Christian Petzold (composer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Christian Petzold (1677 – 25 May 1733) was a German composer and organist. He was active primarily in Dresden, and achieved a high reputation during his lifetime, but his surviving works are few. It was established in the 1970s that the famous Minuet in G major, previously attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, was in fact the work of Petzold. The sprightly melody was used in the 1966 pop music hit "A Lover's Concerto" by the American group The Toys.[1][2][3]


He was born in Weißig near Königstein in 1677; the exact date of birth is unknown. From 1703 Petzold worked as organist at St. Sophia (Sophienkirche) in Dresden, and in 1709 he became court chamber composer and organist. He led an active musical life, giving concert tours that took him as far as Paris (1714) and Venice (1716). In 1720 he wrote a piece for the consecration of the new Silbermann organ at St. Sophia, and he performed a similar task at Rötha, near Leipzig, where another Silbermann organ was built. Petzold was also active as a teacher. His pupils included Carl Heinrich Graun. Petzold died on 25 May 1733 and was buried three days later. His cause of death was recorded in the Dresden Kirchenwochenzettel as "Steckfluß" (choking rheum).

The exact date of Petzold's death was given by the Dresden court musician Johann Samuel Kaÿser, who on 27 May 1733 petitioned for Petzold's position as organist in the St. Sophia. As is well known, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was appointed in Petzold's place, while the Italian composer Giovanni Alberto Ristori became the court organist.

Contemporaries held Petzold in high regard. Johann Mattheson and Ernst Ludwig Gerber both praised his skills, referring to him as "one of the most famous organists" and "one of the most pleasant church composers of the time", respectively. However, only a few of Petzold's pieces are extant today. He is best remembered for a pair of minuets that were copied into the 1725 Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, compiled by Anna Magdalena Bach and her husband Johann Sebastian Bach. One of these minuets, the Minuet in G major, achieved wide recognition, but for centuries was attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. Petzold's authorship was only established in the 1970s.[4]

Petzold always signed his name as Pezold.[citation needed]

Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh. 115)

Selected works[edit]


  • Cantata Meine Seufzer, meine Klagen


Solo instrumental[edit]


  1. ^ Wolff, Christoph (2001). "Bach. III. 7. Johann Sebastian Bach. Works". In Root, Deane L. (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Williams, Peter F.. 2007. J.S. Bach: A Life in Music, p. 158. Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Schulenberg, David. 2006. The Keyboard Music of J.S. Bach, p. 448 and elsewhere.
  4. ^ Schulze, Hans-Joachim. "Ein 'Dresdner Menuett' im zweiten Klavierbüchlien der Anna Magdalena Bach. Nebst Hinweisen zur Überlieferung einiger Kammermusikwerke Bachs." Bach-Jahrbuch (1979 pp. 45–64), pp. 54–58, 64.


External links[edit]