Jakob Hassler

Biography

Born: December 18, 1569; Nuremberg, Germany   Died: September, 1622; Prague, Czech Republic  
Jakob Hassler was the youngest of the three Hassler brothers (the others were Hans Leo and Kasper), a musical family of Franco-Flemish extraction that proved of great importance in Middle Europe during the late Renaissance. Baptized in Nuremberg, Jakob was initially instructed in music, like his brothers, by his father Isaak Hassler. Hassler is first identified on the rolls of musicians in Augsburg in 1585, and he was ennobled, along with his two Read more brothers, by Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in 1595. In between, Hassler is believed to have traveled to Italy to study at the behest of the aristocratic Fugger family, possibly with Andrea Gabrieli. Hassler's term in the Fugger household was interrupted when he was thrown in jail for impregnating an Augsburg girl named Leonora Ostermair; Hassler was released on bail to marry her on February 17, 1597. In May, Hassler accepted a post in the prestigious court of Count Eitel Friedrich IV of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. In 1600, Hassler published his book of madrigals, which spread Hassler's popularity; certain madrigals from this publication appeared in collections printed throughout Europe. Dogged by a second paternity suit in Hechingen that was later dismissed, Hassler attempted to succeed his brother Hans Leo in Augsburg. Luckily, Hassler was offered a post in the Imperial Chapel in Prague instead. In 1604, Rudolf II bestowed the honorific of "von Roseneckh" on Hassler, and Hassler's descendants, among them author and composer Gerd von Hassler, continue to observe this title.

The years until Rudolf II died in 1612 proved Hassler's most prosperous -- in 1608 Hassler picked up a second appointment at the monastery of Heiligkreuz in Augsburg. When Hassler's second son was born in 1609, Rudolf II was named as his godfather. Both Rudolph II and Hans Leo passed away in 1612, and by 1616, the Imperial Chapel owed Hassler more than 1,000 florins on his salary. In 1618, Emperor Matthias died, and in 1619, not long after the Defenestration of Prague, Bohemia revolted against Matthias' successor, Ferdinand II, setting in motion the events that ultimately began the Thirty Years' War. Hassler did not long survive them. He last picked up his salary payment on April 23, 1621, the next time they were received was not until September 29, 1622 -- the receipt was signed by the composer's widow, Leonora Hassler.

Although Jakob Hassler's vocal works were highly regarded in their day and remain the most extensive part of his overall catalog, they are little studied and Grove's dubs them "unremarkable." Nevertheless, Hassler's seven surviving keyboard works, consisting of three ricercars, a toccata, a fugue, fantasy, and a canzona, are of seminal importance as they seamlessly combine Venetian, German, and Franco-Flemish practices under one roof. Read less
Browse 1-6 of 6 Available Recordings
  • 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.
    The Organ in the Renaissance & Baroque / Leonhardt
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 796457 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Newman,,  Elias Nikolaus Ammerbach,  Taylor,,  John Blitheman  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 3.
    A Tribute To Gustav Leonhardt: The Last Recordings
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 815 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Abraham van den Kerckhove,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  Georg Muffat  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Pablo Valetti
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann
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  • 4.
    Hassler: Ich Gieng Einmal Spatieren / Leon Berben
    Label: Ramee   Catalog: 501 Release Date: 04/04/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Leo Hassler,  Jakob Hassler
    Performer:  Léon Berben
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  • 5.
    Die liebe Maienzeit - 16th Century Choral Songs / Hallenser Madrigalisten
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1355 Release Date: 01/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Melchior Franck,  Orlando de Lassus,  Jacobus Clemens non Papa,  Melchior Vulpius  ... 
    Conductor:  Siegfried Bimberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Madrigal Singers
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  • 6.
    Historic Organs Of Austria / Gustave Leonhardt
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 68262 Release Date: 04/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottlieb Muffat,  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Kaspar Kerll,  Alessandro Poglietti  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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