Cultural Impact of the Reformation: Section I.3

Reformation and Music. A ›Protestant Art‹?

Christiane Wiesenfeldt and Christiane Hausmann


Wednesday, 9th of August 2017, Leucorea, Library room

2.30–3.15 p.m. Jürgen Heidrich: Zur Frühgeschichte des Liedes Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott im 16. Jahrhundert

3.30–4.15 p.m. Christian Leitmeir: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. Strategien und Grenzen der Nostrifizierung im konfessionellen Zeitalter

4.30–5.15 p.m. Dominik Gerd Sieber: »Von dem rechten Christlichen Gebrauch der Music, vnd der Orglen«. Die Rolle der Kirchenmusik im Rahmen der lutherischen Konfessionalisierung in den oberschwäbischen Reichsstädten


Thursday, 10th of August 2017, Leucorea, Library room

2.30–3.15 p.m. Thomas Schmidt: »Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott«? Der Choral in der Instrumentalmusik des 19. Jahrhunderts zwischen sakralem Andachtstopos und konfessionellem Statement

3.30–4.15 p.m. Stefan Menzel: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. Otto Kade, die ›Inventio‹ des »Luther-Codex« und der deutsche Kulturprotestantismus

4.30–5.15 p.m. Chiara Bertoglio: Interpreting musical ›holy texts‹

5.30–6.15 p.m. Ruth Dewhurst: Luther’s Noble Art of Music. The Evolution of 16th Century Congregational Singing into 21st Century Crowd Harmonics


A Mighty Fortress is Our God is not just a protestant hymn, but has the reputation of being the hymn of (Lutheran) Protestantism, even if it is also common in the hymnbooks of other denominations. Since the age of confessionalisation, the song pledges to consent to Luther and ›his‹ Reformation’s monumentalisation. Thereby, A Mighty Fortress leaves its liturgical context in church services to be expressed by a choir or orchestra or just to be quoted.

The song’s broad reception from the perspective of the history of music is induced in part by rituals like Peace celebrations or Reformation anniversaries, the latter pointing especially in the 19th century to neo-confessional and nationalistic constructions of history. On the other hand, A Mighty Fortress unfolds a broad reception in autonomous music with no confessional obligation at all. Only in such multiple contexts of reception does the song make itself accessible. In this context, it makes sense to ask which content from the Reformation is communicated through the multiple musical thematic developments of A Mighty Fortress, as well as whether and how antagonistic musical receptions and contrafactures are constructed.

The section’s focus on A Mighty Fortress allows confessional and transconfessional musical traditions to be bundled. It also makes room for a critique of the implicit hegemonial claim of ›protestant art‹, present institutionally and scientifically since the 19th century. Therefore, the section aims to reveal the inner-musical history of the said protestant claim of ›original‹ art.


Kulturelle Wirkungen der Reformation

7 to 11 August 2017

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