Johannes Eccard  
Johannes Eccard
Johannes Eccard (1553–1611) was a German composer and kapellmeister. He was an early principal conductor at the Berlin court chapel.

Eccard was born at Mühlhausen, Thuringia, Germany. At the age of eighteen he went to Munich, where he became the pupil of Orlando Lasso. In his company, Eccard is said to have visited Paris, but in 1574, he was again at Mühlhausen, where he resided for four years. There he, together with Johann von Burgk, edited his first master, a collection of sacred songs, called Crepundia sacra Helmboldi (1577). Soon afterwards he obtained an appointment as musician in the house of Jacob Fugger, the Augsburg banker.

In 1583 he became assistant conductor, and in 1599 conductor at Königsberg to Georg Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach, the administrator of the Duchy of Prussia. In 1608 he was called by Joachim Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg as principal conductor in Berlin, but this post he held only for three years, owing to his death at Königsberg 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. Their polyphonic structure is a marvel of art and still garners the admiration of musicians. At the same time his works are instinct with a spirit of true religious feeling. His setting of Martin Luther's words Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) is still regarded by the Germans as their representative national hymn.

Eccard and his school are inseparably connected with the history of the Protestant Reformation. Of Eccard's songs a great many collections are extant such as those published in Der Evangelische Kirchengesang (1843) by Baron Karl Georg August Vivigens von Winterfeld.

Selected works

Nun schürz dich, Gretlein, schürz dich
Übers Gebirg Maria geht
Christ ist erstanden
Es rühmt die Heilige Schrift (1591)
Nachdem die Sonn beschlossen (1600)
Maria wallt zum Heiligtum (also sung in English: "When to the temple Mary went")

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Johannes Eccard - When to the temple Mary Went
St Paul's Cathedral Choir
John Scott (conductor)
Johannes Eccard - "Maria wallt zum Heiligtum"
The Dresdner Kapellknaben are singing:
"Maria wallt zum Heiligtum" (Mary went to the temple)
(Johannes Eccard)

Conductor: "Kirchenmusikdirektor" and "Domkapellmeister" Matthias Liebich

Johannes Eccard - Cui pia contigit a 6 vv (1601)
Übers Gebirg Maria geht - Johann Eccard
Performed by a choir and orchestra of a Bavarian school at Christmas Concert 2008.
O Lamm Gottes, in settings by Johann Eccard & J. S. Bach
Quire Cleveland with guest conductor Scott Metcalfe
St. John's Cathedral, Cleveland, April 13, 2011
A pair of settings of the German "Agnus dei" by Johann Eccard (1553-1611) and J. S. Bach (1685-1750), showing how the same melody inspired composers over many centuries.
Johann Eccard: Zacharias war ganz verstummt
Neuer Magdeburger Kammerchor, live-Mitschnitt Juni 2012, Leitung: Christian Hoffmann
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