Picander was the pseudonym of Christian Friedrich Henrici (January 14, 1700 – May 10, 1764), a German poet and librettist for many of the cantatas which Johann Sebastian Bach composed in Leipzig. Henrici studied law at Wittenberg and Leipzig. He started writing to supplement his income, and continued to write even after he had developed a career as a civil servant.
Bach moved to Leipzig in 1723. There is some uncertainty as to who was writing his libretti in his first years in the city. The libretti for the chorale cantatas cycle of 1724/25 are anonymous. By 1725 Henrici and Bach were working together. Some of Bach's most important works used Henrici's libretti. Most notably their collaboration was on religious works in a Lutheran tradition such as the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244). However, they also produced secular works such as the Coffee Cantata (Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211).
In some cases Henrici's texts have survived and Bach's settings have not. An example is the funeral ode Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt, BWV 244a, although in this case there are clues as to what music Bach would have used to set the words. The preface to one of Henrici's volumes of poetry indicates that the entire volume was set to music by Bach in 1729, although only nine cantatas based on that particular volume have survived to the present day. This may indicate a substantial loss of Bach's music.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1990). "Henrici, Christian Friedrich (Pseudonym: Picander)". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 2. Hamm: Bautz. col. 723. ISBN 3-88309-032-8.
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