Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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The high standard of seventeenth-century sacred music in Leipzig is perhaps best illuminated by Sebastian Knüpfer’s compositions. Born in 1633 in Asch, Vogtland, the son of a cantor, Knüpfer received his first musical education from his father. At the age of thirteen he was accepted at the renowned Gymnasium Poeticum in Regensburg, where he remained for eight years. In Regensburg, Knüpfer was highly active in musical circles, but was also known for his profound knowledge of philology and poetry. After finishing his schooling he went to Leipzig, probably to study there; strangely, though, his name does not appear on the matriculation register. From this period we have evidence only of his non-compositional activities: he sang as concertist in performances of the Thomaskantor Tobias Michael and additionally taught music. The musical qualities of the young Knüpfer must soon have been noticed in Leipzig for, after the death of Tobias Michael in June 1657, he was appointed Thomaskantor at the age of only twenty-four. Appointing Knüpfer was a wise decision: thanks to his commitment, Leipzig’s sacred music enjoyed a splendour and magnificence that was formerly unknown. Handwritten copies of Knüpfer’s sacred works circulated throughout the entire German-speaking area and became desirable collectors’ items, thereby spreading the fame of the composer and his post. After nineteen years of fruitful work, he died on 10 October 1676 at the age of forty-three.
from notes by Peter Wollny © 2000
English: Viola Scheffel