Heinrich Finck

(1444/5 - 1527)

German composer. A member of the Polish court chapel at Kraków, and a good singer; in 1482 matriculated at Leipzig University; travelled in Poland, Hungary and Germany, and in 1510 became Kapellmeisterat the Stuttgart court chapel. This was dissolved in 1514, after which he visited Augsburg and Innsbruck (possibly as a composer to Maximilian I) and was working at Salzburg cathedral in 1524. In his last year he directed music at the Imperial court chapel at Vienna.

Finck was one of Germany's most notable composers at a time when Germans had yet to make their mark on European music. He wrote at least four Masses, some motets and other liturgical works, and many Lieder; it is on these last that his reputation rests. Their melodies (in the tenor part) are mostly his own rather than borrowed; he surrounds them with a most resourceful contrapuntal texture in which the top voice has its own melodic quality, and in which dissonance is an important element (his greatnephew Hermann Finck praised his talent and learning but said his style was 'hard').- One of his Masses is noteworthy for its rich 6- and 7-part writing.

IIIB: From Oswald von Wolkenstein to the Locheimer Liederbuch