Christian Friedrich Henrici

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Memorial plaque for Christian Friedrich Henrici on Leipzig's Burgplatz , erected in the year of his 300th birthday in 2000

Christian Friedrich Henrici (pseudonym Picander ; born January 14, 1700 in Stolpen near Dresden ; † May 10, 1764 in Leipzig ) was a productive occasional poet of the late Baroque and the most important lyricist of Johann Sebastian Bach .


Christian Friedrich Henrici studied law at the University of Wittenberg from 1719 and continued his studies at the University of Leipzig in 1720 . Since he then had little income as a private tutor, he began his career as a poet in Leipzig in 1721 and initially wrote crude erotic poems and dramas. The first contact with Bach was probably more of a coincidental nature.

In 1725, Picander, his pseudonym, wrote the texts of Bach's secular cantatas Escape, Disappear, Escape, Your Worries ( BWV 249a), a model for the Easter Oratorio ( BWV 249), and Tear, Smash, Smash the Crypt (BWV 205) . As early as 1723 he had provided the text for Bach's sacred cantata Bringet the honor of his name (BWV 148) with his stanza poem “Weg ihr earthischen business” . The Bach cantata Escargot a dispute (BWV 19) from 1726 was based on a similar work by Henrici.

Both poems appeared in the collection of poems published between 1724 and 1725, the “Collection of edifying thoughts”, which was dedicated to Count Franz Anton von Sporck . He was also acquainted with Bach and could have stimulated contact between the composer and the poet.

This contact soon grew into friendship, in the course of which Bach and Henrici also deepened their artistic collaboration. All five volumes of Picander's Ernst Schertzhafften and satyrical poems (Leipzig, 1727–51) contain texts that were set to music by Bach. These include the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and the St. Mark Passion (BWV 247), the Trauerode Lament, children, lament it all over the world (BWV 244a), the cantata Sehet! We go up to Jerusalem (BWV 159), but also the popular coffee cantata (BWV 211) and a Dramma per musica for the name day of August the Strong on August 3, 1727, you houses of heaven, you shining lights (BWV 193a). He probably also wrote the Ascension Oratorio Praise God in His Reichen (BWV 11) and the cantata Singet dem Herrn ein neue Lied (BWV 190). In 1742 he wrote the peasant cantata Mer hahn en new Oberkeet (BWV 212).

Henrici's poetic talent also became the starting point for a career as an official. For example, a petition poem to August the Strong in 1727 earned him the position of actuary at the Oberpostamt in Leipzig. Shortly afterwards he became postal secretary, in 1734 chief post commissioner and in 1740 he also became district tax and city tax collector for the wine inspection.

His wife Johanna Elisabeth was the godmother of Johanna Carolina Bach (1737–1781), the second youngest daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach.


  • Collection of edifying thoughts about and on the ordinary Sundays and feast days, drafted in bound writing. Leipzig 1725
  • German show games, consisting of the Academic Schlendrian, the Ertzt-Drunkard and the Weiber-Rehearsal. Designed for the edification and delight of the mind. 3 vols., Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg 1726
  • Ernst-Schertzhaffte and satyrical poems.
I, Leipzig 1727; 1748 4 ( digitized copy from the Bavarian State Library )
II, ibid. 1729; 1749 2 ( digital copy of the copy from the Bavarian State Library)
III, ibid. 1732; 1750 2 GDZ
IV, ibid. 1737; 1751 2nd
V, ibid. 1751 ( digitized version )
  • Collection of mixed poems. Frankfurt and Leipzig 1768


Web links

Wikisource: Christian Friedrich Henrici  - Sources and full texts