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Canzon Belgicam

Canzon Belgicam

Scheidt, Samuel

Arr. Olson, Gary


  • Ensemble: Brass Quintet
  • Genre: Renaissance
  • Grade: 3
  • Duration: 4.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: DB-CAN0107

Samuel Scheidt, the great master of the German Baroque, was born in Halle in 1587, son of the overseer of the local salt mine. With the exception of three years studying in Amsterdam with Sweelinck (1605-1608) his life was spent in Halle. He was appointed organist at the Moritzkirche in 1608, a position he held until the church burned in 1637. His great technical skill in organ building led to consulting trips to other German towns such as Bayreuth, Leipzig and Altenburg. By 1620 he was Kapellmeister to Christian Wilhelm, Margrave of Brandenburg, and Protestant Administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeberg. In this capacity he directed a great vocal and instrumental ensemble and composed prolifically. In 1627 he married Helena Magdalena Keller, eventually fathering seven children.

Although the Thirty Years War devastated court sponsored music, Scheidt was well supported by the citizens of Halle, who created the position of city director of music to keep him in their town. He held this position from 1628 to 1630 when he resigned because of a quarrel.

The 1630s were difficult times for Scheidt and the other citizens of Halle. The city successively occupied by the Kaiser, Swedes, and Saxons. Scheidt lost all of his possessions with the sacking of Magdeberg by the Swedes in 1631 and four of his children with the bubonic plague in 1636.

Music has a universal appeal, however, and Scheidt was reinstated by the new administrator of the Archbishopric in 1642. His association with the court was somewhat less formal than before the war, as Duke August of Saxon was more enamored with music of the type written by Heinrich Schtz. Although little is known of his late life, Scheidt left a sizeable sum for purchase of an organ for the reconstructed Moritzkirche when he died on March 30, 1654.

To his contemporaries Scheidt was known as an organist, organ builder and vocal composer, collaborating on occasion with Praetorius, Schtz, and Sweelinck. To modern musicologists he is best known for the Tabulatura Nova of 1624, a true revolution in organ notation. His large collection of music suitable for brass is largely forgotten. Canzon Belgicam is taken from Paduana, Gailliarda, Couranta, Alemande, Intrada, Canzonetto of 1621.

This work is part of our Denver Brass Signature Series.

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