Music for 27 October

On the weekend before Halloween, the evening before All Saints Day, we will hear J. S. Bach’s famous Toccata in D minor, one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire. The figure most closely identified with the Protestant Reformation is, of course, Martin Luther. But after him probably comes Johann Sebastian Bach, who spent much of his musical career in the service of Luther’s church. Interestingly, the two men never met; they were born more than 200 years apart.  When Bach was 48 years old he received a copy of Luther’s bible. This shaped the composer’s  theology of music. Bach has been described as “a theologian who just happened to work with a keyboard.” Some have even termed him “the fifth evangelist,” ranking him (in a sense) with the New Testament gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Our Chancel Choir will sing “I Know My Faith is Founded”, a setting of a hymn text by Erdmann Neumeister. He was well known in his day as an earnest and eloquent preacher, and as a vehement upholder of High Lutheranism. The anthem is based on the hymn tune, NUN LOB, MEIN SEEL. adapted by Johann Kugelmann from the song “Weiss mir ein Blümlein blaue”. Kugelmann was trumpeter, music director, and composer at the court of Margrave Albrecht V of Brandenburg. His compositions include music for two Königsberg songbooks as well as melodies and harmonizations for a manuscript collection of devotional songs by Heinrich von Miltitz. Kugelmann’s best known work, Concentus Novi (1540), contains thirty of his original compositions.

The congregation will sing the most well-known Reformation hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God”, a hymn by Martin Luther based on Psalm 46. It is a celebration of the sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the sure hope we have in him because of Christ. For an interesting history of the hymn, visit: https://www.challies.com/articles/hymn-stories-a-mighty-fortress-is-our-god/