Germany's greatest 17th century composer: Heinrich Schütz

Born within 40 years of Martin Luther's death, Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) conferred musical greatness on Protestant church music in the German language. He left behind around 500 works – almost exclusively settings of texts from the Luther Bible.

Schütz was born in Köstritz and is remembered there with events and exhibitions at the Heinrich Schütz House – his birthplace, a former inn.

Schütz was a choirboy aged 13 when he was discovered by the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, who paid for his tuition including under Gabrieli in Venice. It was later with reluctance that he allowed his protégé to move to Dresden.

In Dresden, Schütz held the post of court kapellmeister to the Elector of Saxony for 55 years. They were difficult times because the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) was raging in Germany. Schütz's legacy is commemorated in Dresden's Church of Our Lady, by a stele near the Zwinger Palace and at the Heinrich Schütz House on Frauengasse.

In 1651 Schütz purchased a house to which to retire in Weissenfels, where he had spent his youth. It was there that he wrote his Swan Song, an eleven motet setting of Psalm 119 for two choirs. The Heinrich Schütz House in Weissenfels is largely preserved in its original state.

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