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Johann Valentin Meder

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Coming from a family of musicians -- Meder had a father and four brothers who were either Kantors or organists -- Meder was a theological student in Leipzig in the year 1669 and later a student at Jena; however, he turned his attention to professional singing.
He was employed at various courts including Gotha, Bremen, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Lubeck, Revel, Danzig, Konigsberg, and Riga. Meder was the Kapellmeister in Danzig for St Marien and was a Kantor at Konigsberg and Riga. Having composed an opera, "Die Wiederverehligte Coelia," (1698) the Danzig city council refused to let it be performed. It was staged in the nearby town of Schottland and Meder was dismissed from his post at Danzig for this reason. Displaying an exceptional voice, Meder was a reputable singer but if the Swedish king had not been at war for so many years during Meder's lifetime, the king would have accepted Meder as the court director in Stockholm. His import was not just in his singing but in his ability to compose as well. The only extant opera written by Meder is "Die bestandige Argenia" which was dedicated, in 1689, to the king of Sweden, Carl XI, and his new queen. Adept at arioso and recitative Meder sublimated the larger forms of through-composed arias. Meder is known to have composed motets, oratorios and instrumental pieces showing the influence of Buxtehude, whom he met in Lubeck, and anticipating Bach's use of the arioso for the words of Jesus in the settings of oratorios. ~ Keith Johnson, Rovi

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