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Johann Philipp Krieger

February 27, 1649 - February 6, 1725
born in Weißenfels, composed during the Baroque period
Johann Philipp Krieger was one of the most outstanding composers of his time, the author of an immense amount of sacred music. It is likely that the sole reason for his lack of fame is the fact that a large proportion of it has been lost.

Confusingly, he was the elder brother of Johann Krieger (1651 - 1735), also a composer. Their family had been present in Nuremberg since the fifteenth century, at a minimum, and the family trade was rug making with a member of the Krieger family still making rugs in Nuremberg as late as 1925. According to his earliest biographies, J.P. Krieger began his clavier studies with Johann Dreschel at the age of eight and received instruction in other instruments with Gabriel Schütz. By the age of nine, he was amazing audiences with many musical skills, including his keyboard playing, his own well-crafted compositions, and his ability to sing or play any melody that was sung to him.

In his mid-teens, he traveled to Copenhagen to become the pupil of Johannes Schröder, the royal Danish court organist, and study composition with Kaspar Förster. He had a job offer to go to Christiana (the future Oslo, Norway), but preferred to return home, arriving back in Nuremberg around 1670. There is some inconsistency in the record about this period. Both of his primary biographers say he worked in the town of Zeitz but disagree on the dates while that town's records don't show that he was there at all. They then place him as concert master in Bayreuth, while the only record of his presence there lists him merely as court organist in 1673.

In 1673, war broke out between some German states and France and the Margrave of Bayreuth, Christian Ernst, led his troops out of the region. He generously gave Krieger permission to travel to Italy, at no loss in pay, to study. In Venice, he was taught composition by Johann Rosenmüller and clavier with A.M. Abbatini. In Rome, he studied both subjects with Bernardo Pasquini. On his way back through Austria, he played for Emperor Leopold I, who was so overwhelmed by Krieger's playing that he granted patents of nobility to the entire Krieger family, male and female. Krieger stayed in Bayreuth only a short while. Traveling on through Frankfurt to Main and Kasel, he got job offers in both places. But he finally accepted a position with the grand ducal court in Hallé on November 1, 1677, as concert master. The Grand Duke August, died three years later. His successor, Johann Adolph I, confirmed Krieger in the same job. This required Krieger to make a move with the rest of the court when Johann Adolph moved it to Weissenfels. Krieger remained in that position until he died.

When the ducal court moved to Weissenfels in connection with a sale of some music to the Marienkirch there, he made a catalog of his own compositions and works of other composers he had acquired and presumably played in Hallé. He continued to keep detailed and meticulous lists of all the vocal music he performed in his 45 years in Weissenfels. It shows that he performed well over 2,000 separate works from his own pen, 225 by his brother Johann, and 475 by other composers. Just the list of his cantatas numbers more than 2,000 works, making up the vast bulk of this listing. However, only 74 of them are extant. He also wrote 13 operas, all lost; some other sacred music; and a small amount of secular music.

Krieger made a great contribution to the history of the German church cantata by adopting madrigal verse forms for his texts. The religious purpose of these cantatas was to comment on or illustrate the day's Scripture lesson. Older cantatas were written on texts from the Bible, chorales, or odes. Krieger's more dramatic form was modeled on Italian secular cantatas and consisted of recitatives and arias, which might include specifically written texts, many of which were written by the deacon at Weissenfels, the pastor and poet Erdmann Neumeister. These cantatas sometimes but not always included chorale and Bible texts. This format became known as the "new German cantata," and is the form that Johann Sebastian Bach elevated to its highest level. Krieger's examples are of very high quality, ranking with those of any other of his contemporaries besides Bach himself. The sections of his cantatas are generally in clearly understandable forms with sturdy, uncomplicated rhythmic and harmonic structure.

The extent of his composition of instrumental music is less well-known: He published two sets of trio sonatas (12 for two violins and continuo and 12 for viola da gamba, violin, and continuo) and six suites, called Lustige Feld-Musik, for four wind instruments. These works survive, but some "sonatas" that were obviously early specimens of concerto grosso did not. Of his keyboard works, only three works (a passacaglia, a set of 24 variations on an aria, and a toccata and fugue) survive. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Lieben Und Geliebet Werden

Title: Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices

1. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Allegro

2. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Lieben Und Geliebet Werden

3. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Gigue

4. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Einsamkeit, Du Qual Der Hertzen

5. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Mars Und Amor Sind Zwey Helden

6. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Ach Ihr Winde

7. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Jungfern Lieben Dib Und Das

8. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Mannern Ist Nicht Viel Zu Glauben

9. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Ich Mub Weinen, Ich Mub Lachen

10. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Freyheit Ist Die Beste Lust

11. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Adagio

12. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Ciacconetta

13. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Was Der Himmel Will Erquicken

14. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: In Dem Dunckeln Ist Gut Munckein

15. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Wer Leicht Glaubt, Wird Leicht Betrogen

16. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Zerschmiltz, Du Felsen-hartes Hertze

17. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Aeol, Auf Mit Deiner Macht

18. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Scheiden Bringet Noth Und Leiden

19. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Tausend Schmertzen

20. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Echo, Willst Du Mich Vergnugen

21. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Aria D'inventione

22. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Eilt, Ihr Meine Heissen Blitze

23. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: O Ihr Starken Liebes-blitze

24. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Gezwungene Liebe Thut Nimmermehr Gut

25. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Ein Kubgen In Ehren

26. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Bosheit Mub Gestrafet Werden

27. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: So Sind Nun Die Traurigen Stunden Verschwunden

28. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Gluckselig Ist Das Land

29. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Gluckselig Sind Die Zeiten

30. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Recitativo

31. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Nun Kan Ich Mich Vor Den Gluckseligsten Schatzen

32. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Deine Blicke Sind Mein Glucke

33. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Recitativo (2)

34. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Wir Hertzen, Wir Schertzen

35. Lieben Und Geliebet Werden, For 3 Voices: Lieben Und Doch Nicht Geniessen

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