Michael Praetorius

Biography

Born: February 15, 1571; Creuzburg an der Werra, Germany   Died: February 15, 1621; Wolfenbüttel, Germany  
Michael Praetorius was not only one of the most versatile and prolific German composers of the early seventeenth century (only the remarkable, slightly younger Heinrich Schütz is of comparable importance) but also the author of Syntagma musicum, a historically significant theoretical treatise on music. The exact year of Praetorius' birth remains unknown; February 15, 1571, is the generally accepted date, selected on the basis of two Read more contemporary sources which claim that Praetorius died on his 50th birthday. After schooling at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder and at the Lateinschule at Zerbst, Anhalt, during his teens, Praetorius was appointed organist of St. Marien Church in Frankfurt in 1587. Praetorius later wrote that he left the position after three years, and, while it remains unclear what his activities during the early 1590s might have been, by 1595 he reappears in the historical record as organist for Duke Heinrich Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. After 1604, Praetorius combined his duties as organist with the more demanding position of kapellmeister at the court, often traveling with the duke and his court musicians. The following several years were a very productive time during which most of the composer's published collections of music appeared.

After Duke Heinrich Julius' death in 1613 Praetorius, though officially still attached to the new Duke at Wolfenbüttel, was invited to serve for two years at the court of Elector John Georg of Saxony, and he maintained a close relationship with the Saxony court even after the appointment ended. Indeed, from 1615 on, Praetorius spent more time away from Wolfenbüttel than he did attending to his duties as kapellmeister, and by 1620 Praetorius' frequent absence and poor health had caused so drastic a decline in the quality of music at Wolfenbüttel that he was dismissed from the position. He died just one year later, leaving his sizeable fortune to charity.

Praetorius' father and grandfather were both Lutheran theologians, and the composer inherited their deep religious sentiment, composing over 1,000 sacred compositions based on Protestant hymns and the Latin liturgy used in the Lutheran service. By comparison, only one small collection of secular compositions -- a group of instrumental dances -- survives. While such early works as Megalynodia Sionia, a collection of parody madrigals based on the music of Orlando di Lassus, among others, fail to display a real individuality of musical style. By the time of the Polyhymnia caduceatrix of 1619, Praetorius had embraced a remarkably forward-looking musical aesthetic in which the highly ornamented Italian vocal style of the times, and a dense scoring employing as many as 16 voices are all expressive possibilities at his disposal. Praetorius' Syntagma musicum, while never completed (the final section, intended to provide instruction in actual composition, remains missing), is one of the most important systematic compilations of early seventeenth century musical thinking. Read less
Praetorius: Nativitas / Philip Pickett, New London Consort
Release Date: 08/31/2009   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 458025   Number of Discs: 1
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Praetorius: Polyhymnia Caduceatrix & Panegyrica / Wilson
Release Date: 08/15/2007   Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series  
Catalog: 62929   Number of Discs: 2
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Praetorius: In Dulci Jubilo / Marlow, Trinity College Choir
Release Date: 01/30/2008   Label: Conifer  
Catalog: 51256   Number of Discs: 1
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Praetorius: Weihnachtliche Chormusik / Mauersberger, Et Al
Release Date: 10/24/2006   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 9128   Number of Discs: 1
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Schutz: Christmas Oratorio;  Praetorius: Motets / Parrott
Release Date: 12/01/2009   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 47633   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen

