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Johann Hermann Schein

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Johann Hermann Schein (20 January 1586 – 19 November 1630) was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was born in Grünhain and died in Leipzig. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music, and was one of the most polished composers of the period.

On the death of his father, he moved to Dresden where he joined the choir of the Elector of Saxony as a boy soprano. In addition to singing in the choir, he received a thorough musical training with Rogier Michael, the Kapellmeister, who recognized his extraordinary talent.

From 1603 to 1607 he studied at Pforta, and from 1608 to 1612 attended the University of Leipzig, where he studied law in addition to liberal arts. Upon graduating, he was employed briefly by Gottfried von Wolffersdorff as the house music director and tutor to his children; later he became Kapellmeister at Weimar, and shortly thereafter became cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig, a post which he held for the rest of his life.

Unlike his friend Heinrich Schütz, he was afflicted with poor health, and was not to live a happy or long life. His wife died in childbirth; four of his five children died in infancy; he died at age 44, having suffered from tuberculosis, gout, scurvy and a kidney disorder.

Schein was one of the first to absorb the innovations of the Italian Baroque—monody, the concertato style, figured bass — and use them effectively in a German Lutheran context.

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