Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, mezzotint
Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich (from 1673 von Ehrenruef), b. Scheibbs (Lower Austria), around 1620, d. Prague (Czech Republic), between Feb. 29 and March 20, 1680 (plague victim). Violinist, composer. Important instrumental composer before H. I. F. Biber, of special importance for the development of the sonata and suite. Was admitted into the court orchestra (Hofmusikkapelle) as a violinist around 1635; in 1671 vice-director and in 1679 director of the court orchestra. Of his 3 sons, who all were musicians, the eldest, Andreas Anton S. (1653-1701), was the most important. With G. F. Sances, A. Bertali and A. Draghi S. was one of the leading musicians of the imperial court under Ferdinand III and Leopold I; the latter's instrumental style was greatly influenced by his sonatas and ballet music.
Works: About 150 ballet suites (among others for M. A. Cesti's opera "II pomo d´oro", 1667/68); 3 Sepolcri; instrumental works (4 printed collections of sonatas, 1659-1667), vocal works, church music.
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