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Diderich Buxtehude

Approx. 1637-1707, Danish composer, one of the most outstanding of the generation preceding J.S. Bach. He was probably taught by his father, who from 1642 was an organist in Elsinore, where Buxtehude himself became the organist of the Maria Church in 1660.

Diderich Buxtehude
Diderich Buxtehude. Painting by Johannes Voorhout, 1674. Buxtehude appears at the front with the music paper.

Eight years later he took up the post of organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, where he remained until his death. Here he continued the evening concerts, Abendmusiken, introduced by his predecessor Franz Tunder, but Buxtehudes contributions (oratorios for soloists, choir and orchestra) have not survived.

He wrote some 120 cantatas for various ensembles, a smaller number of violin sonatas and 25 suites and sets of variations for harpsichord. He exerted particular influence, for instance on the music of J.S. Bach, through his 90-odd organ works, of which some 40 are chorale arrangements and the rest independent works (preludes, toccatas etc).

Peter Ryom, Gyldendal Leksikon

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