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Johann Mattheson

Johann Mattheson (28 September 1681 17 April cluding pieces meant for keyboard instruction. All of his
1764) was a German composer, singer, writer, music, except for one opera, one oratorio, and a few collexicographer, diplomat and music theorist.
lections of instrumental music, went missing after World
Mattheson was born and died in Hamburg. He was a close War II, but was given back to Hamburg from Yerevan,
Armenia, in 1998. This includes four operas and most
friend of George Frideric Handel, although he nearly
killed him in a sudden quarrel, during a performance of of the oratorios. The manuscripts are now located at the
Staats- und Universittsbibliothek Hamburg, the former
Matthesons opera Cleopatra in 1704. Handel was saved
only by a large button which turned aside Matthesons Hamburg Stadtbibliothek (City Library).
sword. The two were afterwards reconciled and remained
in correspondence for life: shortly after his friends death,
Mattheson translated John Mainwaring's Handel biography into German and had it published in Hamburg at his
own expense ("auf Kosten des bersetzers") in 1761.[1]

1 See also
Letters and writings of George Frideric Handel

The son of a well-to-do tax collector, Mattheson received

a broad liberal education and, aside from general musical training, took lessons in keyboard instruments, violin, 2 References
composition and singing. By age nine he was singing and
playing organ in church and was a member of the cho- Notes
rus of the Hamburg opera. He made his solo debut with
the Hamburg opera in 1696 in female roles and, after [1] Georg Friderich Hndels Lebensbeschreibung, nebst einem
Verzeichnisse seiner Ausbungswerke und deren Beurhis voice changed, sang tenor at the opera, conducted retheilung; bersetzet, auch mit einigen Anmerkungen, abhearsals and composed operas himself. He was cantor at
sonderlich ber den hamburgischen Artikel, versehen vom
St. Marys Cathedral from 1718 until increasing deafness
Legations-Rath Mattheson, Hamburgh, auf Kosten des
led to his retirement from that post in 1728.

bersetzers, 1761 (accessible for free online as a Google


Matthesons chief occupation from 1706 was as a professional diplomat. He had studied English in school and
spoke it uently. He became tutor to the son of the English ambassador Sir John Wich and then secretary to the
ambassador. He went on diplomatic missions abroad representing the ambassador. In 1709 he married an English

[2] Agathe Sueur, Le Frein et l'Aiguillon. Eloquence musicale

et nombre oratoire (XVIe-XVIIIe sicle), Paris, Classiques
Garnier, 2014. Johann Mattheson et le pdantisme: des
usages de l'rudition dans la thorie musicale allemande au
XVIIIe sicle, Revue de musicologie, 2014, 100/1, pp.336.

After his death in 1764, Johann Mattheson was buried in

the vault of Hamburgs St. Michaelis Church where his Bibliography
grave can be visited.
Johann Mattheson, Rhetoric and music from
Mattheson is mainly famous as a music theorist. He was
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,
the most abundant writer on performance practice, theed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Pubatrical style, and harmony of the German Baroque. He is
lishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2
particularly important for his work on the relationship of
the disciplines of rhetoric and music, for example in Das
Manfred Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era. New
neu-ernete Orchestre, Hamburg 1713
York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1947. ISBN 0-393and Der vollkommene Capellmeister. (PDF) Hamburg
1739; Extracts. However his books raise more and more
attention and suspicion because Mattheson was a brilliant polemist and his theories on music are often full of 3 External links
pedantry and pseudo-erudition.[2]
The bulk of his compositional output was vocal, including
eight operas, and numerous oratorios and cantatas. He
also wrote a few sonatas and some keyboard music, in-

Free scores by Johann Mattheson at the International

Music Score Library Project


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Johann Mattheson Source: Contributors: RedWolf, JackofOz,

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