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Buxtehude, Dieterichlocked

  • Kerala J. Snyder

Extract

(b ?Helsingborg, c1637; d Lübeck, May 9, 1707). German or Danish composer and organist. He is best known as a composer of organ music, of which he was one of the most important composers before J.S. Bach. He also left equally impressive repertories of sacred vocal and instrumental ensemble music.

No documents exist to verify the date and place of Buxtehude’s birth, and even his nationality has been disputed. The only contemporary information comes from a notice (in Nova literaria Maris Balthici) shortly after his death: ‘he recognized Denmark as his native country, whence he came to our region; he lived about 70 years’. Although his family must originally have come from the town of Buxtehude, south-west of Hamburg, his ancestors had settled at Oldesloe (now Bad Oldesloe) in the Duchy of Holstein early in the 16th century. His father, Johannes (1601/2–74), migrated from Oldesloe to the Danish province of Scania; his presence there as organist of the St Maria Kyrka in Helsingborg is documented for the year ...

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