Nicolaus Bruhns


Born: 1665; Schwabstedt, Germany   Died: March 29, 1697; Husum, Germany  
Although he had a short life and wrote very little music that survives, Nicolaus Bruhns is considered important in the development of North German Baroque music for bringing a new virtuosity to his vocal writing.

The Bruhns family was among the musical dynasties that one encounters all over the history of German music in the 1600s. The Bruhns lived in northern Germany and southern Denmark. Paul Bruhns (d. 1655) was a lutenist who had
Read more three musical sons, of whom the middle, also named Paul, was Nicolaus' father. Paul the Younger got a musical job in Schwabstedt by marrying the daughter of the town organist there and inherited it. (This was a common practice in the area at the time.)

When Nicolaus showed uncommon musical talent at an early age, Paul sent him to live with Paul's younger brother, Peter, in Lübeck, a town with a livelier musical life and, hence, better teachers. Primary among them was the great organist Dietrich Buxtehude, who considered Nicolaus his best pupil. Nicolaus also studied violin with his uncle Peter.

As a young musician, Nicolaus got work early in his career thanks to Buxtehude's glowing letter of recommendation. He worked for several years at Copenhagen as a virtuoso violinist and composer. This gave Bruhns a chance to get to know Italian musicians, popular with the citizens at the time, and their music, which included a virtuoso element not common in German music at the time.

He auditioned for the open post of organist of the Stadtkirche of Husum on March 29, 1689. The city council hired him right away, remarking that "since never before has the city heard his like in composition and performance on all manner of instruments." He was a hit from the start. The city fathers of the larger city of Kiel heard him play and tried to lure him away with more money. Husum, a nice and thriving town, knew what a treasure it had, and, as such, approved a special increase in the salary for his position (taking care to note that it was a special case, for Bruhns alone). Bruhns stayed there until his death in 1697.

None of his chamber music has survived, which is especially unfortunate since witnesses make reference to his use of innovative double stops to make it sound like there are more instruments playing than was actually the case. He was known for playing two or three solo lines simultaneously on the violin while playing the bass line on organ pedals. Bruhns' four preludes and fugues are obviously influenced by Buxtehude. After a brilliant opening prelude, the fugues are also inventive in their use of echo effects. His toccatas are technically brilliant and have especially inventive pedal passages. His sacred concertos for chorus have the virtuosity of Italian instrumental concertos. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 68 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Vivarte Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 2367 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Schäfer,  Jonas Will,  Johannes Pohl,  Harry Van der Kamp  ... 
    Conductor:  Konrad Ruhland,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frieder Bernius,  Bruno Weil  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Niederaltaich Scholars,  Tölz Boys Choir,  Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Das Husumer Orgelbuch von 1758 / Tomadin
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95328 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph Druckenmuller,  Marx Philipp Zeyhold,  Hinrich Zinck,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Tomadin
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  • 3.
    Bonjour & Willkommen: A Franco-German Debut / Miller
    Label: Acis Productions   Catalog: 72306 Release Date: 06/14/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  César Franck,  François Couperin,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Louis Vierne  ... 
    Performer:  Crista Miller
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  • 4.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
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  • 5.
    Buxtehude & His Circle / Hillier, Theatre of Voices
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220634 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Geist,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Franz Tunder  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices
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  • 6.
    Bruhns & Scheidemann: Organ Works
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220636 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Nicolaus Bruhns
    Performer:  Bine Bryndorf
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  • 7.
    Abendmusik: Cantatas For Solo Bass
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95033 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Christoph Bach,  Franz Tunder,  Johann Schop,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Mauro [Baritone Vocal] Borgioni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Hermans
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  • 8.
    Label: Vanitas   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Giovanni Battista Fontana,  Georg Böhm  ... 
    Performer:  Pavel Amilcar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Divina Mysteria
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  • 9.
    Bruhns: Complete Organ Works / Duwensee
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9061878 Release Date: 06/23/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns
    Performer:  Ingo Duwensee
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  • 10.
    In Times Of Crisis / Adam Brakel
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 956 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Adam Brakel
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  • 11.
    Rheinberger: Complete Organ Works / Innig
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 3171864 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Joseph Rheinberger,  Nicolaus Bruhns
    Performer:  Rudolf Innig
    CD: $70.49
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  • 12.
    Deutsche Geistliche Barockmusik: Weihnachten (German Baroque Sacred Music: Christmas)
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 349 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Christoph Graupner,  Various,  Samuel Scheidt,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Geyer,  Reinoud Van Mechelen,  Elisabeth Scholl,  Lothar Blum  ... 
    Conductor:  Florian Heyerick,  Bruno Boterf,  Jean Tubery,  Philippe Pierlot  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle,  Ricercar Consort  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Heart's Refuge
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29143 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Christoph Bach,  Johann Heinrich Schmelzer,  Johann Kuhnau  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander [Bass Vocal] Dobson,  Isaiah Bell,  Kyle [Countertenor Vocal] Guilfoyle,  Rebecca [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Claborn  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Taylor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Early Music
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  • 14.
    Music For A Princess / Annette Richards
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1129 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Princess of Pruss Amalie,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Annette Richards
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  • 15.
    Bruhns: Complete Organ Music / Adriano Falcioni
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94447 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  Adriano Falcioni
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  • 16.
    Organ Recital - Bruhns,  Radulescu, Grigny,  Bach / Mari Fukumoto
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573155 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Michael Radulescu,  Nicholas de Grigny,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Mari Fukumoto
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  • 17.
    Bruhns, Hasse: Organ Works / Tomadin
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7685 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Nicolaus Hasse
    Performer:  Manuel Tomadin
    CD: $14.99
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  • 18.
    Orgelkonzert, Vol. 2
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Ludwig Krebs,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Matthias Suss
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  • 19.
    Music of Old Cities & Royal Courts
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 283312 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gregor Joseph Werner,  Frederick the Great  ... 
    Performer:  Tivadar Bantay,  Christa Richter-Steiner,  Theo Altmeyer,  Lisa Otto  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernhard Paumgartner,  Karl Forster,  Wolfgang Meyer,  Hans von Benda  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica,  Baryton Trio,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Organo Plano
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 944 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Conrad Susa,  Jean-Adam Guilain,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Eugene Gigout  ... 
    Performer:  Scott Montgomery
    CD: $19.99
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  • 21.
    Recital In York Springs
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1123 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Adam Reincken,  Melchior Schildt,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Riyehee Hong
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  • 22.
    Mein Herz Ist Bereit / Gotthold Schwarz, Hauke Ramm
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6059 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Georg Böhm,  Franz Tunder  ... 
    Performer:  Hauke Ramm,  Gotthold Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saxon Baroque Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4789 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Antonio Soler,  Henri Mulet  ... 
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  • 24.
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 937 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Raedeke
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  • 25.
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau Sings Baroque Arias
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94218 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Tunder,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    CD: $14.99
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