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date: 29 May 2020

Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norwaylocked

  • John Bergsagel


(b Hillerød, April 12, 1577; d Copenhagen, Feb 28, 1648). Danish ruler and patron of music. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, Frederik II, in 1588 but ruled under a regency until his coronation in 1596. In the course of his education he revealed a marked interest in the arts, especially architecture and music, both of which enjoyed the advantage of his personal encouragement throughout his long reign, with results that have contributed much to the enduring impression of the period as a golden age in Danish history.

The royal chapel at the time of Christian’s coronation numbered 71 musicians divided into three groups – singers, instrumentalists and trumpeters. Like those of most other European courts in the 16th century, it had been built up by importing its leading musicians from the Netherlands, and just as Christian’s big architectural undertakings – Frederiksborg, Kronborg and Rosenborg palaces, for example – show a continuing Netherlandish influence, so for most of his reign the chapel was under the direction of the Dutch Gregorius Trehou, who played an important role in building up the chapel, and Melchior Borchgrevinck. He was nevertheless anxious to cultivate Danish talent, and he instructed government representatives all over the country to look out for promising talent for his chapel. It is said that whenever possible he himself interviewed and auditioned those who applied to enter his service. In ...

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Dansk aarbog for musikforskning
International Musicological Society: Congress Report [1930-]