Buxtehude, Dietrich, significant Danish-born German organist and composer; b. probably in Helsing-borg, c. 1637; d. Liibeck, May 9, 1707. His father, Johannes Buxtehude (1601–74), an organist of German extraction, was active in Holstein, which was under Danish rule. After receiving a thorough education, in all probability from his father, Dietrich became organist at St. Mary’s in Helsingborg (1657 or 1658), and then at St. Mary’s in Helsingør (1660). On April 11, 1668, he was appointed organist and Werkmeister in succession to the recently deceased Franz Tunder at St. Mary’s in Liibeck, subject to the condition that he would abide by the custom of marrying the predecessor’s unmarried daughter; he did so, marrying Anna Margaretha on Aug. 3, 1668. He continued the Abendmusiken, concerts consisting of organ music and concerted pieces for chorus and orch., held annually in Lübeck in late afternoon on 5 of the 6 Sundays immediately preceding Christmas. Mattheson and Handel visited Buxtehude on Aug. 17, 1703, with the ostensible purpose of being considered as his successor; but it is a valid surmise that the notorious marriage clause, which would have com pelled the chosen one to marry Buxtehude’s daughter, allegedly lacking in feminine charm, deterred them from further negotiations. In 1705 J.S. Bach made a pilgrimage allegedly to hear the Abendmusik, to study with Buxtehude, and possibly to investigate the impending opening; though details of Bach’s trip are subject to speculation, there can be no doubt that Buxtehude exercised a profound influence on Bach, as both organist and composer. Buxtehude’s daughter, 1 of 7, eventually married her father’s successor, Johann Christian Schieferdecker, on Aug. 29, 1707. Buxtehude exerted a major influence on the organists who followed him by virtue of the significant role he played in the transitional period of music history from Froberger to the contrapuntal mastery of Bach. Though little of his music exists in MS, many composers were known to have made copies of his works for their own study. His major student was Nicolaus Bruhns. Buxtehude appears prominently in the painting Domestic Music Scene (1674) by Johannes Voorhout. For a detailed compilation of Buxtehude’s works, see G. Karstàdt, éd., Thematisch-systematisches verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von D. B.: B.-Werke-Verzeichnis (Wiesbaden, 1974). Editions of his works include: P. Spitta, éd., D. B.: Werke für Orgel (1875-76; rev. and aug., 1903-04, by M. Seiffert; suppl., 1939, by M. Seiffert); M. Seiffert, éd., D. B.: Abendmusiken und Kirchenkantate, in Denkmàler Deutscher Tonkunst, XIV (1903; 2nd éd., rev., 1957, by H.J. Moser); W. Gurlitt, éd., D. B.: Werke (Klecken and Hamburg, 1925-28); E. Bandert, éd., D. B.: Klavervaerker (Copenhagen, 1942); J. Hedar, éd., D. B.: Orgelwerke (Copenhagen, 1952); K. Beckmann, éd., D. B.: Samtliche Orgelwerke (Wiesbaden, 1972); K. Snyder, general éd., D. B.: The Collected Works (18 vols., N.Y., 1987 et seq.; includes rev. ed. of Gurlitt’s vols.).
(the Buxtehude-Werke-Verzeichnis [BuxWV] number follows the work): vocal: 41 arias:An filius non est Dei, 6; AH du, Jesu, will mig hora, 8; Bedenke, Mensch, das Ende, 9; Das neugeborne Kindelein, 13; Dein edles Herz, 14; Du Lebensfürst, Herr Jesu Christ, 22; Entreisst euch, meine Sinnen, 25; Fallax mundus, ornat vultus, 28; Jesu, dulas memoria, 56; Jesu, Komm, mein Trost und Lachen, 58; Jesu, meine Freud und Lust, 59; Jesulein, du Tausendschon, 63; Kommst du, Licht der Heiden, 66; Lauda Sion Salvatorem, 68; Mein Gemüt erfreuet sich, 72; Meine Seele, willtu ruhn, 74; Fried- und Freudenreiche Hinfahrt, 76; Nun freut euch, ihr Frommen, mit mir, 80; Ofrôhliche Stunden, ofrôhliche Zeit, 84; Ofrôhliche Stunden, o herrlich Zeit, 85; O Gottes Stadt, 87; O Jesu mi dulcissime, 88; O lux beata Trinitas, 89; O urie selig sind, 90; Pange lingua, 91; Salve, desiderium, 93; Schwinget euch him-melan, 96; Surrexit Christus hodie, 99; Was frag’ ich nach der Welt, 104; Was mich auf dieser Welt betrübt, 105; Welt, packe dich, 106; Wenn ich, Herr Jesu, habe dich, 107; Wie schmeckt es so