Hans Sachs

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Sachs, Hans

Sachs, Hans (häns zäks), 1494–1576, German poet, leading meistersinger of the Nuremberg school. A shoemaker and guild master, he wrote more than 4,000 master songs in addition to some 2,000 fables, tales in verse (Schwanke), morality plays, and farces. His Shrovetide plays, humorous and dramatically effective, present an informative picture of life in 16th-century Nuremberg. An ardent follower of Luther, Sachs wrote the poem “The Nightingale of Wittenberg” in Luther's honor. Many of his melodies were later adapted as Protestant hymn tunes. Hans Sachs is a principal character in several operas, notably in Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sachs, Hans


Born Nov. 5, 1494, in Nuremberg; died there Jan. 19, 1576. German poet and composer.

Sachs attended a Latin school. In 1520 he became a master cobbler. He was an actor and the director of an amateur troupe. Expanding the poetic horizons of the meistergesang, he culled his subjects from life, from classical, medieval, and Renaissance literary sources, from popular books, and from anecdotes of the marketplace. Sachs wrote more than 6,000 works and was the author of the words and music for many songs. In his charming Fastnachtsspiele (Shrovetide plays), with their touching naïveté characteristic of popular literature, and in his Schwanken (short narrative songs), he depicted with humor the simple-mindedness of peasants, family quarrels, the profligacy of Catholic clerics, the riotous conduct of the lansquenets, and the amusing pranks of clever tramps. Best known are his farces The Schoolboy in Paradise and The Peddler’s Basket. Sachs condemned the growth of self-interest and the dissension among the princes, but his moralizing is not without philistine features. Sachs was the inspiration for the main character in operas by A. Jirovec, A. Lortzing (Hans Sachs, 1834) and R. Wagner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 1868).


Werke, vols. 1–2. Edited by K. M. Schiller. Weimar, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
Genée, R. Hans Sachs undseine Zeit, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1902.
Geiger, E. Der Meistergesang des Hans Sachs. Bern, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(19) For English translations of and commentary on Hans Rosenplut's 'Pulling the Harrow' (Das Eggenziehen) and Hans Sachs's 'The Housemaids in the Harness' (Die hausmaid impflug), see Wright (trans.), Hans Sachs and the Performable Voice.
In 1938, the Ministry of Propaganda confiscated Hans Sachs' poster collection.
(Richard Mulcaster's Merchant Taylors School boys performed Ariodante and Genevora at court on February 12, 1583.) (40) Harms, who studied the several texts of Fortunatus in 1892 and supposed that the Kassel manuscript dates from between 1610 and 1620, concluded that this version, which begins with the father of Fortunatus, derives not from Dekker's play but from Hans Sachs's.
While Holfter explains that Ernst Scheyer was very proud of being a German Jew and actively involved in the Jewish community, Dickel makes it clear that Hans Sachs, born into a liberal Jewish family in Kattowitz, felt a certain indifference to many Jewish traditions which marked him out as a wealthy liberal as distinct from the orthodox, poorer 'Eastern Jews'.
Hans Sachs Franz Hawlata Veit Pogner Artur Koru Sixtus Beckmesser Michael Volle Walther von Stolzing Klaus Florian Vogt Eva Amanda Mace Night Watchman Friedemann Rohlig With: Charles Reid, Rainer Zaun, Markus Eiehe, Edward Randall, Hans-Jurgen Lazar, Stefan Heibach, Martin Snell, Andreas Maeeo, Diogenes Randes, Norbert Ernst, Carola Guber.
One of the best-known Shrovetide plays by Hans Sachs, his Der farendt Schuler im Paradeiss (1550), offers a slightly different perspective, yet also confirms the overall observations.
(From a more critical viewpoint than the author's, the insistent restating of this comparatively rudimentary tune raises an aesthetic question: why is Hans Sachs's music occasionally so much more beautiful than Walther's song?) A relevant subject, one too big for this volume to address, concerns the full scope of Wagner's music as a dramatic language.
Durer's own poetry is, Professor Price tells us, in a populist idiom, comparable to that of Hans Sachs, the Meistersinger, but, at its best, it is by no means negligible.
Hans Sachs's works in a modern edition take more than a running meter of shelf-space; he was thus no truly common man.
The revival of Meistersinger, which I saw November on 20th, represented the first time that the great Wagnerian basso James Morris undertook the central role of Hans Sachs in New York.