Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Flor, Christian

(b Neukirchen, nr Oldenburg, Holstein, 1626; d Neukirchen, 28 Sept 1697). German composer and organist. He came from a well-known Holstein family of clergymen. He probably received his musical education in Hamburg or Lübeck. He was organist of the Marienkirche, Rendsburg, from 1652 to 1654, when he went to Lüneburg to become organist of the Lambertikirche. In 1668 he became deputy organist at the Johanniskirche, the town’s principal church, and in 1676 organist there, while retaining his post at the Lambertikirche. He quickly achieved recognition in Lüneburg, and his work as composer, teacher and organ adviser extended beyond the town itself. Michael Jacobi, the Kantor at the Johanniskirche from 1651 to 1663, apparently befriended him, and probably introduced him to Johann Rist, two of whose volumes of poems he set to music. From 1658 on he played the harpsichord in performances of Passion music at the Johanniskirche. When Jacobi died in 1663, he dedicated a funeral motet to his memory. He applied for Jacobi’s position as Kantor but was passed over in favour of Friedrich Funcke, 16 years his junior, who showed himself anxious to safeguard his superior status and limited his organist’s sphere of activity. When Flor acquired municipal citizenship in 1683, his financial situation improved. After his death Georg Böhm succeeded him as organist of the Johanniskirche. His two youngest sons also became organists at Lüneburg – Johann Georg (1679–1728) at the Lambertikirche and Gottfried Philipp (1682–1723) at the Michaeliskirche.

The bulk of Flor’s output consists of sacred strophic songs. The affected artistry of his melodies in Rist’s Neues musikalisches Seelenparadies, however, deprived the poet of his expected success. His metrical experiments and use of remote keys did not serve the ideals of the Hamburg school of songwriters, and in a letter to Rist he freely admitted that he had written his settings not for laymen but for learned musicians. His surviving vocal concertos are in the motet style. A more significant work is his St Matthew Passion, which is one of the earliest oratorio Passions. Flor took the still unaccompanied liturgical recitative from Melchior Vulpius’s Passion of 1613 and composed new music for all the polyphonic movements; Funcke’s St Matthew Passion, of later origin, corresponds closely to this work. Flor’s harpsichord suites and arrangements of dances from Lully’s operas show that he was familiar with the latest musical developments in France. His chorales for harpsichord are a synthesis of French harpsichord style and the German chorale.



Hochzeitlicher Freuden-Segen, 5vv, 2 insts, bc (Hamburg, 1656)

Hochzeitlicher Freudenklang, 1v, bc (Hamburg, 1659)

So hast du nun geendigt deine Stunden, 6vv, bc (1663) [for funeral of M. Jacobi]


other sacred

Das heisset wohl gelebet, 1v, bc (Jena, 1657)

164 melodies, bc, in J. Rist: Neues musikalisches Seelenparadies, i, ii (Lüneburg, 1660–62); 8 ed. in Winterfeld; 9 ed. in Zahn, ii–iv

23 melodies, 1v, bc, in G.H. Webern: Gläubiges Senffkorn (Ratzeburg, 1665)

36 melodies, bc, in C. von Stöcken: Heilige Nachtmahls-Musik (Plön, 1676)

St Matthew Passion, solo vv, chorus 4vv, insts, 1667, Scinawa Church (frag.); extract ed. in Epstein

Machet die Tore weit, 4vv, 2 vn, 2 viols, vle, bc, D-Bsb (score)

Der Herr ist des Armen Schutz, 2vv, 2 vn, vle, bn, bc, S-Uu

Das ist meine Freude, 2vv, 2vn, 2 viols, vle, bc, Uu

Es ist g’nug, 1v, 2 va, 3 viols, bc, Uu; ed. B. Grusnick, Ungenannter Meister “Es ist g’nug” (Stuttgart, 1981)

Pastores currite in Bethlehem, 4vv, 2 vn, 2 viols, vle, bc, Uu

Details of 7 lost sacred works, incl. 2 dialogues, in Seiffert



Todes-Gedancken (Hamburg, 1692), lost, cited in Walther

10 suites, 37 dance movts, 13 chorale preludes, hpd, D-Lr (facs. in 17th-century Keyboard Music, xxii (New York, 1987)

2 preludes, org, Lr; ed. in Organum, iv/2 (Leipzig, 1925)

1 chorale prelude, org, 1652, Lr; ed. in EMDC, II/ii (1926), 1303ff

1 fugue, org; 2 suites, kbd: Bsb






M. Seiffert: ‘Die Chorbibliothek der St. Michaelisschule in Lüneburg zu Seb. Bach’s Zeit’, SIMG, ix (1907–8), 593–621

P. Epstein: ‘Ein unbekanntes Passionsoratorium von Christian Flor (1667)’, BJb 1930, 56–99

H. Walter: Musikgeschichte der Stadt Lüneburg vom Ende des 16. bis zum Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts (Tutzing, 1967)

A. Schnoor: ‘Neue Cembalowerke von Christian Flor (1626–1697)’, Mf, l (1997), 74–7

F. Jekutsch, J. Kremer and A. Schnoor, eds.: Christian Flor (1626–1697) – Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1757–1800): Texte und Dokumente zur Musikgeschichte Lüneburgs (Hamburg, 1997)


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