Author & Composer
b Bremen, N Germany 1650, d Bremen 1680. His pastor-grandfather adapted the family name ‘Neumann’ to its Gk form. He attended the Paedagogium and Academic Gymnasium, Bremen; after his dissolute teenage years, Calvinist in name only, he was converted through the preaching of Theodore Under-Eyck, the new pietist pastor of St Martin’s Church in Bremen where he had gone intending to mock. He became tutor to 5 students at Heidelberg until 1673, when he visited Frankfurt and made the acquaintance of Philipp Spener and the Quietists. In 1674 he became Rector of the Latin School, Düsseldorf, run by the Reformed church. His pastoral work there became individualistic enough to earn him brief suspension before resuming a more traditional role. In 1679 he returned to Bremen as Under-Eyck’s assistant at St Martin’s, but pressure of work and opposition to his preaching may have hastened his death from TB in his 30th year. He was a student of nature who loved exploring the Düssel valleys, one of which was named after him and gained later notoriety from the ‘Neanderthal Man’. He may have written some hymns in a cave, but did not (as legend claims) live there. Shortly before his death he published several texts and tunes at Bremen, and his most influential prose item about singing; all or part of this was included in the hymnals of several church groups. Many fuller posthumous edns appeared and his work was included in the 1722 Reformed Gesangbuch at Marburg, from which more books have quarried. He wrote some 60 texts, the effect of which was partly to enrich Reformed praise with more personal qualities; see Julian’s very detailed notes. Nos.196, 775. See also Composers’ index.