Eccard, Johannes

Eccard, Johannes a celebrated composer of Church music, was born at Muhlhausen, on the Unstrut, Prussia, in 1553. Having received some instruction in music at home, he became, at the age of eighteen, the pupil of Orlando di Lasso at Munich. In 1574 he was again at Miihlhausen, where he resided four years, and edited, together with Johanln on Burgk, his first master, a collection of sacred songs called Crepundia Sacra Helmboldi (1577). He was for some time engaged in a private family, and in 1583 became assistant conductor, and twelve years later first chapel-master, at Kinigsberg. In 1608 he became chief conductor of the elector's chapel in Berlin, and died in 1611. Eccard's works consist exclusively of vocal compositions, such as songs, sacred cantatas, and chorales for four or five, and sometimes for seven, eight, or even nine voices. They are instinct with a spirit of true religious feeling, and possess an interest above their artistic value. Eccard's setting of "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott " is still regarded by the Germans as their representative national hymn. Eccard and his school are in the same way inseparably connected with the history of the Reformation. Of his songs a great many collections are extant. See Encyclop. Brit. (9th ed.) s.v.; Grove, Diet. of Music.

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