Georg Stubendorff worked in Stockholm as an organist at St James's Church from 1663 until 1672. The first trace of him in Sweden is dated 8 April 1663, when he dedicated his church concerto, O Jesu Dulcissime, to the newly appointed chief conductor of the Royal Court Orchestra, Gustav Düben. It is his only extant composition. Georg Stubendorff died in 1672 and was buried in St James's Church.
Relatively few facts are known about Georg Stubendorff today. He came to Stockholm to work as organist at St James’s Church from 1663 to 1672. He appears to have been admired by the parish. His first annual salary consisted of 300 daler in copper coins, which was the same as his predecessor, Heinrich Pape. However, his salary was increased in March of 1669 to 900 daler ‘for the sake of artistry and skill’. According to an inventory taken at St James’s Church in 1673, there were a number of compositions by Stubendorff, however his only extant work is O Jesu dulcissime, dedicated to Gustav Düben in 1663 and preserved in the Düben collection at the Uppsala University library. The piece, which is a church concerto (concerto da chiesa) in Italian style, is an interesting example of what a church musician during the 17th century could achieve.
Today we know the following facts about Georg Stubendorff: He succeeded Heinrich Pape as organist at St James’s Church in 1663 (a more accurate date is impossible to determine since the parish documents from 1663 have been lost). The first certain and specific date regarding Stubendorff is the date 18 April 1663 that appears on his dedication of O Jesu dulcissime to Gustav Düben. He married Margareta Jacobsdotter on 23 October 1664 and was married a second time on 6 December 1666 to Anna Klausdotter. He died in 1672 and the register of his estate names a six year-old son called Gustav.
It remains unclear where Stubendorff came from. It has been previously assumed that he was a native of Germany, however neither a birthplace or birth date has been found. Most foreign musicians in Stockholm at the time came from Germany, but other countries were represented as well. In the case of Stubendorff, recent research indicates another possibility − he may have come to Stockholm from Livonia (a Baltic region under Swedish authority during the 17th century). From 1621, Riga was an important administrative base for the Swedish empire and it is quite possible that Georg Stubendorff came from there, rather than Germany. There is also evidence from 1610 of a Samuel Stubendorff who served as a teacher and organ player in the Livonian towns of Grobin and Libau.
The only extant composition by Stubendorff is in the Düben collection – O Jesu dulcissime, Concerto a 3 (canto, 2 violins and basso continuo). According to an inventory of St James’s Church from 1673 it stated that they had following hand-written compositions by Georg Stubendorff: a Kyrie in six parts, Haec est dies in six parts, Gud will iag lofwa in six parts and Morior misera in three parts. However, none of these compositions have been found.
The church concerto O Jesu dulcissime
The church concerto, O Jesu dulcissime is dated 8 April 1663 and dedicated to Gustav Düben, who had recently taken the job of hovkapellmästare (chief conductor of the Royal Court Orchestra). It is not known why Stubendorff dedicated the work to Düben, however it could have been an act of courtesy from a new musician in Sweden toward one of the more prominent people within Stockholm’s musical life. Stubendorff would have wanted to show off his skills at composing in the modern style of the time to the hovkapellmästare. Another possibility might pertain to the job of organist at St James’s Church. The work may have been dedicated to Düben so that he would recommend Stubendorff for the position. There are no known sources that state when the piece was performed, however, a likely occasion could have been during Holy Week in 1663, when Good Friday fell on 16 April. There is known to be a traditional connection between religious communion and this type of music, which is based on emotional Latin texts about love for Jesus.
The text to O Jesu dulcissime is partly taken from Jubilius Rhytmicus, de Nomine Jesu, also known as Jesu dulcis memoria, traditionally attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux. The choice of the theme ‘Jesu dulcissime’ (‘dearest Jesus’) was common for that time − in the Düben collection alone one can find 15 different works with both the words ‘Jesu’ and ‘dulcissime’ in the title.
Jan Johansson © 2015
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson
Johansson, Jan: Georg Stubendorff, organist i S:t Jakob. En musiker i stormaktstidens Stockholm och hans concerto O Jesu dulcissime, bachelor's thesis in musicology, Uppsala University, 2006.
Johansson, Jan: 'Georg Stubendorff: En musiker i stormaktstidens Stockholm', Tidig musik, no. 3, 2007, pp. 32−34.
Summary list of works
One preserved work from Stubendorff's years in Stockholm: O Jesus dulcissime Concerto a 3.
'O Jesu dulcissime', parts for Canto Solo, Viol: Primo, Viol: 2 and Bassus Continuus. Uppsala University, the Düben collection VMHS 35:12. Modern edition in Jan Johansson's 'Georg Stubendorff, organist i S:t Jakob. En musiker i stormaktstidens Stockholm och hans concerto O Jesu dulcissime', bachelor's thesis in musicology, Uppsala University, 2006.