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Mogens Pederson (1580 - 1628)

Christian IV’s vicekapelmester or Deputy Master of the Royal Chapel, Mogens Pedersøn is the first composer in the history of Danish music from whom we have a large, collected body of work, and about whom we have, if not a complete biography, at least a number of items of biographical information. In addition – and crucially – he emerges as a composer of international format, perhaps the most significant Danish composer before the breakthrough of bourgeois musical culture in Denmark in 1800 with names like Kunzen, Schultz, Weyse and others. Finally, he is the earliest Danish composer whose music has been the object of detailed musical analysis. Although, as we shall see, he did not hold the very highest musical post at the court of Christian IV, he was the most important Danish composer at the court and a composer whose light does not dim in comparison with the many big names who had been brought in from abroad.

The first time we hear of Mogens Pedersøn is in 1599 when, as a young apprentice in the King’s cantori, he was sent on a one-year study trip to Venice accompanied by the fifteen-year-older Melchior Borchgrevinck, who had already by that time achieved a certain status among the King’s musicians, and who was later to rise rapidly in the hierarchy until, in 1618, he reached the top as the King’s kapelmester – incidentally the same year as his presumed former pupil Mogens Pedersøn became vicekapelmester.




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