Melchior Vulpius


Born: 1570; Wasungen   Died: August, 1615; Weimar, Germany  
Despite his humble upbringing, Melchior Fuchs rose to become an extremely well-known and central composer of hymns for the Protestant worship service in the later sixteenth century. Melchior's parents were not well off, and the boy's early education was thus limited to the local Latin School. The youth must have flourished, however, for by 1588 he was pursuing more advanced studies in music and Latin in the cathedral town of Speyer. Melchior had Read more already latinized his name from Fuchs ("Fox") to Vulpius, and had already, it seems, distinguished himself in the composition of church music. He obtained his first professional post in 1589, teaching Latin in the Latin School of Schleusingen; the precocious Vulpius earned the job, and the title "composer" despite his lack of University training. In 1592, his superiors made his job a permanent appointment, with a small raise and increased duties as Kantor for Luterhan church services. In 1596, he accepted the position of Kantor and teacher at the Latin school in Weimar, and worked there until his death in 1615. During his long and prolific life, Vulpius produced around four hundred hymns for the Lutheran service, and almost two hundred Lutheran motets. These include a complete liturgical cycle of four-voiced settings of the Sprüche for the Lutheran church year, and a number of four-voiced hymns which remain in Protestant circulation today. In addition, Vulpius also wrote a St. Matthew Passion, and an important treatise on the theory of European music. Read less