Schutz, Heinrich



Famous German composer; influential in the development of churchmusic and the author of the first German opera. He was born at Kostritz, and was educated at the Court of Hesse-Cassel, studying law at Marburg and music at Venice later, under Gabrielli, until 1612. Schütz held various appointments at Dresden, in 1617 being appointed chapelmaster to the Elector of Saxony. In 1642 he was appointed director of the Royal music at Copenhagen, a post he held until 1645. He died in Dresden. One musical authority says: "Schütz stands at the parting of the ways between Palestrina and Bach and is of importance chiefly because he applied the great Italian's choral style and the style of Monteverde and his followers to the development of semi-dramatic music and in a manner prepared the way for the great Bach." He is sometimes called the father of German music. He composed madrigals; psalms; sacred symphonies; and an opera, Daphne, brought out about 1627, besides much sacred choral music. A complete edition of his works is published in sixteen volumes, and includes sacred and secular music of great historical importance. Many of his best works are still heard, and he is accredited with having brought about in Germany as thorough a reform in musical art as had been accomplished in Italy in 1600.