Entrance

Listen to the composer reminiscing on his life at four “Schütz sofas”.

Singing at the music stand with audio installation

Fragments of music in a mouse nest found in the building

View from the composing parlour

Wall bracket with mason’s mark and the motto of the Protestant estates

Rediscovered stove opening
Permanent exhibition
in the Heinrich Schütz House
“... My Song in My Own Home”

The Heinrich Schütz House is the only one of the composer’s homes to survive in its original form today. Schütz bought the house in 1651, and spent his retirement there from 1657 to 1672. Up in the attic, Schütz – the kapellmeister to the Saxon Elector’s court – created the great works of his old age. He completed his very last work, which he called his “Swan Song”, in 1671. 

The Renaissance house, built in 1552, was carefully restored between 2010 and 2012. The new permanent exhibition presents Schütz’s life and compositions on the authentic site of his work. Its highlight is the restored “composing parlour”, displaying two fragments of music written in the composer’s own hand and found in the house. Numerous musical examples and short films provide insights into Heinrich Schütz’s compositional style. Children and adults can encounter the elderly composer himself at four “Schütz sofas”, listening to his fictional reminiscences on important stages in his life. Those who want to can try out one of Schütz’s choral pieces themselves – a music stand with audio installation invites them to sing along. An architectural trail draws attention to significant details of the building and objects found during the restoration work. Younger visitors can follow a children’s trail, a playful introduction to the life of Heinrich Schütz.

In 2006, the Heinrich Schütz House was added to the German government’s “Blue Book” listing cultural memorial sites of special national importance.

Ground floor


What did Heinrich Schütz listen to as a boy in Weissenfels?

Instruments of the town pipers and travelling musicians

Weissenfels c. 1600

Ecce Homo: in memory of the Weissenfels mayor Martin Hundt (d. 1515)

Heinrich Schütz’s former kitchen

17th-century skillet, found in the Heinrich Schütz House
Childhood in Weissenfels

When Heinrich Schütz’s father, Christoph Schütz from Köstritz, moved to Weissenfels with his wife and six children in 1590, the little farming town on the River Saale had a population of around 2000. The townspeople made their living from agriculture, wine-growing, skilled trades and tourism. Located just 40 km from the commercial hub of Leipzig, Weissenfels was a staging post on the Via Regia – the “Royal Road” – used by many carters and merchants. Five inns offered the travellers accommodation, food and drink. Christoph Schütz took over one of them, the “Golden Ring” near the Saale bridge. It was there that Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel discovered the young Heinrich Schütz’s talent in 1599.

Top floor


Listen to the sounds of the court orchestra at the instrument display’s audio stations.

The room is regularly used for concerts.

Heinrich Schütz with his court orchestra in the Dresden Palace Chapel

The drawers hold 26 part-books from early prints of Heinrich Schütz’s works.

Kleine geistliche Konzerte II, organ part-book

An entertaining excursion into music history: “Heinrich Schütz’s Style of Composition”

Multimedia station with recordings, texts and information on almost all Heinrich Schütz’s important works
Heinrich Schütz the musician

Heinrich Schütz spent almost all his working life as a court music director or “kapellmeister”. After his education as a choirboy in Kassel and musical studies with Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice, Schütz found his lifetime position in Dresden. As court kapellmeister to the Saxon Elector there, he held one of Europe’s most prestigious musical offices. He directed great celebratory music with the Dresden court orchestra. However, the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) brought a decline in German court music. Schütz’s many travels also took him to other courts, in Denmark and Italy.

Heinrich Schütz composed exclusively for the human voice. More than 500 works survive, most of them sacred music. Schütz published his most important compositions himself.

 

Attic storey


Composing parlour

Restored double window with decorative pillar, composing parlour

Restored gable of the composing parlour

Two fragments of music in Heinrich Schütz’s hand, found in the building

Fragment of Heinrich Schütz’s handwriting, found in the building

View into the attic

A model shows the structure and use of the house in Heinrich Schütz’s time.

17th-century lice combs and needle, found in the building

His last work or “Swan Song”, 1671, facsimile
Twilight years and legacy

In the attic is the heart of the house: the restored composing parlour. This is where the composer wrote the great works of his old age – the passions, the Christmas History, and his last work, known as the “Swan Song”.

