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Johann Jacob Froberger Biography

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Johann Jakob Froberger (May 18, 1616 – May 7, 1667) was a German Baroque composer, keyboard virtuoso, and organist. He was very well known during his lifetime and modern scholars consider him to be one of the most important keyboard composers before Johann Sebastian Bach.

Froberger was born in 1616 in Stuttgart and probably received first music lessons from his father. In 1634 he moved to Vienna and became court organist there in 1637. In the same year he went to Rome to study under Girolamo Frescobaldi. Froberger returned to Vienna in 1641 and remained there until 1657, frequently travelling to carry out diplomatic missions for Ferdinand III: he visited Brussels, Dresden, Antwerp, London, and, most importantly, Paris, where he lived for three years (1650-1653) and studied French style. After Ferdinand's death, Froberger went to Alsace where became a music teacher. He died in Héricourt in 1667.

Only a few compositions were published during his lifetime, however, Froberger's music was widely spread in Europe in hand-written copies, and he was one of the most famous composers of the era. Because of his travels and his ability to create music in a variety of national styles, Froberger, along with other cosmopolitan composers such as Johann Kaspar Kerll, contributed greatly to the exchange of musical traditions in Europe. He influenced more or less every composer of the century and his music was known and performed well into the 18th century.

Louis Couperin, Georg Böhm, Dieterich Buxtehude and Johann Pachelbel are among the composers who were influenced by Froberger; various less known composers such as François Roberday or Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer also knew his music and borrowed from it. Johann Sebastian Bach was influenced by Froberger, although only to a certain degree. One of the fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier uses a subject from Froberger's Ricercar No. 4 (FbWV 404) - however, Bach probably picked the theme from J.C.F. Fischer, who borrowed it from Froberger for his Ariadne musica, published some 20 years before the Well-Tempered Clavier.
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