Paul Hofhaimer

(1459 - 1537)

Austrian composer and organist. It is possible that he studied with Lapicida and worked at Frederick III's court at Graz before becoming court organist to Archduke Sigismund at Innsbruck in 1480. When the Emperor Maximilian took over the court ten years later, Hofhaimer remained. He became an adviser on organ building and travelled widely, living at Passau in 1502-6 and 1519-21, and at Augsburg in 1508-18. From 1522 onwards he was organist at Salzburg cathedral. He was knighted by the King of Hungary at a royal wedding at the Hungarian court in 1515.

Hofhaimer was widely renowned as an organist, and his keyboard music (of which little survives unfortunately) shows a new freedom and idiomatic quality of writing even in liturgical pieces like the fine alternatim Salve Regina. He is also important as a composer of German songs, which date from c1500 and are therefore among the earliest in this rich period of the Lied. Melodies lie in the tenor, and the music proceeds often in short phrases rather than a smooth flow; Meins traurens ist is a touching example of Hofhaimer's lyricism.

A Partial Paul Hofhaimer Discography | IVB: At the Imperial Court of Maximilian I | IVH: The German Lied