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date: 17 May 2021

Steuccius [Steucke], Heinrichlocked

  • A. Lindsey Kirwan

Extract

(b Weissenfels, Dec 12, 1579; d Naumburg, Sept 14, 1645). German composer. He came from an old-established Weissenfels family, and his father was both Kantor and town councillor there. Although primarily a student of philosophy and law at the universities of Leipzig and Wittenberg (in 1602 he stated that he had been studying for nearly eight years), he began composing early and by the age of 17 had dedicated a mass to the Weissenfels council. By the time his only collection of music appeared in 1602, he had already written ‘all kinds of sacred pieces and motets, as well as secular songs’. However, only two motets are known to have been composed after this date. By 1613 he was in Naumburg as legal adviser to the cathedral foundation, and he continued to live there until his death. His Amorum ac leporum contains 97 pieces, 15 of them dances, the remainder German secular songs. It continues the line of similar publications by Harnisch, Mancinus and others. Although its contents cannot be said to reach the heights of, for example, H.L. Hassler’s contributions to the tradition, they are not without importance. Occasionally, when inspired by a suitable text, he shed the foursquareness characteristic of the north German style and set the words with real effect. He sometimes showed a strong sense of form too. He was also conscious of key relationships and devised carefully worked-out modulatory schemes. The music is predominantly syllabic, but passages of closely imitative texture alternate with simple homophony without the essential simplicity of the genre being lost. The motets are for two choirs, though neither choir is treated as a separate entity; forceful homophonic writing contrasts with passages of flowing counterpoint....

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