Home > On the Trail of Heinrich Schütz



On the Trail of Heinrich Schütz



"Zur Schäferei", next door to the church, may be the oldest confirmed Schütz property: Christoph Schütz, the father of the composer, inherited this inn in 1573 and sold it on 18 March 1575 to Blasius Zimmermann in Pötewitz for 1800 Gulden. Both father and grandfather of the composer married women from Pötewitz: Albrecht, the grandfather, married Ursula Panitzer (Panzer) und Christoph Schütz wed Margarete Weidemann. Andreas Schütz, too, Heinrich's uncle, is on record as a taxpayer in Pötewitz. Yet another likely member of "our Schütz Family", Johann Schütz, held office in Pötewitz as the first protestant pastor after the Reformation.



Already in 1545 the name Albrecht Schütz appears in the Köstritz archival documents; for "grain and oats" Albrecht had to pay a tithe, as was required of him as owner of a "Hofraithe", a combined residential and commerical property (i.e., the inn and brewery). In 1550 he purchased the upper pub (Obere Schenke) from the von Wolframsdorf estate. Between 1550 and 1572 he is entered in the Köstritz church records as proprietor (Oberwirth). The Church's auditing times, early in the new year and in autumn, were held alternately in the upper and lower pubs. Albrecht Schütz, and later his son Christoph, often functioned as witnesses at the meetings. After applying for civic rights in Weißenfels in 1571 Albrecht Schütz moved to the city on the Saale River. His successor in Köstritz was his son, Christoph, who is referred to between 1572 and 1590 as the senior publican. After the death of his father, Christoph applied for civic rights in Weißenfels and handed over the upper pub to Andreas Schütz, his younger brother. His name appears for the last time in the church records in 1604.


Gera and Osterstein Castle

The maternal grandfather of Heinrich Schütz, Johann Bieger, was mayor in Gera. The portal of the city hall depicts the three mayors - Michael Stimmel, Johann Mandel and Johann Bieger (though each is not precisely identifiable) - during whose administration the reconstruction of the city hall took place. One of the godparents of the composer was the wealthy apothecary and confectioner ("Zuckermacher") Hans Hörel, who in 1606 had the Renaissance bay window built onto the present city apothecary.

At Osterstein Castle, the dynastic seat of the Reuß family in Gera, Heinrich Schütz's "Dafne" was presumably performed in 1627.

For the funeral ceremony of Heinrich Posthumus Reuß (1572-1635) on 4 February 1636, Heinrich Schütz composed the "Musikalische Exequien" (SWV 279 -281) based on biblical texts which Heinrich Posthumus Reuß himself had chosen for inscription on his coffin.



The installation of the two facing organ galleries, which allows for polychoral performance in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, dates back to a proposal by Heinrich Schütz. Since 1665 he was Kapellmeister here "von Haus aus", which means he saw to the musical activities without always having to be present.



In 1590 the grandfather died in Weißenfels, and Christoph Schütz took over the inn "Zum goldenen Ring". The entire family moved to Weißenfels, where Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel discovered the musical talent of Heinrich Schütz.

The house at Nicolaigasse 13 was purchased by Schütz as his retirement home. Here he composed, among other works, the Passions according to each of the four Evangelists, the Christmas Story, and the so-called "Schwanengesang". Today this house serves as a memorial to the musician.



The name Schütz appears for the first time in 1252 and continues into the 19th century in "upper and lower" Orlamünde, an independent town in 1442 and later manorial estate. The extent to which this Schütz family, as well as that documented in Jena, stands in relation to the composer is still not entirely clear.



In the documents pertaining to the funerary celebrations (25. April 1667) on the death of Heinrich V. Reuß of Lower Greiz, Hanß Georg Schütz and Friedrich Schütz are identified as pallbearers of the "noble body". Both were assigned to "attend before the chamber of the Countess of Gera". Hanß Georg Schütz bore the title "Hoch Edel Gestr. Herr", a name reserved only for the upper nobility. Possible connections to "our" Schütz Family are not to be excluded.

In Greiz one finds the vestiges of the renowned library of the "Rutheneum", the school founded by Heinrich Posthumus Reuß. The library includes, among other material, an important collection of Bibles.