (1680), Die Liebreiche, durch Tugend und Schönheit erhöhete Esther (1680), Doris, oder der königliche Skiaue (1680), Semiramis (1681), Theseus (1681), and Fioretto (1683). From 1682 to 1686 he was court organist and composer in Hannover; also visited Italy in 1685, meeting Corelli in Rome. In 1688 he became Vice-Kapellmeister and chamber organist in Dresden, succeeding Carlo Palla vicino, whose unfinished opera L’Antiope he completed and produced there in 1689. In this post he was beset with difficulties arising from friction with Italian musicians, and only managed to maintain his authority through the intervention of his patron, the Elector Johann Georg III; when Bernhard, Kapellmeister in Dresden, died in 1692, Strungk was appointed to succeed him. In 1693 he organized an opera company in Leipzig; between 1693 and 1700 he wrote 16 operas for it, among them Alceste (perf. at the inauguration of the Leipzig opera house, May 18, 1693), Nero (1693), Syrinx (1694), Phocas (1696), Ixion (1697), Scipio und Hannibal (1698), Agrippina (1699), and Erechtheus (1700). Financially, the enterprise was a failure, but Strungk continued to receive his salary from Dresden until his retirement on a pension in 1697. He publ, the important manual Musicalische Übung auf der Violine oder Viola da Gamba in etlichen Sonaten über die Festgesänge, ingleichen etlichen Ciaconen mit 2 Violinen bestehend (1691). A selection of airs from his operas was publ, in Hamburg under the title Ein hundert auserlesenen Arien zweyer Hamburgischen Operen, Semiramis und Esther. Mit beigefügten Ritornellen (1684). Among his instrumental works, a Sonata for 2 Violins and Viola da Gamba and several other sonatas are extant; MS No. 5056 of the Yale Univ. Music Library (Lowell Mason Collection) contains Capriccios and ricercari by Strungk, among them the Ricercar sopra la Morte della mia carissima Madre Catherina Maria Stubenrauen (Venice, 1685). Six Capriccios and a Ricercare by Strungk, included in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, 17 (13.ii), are wrongly ascribed to Georg Reutter (Senior).
F. Zelle, J. Theile und N.A. S.(Berlin, 1891); F. Berend, N.A. S., 1640-1700: Sein Leben und seine Werke. Mit Beiträgen zur Geschichte der Musik und des Theater in Celle, Hannover, und Leipzig (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1915).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire