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Dietrich Buxtehude

1637-1707. German composer. For many years organist of St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, he gained wide fame for the Abendmusiken (performance of church music on the five Sundays before Christmas), which he instituted in 1673. His choral and organ music is of outstanding merit. J.S. Bach* journeyed to Lübeck in his youth to hear Buxtehude's performances and was greatly influenced by him. The seventeenth century produced a great many Lutheran composers of merit, many of whom deserve attention; Buxtehude stands out among them for the vigor and imagination displayed in his chorale-preludes for organ, and for the beauty of the melodic line in many of his vocal compositions. His music is less difficult than Bach's for the average church choir today.