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Luther, Hymns of.

When the Luth. Reformation* began, corporate worship included no singing by the common people. In harmony with M. Luther's* enunciation of the doctrine of spiritual priesthood, a need for hymn texts and tunes for cong. singing arose. The Luth. chorale* is one of Luther's gifts to Christendom. It is hard to say with final authority which hymn texts Luther wrote and for which he composed the music. Some of his hymns are apparently wholly original. As to text, some are original additions to 1 or more existing stanzas; some are poetic forms of Bible passages; some are translations or adaptations of extant material. As to music, some melodies are ascribed to him, e.g., the one for “Jesaia, dem Propheten” (“Isaiah, Mighty Seer”) and “Ein* feste Burg” (“A Mighty Fortress”); in other cases he adopted and/or adapted extant melodies; for others he requested contributions of other composers. Early Luth. hymnals appeared 1524: Etlich christlich lider, also known as Achtliederbuch, ascribes the hymn “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein” to Luther; Enchiridion (2 eds.) includes 18 hymns ascribed by many to Luther; Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn, designed for choir use, includes 24 hymns ascribed by many to Luther. +

Hymns ascribed to Luther include “Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein” (“O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold”); 'All Ehr' und Lob soil Gottes sein” (“All Glory Be to God Alone”); “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” (“From Depths of Woe I Cry to you”); “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (“Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands”); “Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot” (“That Man a Godly Life Might Live”); “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”); “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (“Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”); “Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein” (“May God Embrace Us with His Grace”); “Gelobet sei'st du. Jesu Christ” (“We Praise, O Christ, your Holy Name”); “Gott der Vater steh' [wohn'] uns bei” “Triune God, Oh, Be Our Stay”); “Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet” (“O Lord, We Praise you”); “Jesaia, dem Propheten, das geschah” (“Isaiah, Mighty Seer, in Spirit Soared”); “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (“Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord”); “Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr dahin” (“In Peace and Joy I Now Depart”); “Mitten wir im Leben sind” (“In the Very midst of Life”); “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” (“To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray”); “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (“Our Father, Who from Heaven Above”); “Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her” (“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”); “Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar” (“To Shepherds as They Watched by Night”); “Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit” (“If God Had Not Been on Our Side”); “Wir glauben all' an einen Gott” (“We All Believe in One True God”).

See also “Away in a Manger”; Music, Church.

Martin Luthers geistliche Lieder, ed. K. E. P. Wackernagel (Stuttgart, 1848); F. Spitta, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott”: Die Lieder Luthers in ihrer Bedeutung für das evangelische Kirchenlied (Göttingen, 1905); W. E. Buszin, “Luther on Music,” The Musical Quarterly, XXXII (January 1946), 80–97; P. Nettl, Luther and Music, tr. F. Best and R. Wood (Philadelphia, 1948); Dr. Martin Luther's deutsche geistliche Lieder, Ger. and Eng., ed. L. W. Bacon and N. H. Allen (New York, 1883); B. Pick, Luther's Battle Song (New York, 1917); G. K. Wolfram, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (Berlin, 1936); Luther's Works, Am. ed., LIII, ed. H. T. Lehmann and U. S. Leupold (Philadelphia, 1965), 189–334.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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