I know NOTHING about Schulz…

As a child of the 1960s and a long-time Moravian I confess I have conflicting notions in mind when I hear the surname Schultz/Schulz (they’re pronounced the same). One notion, of course, is the Christmas anthem “Thou Child Divine.” The other is this guy:

Sgt Schulz

At the end of a manuscript book (SMB 29.31) in the Salem Manuscript Books Collection I saw the title “Chorus by Schultz.” I did further investigation to identify the composer and the work, and determined this chorus was by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz, and was copied from his oratorio Maria og Johannes. More about this later.

Chorus by Schultz SMB 29_31

Biographical information about Johann Abraham Peter Schulz reveals that his father was a baker, so you wonder if J.A.P. Schulz had the same affinity for food as Sgt. Schultz had for LeBeau’s culinary delights.

Johann Abraham Peter Schulz was born in 1747 in Lüneburg, Germany, about 60 km southeast of Hamburg. Although his father intended a religious career for his son, Johann was interested in music. At the age of 15, Johann attended a wedding with his mother then traveled to Berlin to seek out his musical heroes C. P. E. Bach and Joseph Kirnberger. Although he was convinced to finish his schooling in Lüneburg, when he turned 18 he returned to Berlin, and Kirnberger accepted him as a student. He spent a few years in Poland as an accompanist and music teacher to a princess. He met composer Johann Reichardt in Danzig (Gdansk, Poland) and they became lifelong friends. Returning to Berlin, Kirnberger convinced Schulz to write music articles for Sulzer’s Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste and to contribute to other publications  about music. Bathia Churgin has written about Schulz’s writing about the classical symphony in Sulzer’s dictionary in “The Symphony as described by J. A. P. Schulz (1774): a commentary and translation” in Current Musicology, vol. 29, pp. 7-16 (Spring 1980).

With the help of Reichardt’s recommendation, Schulz became music director of a new theater in Berlin. Later he got a position with the Prussian royal family as court composer to the king’s kid brother in Rheinsberg. Schulz was keen on French operetta, which didn’t go over well with his Prussian prince employer. It was during his time in Rheinsberg that Schulz composed the opera Aline, reine de Golconde, from which derives the music we recognize as “Thou Child Divine.”

Schulz Thou Child Divine p1

Schulz then scored an even better position as Hofkapellmeister and director of the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen.

Although we don’t have any documentation to verify it, contemporaneous accounts report that Moravian composer Johann Soerensen  (1767-1831) (best remembered for “Bethany, O Peaceful Habitation”) may have studied with Schulz in Copenhagen while Soerensen was studying medicine there.

Besides opera and other stage music, Schulz composed sacred music, and some keyboard music; but he is  remembered for his contribution to German lied, setting texts of many leading writers of his day such as Voss and Klopstock with simple folk-like melodies.

In GemeinKat there are almost 300 entries for musical scores by Schulz in the Moravian Music Foundation’s collections. This number includes “analytics” which refers to records for individual movements in larger works. For example, a record for Handel’s Messiah would have individual records for each chorus and aria.

In 1982 Timothy Sharp created a modern a modern edition of Schulz’s oratorio Maria og Johannes based on Johannes Herbst’s copy (H B XXXIX) for his D.M.A. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Choruses from this oratorio were excerpted and are found in various collections of the Moravian Music Foundation. The Salem Manuscript occurrence  (pictured above) is a setting of “Trost und Wenn’ und Heil entquell” from Maria og Johannes with the English text “Christ is worthy to receive worship honour praise and blessing”

There. Now you cannot say you know NOTHING about Schulz!

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