Print Shortlink

Vulpius, Melchior (c1560-7th August 1615)

He was composer, hymn-writer, music arranger, schoolmaster and author born Melchior Fuchs in Wasungen, Thuringia, Germany, who came from a poor family and he and one of his brothers Latinised their given surname to it’s Latin version of Vulpius.

He studied at the Lateinschule in Wasungen under the pastor and hymn-writer Johann Steurelein and later he moved to Speyer where he was a pupil and instructor of musica poetica to Christoph Thomas Walliser.

He was asked back to Speyer in 1592 as a supernumerary teacher even though he had never received a university education and he taught at the Lateinschule at Schleusingen.  He would take on the duties of Kantor where he was expected to write hymns and music for the Lutheran services and in 1596 he would become Municipal Kantor at the Lateinschule in Weimar.

Although an accomplished tutor he was more often thought of as a composer and his works were regularly heard in the churches of Wasungen.

A prolific composer who had much popularity in his day, his compositions include 400 hymns and 200 motets, a Passion oratorio, and the publications Cantiones sacrae and Spruche, and he was the first to use balletto rhythms in German hymn tunes.

He is known to have made a harmonisation to the carol “Es ist ein Ros ensprungen” (Lo How a Rose is Blooming) around the same time as the better known re-working by Michael Praetorius.

As a writer on the subject of music he published Compendolium musicae in 1604 and Musicae compendium in 1610.

He died in Weimar in 1615 aged 55.

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen/Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming recordings
Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra
Decca B0003552-02 (CD: A Leroy Anderson Christmas)

Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia 
(listed as “A Spotless Rose”)
Collegium 106 (CD: Christmas Night. Carols of The Nativity)
Conductor – John Rutter

Chicago Symphony Low Brass Ensemble
VOX 7501 (CD: Christmas with the Symphony Brass of Chicago)
Conductor – Barry Faldner

Robert Shaw Chorale 
RCA 6429 – 2 – RG (CD: A Festival of Carols)
(Arrangers – Robert Shaw/Alice Parker)