Browse 1-25 of 223 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Christmas Hymns And Carols, Vol. 1
    Label: Real Gone Music   Catalog: 529 Release Date: 11/04/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  Martin Shaw
    Performer:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  Victor Chorale
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    CD: $14.99
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  • 2.
    Stralande Jul / Ahmann, MDR Rundfunkchor
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: GEN 15381 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andreas Hammerschmidt,  Gustaf Nordqvist,  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius  ... 
    Performer:  Kent Carlson,  Anna [Soprano Vocal] Rad-Markowska,  Marina Scharnberg,  Antje [Soprano Vocal] Moldenhauer-Schrell  ... 
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  • 3.
    Es Naht Ein Licht
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6109 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Georg Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Octavians
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  • 4.
    Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming - Christmas Carols / Ahmann, NDR Choir
    Label: C2 Hamburg   Catalog: 2064 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Hugo Distler,  Heinrich Kaminski,  Peter Cornelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Philipp Ahmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Chorus
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  • 5.
    Holy Night, Heilige Nacht: German, English and American Christmas Carols
    Label: Coviello Classics   Catalog: 91516 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Adolphe Adam,  Michael Praetorius,  Mel Torme  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Mayers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vokalzeit Ensemble
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  • 6.
    Christmas Vespers: Music Of Michael Praetorius
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2306 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Martin Luther
    Performer:  Kirsten Solleck-Avella,  Scott Mello,  Ryan [Tenor Vocal] Turner,  Paul Shipper  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell,  Richard Nelson,  Beth Nelson,  Katherine Plank
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  • 7.
    A Wondrous Mystery: Renaissance Music for Christmas / Stile Antico
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807575 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Jacobus Clemens non Papa,  Jacob Handl,  Hieronymus Praetorius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
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  • 8.
    Label: Faith Builders Resource Group   Catalog: 5638575770 Release Date: 10/08/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  Michael Cox,  Healey Willan  ... 
    Performer:  Bill Bergen,  Lyle Stutzman,  Joel Thomas,  Titus Barnhart  ... 
    Conductor:  Brandon Mullet
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  • 9.
    Jul Med Linnekvintetten
    Label: Swedish Society Discofil   Catalog: 1157 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Ivar Widéen,  Hans Adolf Brorson,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
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  • 10.
    111 Classics for Christmas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Leopold Mozart,  Johnny Marks,  John Frederic Coots  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Anna Reynolds,  Christa Ludwig,  Maria Teresa Garatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Karl Richter,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Engel, Hirten, Konige... / Carsten Wiebusch
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 40004 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Michael Riehm,  Michael Praetorius,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Carsten Wiebusch
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  • 13.
    Christmas Lullabies / Charlotte De Rothschild, Danielle Perrett
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7095 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edmund Rubbra,  Peter Warlock,  Roger Quilter,  Thomas Dunhill  ... 
    Performer:  Charlotte De Rothschild,  Danielle Perrett
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  • 14.
    Weihnachten Zu Hause / Martin Petzold, Martin Hoepfner
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6084 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Friedrich Mergner,  Martin Luther,  Johannes Cruger,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Petzold,  Martin Hoepfner,  Alice Ungerer,  Jakob Grabenhorst
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  • 15.
    Christmas Carols / Knabenchor Hannover, London Brass
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 7017 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Thomas Weelkes,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass,  Hannover Boys' Choir
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  • 16.
    Dormi Jesu - A Caius Christmas / Webber
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34152 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Carl Rütti,  Matthew Owens,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Performer:  Annie Lydford,  Nick Lee,  Sam Dressel,  Catherine Harrison  ... 
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Webber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gonville and Caius College Choir Cambridge
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  • 17.
    Hilde Gueden Sings Children's Songs From Many Lands
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002178102 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  Franz Xaver Gruber
    Performer:  Hilde Gueden
    Conductor:  Georg Fischer,  Richard Roßmayer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Lux de Caelo - Music for Christmas / Choir of Clare College Cambridge
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907615 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  William Mathias,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harrison,  Helen [Soprano Vocal] Lilley,  Nils [Tenor Vocal] Greenhow,  Sophie [Soprano Vocal] Horrocks  ... 
    Conductor:  Graham Ross
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Clare College Choir,  Dmitri Ensemble
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  • 19.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
    CD: $184.99
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  • 20.
    Machet Die Tore Weit: Weihnachten Mit Dem Knabenchor
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98040 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Thiel,  Johann Heinrich Lützel,  Hermann Ruck,  Siegfried Strohbach  ... 
    Performer:  Janucz Zygadlo,  Jordan Breschkow,  Lilia Kavaljieva,  Christoph Bieber  ... 
    Conductor:  Eckhard Weyand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Vocalis
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  • 21.
    Most Wanted Recitals - Cristina Deutekom In Vienna
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002067702 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Kalischnig,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Max Schonherr  ... 
    Performer:  Cristina Deutekom
    Conductor:  Franz Allers,  Harry van Hoof
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Vom Himmel Hoch, Da Komm Ich Her
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300564 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Crüger,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blechbläserensemble Ludwig Güttler
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  • 23.
    Let It Snow / Mayer, King's Singers
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001966502 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jule Styne,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Michael Praetorius,  James Pierpont  ... 
    Performer:  Albrecht Mayer,  Beni Araki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 24.
    Chormusik Zu Advent Und Weihnachten / Alber, Orpheus Vokalensemble
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83385 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Heinrich Kaminski,  Hugo Distler,  Michael Praetorius  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Alber
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  • 25.
    Christmas Star & A Christmas Festival / Rutter, Cambridge Singers
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 306 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Lowell Mason,  William James Kirkpatrick,  Mel Torme  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Williams,  Andrew Williams,  Melanie Marshall,  Clara Sanabras  ... 
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  Cambridge Symphony Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir  ... 
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