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Melchior Hoffmann

1679 - October 6, 1715
born in Bärenstin, Germany, composed during the Baroque period
Melchior Hoffmann (no relation to the composer and story writer E.T.A. Hoffmann of a century later) was a notable composer and music director in Prussia. Starting as a choir boy in the Dresden royal chapel, he was educated at the University of Leipzig. In 1704, Georg Philipp Telemann left Leipzig for a job elsewhere and Hoffmann succeeded him as director of music at the Neukirche, the opera, and the collegium musicum. He still had all three jobs when he died a little more than ten years later at the age of 30.

He was remembered for elevating the collegium musicum to a polished ensemble of 40 players and for keeping a high quality at the opera. The operas he wrote did not survive, but were praised in such terms as "pleasing and touching." Four sacred choral works of considerable quality survive, in addition to two other works that were for a couple of centuries considered to have been composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, the cantatas listed as BWV 53 and 189, a listing that in itself demonstrates that Hoffmann was a truly gifted composer. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi
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