Johann Valentin Rathgeber (1682 – 1750) was a German
composer, organist and choirmaster of the Baroque
Rathgeber was born in Oberelsbach. His father, an
organist, gave him his first music lessons. At the
beginning of the 18th century, he began studying at the
University of Würzburg, initially studying rhetoric,
mathematics and law; later he changed direction and
continued his studies in theology.
His first position was as a teacher at the Julius
Hospital in Würzburg. In 1707 he took up the post of
chamber musician and servant of the abbot of the Banz
Abbey, Kilian Düring. A short time later he joined the
Benedictine Order, and in 1711 entered the priesthood.
Thereafter, he was organist, choirmaster and preacher
at the abbey.
He requested permission from the abbot to undertake a
study trip, but was turned down. Despite this, he went
anyway, and between 1729 and 1738 visited much of the
familiar musical territory.
Documented stops on this trip were Mainz, Bonn,
Cologne, Trier, Stuttgart, Regensburg, Germany,
Switzerland, Vienna and Styria. Compositions from this
period were primarily dedicated to his respective
hosts. In 1738 he returned to the abbey, where as a
result of his illegal departure he was temporarily
imprisoned in his cell. A short time later, he was
allowed to regain his former office. He lived in the
Banz Abbey until his death there, at the age of 68,
which was attributed to gout.
Rathgeber was a very versatile and productive composer
and was one of the most popular and respected composers
in southern Germany. He composed both secular and
sacred works, the majority of his output being sacred
vocal works. He wrote several hundred works, mainly
masses (43), hymns, arias, litanies, requiems,
magnificats, offertories (164), Marian antiphons (44)
and also instrumental concertos (24) and songs. His
Augsburger Tafel-Confect, short for Ohren-vergnügendes
und Gemüth-ergötzendes Tafel-Confect (Augsburg Table
Confectionery, short for Table Confectionery,
Pleasuring the Ears and Delightful to the Soul) is a
collection of songs meant to be performed for dessert,
whereas a Tafelmusik was performed during a main
course. He published three editions of his work in
1733, 1737 and 1739, Johann Caspar Seyfert adding a
fourth in 1746.
Although this piece was originally created for Flutes,
Strings and continuo, I created this arrangement for
Woodwinds (Flute & Oboe) and Strings (Violin, Viola &