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Johann Jakob Froberger Edit Profile

composer , organist

Johann Jakob Froberger was the German composer and organist.

Background

Johann Jakob Froberger was baptized on 19 May 1616 in Stuttgart. The exact date of his birth is unknown. Johann Jakob Froberger was the son of Basilius Froberger, musical director at the court in Stuttgart. Of Basilius's 11 children, 6 are known to have been musicians and, except for Johann Jakob, were employed at the court.

Education

Johann Jakob apparently received some musical instruction from his father and some from other court musicians. These included French, Italian, and English musicians as well as German ones, so that Froberger was probably well acquainted with the prevailing styles.

In Rome he studied with Girolamo Frescobaldi.

Career

Froberger went to Vienna, possibly as early as 1631. In 1637 he was employed as an organist there, and that year the court awarded him a stipend. Froberger returned to Vienna in 1641 as court organist and supervisor of chamber music and remained there until 1645.

Of Froberger's activities between 1641 and 1649 and of his whereabouts from 1645 to 1654 very little is known. Perhaps there occurred between 1641 and 1649 the reported competition in organ playing with the German musician Matthias Weckmann, which probably led to the extensive correspondence and exchange of compositions between the two. In 1649 Froberger dedicated a book of compositions to Emperor Ferdinand III, which would suggest that he was in Vienna. In 1650 he may have been in the service of Archduke Leopold, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands. During this period he probably made a trip to Paris, since a concert in his honor took place there in 1652.

In 1653 Froberger was back in Vienna, and again there is little information about his activities. In 1658 he was apparently dismissed from imperial service, probably on the accession of Leopold I. A trip to England is reported, but with such fantastic details as to be of doubtful authenticity.

Through him the elements of the Italian style that he had learned from Frescobaldi were transferred to southern Germany. Through Froberger's connections with Weckmann and the Dutch musician Christian Huygens, these style elements were transmitted to the north as well, thus influencing composers down to the time of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel.

Few of Froberger's works were published during his lifetime, but they were widely disseminated in manuscript (thus did Bach transmit them to his pupils). Except for two vocal works, only Froberger's keyboard compositions are preserved. He employed forms similar to Frescobaldi's, but with French influences leading to more symmetrical structures and with his Germanic proclivity for counterpoint very evident.

Achievements

  • He transmitted to Germany important style elements of Italian and French keyboard music. Froberger was credited with giving to the keyboard suite its classical sequence of movements: allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue.

    Although only two of Froberger's works were published during his lifetime - the Hexachord Fantasia (1650) and François Roberday's Fugues et caprices (1660), his music was widely spread in Europe in hand-written copies, and he was one of the most famous composers of the era. He was among the first major keyboard composers in history and the first to focus equally on both harpsichord/clavichord and organ. Besides, Froberger is usually credited as the creator of the Baroque suite.

Connections

father:
Basilius Froberger

mother:
Anna Schmid

Brother:
Isaac Froberger

teacher:
Girolamo Frescobaldi