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

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Funcke, Friedrich

(b Nossen, Saxony, 1642; d Römstedt, nr Lüneburg, 20 Oct 1699). German composer and writer on music. After attending school at Freiberg and Dresden he studied theology at Wittenberg in 1660–61 and soon after became Kantor at Perleberg. In 1663 he applied for the post of Kantor at the Johanneum, Hamburg, but the appointment went to Christoph Bernhard. In 1664 he succeeded Michael Jacobi as Kantor at St Johannis, Lüneburg. During his 30 years in this post he made his mark on the musical life of Lüneburg but was involved in numerous disputes with the school and church authorities over his continual struggle to improve conditions for the performance of church music. He also campaigned energetically to have the Latin liturgical hymns replaced by German congregational hymns. In 1672 his salary was withheld for six months because he allowed the music for his brother-in-law's funeral to be accompanied on a regal, which had never been permitted at the burial of a distinguished citizen. In 1684 the municipal senate objected to his working simultaneously as a proofreader at the publishing house of Stern. From 1683 on he applied repeatedly for livings, but only in 1694 did he leave to become pastor at Römstedt, where he remained until his death.

Most of the numerous compositions that Funcke had to write for civic festivities and the weddings and funerals of leading citizens have vanished. His surviving funeral odes for five- or six-part choir and continuo show a concern for flexible structures, engendered by the use of varying combinations of voices, and for the employment of harmony and dynamics to interpret the text. His cantata for New Year 1684 contains various solo verses between the opening and closing choruses. In his Danck- und Denck-Mahl, a large-scale concerto in ten sections commemorating the storm that damaged the tower of St Johannis, tutti and concertino passages alternate within the choruses. The accompaniment consists of either four strings and bassoon or cornetts and trombones, at the behest of the text, the descriptive details of which – downpour, lightning, thunder, earthquake – are most effectively portrayed in the music.

Birke convincingly ascribed to Funcke an anonymous St Matthew Passion which has particular significance in the history of the oratorio Passion. It must have been written later than the St Matthew Passion by his sometime Lüneburg colleague Christian Flor, which has an identical text; but it was not influenced by Johann Theile's St Matthew Passion, which he came to know in 1674. Funcke's Passion exists in two versions. The first contains unaccompanied recitatives for the Evangelist, which are modelled partly on the formulae of older Passions and partly on Luther's German Mass but also reveal the beginnings of text expression. In the second version the recitatives are provided with a continuo part, which is probably not by Funcke himself. 21 accompanied turbae give dramatic emphasis, and 12 solo sections and 9 sinfonias are interpolated as moments of quiet meditation on the events of the Passion. In his St Luke Passion (1683), of which only the text survives, Funcke must have taken a considerable step towards the Passion oratorio, for the compiler of the text not only inserted reflective passages but occasionally altered the Gospel text and elaborated on it. According to Walter the surviving texts of other lost works by Funcke are important as sources for the history of the cantata and oratorio. Of his lost school textbook on singing it is known only that he rejected solmization and used letter names for notes and intervals.


printed works published in Lüneburg unless otherwise stated


Glückwünschender Zuruff (Wohlauff, mein schwacher Geist), S, 2 vn, bc (1664)

Trauer-Ode (Ach! was ist doch unser Leben), 6vv, bc (1664)

Klag- und Trost-Zeilen (Ach! Hertzeleid! Ja diss Leben-lose Leben), 6vv, bc (1665)

Seliger Abschied (Ach! Herr, ich warte auff dein Heil), 5vv, bc (1665)

Seeliger Abschied (Mensch, was ist des Lebens Zier), 6vv (1665)

Letzte Pflicht (Hier kurtze Zeit, ach leid), 6vv (1666)

Danck- und Denck-Mahl, über den … Donnerschlag welcher den 23. Tag Aprilis … den Thurm der Haupt-Kirchen zu Johannis in Lüneburg … berührete, 8vv, insts a 5, bc (Hamburg, 1666)

Hochzeit-Freude (Was des Himmels Raht erfunden), S, 2 inst, bc (1667)

Trauer-Thoon (Was ist doch diese Welt), 5vv (1669)

Der ewig-feste und unüberwindliche Gottes Schutz (Ist Gott für uns), 4vv, 5 insts, bc (Hamburg, 1682)


New Year cant. (Herr, hebe an zu segnen) 4vv, chorus 4vv, str, bc, 1684, D-Lr

sacred vocal

St Matthew Passion, c1668–74, D-Lr (anon., attrib. Funcke by Birke); ed. in Cw, lxxviii–ix (1961)

St Luke Passion, 1683, music lost; see Walter, 154ff

43 melodies, 7 texts, in Lüneburgisches Gesangbuch (Lüneburg, 1686)

Litania, 8vv (2 choirs), insts, Lr (anon., formerly attrib. Funcke, but only reworked by him)


For other lost works see Walter, 218ff, and MGG1

theoretical works

Janua latino-germanica ad artem musicam, clavibus facilioribus in usum scholae … Lunaeburgensi (Hamburg, 1680), lost



J. Birke: ‘Eine unbekannte anonyme Matthäuspassion aus der zweiten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts’, AMw, xv (1958), 162–86

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

P. Steinitz: ‘German Church Music’, NOHM, v (1975), 557–776, esp. 629

F. Krummacher: Die Choralbearbeitung in der protestantischen Figuralmusik zwischen Praetorius und Bach (Kassel, 1978)


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