Rolle, Johann Heinrich



German composer; born at Quedlinburg; son and pupil of a musician; studied for the law at Leipsic, and turned to music because he failed to succeed as a lawyer in Berlin, where he went in 1740. He became a member of the Court Orchestra in that city and remained there until 1746, when he became organist at Magdeburg, where in 1752 he succeeded his father as music-director of that city, and lived there the rest of his life, composing indefatigably. His numerous works comprise dramas on both sacred and secular subjects,, including the Death of Abel; The Victory of David; Saul; Abraham on Moriah; Lazarus; David and Jonathan; Samson; Orestes and Pylades; and The Labors of Hercules. He also wrote cantatas for Easter, Whitsuntide and Christmas; several annual series of church services for all Sundays and festivals; five Passions; twenty fourpart motets; settings of Anacreon's odes for vocal solo with clavier accompaniment, and other songs; music for orchestra, organ, clavier, and other instruments; and more than sixty compositions for church use, besides those named. Two of his quasi-oratorios, The Death of Abel, and Abraham on Moriah, were for years popular in Berlin, where they were performed annually.