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George J. Buelow

(b Hamburg, Sept 28, 1681; d Hamburg, April 17, 1764). German composer, critic, music journalist, lexicographer and theorist.

Mattheson was the third and only surviving son of Johann Mattheson, a Hamburg tax collector, and Margaretha Höling of Rendsburg (Holstein). Details of Mattheson’s life come largely from his autobiography published in the Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte. His education was exceptionally broad, perhaps because his parents hoped he would gain a position in Hamburg society. At the Johanneum he received a substantial background in the liberal arts, including musical instruction from Kantor Joachim Gerstenbüttel. He also had private instruction in dancing, drawing, arithmetic, riding, fencing, and English, French and Italian. At six he began private music lessons, studying the keyboard and composition for four years with J.N. Hanff (later organist at Schleswig Cathedral), taking singing lessons from a local musician named Woldag and instruction on the gamba, violin, flute, oboe and lute. At nine Mattheson was a child prodigy, performing on the organ and singing in Hamburg churches. His voice was of such quality that Gerhard Schott, manager of the Hamburg opera, invited him to join the company, and he sang in J.W. Franck’s opera ...