Johann Gottfried Walther

b. Erfurt, September 18, 1684
d. Wiemar, March 23, 1748


Johann Gottfried Walther, student of J. Bernhard Bach, was an accomplished early Baroque organist and composer. In 1702, at the age of eighteen, he was made organist of the Thomaskiche in Erfurt. At twenty-three he was appointed Weimar town organist and music master to the ducal children. In 1721 he became a court musician.

Walther wrote much organ music; his compositions explore stylistic elements from across Europe. His concertos possess Italian characteristics, his free works are distinctly south German, and he is placed next to Bach as a composer of the chorale variation (he and Bach became friends while Bach lived in Wiemar). Outside of his organ music, Walther was also known for his book, Musikalishe Lexikon oder Musicalisches Bibliotek (Leipzig, 1732), the first dictionary/encyclopedia of music.

Representative Works