Personalities | Michael Praetorius | Renaissance | Classical
(Mekh’-a-el Pri-tô’-re-oos) c. 1571–1621
German composer and theorist
Born into a strict Lutheran household, Praetorius became one of the greatest and most prolific early composers in the Protestant tradition. He composed over 1,000 sacred works – mostly hymns based on Lutheran chorales, but also German psalm settings and some Latin-texted works. Today, however, Praetorius is best known for his Syntagma musicum (‘Musical Survey’, 1614–20), a three-volume work. The most important section is the second book, ‘De organographia’, a detailed discussion of the instruments of his day, illustrated with beautiful and intricately detailed woodcuts, providing evidence about the construction and nomenclature of the instruments of the period.
Dances from Terpsichore, Motets, Early Music Consort of London (dir) David Munrow (Virgin/Erato)
‘In Dulci Jubilo’
The melody of this popular Christmas carol, also known by the English title ‘Good Christian Men Rejoice’, was already being sung in the Middle Ages. Among today’s harmonizations is one by the Renaissance composer and music theorist Michael Praetorius.
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