His professional career lasted only 19 years, a period spent in a single position before he died an early death: Sebastian Knüpfer, music director of St Thomas in Leipzig. During his days as a student, he earned his living as a bass player in the city's main churches, and must have made a considerable impression, since the city fathers appointed him at the age of just 24, a young musician without any real professional experience, to the post of Thomaskantor, giving him preference over a number of other well-known applicants. Apparently, Knüpfer rewarded their trust in him, because after the upheaval of the Thirty Years' War, his appointment marked the rebirth of Leipzig's reputation for outstanding church music. He was able to freely indulge his musical abilities independent of any political intrigue, and wrote wonderful psalm and chorale concertos for the solemn celebration of divine service at St Thomas's Church.
The cornet player and musicologist Arno Paduch has selected eight works from Knüpfer's oeuvre. The forces of his Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble are fairly large, featuring four to six voices, strings, winds and a continuo group. The recordings (nearly all premieres) give an impressive idea of the high standard of music prevailing at St Thomas's Church long before Johann Sebastian Bach became music director there.