Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) was a German composer and organist who was an important member of the first generation of Baroque composers in Germany.
He distinguished himself in both keyboard and sacred vocal music, combining traditional counterpoint with the new Italian concerto style.
He worked as a court organist and Kappelmeister in the city of Halle, coming in contact with both Michael PrÃtorius and Heinrich Schütz. This productive period was interrupted by the Thirty Years War, during which he lost many of his musicians and also received little salary himself.
When peace returned in 1638, Scheidt could once again enjoy his position as court Kapellmeister in fact as well as in name. Printz singled out Schütz, Schein and Scheidt as the three best German composers of their time.
Of the three, Scheidt was the only one to distinguish himself as an instrumental performer and the only one whose fame now rests on his instrumental music. He was also the one most devoted to the German chorale and the least adventurous, both in his personal life and in his compositional style.
Scheidt shared with Handel a propensity to rework musical material, both his own and that of other composers.
Nevertheless certain stylistic elements unify the entire corpus of his music: a love of variation, particularly of the German chorale, a strong sense of structure, his skilful cultivation of counterpoint, especially in sacred music, and above all the interchange of short motifs, derived from the concerto, which pervades all his music, whether contrapuntal or homophonic, instrumental or vocal.