David Pohle

Biography

Born: 1624; Marienburg, Germany   Died: December 20, 1695; Merseburg, Germany  
German composer David Pohle forges a near-direct link between the influence of Heinrich Schütz and the generation of Bach and Telemann. One of Schütz's last students, Pohle studied in Dresden and subsequently plied his trade as a musician in various North German cities through 1660, when he accepted the position of kapellmeister in Halle. Although he obtained a secondary position at Zeitz in 1678, he retained the position in Halle until relieved Read more by the assistant he had trained, J.P. Krieger, in 1680. In 1680, Pohle relocated to Merseburg, where he had worked at least twice before early in his career, in 1682, and remained there until his death 14 years later.

Pohle was quite productive as a composer, mounting several masses and at least seven singspiels during his years at Halle. Every one of these works is lost; between 1663 and 1665, Pohle composed a complete cantata cycle for the entire Lutheran church year, and was one of the first composers to do so. However, Pohle never published any of his works and the cantata cycle has disappeared with the exception of one cantata. About 30 of Pohle's instrumental sonatas are extant, and these exist in nearly equal number to his sacred vocal works. The sonatas consist of very short movements that highlight abrupt contrasts when they change, some languid and expressive, others fleet and sinewy. Harmonically steeped in a style that sounds weirdly arcane, Pohle's chamber music is somewhat reminiscent of the little bit of surviving chamber music by Johann Sebastian Bach's granduncle Heinrich Bach, with its fondness for late-Renaissance era "false relations," which makes sense as Heinrich Bach was a slightly older contemporary to Pohle. While his sacred concertos, written both to Latin and German texts, are not as polished as those of Franz Tunder, they do have some captivating elements, including remnants of early Baroque, "concitato" style singing and the use of descending figures in instrumental parts that one observes later in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Read less