Johann Jakob Walther

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Johann Jakob Walther (* 1650 in Witterda near Erfurt ; † November 2, 1717 in Mainz ) was a German violinist and composer .


All information about his life and work comes from the Musical Lexicon printed in 1732 by Johann Gottfried Walther , a cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach . Between 1670 and 1674 Walther should work as a violinist at the Kosmas III chapel. of Medici in Florence . From 1674 he was concertmaster at the Dresden court. In 1680, after the death of his patron, he became an Italian secretary at the electoral court in Mainz and a clergyman (canon). Along with Biber and Westhoff, Johann Jakob Walther was one of the most important German violinists of the 17th century. In addition to a virtuoso playing technique with numerous double stops and arpeggios, his works contain a great wealth of forms, especially in the ostinato variations.


40 works are known in two volumes:

  1. Scherzi da Violino solo con il basso continuo , published 1676. In this work cycle he anticipates paganic techniques, where pizzicato passages imitate the harp and the bowing attempt to imitate the song of the nightingale.
  2. Hortulus chelicus 1688. In the foreword to this self-published work, he mentions his pride in the successful work and that he published without fear what some contemporaries egotistically keep to themselves. The volume contains 28 pieces and is more varied than the first volume. A second edition with the title Well-planted Violinic Pleasure Garden appeared in 1694.

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