lieblich und wohl, 108; Wie soil ich dich empfangen, 109; Wie wird erneuet, wie wird erfreuet, 110; Auf, Saiten, auf!, 115; Auf! stimmet die Saiten, 116; Deh credete il vostro vanto, 117; Gestreuet mit Blumen, 118; Klingetfù’r Freuden, 119; Ofrôhliche Stunden, o herrlicher Tag, 120.3 canons:Canon duplex per Augmentationem, 123; Diverti-sons nous aujourd’hui, 124; Canon quadruplex, 124a.20 cantatas:Alies, was ihr tut, 4; Drei schône Dinge sind, 19; Bins bitte ich vom Herrn, 24; Frohlocket mit Hunden, 29; Fiirchtet euch nicht, 30; Gottfahret auf mit Jauchzen, 33; Gott hilfmir, 34; Herr, auf dich traue ich, 35; Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe, 39; Ich habe Lust abzuscheiden, 46; Ich habe Lust abzuschieden, 47; Ich halte es dafür,48; Ich suchte des Nachts, 50; Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun, 51; 1st es recht, 54; Je höher du hist, 55; Membra Jesu nostri, 75 (cycle of 7 cantatas); Nichts soil uns scheiden, 77; O Gott, wir danken deiner Gut’, 86; Schlagt, Künstler, die Pauken, 122. 16 chorale settings: All solài dein Güt’ wir preisen, 3; Befiehl dem Engel, dass er komm, 10; Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, 20; Du Friedefiirst, Herr Jesu Christ, 21; Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, 27; Gen Himmel zu dem Vater mein, 32; Herrén vâr Gud, 40; Herzlich lieb’ hab ich dich, o Herr, 41; Herzlich tut mich verlangen, 42; In dulci jubilo, 52; Jesu, meine Freude, 60; Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, 78; Nun lasst uns Gott dem Herrén, 81; Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, 100; War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, 102; Walts Gott, mein Werk ich lasse, 103. 6 ciacconas:Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab’, 38; Jesu dulcis memoria, 57; Jesu, meines Lebens Leben, 62; Laudate pueri Dominum, 69; Liebster, meine Seele saget, 70; Quemadmodum desiderat cervus, 92. 27 concerto s: Afferte Domino gloriam honorem, 2; Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet, 5; Aperite mihi portas justitiae, 7; Canite Jesu nostro, 11; Cantate Domino, 12; Der Herr ist mit mir, 15; Dixit Dominus, Domino meo, 17; Domine, salvumfac regem, 18; Ecce nunc benedicite Domino, 23; Fiirwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit, 31; Herr, nun lasst du deinen Diener, 37; Ich bin die Auferstehung, 44; Ich bin eine Blume zu Sawn, 45; Ich sprach in meinem Herzen, 49; In te, Domine, speravi, 53; Jubilate Domino, 64; Lauda anima mea Dominum, 67; Lobe den Herrén, meine Seele, 71; Mein Herz ist bereit, 73; Nun danket alie Gott, 79; O démens, o mitis, 82; O dulcis Jesu, 83; Salve Jesu, 94; Schaffe in mir, Gott, 95; Sicut Moses exaltavit serpentem, 97; Singet dem Herrn, 98; Benedicam Dominum, 113. 4 dialogues:Herr, ich lasse dich nicht, 36; Jesu, meiner Freuden Meister, 61; Wo ist doch mein Freund gelieben?, Ill; Wo soil ich fliehen hin?, 112. liturgical:Missa alia brevis, 114. 2 parodies:Erfreue dich, Erdel, 26 (of 122); Klinget mit Freuden, 65 (of 119). keyboard: 12 canzoni, 166-176, 225; 9 chorale fantasias, 188, 194-196, 203-204, 210, 218, 223; 32 chorale preludes, 178, 180, 182-187, 189-193, 197-202, 206, 208-209, 211-212, 214-215, 217, 219-222, 224; 6 chorale variations, 177, 179, 181, 205, 207, 213; 2 ciacconas, 159-160; Passacaglia, 161; Praeambulum, 158; 20 praeludia, 136-153, 162-163; 19 suites, 226-244; 5 toccatas, 155-157, 164-165; 6 variation sets, 145-150. chamber: 16 sonatas for Violin, Viola da Gamba, and Continuo, 252-265, 272-273 (252-258 publ, as op.l, c. 1694; 259-265 publ, as op.2, 1696); 3 sonatas for 2 Violins, Viola da Gamba, and Continuo, 266, 269, 271; Sonata for Viola da Gamba, Violone, and Continuo, 267. doubtful and lost works:vocal:Accedite gentes, acemite populi, 1 (doubtful); Die ist der Tag, 16 (not extant); Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn, 43 (doubtful); Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, 101 (doubtful). keyboard: 7 suites, “Die Natur oder Eigen-schafft der Planeten,” 251 (not extant); Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Continuo, 268 (doubtful).
