Franz Tunder (1614-1667) is one of the most important North German church musicians in the generation before Dietrich Buxtehude and two generations before Johann Sebastian Bach. Born on the island of Fehmarn, Tunder was appointed organist at Gottorf Castle in 1632, the seat of the Duke of Schleswig, which was in particular cultural bloom at the time. In 1641, he left the duke’s service to take up the prestigious post of director of church music at St. Mary’s in Lübeck. In Lübeck, Tunder established the tradition of the “Abendmusiken” (evening music), a predecessor of concert music, which was later continued by his successor in office, Buxtehude, and from 1647, he was also active as “Werkmeister”, an expert in and responsible for organ building.
Only a relatively small number of Tunder’s works have survived. On the one hand, it includes cantata compositions with various instrumental combinations, and on the other hand, traditional forms of free organ music or organ music based on chorale melodies. In these organ works, Tunder fuses a thematically often very densely worked style of writing with the freer, toccata-like “stylus phantasticus”.