(b Itzehoe, Holstein, 10 April 1633; d Leipzig, 9 Jan 1679). German organist and composer. He studied at Flensburg with the Kantor Paul Moth, and at the age of 12 was precocious enough to be admitted to Thomas Selle's Kantorei at Hamburg; in Hamburg he also studied with Heinrich Scheidemann. In 1650 he began to study philosophy, law and mathematics at the University of Leipzig; after graduating he practised law as a ‘notarius publicus Caesareus’. He became organist and director of music at the Leipzig university church, the Paulinerkirche, in 1656 and also served as organist from May 1658 at the Nikolaikirche (the organ of which was probably the finest in Leipzig); his pupils there included J.F. Alberti. In 1662 Fabricius presented Schütz with the manuscript of his Geistliche Arien, Dialogen, und Concerten, acknowledging which Schütz wrote (in Latin):
You ask me, Werner, if your work pleases me? So I say: who would criticize when Apollo himself praises you? Continue thus, and you will brighten with sweetest song not only the world but the firmament of the stars.
In 1663 he was one of seven candidates considered for Selle's position in Hamburg, but Schütz's pupil Christoph Bernhard, who received one more vote than he did, was the successful one. In the same year he was invited to play the organ at the dedication of a church in Zeitz for which Schütz composed most of the music. He married on 3 July 1665. Among his close friends he numbered not only Schütz but the poet Ernst Homburg, many of whose texts he set to music.
Fabricius has been known principally as a composer of sacred vocal music – notably simple melodies characteristic of those of the period – and as the author of a treatise on organ building. However, the rediscovery of a keyboard manuscript (in US-Cn) considerably broadens our view of him as both teacher and composer. The manuscript includes a copy of his printed Manuductio zum General Bass, mentioned by Mattheson in 1731 but for long thought to be lost. This instruction manual, according to Mattheson, ‘consists entirely of examples’ and provides keyboard realizations of melodies with figured bass. The manuscript proper consists of simple chorale settings and a set of short preludes notated in the new German keyboard tablature. The preludes are arranged by key in the following order: c, C, d, D, e, F, g, G, a, A, B, b. Although they are primarily pedagogical and too simple to continue the keyboard tradition of his teacher Scheidemann, they are nonetheless interesting for their fingerings.
His son, Johann Albert Fabricius (b Leipzig, 11 Nov 1668; d Hamburg, 30 April 1736), was a classical scholar and, from 1694, librarian to the Hamburg pastor J.F. Mayer. Several of his published treatises contain references to music among the ancient Greeks and Romans.
E.C. Homburgs geistlicher Lieder erster Theil, 2vv, bc (Jena, 1659) (100 melodies); 2 in C. von Winterfeld: Der evangelische Kirchengesang, ii (Leipzig, 1845), nos.173–4