(Johann) Christoph Graupner

(1683 - 1760)

German composer. His first teachers were Mylius and the organist Küster, whom Graupner followed to Reichenbach in 1694. He entered the Leipzig Thomasschule in 1696, where Heinichen was a fellow student; he studied under Schelle and Kuhnau and befriended Telemann and his future colleague Gottfried Grünewald during his nine years in the city. Leaving Leipzig in 1706, he went to Hamburg, replacing Schieferdecker at the harpsichord of the Oper am Gänsemarkt in June 1707; he composed his first five operas there, perhaps also collaborating with Keiser on three others. In 1709 he became Vice-Kapellmeister at the court of Ernst Ludwig, Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt, succeeding Briegel as Kapellmeister in 1712; Grünewald replaced him as Vice-Kapellmeister, and J. F. Fasch came to study with him in the same year. He wrote many operas up to 1719, when he turned to sacred and instrumental composition. In 1722/23 he was chosen to succeed Kuhnau as Thomaskantor when Telemann declined the post; the Landgrave rejected his resignation, however, the vacant position went to J. S. Bach, and Graupner never again sought to leave Darmstadt. Though blind later in life, he produced immense amounts of music, including 1,418 sacred cantatas, of which he was an outstanding composer, twenty-four secular cantatas, 113 symphonies, some fifty concertos, eighty suites, thirty-six chamber sonatas, and keyboard music, in addition to his operas. He also copied out many works of other composers, a custom he first cultivated as Kuhnau's student; his scores were said by Mattheson to be 'so neatly written that they compete favorably with one engraved in copper.' He was also one of the German composers, such as Heinichen, Pisendel, Fasch, Hurlebusch and Telemann, who imitated the works of Vivaldi, through which the Italian concerto, especially the solo concerto, became known in Germany. He was known to be one of the Protestant masters whom Bach admired and studied.

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