I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Dieterich Buxtehude (1636/37–1707) was a Danish organist and composer of the Baroque period, whose works for the organ represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire. As a composer who worked in various vocal and instrumental idioms, Buxtehude's style greatly influenced other composers, such as his student, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), who once walked 260 miles to learn from an elderly Buxtehude, just two years before Buxtehude died. Bach had permission from his employer to be gone for three weeks. He was so impressed with his teacher and the Evening Music series (Abendmusiken), however, that he stayed for three months. Bach’s admiration of Buxtehude, even to the point of being absent without leave and risking his employment in Arnstadt, is just one indication of why Buxtehude, who served St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck from 1668 until his death in 1707, “ranks as the leading composer in Germany between Heinrich Schütz and Johann Sebastian Bach” (Karela J. Snyder, as quoted in German Studies Review 12:2, p. 358).
Pr Brian Hamer
Brian J. Hamer is Chaplain to Destroyer Squadron 23, Naval Base San Diego, via the LCMS Board for International Mission Services.