H. Jimmerthal, B.(Lübeck, 1877); C. Steihl, Die Organisten an der Marienkirche und die Abendmusiken in Lübeck (Leipzig, 1886); A. Pirro, B. (Paris, 1913); S. Hagen, D. B. (Copenhagen, 1920); W. Stahl, Franz Tunder und D. B.(Leipzig, 1926); idem, B.(Kassel, 1937); C.-A. Moberg, D. B. (Helsingborg, 1946); J. Hedar, D. B.s Orgelwerke (Stockholm, 1951); F. Hutchins, D. B.: The Man, His Music, His Era (Paterson, N.J., 1955); H.J. Moser, D. B.: Der Mann und sein Werk (Berlin, 1957); S. Sorensen, D. B.s vokale kirkenmusik (Copenhagen, 1958); N. Friis, D. B. (Helsingor, 1960); M. Geek, Die Vokalmusik D. B. und der frühe Pietismus (Kassel, 1965); G. Karstadt, Der Liibecker Kantatenband D. B.(Lübeck, 1971); S. Sorenson, Das B. bild im Wandel der Zeit (Lübeck, 1972); H. Wettstein, D. B. (1637–1707): Eine Bibliographie: Mit einem Anhang iiber Nicolaus Bruhns (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1979; 2nd éd., rev., 1989 as D. B. I1637-1707]: Bibliographie zu seinem Leben und Werk); L. Archbold, Style and Structure in the Praeludia of D. B. (Ann Arbor, 1985); C. Defant, Kammer-musik und Stylus phantasticus: Studien zu D. B.s Triosonaten (Frankfurt am Main, 1985); K. Snyder, D. B.: Organist in Lübeck (N.Y., 1987); A. Edler and F. Krummach, eds., D. B. und die europaische Musik siner Zeit (Kassel, 1990); G. Webber, North German Church Music in the Age ofB.(Oxford, 1996); M. Belotti, Die freien Orgelwerke D. B.s-.Überlieferungsgeschischtliche und stilkritische Studien (Frankfurt am Main, 1997); M. Schneider, B.s Choralfantasien: Textdeutung oder “phantastischer Stil”? (Kassel, 1997).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
The organ works and sacred vocal compositions of the Danish composer Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) are the culmination of the North German school of composition in the 17th century.
Dietrich Buxtehude was born in either Holstein or Sweden (both were Danish territories at the time), the son of an organist. The family was of German extraction, and branches were located in various parts of Scandinavia, which had close cultural ties with Germany at the time. Buxtehude thus was exposed to the forms and styles typical of North German music.
Little is known of Buxtehude's early life, but he apparently received musical instruction from his father. He accepted positions as organist in 1657 at Helsingborg and in 1660 at Helsingör. On April 11, 1668, he succeeded the illustrious Franz Tunder to the prestigious post of organist at St. Mary's Church in Lübeck (marrying Tunder's daughter as one of the terms of succession) and remained in this post for the rest of his career.
Buxtehude was a truly inventive and imaginative composer in an era often marked by solid, workmanlike technique devoid of any profound inspiration. His extant works represent but a small portion of his production, and many of them exist only in secondary sources. Dating his work is close to impossible on any but stylistic grounds, and his flamboyant imagination led to a wide variety of stylistic treatment. Italian and South German music was known in his area, broadening the stock upon which he drew. With the growing emphasis of the time on individuality, he turned his back on authoritarian formulas and allowed his fiery imagination free rein.
Recent scholarship has shown that Buxtehude's sacred vocal works are, historically, his most important contribution, rather than the organ works as was previously thought. Few are liturgical. Most fall under the heading of cantata, if by this term one understands the earlier form as practiced by Tunder rather than the later genre represented by most of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas.
In 1673 Buxtehude established the famous Abendmusiken, or evening musicals, in St. Mary's; they took place from 4 to 5 P.M. on the five Sundays before Christmas. These performances included organ music as well as sacred works of a dramatic-allegorical nature for chorus, soloists, and orchestra; the bulk of the latter has disappeared.
