Hassler, Hans Leo
Hans Leo Hassler Germany 1564-1612. Born at Nuremberg, Germany, he came from a family of famous musicians and received early education from his father. He then studied in Venice, Italy, with Andrea Gabrieli, uncle of Giovanni Gabrieli, his friend, with whom he composed a wedding motet. The uncle taught him to play the organ. He learned the polychoral style and took it back to Germany after Andrea Gabrieli's death. He served as organist and composer for Octavian Fugger, the princely art patron of Augsburg (1585-1601). He was a prolific composer but found his influence limited, as he was Protestant in a still heavily Catholic region. In 1602 he became director of town music and organist in the Frauenkirche in Nuremberg until 1608. He married Cordula Claus in 1604. He was finally court musician for the Elector of Saxony in Dresden, Germany, evenually becoming Kapellmeister (1608-1612). A Lutheran, he composed both for Roman Catholic liturgy and for Lutheran churches. He produced two volumns of motets, a famous collection of court songs, and a volume of simpler hymn settings. He published both secular and religious music, managing to compose much for the Catholic church that was also usable in Lutheran settings. He was also a consultant to organ builders. In 1596 he, with 53 other organists, had the opportunity to examine a new instrument with 59 stops at the Schlosskirche, Groningen. He was recognized for his expertise in organ design and often was called on to examine new instruments. He entered the world of mechanical instrument construction, developing a clockwork organ that was later sold to Emperor Rudolf II. He died of tuberculosis in Frankfurt, Germany.