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Original residence of the Protestant composer

Heinrich Schütz House in Weißenfels (Photo: Heinrich Schütz House)

The Heinrich Schütz House is the only residence of the composer that has been preserved in its original state. As the first representative of German Protestant church music, Schütz has strongly influenced the spiritual expression of Protestantism. He spent his childhood in Weißenfels. In 1651, at the age of 65, when he was musical director of the Dresden court and world-famous, he bought a house in the Nicolaistraße 13, where he lived until his death. This stately Renaissance building from the 16th century has largely been preserved in its original state.

Schütz was the musical director of the 100th Reformation anniversary

Heinrich Schütz was neither a contemporary nor a collaborator of Martin Luther. Born in Köstritz in 1585, he was musical director for the grandiose celebration of the 100th Reformation anniversary, due to his position at the court of the Saxon Elector in Dresden. He himself understood his work as proclamation of the Gospel in the church of the Reformation. At his time, he was regarded as the most eminent European composer.

Schütz wrote history, in music as well as in the church, and especially with his "Geistliche Konzerte", motets, expressive Psalm settings and Passions. With his Christmas History (Historia Der Freuden- und Gnadenreichen Geburth Gottes und Marien Sohnes, Jesu Christi, SWV 435) Schütz opened the way towards the development of the German oratorio. The hymn book of the Evangelical Church contains several melodies written by him.

“… my song, wherever I lodge” - The new permanent exhibition

Since 1985, the Renaissance building of the Heinrich Schütz House has been the home of a museum. After its renovation according to the standards for the protection of historical monuments, a new permanent exhibition was opened in 2012. On three floors, it covers the life of the composer. Visitors are able to get to know Heinrich Schütz and his work, also by listening to radio plays and audio samples. The highlight of the exhibition is the “composer's room”, where Schütz created his late work. The most important treasure on display here are two fragments of music, which were written by the composer's own hand and found on the premises. The museum also presents historical musical instruments and valuable originals of the first editions of Schütz's work.

Many of these works were written in his studio in the attic of the house in Weißenfels, which he called his “cell”. On display in this “cell” was Heinrich Schütz's motto from Psalm 119: “Your decrees are the theme of my song, wherever I lodge.” Schütz set it to music in his last work, the “Swan Song” (1671)