Michael Praetorius, classical music composer

Michael Praetorius image

Michael Praetorius

Biography

Michael Praetorius was one of the most versatile German composers during the waning years of the late Renaissance and the burgeoning Baroque period. Though a devoted Lutheran, he was greatly influenced by Italian music and performance practice, and his music further shows that he was familiar with the unique polychoral style developed in Venice. Among Praetorius's prolific output is the nine volume Musae Sioniae, a collection of over twelve hundred chorale and song arrangements, and Terpsichore, which contains over three hundred instrumental dances. Praetorius was also a noted musical scholar during his day. He produced three of four volumes of an expansive theoretical treatise entitled Syntagma Musicum (the fourth was planned, but left unfinished at his death), and his systematic documentation of 17th-century musical practices has proven to be of immeasurable value to the early-musical revival of the 20th century.

Born Michael Schultze (Praetorius being the Latinized version of his family name) on the generally accepted date of February 15, 1571, Praetorius was the youngest son of a Lutheran pastor. He studied divinity and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt (Oder), and after completing his musical education, secured a post as organist at the Marienkirche in Frankfurt in 1587. His activities during the early 1590s are somewhat obscure, but by 1595, it is known that he was serving as organist at the court of Duke Heinrich Julius of Brunwick-Wolfenbüttel. In 1604, he further took on the duties of Kapellmeister. This was a particularly productive period for Praetorius, during which many of his compositions appeared in print.

Following the Duke's death in 1613, Praetorius officially maintained his position as Kapellmeister under his successor, but accepted an invitation to work for two years at the court of Johann Georg I, Elector of Saxony. However, even once his tenure there was over in 1615, he sustained close ties with Dresden. Praetorius was increasing more absent from Wolfenbüttel, eventually resulting in his dismissal from his position as Kapellmeister. Praetorius died the following year, purportedly on his 50th birthday—February 15, 1621.


Composer Title Date Action
Michael Praetorius Wir glauben all an einen Gott 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Laudate Dominum 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Puer natus in Bethlehem 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Der du bist drei 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Wie lang willst du, o lieber Herr 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Christ der du bist tag und licht 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit 04/16/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland 04/18/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius A solis ortus cardine 04/18/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Christ Lag in Todesbanden 06/26/2014 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen 12/27/2015 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, from the Polyhymnia caduceatrix 02/14/2016 Play Add to playlist
Michael Praetorius Puer Natus in Bethelehem, from Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica 02/12/2017 Play Add to playlist