Esaias Reusner der Jüngere

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Esaias Reusner the Younger

Esaias Reusner the Younger (born 29 April 1636, Löwenberg, Principality of Schweidnitz (Silesia); died 1 Mayjul./ 11 May 1679greg. inBerlin) was a German composer and lutenist.[1][2][3]

Life and work

Esaias Reusner the Younger was the son of Esaias Reusner the Elder and his wife Blandina, née Reich. He was taught to play the lute by his father and showed himself to be a musical prodigy[4]. The family was related to the poet and historian Elias Reusner and his brother, the jurist Nikolaus von Reusner, who also lived in Löwenberg[5][6]. After Esaias’ mother Blandina died in 1645, the family moved to Breslau, where, according to the Viennese music historian Josef Zuth (published in 1926-1928), Esaias was a page in the service of the Swedish Count Wittenberg, then with the royal war commissioner Müller, although this is not clearly documented. What is certain is that in 1651 he became valet to Princess Radziwill in Poland, who is said to have sent him for further training to an outstanding French lutenist, whose name is not known. Rerusner returned to Breslau in 1654, and the following year he joined the court of George III of Liegnitz, Brieg and Wohlau as lutenist. After Prince George died in 1664, Reusner went to the court of Duke Christian of Brieg, who died in 1672. From 1672 to 1673 he taught lute at the University of Leipzig, and on 5 February 1674 was appointed chamber musician and lutenist to the Brandenburg “Great Elector” Frederick William in Berlin. He had married his wife Maria (née Böhm) in Breslau in 1660 and had three sons with her. Reusner died on 1 Mayjul./ 11 May 1679greg. at theage of 43 years and 11 days in Berlin.


Esaias Reusner the Younger was the first German lute composer of major importance. With his two collections of suites Delitiae testudinis and Neue Lauten-Früchte, which are also important testimonies to the development of the instrumental suite, he introduced the ornamental lute style to Germany, also adopting the D minor tuning of the so-called newer French school. The composer and lutenist Ernst Gottlieb Baron (1696-1760) characterized these works in his 1727 publication as follows: The two Reusners, Vatter and Sohn, […] are undoubtedly the first to compose melodies themselves that are already unforced and in harmony with the genius of the instrument; since in old times one had to make do mostly with set pieces (page 72). Reusner’s influence extended to all of 17th century Germany, and his musical style influenced later lutenists such as Silvius Leopold Weiss.

Reusner’s total of 28 lute suites are each in a major or minor key and are composed of four to nine movements; they show the basic pattern of the later dance suite Allemande – Courante – Sarabande – Gigue. Most of the longer suites begin with another dance form, such as Paduana or Ballo, or a typically French improvisational prelude, and many end with a dance other than the Gigue.


  • Delitiae testudinis oder Erfreuliche Lautenlust, no place given 1667, reprint Breslau 1668; reprint Leipzig 1697
  • Musikalische Taffel-Erlustigung […] auf die Laute gesetzt […], in 4 Stimmen gebracht, so das dieselben nach frantzösischer Art auf Violen füglich können gebraucht werden (Arrangement for violas and basso continuo by Johann Georg Stanley), Brieg 1668
  • Musicalische Gesellschafts Ergetzung, orchestral suite for violin, 2 violas and basso continuo, Brieg 1670
  • New Lute-Fruits, Berlin 1676
  • Hundert Geistliche Melodien Evangelischer Lieder, Berlin 1678
  • Musical bouquet of flowers, Bremen 1673, considered lost

Literature (selection)

  • Ernst Gottlieb Baron: Historical-Theoretical and Practical Investigations of the Instrument of the Lute, Nuremberg 1727
  • G. Sparmann: Esaias Reusner und die Lautensuite, dissertation at the University of Berlin 1926 (typescript)
  • Josef Zuth: Handbuch der Laute und Gitarre, Vienna 1926-1928, pages 230-231
  • K. Koletschka: Esaias Reusner der Jüngere und seine Bedeutung für die deutsche Lautenmusik des XVII. Jahrhunderts. In: Studien zur Musikwissenschaft (Beihefte der Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich) No. 15, 1928, pp. 7-45
  • H. Neemann: Preface and critical report on lute music of the 17th and 18th centuries: works by Esaias Reusner and S. L. Weiss, Braunschweig 1939 (= Das Erbe deutscher Musik No. 12)
  • Historical Commission for Silesia (ed.): History of Silesia, Volume 2: The Habsburg Period 1526-1740, Sigmaringen 1988, ISBN 3-7995-6342-3, page 204 and following
  • D. A. Smith: A History of the Lute from Antiquity to the Renaissance, Lexington/Virginia 2002
  • Grzegorz Joachimiak An unknown source concerning Esaias Reusner Junior from the Music Collection Department of Wrocław (Breslau) University Library. “Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology” No. 11, 2012, ISSN 1734-2406, pp. 83-102.
  • Markus Lutz: Die Leichpredigt von Esaias Reusner (1636-1679). In: Lauten-Info, 4 (2006), pp. 19-24
  • Markus Lutz, Die berühmte Verwandtschaft von Esaias Reusner. In: The Lute XI (2013), pp. 89-91

Web links

Individual references

  1. Peter Päffgen: Reusner, Esaias d. J.. In: Ludwig Finscher (ed.): Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Second edition, personal part, volume 13 (Paladilhe – Ribera). Bärenreiter/Metzler, Kassel et al. 2005, ISBN 3-7618-1133-0, Sp. 1584-1585 (online edition, subscription required for full access)
  2. Marc Honegger, Günther Massenkeil (eds.): Das große Lexikon der Musik. Volume 7: Randhartinger – Stewart. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau et al. 1982, ISBN 3-451-18057-X.
  3. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie, 2nd Edition, Volume 21, McMillan Publishers, London 2001, ISBN 0-333-60800-3
  4. Claude Chauvel: Supplement to the recording European Lute Music 2 – Esaias Reusner (1636-1679), CD released 14 October 2002, DHM #05472778502
  5. Michael Treder: Esaias Reusner der Ältere – Esaias Reusner der Jüngere (Memento of the original on the Internet Archive, March 4, 2016 ) Info: Thearchive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/, PDF file, page 5, retrieved 25 December 2015
  6. Grzegorz Joachimiak Lutniści i uczeni. Rodzina Reusnerów ze Śląska w świetle starodruku z Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej we Wrocławiu. (The Lutenists and Scholars. The Reusner family from Silesia in the light of the old print from the University Library in Wroclaw). “Muzyka” LVIII (2013) no. 2, pp. 73-80, PL ISSN 0027-5344