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

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Franck, [Frank], Michael

(b Schleusingen, Franconia, 16 March 1609; d Coburg, 26 July 1677). German poet and composer. After his father's death in 1622 Franck was apprenticed to a baker at Coburg. In 1628 he settled in Schleusingen and married. Repeated looting in the Thirty Years' War forced him to relocate in Coburg in 1640. He expressed his religious conviction in devotional songs and poetry, which also contain autobiographical elements. With the recognition of his talents, he was appointed teacher at the school in Coburg. He published several collections of German Baroque songs there between 1649 and 1662, the most important being the Geistliches Harpffen-Spiel (1657). This contains 30 songs of his own composition in a four-part setting with thoroughbass accompaniment. His Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig has enjoyed enduring popularity; it forms the basis of J.S. Bach's cantata (bwv 26) of the same name, and is Franck's only song in the modern German Protestant hymnal. His dedicatory verse in Johann Rist's collection Neues musikalisches Seelenparadis (1660–62) attests to his close connection with that poet, who in 1659 admitted Franck into his literary academy, the Elbschwanenorden, and crowned him poet. Franck also had contact with the poets Simon Dach, Johann Michael Moscherosch and Georg Neumark. For New Year 1659 Franck published Johann Scheffler's Innigliches Seelen-Verlangen … Das ist: Ein auserlesenes Christliches Gesänglein at Coburg.

Two composers who resided in Coburg at this time both used the monogram ‘MFS’, and Michael Franck Silusianus (that is, from Schleusingen) should not be confused with the musician Melchior Franck Silesius (from Zittau). For this reason, the authorship of the composition Jersulam, du hochgebaute Stadt (text by Johann Matthäus Meyfart) cannot be definitively determined. Michael Franck appears to have been the author of a 1500-line poem commemorating the Coburg peace celebrations in 1650.



A. Fischer and W. Tümpel: Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des 17. Jahrhunderts, iv (Gütersloh, 1908/R)

O. Morgenstern: Michael Franck (Schleusingen, 1909)


Franck [Francke, Frank], Salomo [Salomon]

(b [?bap.] Weimar, 6 March 1659; d Weimar, ?10 June [bur. 14 June] 1725). German poet, cantata librettist and court official. After studying in his native town he enrolled in the faculty of law at Jena University in 1677. In 1682 he went to Leipzig to pursue further studies; within a year, however, he had evidently moved to Arnstadt, and by 1685, when he published his first volume of poetry, he had returned to Jena. In 1689 he received a position as administrative secretary to the court of Arnstadt, probably after working in a similar role at Zwickau; two years later he became consistorial secretary. In 1697 an appointment as administrative and consistorial secretary at the court of Jena took him to that city for a third time. In 1701 he became consistorial secretary at the court of Weimar; he rose before long to the rank of chief consistorial secretary and also supervised the ducal library and coin collection.

In addition to his administrative duties at Weimar, Franck served as the court’s poet in residence, turning out verses – many of them meant for musical setting – on state occasions and providing texts for the music performed at services in the ducal chapel. He had in fact written for the Weimar court as early as 1683, and in 1694 he dedicated a manuscript cycle of cantata texts for the entire liturgical year to Duke Wilhelm Ernst (Evangelische Seelen-Lust über die Sonn- und Festtage durchs gantze Jahr, published in Geist- und weltliche Poesie, Jena, 1711). Several of his poems were set by J.S. Bach – indeed he wrote the librettos for most of Bach’s Weimar cantatas. Perhaps as early as 1713, while still court organist, Bach composed the secular cantata bwv208 to a text subsequently published in Franck’s Geist- und weltliche Poesien zweiter Theil (Jena, 1716); a year later he began the monthly series of church cantatas stipulated by his new contract as Konzertmeister with several works on librettos presumably by Franck (bwv182, 12 and 172). Between December 1714 and January 1716 Bach set at least eight texts (bwv152, 80a, 31, 165, 185, 161, 162, 163, 132 and 155) from Franck’s Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer (Weimar, 1715), and his last three Weimar cantatas, bwv70a, 186a and 147a, all written in December 1716, have texts from another cycle by Franck, Evangelische Sonn- und Fest-Tages-Andachten (Weimar and Jena, 1717). Bach set the texts as part of his composing contract; the remaining cantata texts that Franck wrote for court services were probably set by the Kapellmeister Johann Samuel Drese. In addition, Franck probably wrote the text of Bach’s wedding cantata bwv202. Bach made further use of Franck’s works in Leipzig; the librettos of cantatas bwv168 (1725), 164 (1725) and 72 (1726) all come from the Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer, and other librettists of Bach’s, possibly at his urging, reworked poems by Franck in their own texts.

Franck’s reputation extended well beyond his own circle; a number of his devotional lyrics, for instance, made their way into contemporary hymnbooks. At his best, particularly in his sacred works, Franck achieved a synthesis of technical fluency and expressive fervour that placed him among the most notable German poets of his day.


P. Spitta: Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1873–80, 5/1962; Eng. trans., 1884, 2/1899/R)

A. Bach: ‘Salomo Franck als Verfasser geistlicher Dichtungen’, Johann Sebastian Bach in Thüringen, ed. H. Besseler and G. Kraft (Weimar, 1950), 135–9

A. Dürr: ‘Über Kantatenformen in den geistlichen Dichtungen Salomon Francks’, Mf, iii (1950), 18–26

L. Hoffmann-Erbrecht: ‘Bachs Weimarer Textdichter Salomo Franck’, Johann Sebastian Bach in Thüringen, ed. H. Besseler and G. Kraft (Weimar, 1950), 120–34

A. Dürr: Studien über die frühen Kantaten J.S. Bachs (Leipzig, 1951, 2/1977)

A. Dürr: Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (Kassel, 1971, 6/1995)

H. Streck: Die Verskunst in den poetischen Texten zu den Kantaten J.S. Bachs (Hamburg, 1971)

D. Gojowy: ‘Wort und Bild in Bachs Kantatentexten’, Mf, xxv (1972), 27–39

P. Brainard: ‘Cantata 21 Revisited’, Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Music in Honor of Arthur Mendel, ed. R.L. Marshall (Kassel and Hackensack, NJ,1974), 231–42

W. Neumann, ed.: Sämtliche von Johann Sebastian Bach vertonte Texte (Leipzig, 1974)

K. Hofmann: ‘Neue Überlegungen zu Bachs Weimarer Kantaten-Kalender’, BJb 1993, 9–29

M. Petzoldt: ‘ “Die kräfftige Erquickung unter der schweren Angst-Last”: möglicherweise Neues zur Entstehung der Kantate bwv21’, BJb 1993, 31–46

K. Küster: Der junge Bach (Stuttgart, 1996)

C. Wolff: ‘“Die betrübte und wieder getröstete Seele”: zum Dialog-Charakter der Kantate “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” bwv21’, BJb 1996, 139–45


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