Let all within me bless His Name! Today’s HYMN OF THE DAY “My Soul, Now Praise Thy Maker” (820) is based on Psalm 103. The author Johann Gramann (1487-1541) served as rector of St. Thomas School in Leipzig, and pastor in Würzburg, Nürnberg, and Königsberg. In a court-ordered public disputation, Gramann successfully refuted the Anabaptists on the basis of Scripture and saved his province from Anabaptist teaching.
The Margrave Albrecht of Brandenberg-Ansbach, a friend of Luther’s and supporter of the Reformation cause requested Gramann to write this hymn in 1525. It is noted that it was sung at the Peace of Westphalia in thanksgiving of the ending the Thirty Years’ War on October 25, 1648.
The PRELUDE includes two settings of this tune—the first, a setting by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706); the second, a setting by Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748). Walther, a cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), wrote 132 organ preludes on Lutheran hymn tunes, in addition to transcribing orchestral works of many famous musicians for organ.
The introduction to this hymn is by Jacob B. Weber (b. 1988), a graduate of Bethany College—Mankato, MN. He served as kantor of Emmanuel—Dearborn, MI, before becoming associate editor of music at Concordia Publishing House in 2018.
You only, Lord, can fight for us. The CHORAL VOLUNTARY is a setting of Martin Luther’s adaptation of sixth century Latin antiphon, “Grant Peace, We Pray, in Mercy, Lord” (777). Today’s setting is part of a larger choral piece (Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich) by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Mendelsohn is among the greatest German musicians of the Romantic era, though his music is very conservative among his contemporaries. He is known for causing a renewed interest in the musical works of J.S. Bach in Germany.