Johann Hermann Schein

Johann Hermann Schein (1586–1630) was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music.
On the death of his father, Schein 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 1608 to 1612 attended the University of Leipzig, where he studied law in addition to liberal arts. Later he became Kapellmeister at Weimar, and shortly thereafter became cantor at the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, conducting the Thomanerchor, a post which he held for the rest of his life. 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. He wrote sacred and secular music in approximately equal quantities, and almost all of it was vocal. In his secular vocal music he wrote all of his own texts. Some of his sacred music uses the most sophisticated techniques of the Italian madrigal for a devotional purpose. His works attain an expressive intensity matched in Germany only by those of Schütz. Possibly his most famous collection was his only collection of instrumental music, the Banchetto musicale (1617) which contains twenty separate variation suites; they are among the earliest, and most perfect, representatives of the form.

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