Johann Gottfried Walther

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Johann Gottfried Walther

Johann Gottfried Walther (born September 18, 1684 in Erfurt , † March 23, 1748 in Weimar ) was a German organist , conductor , composer and musicologist.


Walther received his training in Erfurt a. a. with Johann Bernhard Bach , but also with various less important cantors and organists. He later painted the lessons with Johann Heinrich Buttstedt as unpleasant and of little use.

Walther became the organist at the Erfurt Thomaskirche in 1702 . In 1704 he met Andreas Werckmeister in Halberstadt . In 1707, at the age of only 23, he was elected organist of the city ​​church of St. Peter and Paul in Weimar, where he became friends with Johann Sebastian Bach . Walther and Bach were distant cousins ​​(his mother, Martha Dorothea Lemmerhirt, was a half-sister of Bach's mother ). Shortly afterwards he became the music teacher of Prince Johann Ernst , son of Duke Johann Ernst III. von Sachsen-Weimar , and his stepsister appointed, which earned him a high reputation.

His son Johann Christoph Walther (1715–1771) became organist at Ulm Minster in 1751 .


Musical Lexicon by Johann Gottfried Walther

Both the south and north German organ music influenced Walther's work, and his acquaintance with the concerti of Italian masters was groundbreaking for him. His arrangements of such works for keyboard instruments became the model for Bach's transcriptions of Vivaldi's compositions . Walther's templates came from Tomaso Albinoni , Giorgio Gentili , Giovanni Lorenzo Gregori , Luigi Manzia , Joseph Meck , Giulio Taglietti , Georg Philipp Telemann , Giuseppe Torelli and, after Klaus Beckmann, also from François Collin de Blamont .

The majority of his organ works are chorale preludes , either in one movement or cyclically dealing with several stanzas, so that they have the suite form . Most of them were probably written for the service in Weimar, as one can conclude from the less ambitious treatment of the pedal, corresponding to the instrument in Weimar.

Numerous copies by Walther's hand have come down to us, which, like his own works, occasionally have rich decorations in the French style.

He also wrote a large number of choral works; inform about the lost z. T. Notes and letters from the composer.

Walther's Musical Lexicon , published in Leipzig in 1732 , is the first in the German language and the first encyclopedic music lexicon - which summarizes terms, personal articles and literature - ever (a short musical lexicon appeared in Chemnitz in 1737, although the anonymous author was Johann Christoph Barnickel acts).


  • Praecepta of musical composition . Weimar 1708.
    • New ed. by Peter Benary in: Jena contributions to music research. Volume 2, Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1955.
  • Musicalisches Lexicon or Musicalische Bibliothec ... Wolffgang Deer, Leipzig 1732 ( Online at Wikimedia Commons , PDF, 45 MB).
    • Facsimile reprint, ed. by Richard Schaal, Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel 1953 under the title Musikalisches Lexikon or musical library 1732 (= Documenta musicologica, first row: Druckschriften-Faksimiles, III); Study edition in Neusatz, ed. by Friederike Ramm, Bärenreiter, Kassel 2001, ISBN 3-7618-1509-3 .


  • Hermann Gehrmann : Johann Gottfried Walther as theoretician . In: Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft 7, 1891, pp. 468-578 ( digitized version ).
  • Max SeiffertWalther, Johann Gottfried . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 41, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1896, pp. 113-117.
  • Otto Brodde: Johann Gottfried Walther (1684–1748). Life and work. Dissertation Münster 1937.
  • Klaus Beckmann , Hans-Joachim Schulze (ed.): Johann Gottfried Walter, letters . German publishing house for music, Leipzig 1987.
  • Klaus Beckmann: Introduction. In: Johann Gottfried Walther (1684–1748). All organ works. 4 volumes. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden 1998–1999.

Web links

Commons : Johann Gottfried Walther  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. probably identical with Luigi Mancia; see. MGG sv Mancia, Luigi .
  2. ^ As stated in the Walther edition by Heinz Lohmann, Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden, 1966, vol. 3, p. 38.
  3. Cf. MGG sv Walther, Johann Gottfried
  4. ^ Bernhard Kossmann: German Universal Lexica of the 18th Century. Their nature and their informational value, illustrated using the example of Jablonski and Zedler. In: Börsenblatt for the German book trade, Frankfurt edition. No. 89, November 5, 1968, pp. 2947-2968, here: p. 2960.