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Johann Vierdanck

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(b c1605; d Stralsund, bur. 1 April 1646). German composer, organist and instrumentalist. He probably came of a musical family from Saxony or Thuringia. By 1616 he was a choirboy in the Dresden Hofkapelle, for in a letter of 23 September that year Heinrich Schütz, who was prominent there, described him as such and declared that he was ‘a fine, modest person and making a very good, solid beginning in composition’. He also studied the violin and cornett. In 1630–31 he was an instrumentalist in the Hofkapelle. He was a violinist at the Güstrow court from at least autumn 1631 to 24 June 1632, after which he travelled to Lübeck and Copenhagen. At this period he must have got to know Gabriel Voigtländer, whose song Als ich einmal Lust bekam he incorporated into no.31 of his Capricci (1641), and Johann Schop (i), Nicolaus Bleyer and Friedrich Hoyoul, to all three of whom he dedicated the same collection. From early in 1635 until his death he was organist of the Marienkirche, Stralsund.

The pieces in Vierdanck’s first publication, Erster Theil newer Pavanen (1637), are in effect suites for two violins and continuo arranged systematically by key; they are significant in the early history of the suite, not least for their trio-sonata textures. There was a second edition in 1641, which was also when his Ander Theil … Capricci appeared.

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