In the year 1668 the resident organist Franz Tunder, of St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck, passed away. The position that he had held was highly esteemed and was filled by an up and coming young man named Dietrich Buxtehude, on the condition that he married his predecessor’s youngest daughter, Anna Margarethe Tunder. This condition was to be also strictly extended to Buxtehude’s successor.
In 1703, after 35 years of service, Buxtehude had the opportunity to take early retirement following a very keen interest in his post by two famous organists Georg Frederic Handel and Johann Matheson. Also, Johann Sebastian Bach, who had notoriously walked over 200 miles to see the great Buxtehude perform, had strong desires to succeed him.
Unfortunately, there was a slight problem…Buxtehude’s youngest daughter, Anna Margareta, was exceptionally unattractive, and no matter how prestigious the appointment, none could bear the thought of taking her hand in marriage! And so Dietrich Buxtehude remained organist at St. Mary’s until his death.
The daughter that he had left behind to frighten away aspiring candidates did not languish long. Buxtehude’s old assistant, a certain J.C. Schieferdecker, who is famous for nothing else, wed the daughter, and gained what was known at time as “erhielt den schönen Dienst” (the pretty job)!