Born: January 13, 1690 - Grundstadtel, near Schwarzenberg in Saxony, about 30 km. south-east of Zwickau - Germany
Died: November 17, 1749 - Gotha, Germany
The German composer, Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel, studied at Leipzig University from 1707 to 1710, where he joined the Collegium Musicum, which had been headed by Telemann before Stolzel's arrival at the University. For the next ten years travelled widely, studying, teaching and composing in Breslau, Halle, Venice (where he met Antonio Vivaldi), Rome, Florence, Prague, Bayreuth, and Gera, and refusing several offers of permanent employment. In 1719 he married and the following year was appointed Kapellmeister at Gotha (Saxe-Gotha), where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1739 he joined the Lorenz Christoph Mizler's Correspondirenden Societat der Musicalischen Wissenschaften, of which J.S. Bach was later a member.
J.S. Bach was said to have great respect for Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel, who was known to be a prolific composer in nearly every genre of his time. Most of Stolzel's works have been lost. J.S. Bach's familiarity with Stolzel's music may account for the use J.S. Bach made of it in the little exercise books he created, first for his son Wilhelm Friedemann and later for his second wife Anna Magdalena. J.S. Bach included a Partita in G minor by him in the Clavierbuchlein fur W.F. Bach. As a learning exercise, Friedemann (as J.S. Bach addressed him) was given musical works by his father to copy out much as J.S. Bach himself had done as a young music student. This same method of copying music as a learning exercise was introduced to Anna Magdalena. Bist du bei mir BWV 508, one of the best-known items in the 1725 Clavierbuchlein fur Anna Magdalena Bach, may have been transcribed and set by J.S. Bach as a solo aria appropriate for his wife's voice, and she may also have had to do some of the copying. No one will ever know how the actual transmission occurred. This popular song was attributed to J.S. Bach by the BGA editors, but now Stolzel is credited with the composition.