Restless Cosmopolitan or Classic of North German busic? Kaspar Forster the Younger (1616-1673) in the Mirror of Historical Evidence and Modern Research


In this article the modern views on KasparForster the Younger’s works are critically reviewed and systematized and on this basis an opinion on his contribution on the mid-17th-century North German musical culture is given. Contemporaries of the composer have left rapturous reviews for his music, but Forster’s legacy came to us not completely (not preserved, in particular, the opera and other secular works written for the Danish court). The survived works form three groups: 1) the Latin hymns; 2) spiritual dialogues; 3) sonatas for two violins, viola da gamba and continuo. Conservative style of spiritual concerts can be explained by their relation to the musical traditions of Danzig, the hometown of Forster. Spiritual dialogues marked influence of music of Carissimi (perhaps one of Forster’s teachers); however, this branch of the composer’s heritage was not continued in the works of his German contemporaries. The sonatas are notable for their improvisational character and using the North German “stylus phantasticus”; in this genreForster’s impact on the work of Buxtehude who could be his disciple is most noticeable.
One of the key figures in the dissemination of Italian style in Germany, Forster helped his native region reach the level of the best achievements of European art. However, the greatest influence he achieved, apparently, in those genres, in which he took into account the peculiarities of the North German music traditions.
The translation of the documents about Forster’s life and work equipped with critical commentary is attached to the article.


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