Hans Leo Hassler

1564 - 1612

Personal details

*1562 in Nuremberg, + 1612 in Frankfurt/ Main. Began his musical education with his father Isaak, continued with Leonhard Lechner. In 1584 he commenced studies with Andrea Gabrieli in Venice and became friends with Giovanni Gabrieli. In 1586 became chamber organist in the Fugger Household in Augsburg for Octavian Secundus Fugger, and organist at St. Moritz. His first collection, 'Canzonette a quarto voci,' appeared in 1590. Appointed to the nobility by Rudolph II in 1595. In addition director of the Augsburg 'Stadtpfeiffer' (town pipers) for one year from 1600. After the death of O. S. Fugger he became Director of Town Music in Nuremberg. From 1600 he developed and produced mechanical organs. In 1608 he became chamber organist to Elector Christian II of Saxony, residing in Dresden. Hassler's works are at the turning point of late renaissance polyphony to Venetian early baroque style and (in his song-writing) to simpler, lyrical homophony. His masses and motets are mostly based on the contrapunctal-imitative principle, following on from Orlando di Lasso and Leonhard Lechner, which in the multiple- choir works, for example the 15-voice motet 'Jubilate Deo' or the 16 voice 'Duo Seraphim,' are developed along the lines of the venetian multiple-choir virtuoso splendour of sound, pointing the way to the future baroque style.

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