The museum shows how Heinrich Schütz lived and worked in the house well into his old age, who his correspondents and visitors were, and how he prepared for the end of his life. The precious fragments of his handwriting were found in the building more than 300 years after his death. They are a vivid testament to the way the composer was forgotten, then rediscovered. Schütz’s appropriation by later generations has had a varied history that continues into the present day.

 

Heinrich Schütz


Schütz aged 42. Engraving by August John, 1627
Biography

1585
Born in Köstritz, near Gera, on 8 October, the son of innkeeper Christoph Schütz and Euphrosine Schütz, née Bieger.

1590
Moves to Weissenfels. Christoph Schütz takes over the “Golden Ring” inn from his father Albrecht Schütz. Young Heinrich’s musical education is probably provided by the town cantor Georg Weber and the organist Heinrich Colander.

1599
Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel spends a night at the “Golden Ring” and offers to have Heinrich educated. That summer, Schütz becomes a choirboy at the Landgrave’s court. Schooling at the Collegium Mauritianum in Kassel.

1608–09
Studies law at the University of Marburg.

1609–12
First visit to Italy, stays in Venice; studies composition and the organ with Giovanni Gabrieli.

1611
The Italian Madrigals (op. 1) appear in Venice.

1613/15
Second court organist in Kassel

1614
First appointment in Dresden (as an organist)

1615
Organist and musical director at the Dresden court.
In Weissenfels, Schütz’s father Christoph takes on a different inn, the “Golden Ass” on Nikolaistrasse, and renames it to match his own name – “Zum Schützen”, or “The Archer”.

1617–72
Court kapellmeister in Dresden

1618
Thirty Years’ War begins.

1619
Marries Magdalena Wildeck.
Psalmen Davids (op. 2)

1621

Birth of daughter Anna Justina. 
Travels to Breslau (today Wrocław) with the Elector; music for the tribute of the Silesian estates

1623
Birth of daughter Euphrosine.
Historia der Auferstehung Jesus Christi (op. 3)

1625
Magdalena Schütz dies aged 24.
Cantiones Sacrae (op. 4)

1627
Pastoral tragicomedy Dafne performed in Torgau.
“Da pacem Domine” (for the meeting of the seven electors in Mühlhausen)

1628
Becker Psalter (op. 5)

1628
Becker Psalter (op. 5)

1628–29
Second visit to Italy (Venice)

1629
Symphoniae Sacrae I (op. 6).
Buys house in Dresden.

1631
Death of father Christoph Schütz.
Mourning motet for Johann Hermann Schein

1633–35
First visit to Denmark. Celebratory music for the Copenhagen wedding of the Danish Crown Prince Christian and Princess Magdalena Sibylle of Saxony. Appointed kapellmeister to the Danish royal court.

1635
Death of mother Euphrosine Schütz

1636
Musikalische Exequien (op. 7).
Kleine geistliche Konzerte I (op. 8)

1638
Orpheus and Euridice (ballet opera).
Death of daughter Anna Justina

1639
Kleine geistliche Konzerte II (op. 9)

1642–44
Second visit to Denmark for the double wedding of the Danish king’s twin daughters. Before and after, journeys to Hamburg and other northern German courts

1647
Symphoniae Sacrae II (op. 10)

1648
End of the Thirty Years’ War
Geistliche Chormusik (op. 11)

1650
Symphoniae Sacrae III (op. 12)

1651
Buys house on “Niclas Alley” (today Nikolaistrasse 13) in Weissenfels for his retirement

1654
Endows 100 guilders for the residents of the Weissenfels almshouses

1655
Death of daughter Euphrosine

1656
Death of the Saxon Elector Johann Georg I. “Retirement” in Weissenfels, with continued obligation to serve in Dresden up to his death

1657
Sells house in Dresden. Moves to Weissenfels; shares a home there with his widowed sister Justina Thörmer. Zwölf geistliche Gesänge (op. 13) 

1662
Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz

1663
Organises court music in Zeitz

1663/64
Lukas-Passion

1664
Christmas History

1665
Johannes-Passion

1666
Matthäus-Passion

1666–71
Schwanengesang (opus ultimum) (Psalm 119, Psalm 100, German Magnificat)

1672
In January moves to Dresden. Sister Justina dies in Weissenfels on 17 May. Schütz dies in Dresden on 6 November.