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date: 24 January 2020

Abendmusik (Ger.).locked

  • Kerala J. Snyder



The name given to a particular type of concert held in the Marienkirche, Lübeck, during the 17th and 18th centuries. The exact origins of the Abendmusiken were already obscure in the mid-18th century, but they began as organ recitals, probably during Franz Tunder’s tenure as organist (1641–67), perhaps even earlier. The original purpose may have been to entertain businessmen who assembled in the Marienkirche to await the opening of the stock exchange at noon on Thursdays. However, Tunder already referred to them as ‘Abendspiele’ in 1646. It is also possible that the Lübeck businessmen who financed them were imitating the municipally sponsored organ recitals in the Netherlands, where Reformed Church doctrine prohibited the use of the organ during church services.

Tunder’s musical offerings later included vocal and instrumental soloists, but Buxtehude, who succeeded him, added orchestra and chorus, necessitating the building of four extra balconies in 1669 to accommodate 40 performers. He also changed the time from a weekday to 4 p.m. on the last two Sundays of Trinity and the second, third and fourth Sundays of Advent, a schedule that was maintained throughout the 18th century. Although as late as ...

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