Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690–1749) was a prolific German baroque composer. He was born in Grünstädtel, in the Erzgebirge and studied at Leipzig University from 1707 to 1710. Stölzel joined there the Collegium Musicum, which had been headed by Telemann before his arrival at the University. For the next years, he travelled widely, studying, teaching and composing in Breslau, Halle, and other cities. Late in 1713, Stölzel travelled to Italy, where he met composers like Johann David Heinichen and Antonio Vivaldi in Venice, Francesco Gasparini in Florence and Antonio Bononcini in Rome. Returning after more than a year, he spent some time in Innsbruck, and travelled over Linz to Prague where he worked for nearly three years (1715–17). In Prague Stölzel premiered three operas, several oratorios, masses, and many instrumental compositions. He was for a short time court Kapellmeister in Bayreuth (1717–18) and in Gera (1719). His opera Diomedes was premiered in 1718 in Bayreuth. On 24 November 1719, Stölzel assumed the position of Kapellmeister at the court in Gotha, where he worked under the dukes Frederick II and Frederick III of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg until his death in 1749.
Stölzel composed twelve complete annual cycles of sacred cantatas, which amounts to 1,358 cantatas, 605 of these surviving with music. Among his extant compositions, are a Brockes Passion of 1725, two Christmas Oratorios, a Deutsche Messe, a Lutheran Mass, and others. Extant instrumental works include four concerti grossi, many sinfonias, and a concerto for oboe d’amore. His five operas, Diomedes (1718), Narcissus, Valeria, Artemisia, and Orion, have not survived. Stölzel is reputed to have composed over 18 orchestral suites alone (none survive), as well as 90 serenatas (vocal pieces performed as “table music”).

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