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date: 30 September 2020

Musculus, Balthasarlocked

  • Franz Krautwurst


(b Neustadt an der Orla, Thuringia, c1540; d 1595–7). German music editor, composer and schoolmaster. He was most probably the ‘Balthasar Meuslin a Neapoli ad Orlam’ who matriculated at the University of Jena in the summer of 1557. He first worked in his native town, whence in 1575 he sent several songs (probably his lost print of that year) to the town councillors of Amberg and Nördlingen and in 1579 some partbooks to Naumburg an der Saale. Later, he was headmaster of the school at Ziegenrück, Thuringia, until 1595. Since his publication of 1597 was edited for him he was probably dead by then. The four-part songs that make up the 40 schöne geistliche Gesenglein, which from 1597 always appeared alongside pieces by Jacob Meiland, Orazio Vecchi and other composers, are anonymous settings of German texts, partly in the expressive polyphonic style of the late Netherlands motet, partly in a simple homophonic song style that shows the influence of the Italian villanella and canzonetta. Since they exhibit such a variety of styles and are of such differing quality, it must be assumed that only a few were composed by Musculus himself; some indeed are known to be by Jacob Meiland, Georg Körber, Antonio Scandello and Gallus Dressler. The popularity of the collection and its widespread use in Protestant grammar schools is demonstrated by the large number of editions and by the frequency with which individual pieces were reprinted. Further work needs to be done on the sources; five editions have been established....

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