Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Department

School of Music

Advisor(s)

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

W. Bryce Hayes

Mary Jean Speare

Abstract

Christoph Graupner (1680-1763), court composer and Kapellmeister for Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hessen-Darmstadt, was a prolific and highly regarded composer and an esteemed performer during his lifetime and was a contemporary and colleague of Telemann, Bach, and Handel. The quantity of Graupner’s works number among the highest of Baroque composers, with over 1,800 compositions. Much as his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Graupner and his works were largely forgotten following his death. However, unlike Bach, whose music enjoyed a widespread revival during the early nineteenth century that continues to this day, the life and music of Christoph Graupner has remained largely unknown. From an overview of the research literature pertaining to Christoph Graupner, it is evident that, although largely unknown today, Christoph Graupner’s musical work and reputation was strongly present in Germany during his lifetime, leading many to appreciate that, although he was not a radical innovator, Graupner was an important figure in the combination of contrapuntal and galant style characteristics. The purpose of this document is to investigate a specific segment of Christoph Graupner’s musical output, the birthday cantatas composed for his patron and employer, Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hessen-Darmstadt (1667-1739). Graupner’s birthday cantatas display compositional elements indicative of both contrapuntal style, including his use of the fugue, and elements of stile galant, with his melody-centered musical textures, specificity of dynamics, and focus on textural and dynamic contrasts. Specifically, this study examines three birthday cantatas, Groβ sind die Wercke des Herrn (1716), Frolockt laβt frohe Lieder hören (1726), and Danket dem Herrn aller Herren (1737), written by Graupner for Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hessen-Darmstadt. This document provides biographical background, analysis, and modern editions of the three birthday cantatas in order to bring recognition to this almost unknown composer and his music, further establishing Christoph Graupner as a vital figure in the incorporation of stile galant.

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