Friday, November 09, 2018

Autumnal Ramble with Luther

I haven't had any original musical ideas lately. Spring and Summer were productive for me, so I'm not terribly bothered by it. I seem to have more room in my head now for appreciating music written by other people. It's fun to have my creative musical parts listen with new ears, and show me how to move from note to note and phrase to phrase with greater purpose.

I'm six months away from the beginning of my sixth decade, and though expression is an absolute necessity, expressing myself is sometimes painful. It is not painful while I am playing, but my muscles are sore after I stop. Still, with the national dialogue gone all topsy-turvy, and with anxiety-producing proclamations coming from the highest offices in the country a few times a day, playing music, particularly music by Bach, is the only way for me to keep sane.

I'm excited about this weekend's musical adventures! The Charleston Consort, our local Medieval/Renaissance band, is playing a concert on Sunday of settings of Martin Luther's best-known melodies by his contemporaries and compatriots.

There will be settings of Ein feste Burg (1529), Nun comm, der Heiden Heiland (1524), Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (1539), Aus tiefer Not (1524), Verleih uns Frieden (1529) by Georg Forster, Bartholomäus Gesius, Hans Leo Hassler, Johann Eccard, Michael Praetorius, Benedictus Ducis, Balthasar Resinarius, Lupus Hellinck, Johann Kugelmann, Kaspar Othmayr, Johann Walther, Johann Hermann Schein, Lukas Osiander, Melchior Franck, Heinrich Schütz, and Michael Altenburg. In addition we will be playing "Non mortar sed vivam," the only know contrapuntal piece by Martin Luther (though I imagine he must have written many more).

The miracle is that all these settings have been fitted, like a mosaic, into logical sequences. The program should last a little over an hour. It took us a good chunk of this "Luther year" to get everything to work.

For readers and music lovers who do not live in the area: The Wesley Methodist Church is on Fourth Street in Charleston, Illinois. If you are coming from the north, just follow Fourth street towards the university. The church will be on your right just after the last of the university's parking lots. The concert begins at 3:00 and admission is free.

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