Andreas Düben d.ä. (Ca 1597/98−1662)


Andreas (Anders) Düben the elder was recruited by the Swedish court in 1620, together with a number of other German musicians, on the occasion of the wedding of King Gustav II Adolf and Maria Eleonora. As the chief conductor of the Royal Court Orchestra, but also as the organist in two of the most important churches in Stockholm, he occupied a central position within Swedish music life during the first half of the 17th century. Only a few of Andreas Düben’s compositions are preserved, including, for example, choral music for two royal funerals, as well as French-inspired dance music from Sweden’s Queen Christina’s court.

Andreas Düben was most likely born in 1597 or 98 in Leipzig, where his father, also named Andreas (1558−1625), worked as the organist in Thomaskirche (St Thomas Church) from 1595 until his death. His mother, Elisabeth Bessler, was born in 1563, and died in Stockholm in 1629. She was the daughter of Marten Bessler who was an alderman in Wurzen, where the family previously had resided. Andreas matriculated at the University of Leipzig in 1609, although it is unknown whether he actually studied there. He studied music with Jan Pieterson Sweelinck in Amsterdam from 1614 to 1620, the town council of Leipzig supporting his studies during the years 1614−15. In June 1620, Andreas also received a travel grant from the town council enabling him to, via Amsterdam, seek a position in a ‘foreign country’.

By mid-June 1620, Andreas Düben found himself in the Swedish Hovkapellet (the Royal Court Orchestra). His brother, Martin Düben, and his brother-in-law, Elias Decker (who was married to Andreas’ sister, Elizabeth) were both working as organists in Sweden. In 1620, Hovkapellet was a recently formed entity and composed mainly of musicians from the Brandenburg court orchestra in Berlin. Andreas was first employed as a court organist. In 1640, with the death of the hovkapellmästare (chief conductor of Hovkapellet), Ludwick Billes, Andreas Düben took over leadership of Hovkapellet. In 1625, he was appointed organist at Stockholm’s German Church (St Gertrud’s Church). Some time in 1649 or 50, he also became organist at the main church in Stockholm, Storkyrkan, taking over after the death of his brother Martin, who had previously held the position. Andreas Düben maintained all three positions until his death in Stockholm on 7 July 1662.

Sometime after 1625, Andreas Düben married Anna Maria Gabrielen (ca 1605−1690, other forms of the name, Gabriels, Gabrielin and Kosselin, can also be found). She was likely the widow of the court musician, Peter Gabriel, and it is possible that she was in the service of Maria Eleonora’s court. The Dübens had ten children, several of whom were active musicians. After Andreas Düben’s death, their son, Gustav, took over the position of hovkapellmästare, as well as the position as organist at the German Church.

Andreas Düben’s surviving works consist of music which can be connected with his service at the royal court. Pugna triumphalis, written for two a cappella choirs, was performed at King Gustav II Adolf’s funeral in 1634. The music was set to the text ‘Bonum certamen certavi…’ ('I have fought a good fight…’), 2 Tim. 4:7−8. The composition is preserved in a coeval print. Andreas Düben also composed music for King Charles X Gustav’s funeral in 1660; a composition for five vocal parts and continuo. It is a musical setting of psalm 51, ‘Miserere mei Deus’ (‘Have mercy upon me, O God’). The music is preserved in an anonymous manuscript found in the Düben collection (currently in the Uppsala University Library). According to a coeval print including the texts from the musical works performed at the funeral, Düben is the composer. At the time of Charles X Gustav’s death, Andreas Düben also set Georg Stiernhielm’s poem ‘Kunne i Svea bygd the skalder’ to music. The composition includes one vocal and a continuo part, and a short instrumental ritornello. The manuscript is preserved in Kungliga biblioteket (the National Library of Sweden). A number of dance movements attributed to 'A.D.', for four or five-part string ensemble in French style, are included in an extensive volume of tablature in the Düben collection. A few organ compositions, attributed to Andreas Düben, are extant in Berlin.

Maria Schildt © 2013
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson


Dirksen, Pieter (ed.), Orgelmusik av familjen Düben, Stockholm: Runa Nototext, 1997.
Dirksen, Pieter: Heinrich Scheidemann’s Keyboard Music, Transmission, Style and Chronology, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.
Kjellberg, Erik: Kungliga musiker i Sverige under stormaktstiden: studier kring deras organisation, verksamheter och status ca 1620 − ca 1720, vol. 1−2, diss., Uppsala universitet, 1979.
Kyhlberg, Bengt: 'Andreas Düben', Sohlmans musiklexikon, vol. II, Stockholm: Sohlman 1975, pp. 371−372.
−−−: 'När föddes Gustav Düben dy? Anteckningar kring några oklara punkter i familjen Dübens biografi', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, no. 55, 1974, pp. 7−18,
Moberg, Carl-Allan: 'Anders Düben', Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 11, Stockholm: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, 1945, pp. 636−637 (includes list of works).
Norlind, Tobias: 'Familjen Düben', Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, no. 24, 1942, pp. 5−46.
Ogier, Charles: Från Sveriges storhetstid: franske legationssekreteraren Charles Ogiers dagbok under ambassaden i Sverige 1634−1635 [Original title: Caroli Ogerii ephemerides sive iter Danicum, Svecicum, Polonicum], trans. Sigurd Hallberg, Stockholm: Nordiska museet, 1978.
Weman Ericsson, Lena: Andreas Düben och Anders von Düben: två kompositörer från den svenska stormaktstiden, Uppsala universitet, 1990 (includes list of works).


Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Västerås stadsbibliotek (dep. Stiftsbiblioteket)

Summary list of works

2 sacred vocal compositions (Pugna triumphalis, Miserere mei), 20 instrumental dance movements, 3 organ compositions and 1 secular song.

Works by Andreas Düben d.ä.

This is not a complete list of works. The following works are those that have been inventoried so far.

Number of works: 5