Froberger, Johann Jacob


German organist and oboist of the Seventeenth Century, the most famous of Frescobaldi's pupils, who was born at Halle, and studied under the great Italian composer from 1637 to 1641. From January to September, 1637, he was Court organist at Vienna and afterward made long concert tours. He was organist to Emperor Ferdinand III. from 1650 to 1657. He appeared in London in 1662 and played at Westminster Abbey. He was an excellent performer on the organ and harpsichord and his compositions for those instruments have been greatly applauded. None of his works was published during his lifetime. Froberger wrote toccatas; fantasias; canzoni; fugues, and other music for the voice, organ and harpsichord, and the studies of both Froberger and his master, Frescobaldi, had much to do with bringing the harpsichord into general use. He was a most admirable performer on the instrument as well as a composer for it. Some of his works are in the Berlin Library, and bear the dates 1649 and 1656. The Imperial Library at Vienna also contains a manuscript of two hundred and twenty-two sheets of toccatas, caprices and other music. Froberger died at an advanced age at the home of his former pupil, Sibylla, the Duchess of Würtemberg, at Hericourt, France. The dates of his birth and death are matters of dispute, though the above are generally accepted. Champlin & Apthorp say of him: " Froberger was the first of the great German organists and clavecinists. He brought the great Indian style of organ-playing, first developed by Merulo and culminating in Frescobaldi, to Germany, and was thus the real father of the great German organ school, the precursor of Pachelbel, Buxtehude and the other immediate predecessors of Sebastian Bach. His style was somewhat less grand than that of his master, but more easily graceful and elegant and he is called by some the earliest salon-composer."