Most of Buxtehude's 124 extant cantatas were probably written between 1676 and 1687. The solo portions exhibit operatic styles ranging from recitative to arias. There are also songlike pieces on lyric texts. Especially notable among the choral sections are the closing portions with closely imitative introductions, followed by fugal Alleluia or Amen sections. Throughout there is the strongest possible expression of the text content, achieved through the free exercise of musical fantasy. Buxtehude also wrote works based on melodies and texts of chorales (the traditional hymnody of Lutheranism), in some of which the melody is varied in each movement.
This wealth of expression made a profound impression on the young Johann Sebastian Bach, who in 1705 journeyed 200 miles on foot to hear Buxtehude's music and remained for 4 months. Thereafter Bach seems to have been determined to employ this expressive potential in church works.
Equally impressive for Bach must have been Buxtehude's organ music. Certainly the older composer comes closer than anyone else to Bach in the composition of the small-scale, subjective-interpretive chorale prelude (a free organ composition based on the melody of a Lutheran chorale, originally used to introduce congregational singing). This was a more southerly form. Buxtehude brought to its most advanced state the North German chorale fantasia, in which the chorale melody is so freely treated in a series of rhapsodic sections as to nearly disappear. For the most part his toccatas are in the then standard form, consisting of a sequence of diverse sections, including free fantasy, virtuoso pedal solos, and at least two fugues. Here, especially, his penchant for the daring and the unexpected comes strongly to the fore. There is also service music: Magnificats and Te Deums that could substitute for vocal performance and canzonas that were played during church services.
Undoubtedly a great deal of Buxtehude's keyboard and chamber music has been lost. The sonatas of 1696 cannot be his earliest attempts. His sonatas are somewhat retrospective, compared to the already-existing model of Arcangelo Corelli, and Buxtehude's keyboard suites follow the model of Johann Jakob Froberger. It is in the specifically North German forms that Buxtehude dominates and represents the climax of his era.
Buxtehude's importance is discussed in Manfred F. Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era: From Monteverdi to Bach (1947). Good background studies are Paul H. Lang, Music in Western Civilization (1941), and Donald J. Grout, A History of Western Music (1960).
Snyder, Kerala J., Dietrich Buxtehude, organist in Lübeck, New York: Schirmer Books; London: Collier Macmillan, 1987. □
Baroque organ virtuoso and composer; b. Oldesloe, Holstein (then a Danish possession), c. 1637; d. Lübeck, Germany, May 9, 1707. Buxtehude studied organ with his father and played in Denmark until he succeeded Franz Tunder as organist at the Church of St. Mary, Lübeck, in 1668. In 1673 he initiated the soon celebrated Abend-Musiken, twilight musical services held on the five Sundays preceding Christmas. Both j. s. bach and handel journeyed to Lübeck to hear him play. He was a leader of the North German school of organ composition, with its presupposition of virtuoso technique, and his organ works exerted great influence on Bach's early compositions. Buxtehude's best organ works are those in "free" form, i.e., toccatas (or preludes) and fugues; his chorale preludes are not outstanding musically. His many church cantatas, some based on chorales, others freely composed, are a treasure of concerted church music. The cantatas, because of the great variety in their music, as well as the finesse with which their texts are set, are possibly even more important historically than his organ works.
Bibliography: Published music. Sämtliche Orgelwerke, ed. p. spitta, 2 v. (Leipzig 1876–77). Complete Organ Works, ed. j. hedar, 4 v. (London 1952–54). Many cantatas are pub. in modern editions. a. pirro, Dietrich Buxtehude (Paris 1913). w. stahl, Dietrich Buxtehude (Kassel 1937). w. e. buszin, Musical Quarterly 23 (New York, 1937) 465–490. f. blume, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Kassel-Basel 1949) 2:548–571. k. beckmann, "Zur Sextole in Buxtehudes g-Moll-Präludium," Ars Organi 45(1997) 69–77. c. bockmaier, "Buxtehudes Orgel-Chaconne in cMoll (BuxWV 159)," Anuario Musical 51 (1996) 29–38. p. reichert, "Musikalische Rhetorik in den Choralvorspielen von Dietrich Buxtehude," Acta Organologica 24 (1993) 145–184. m. schneider, Buxtehudes Choralfantasien: Textdeutung oder "phantastischer Stil?" (Kassel 1997). k. j. snyder, Dieterich Buxtehude: Organist in Lübeck (New York 1987). d. yearsley, "Towards an Allegorical Interpretation of Buxtehude's Funerary Counterpoints," Music and Letters 80 (1999) 183–206.
[w. c. holmes]