110. Johann Christoph Demantius [365 Composers for 2013]


20th April – Christoph Demantius

Demantius (15 December 1567 – 20 April 1643) is our composer for 20th April, to mark the day of his death.
Nationality: German
Lifespan: 75 years
Genre: Renaissance
Education: University of Wittenburg
Fame Ranking: 5

Demantius was born in Reichenberg, which is now located in the Czech Republic. Not a great deal is known about his youth, since records were rarely kept in the 16th century. We know that Demantius received his degree from the University of Wittenberg in 1593, and by 1597 he was working at Zittau, most likely as a music tutor.

After this, Demantius became Kantor at Freiberg Cathedral. The position of Kantor was a high level musical post, with the holder undertaking duties as chief singer, instructor, musical director and administrator. In 1618 the Thirty Years’ War broke out and life was very hard. Although Demantius remained in work, his children suffered and many of them died. Most of his compositions were written before the start of the war.

Demantius wrote a huge amount of music, with religious works making up a great deal of his output. He was a contemporary with Monteverdi. Stylistically, he embraced the end of the Renaissance era and the beginning of the baroque. He is also credited with compiling the first ever dictionary of musical terms in the German language. 

Here are five dances for recorders by Demantius, recorded in 1965:


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