Heinrich Schütz – who is that supposed to be? That or something like it popped into my head as we stood in front of the Heinrich Schütz House in Weißenfels. After a visit with a really great and inspiring guided tour, I am now smarter.
And honestly, I don’t understand why I’ve never heard of this interesting musician.
Who was Heinrich Schütz?
Schütz was born in October 1585 in Köstritz in Thuringia.
At the age of 5, the family moved to Weißenfels and ran an inn there. Schütz spent his childhood in this inn and it was probably also here that his musical talent was discovered by Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel at the age of 13. He supported the young Schütz and financed his training as a musician.
He went to the Kassel court school and learned to play various instruments there, among other things. Thanks to a scholarship, Schütz was able to study in Venice with the organist Giovanni Gabrieli from 1609 to 1611. He completed his studies with the collection of madrigals (polyphonic vocal pieces mostly of secular content, important musical vocal form of the Renaissance and early Baroque) published in 1611.
A few years after his return to Kassel, Schütz became Kapellmeister at the Saxon court. Years followed in which Heinrich Schütz worked in various places. During this time he wrote many of his works, such as the Musikalische Exequien in 1635/36, the Geistliche Chormusik in 1648 and in 1650 he finished with the third part of the Symphoniae sacrae.
In 1651, Schütz bought a house in Weißenfels where he spent the rest of his life. Today, the Heinrich Schütz Museum is housed here. By the time of his death in November 1672, he had composed a number of works that have influenced music history to this day, such as the Christmas History and the setting of the 119th Psalm, the longest Psalm in the Bible. By the time of his death, he had composed over 400 works.
After his death, Schütz was buried in the Dresden Frauenkirche, where he is still commemorated by a memorial volume.
About the Heinrich Schütz House in Weißenfels
Our visit to the small museum in the Heinrich Schütz House falls into the category of “good thing I went in there” for me. I always find it difficult to visit a museum when you have had no previous contact with a subject. Often you go through the exhibition and can’t do much with the exhibits. We were lucky enough to experience a guided tour with the museum’s research assistant, Mr Richter. And experience is exactly the right word for this visit, because his passion and knowledge on this topic inspired us and led us into the subject. Many thanks for that!
The Schütz House in Weißenfels was built in 1550/52 and bought by Schütz in 1651. The Renaissance building was renovated in 2010-2012 and now houses a permanent exhibition on the life and works of Schütz.
I particularly liked the fact that there are still many elements in the house that have been well preserved or renovated. In the former kitchen, for example, you can still find a smoke-blackened ceiling and the musician’s former composing room has been restored.
There is a lot to discover and experience on the tour of the museum. I was thrilled by the “musical music cabinet”. Here, by opening individual drawers, you can experience the structure of a piece by Schütz and finally hear the complete work. The “sounding music stand” invites museum visitors to sing along. A great idea!
The museum is particularly proud of preserved fragments of a sheet of music that were discovered in a mouse nest. Since the pieces of paper are very small, it is no longer possible to determine which work fell victim to the mice.
If you want to learn more about the composer and musician Heinrich Schütz, you can’t miss a visit here. It certainly inspired us and I have already listened to some of his works in the meantime. Simply beautiful!
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Public holiday: 10 am – 5 pm
Closed: Monday, 1.1., 24.12., 25.12., 31.12.
Further reductions are offered.
Guided tours are available for a fee.
Free admission every 1st Wednesday of the month!
Disclosure: The visit and the guided tour through the museum have been part of a blogger trip/press trip in Weißenfels. The visit was free of charge. The report was written independently and is based solely on our own impressions.