Zittau, Sachsen, Germany
1 June 1639 (aged 59)
Melchior Franck (c. 1579 – June 1, 1639) was a German composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was a hugely prolific composer of Protestant church music, especially motets, and assisted in bringing the stylistic innovations of the Venetian School north across the Alps into Germany.
Details of his early life are sparse, as is common for composers of the time. He was born in Zittau, and possibly studied with Christoph Demantius there, and also later with Adamus Gumpelzhaimer in Augsburg. By 1601 he was in Nuremberg, as a music teacher; there he met Hans Leo Hassler, and learned from him both the Venetian polychoral style and the polyphonic style of the high Renaissance, both of which he incorporated into his own composition.
In 1602 he took a position as Kapellmeister in Coburg to Prince Johann Casimir, and he remained in Coburg for the rest of his life. For the earlier portion of this time, the situation was ideal for him; he was supported by his patron, and had the resources necessary to carry on his composing. Yet in the course of the ensuing Thirty Years' War Franck lost his family, his employer and salary - he retained his post at the court in name only. Franck's plight and poverty is documented in three harrowing letters addressed to the municipality of Coburg, written shortly before his death. He left behind avast oeuvre of around 600 works.
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