At a time when so many Dresden composers and their works are rediscovered, Johann Georg Schürer (ca. 1720–1786) still is known only to specialists, even though he was a central force in determining the repertoire of the Dresden Hofkirche and his career in many respects was typical of the catholic members of the Hofkapelle.
Schürer was born around 1720 in Bohemia (probably in Hanšpach) and in 1732 came to the Dresden court, where he was first employed as a choir boy and organist and from 1740 to 1748 as ‘schoolmaster’ in the Jesuit Latin school. [O]n September 6, 1748 he received a contract as “Kirchen-Compositeur” (church composer) [after initial success with compositions for an independent opera company]. In the following two decades Schürer composed for the various services altogether 40 masses, a separate Kyrie for Easter Eve, 56 offertories, ten motets, three funeral masses, an office for the dead, three Te Deum laudamus, 15 Litaniae lauretanae with Sub tuum praesidium, two further Sub tuum praesidium, two Litaniae Xaverianae, 66 Marian antiphons, seven Miserere, a versetto, an opening versicle for vespers, 24 vesper cycles consisting of psalms and Magnificat, as well as numerous individual psalms and a compline. […] The change from the repertoire of the era of Heinichen, Ristori, and Zelenka towards a more modern style took place only in the 1750s and 1760s and is connected closely to Schürer’s compositional activities.
An exception within the Dresden transmission of Schürer’s works is made by six masses which were performed in 1758 and from 1760 to 1764 on the patron saint’s day of Saint Anthony of Padua (June 13), the name day of the electoral princess Maria Antonia Walpurgis. After each of these performances the electoral princess was presented with a dedicatory copy of the mass including the offertory, which then became part of her private music collection. [T]he mass presented in this volume […] stands for the largely inaccessible oeuvre of a composer who for decades contributed considerably to the fame of sacred music at the Dresden court and whose talent certainly equaled that of many better-known capellmeisters and church composers.
(Gerhard Poppe, translation by Stephanie Wollny)