Main case: base with view of the Brustwerk
Main case: base with view of the Brustwerk

Heinrich Julius - an artist prince

Duke Heinrich Julius - already in the age of two years designated by his father as the bishop of Halberstadt - was one of the most educated princes of his era due to a manyfold study programme well elaborated by his father Duke Julius. He had a great passion for architecture, the theatre, botany, natural sciences, he was able to speak several old languages and worked also as a writer. He was a celebrity for his legal knowledge.

At the age of seven, in 1571, his daily program of studies involved two organ lessons. They were given by the court organist, Antonius Ammerbach, from 12 a.m. till 1p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. till 4 p.m. and in the evening he had the chance to relax by instrumental playing. During a journey to Flensburg in 1593 it is reported by a chronicle, that “he played using all its stops in a way, that everyone amused”.

He spent without stint to realize his artistic desires and ambitions. He called on to his court the best European artists, painters, sculptors, actors, musicians and dancers. The famous English lutenist and composer John Dowland spent some time by Heinrich Julius receiving a solid golden chain on his departure. Another English lutenist, Gregory Huwet, passed his whole life working for the court chapel.

About 1594 Michael Praetorius, with an age of 22, got at the court of the prince and became his chamber organist. Because the implementation of the organ since 1592 it is not sure, if Praetorius was involved in this. In any case he was a theology student in Frankfurt on the Oder in the years 1588 - 1591 and at the same time the organist of the local university church St. Marien and could have attained knowledge of organ construction.

Source: Jean-Charles Ablitzer - The David Beck Organ of the Castle Chapel in Gröningen