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Music for Reformation Day (October 31)

Each Christian therefore may be glad!Reformation Day commemorates the recovery of the clear Gospel by the Lutheran reformers from centuries of doubt and obscurity. The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” (555), is one of the earliest Reformation hymns, demonstrating the connection between music with teaching and proclamation.  It was included in the first Lutheran hymnal, the 1524 Achtliederbuch (“Eight Song Book”).  Written by Pastor Paul Speratus (1484-1551), it was entitled “A Hymn of Law and Faith, powerfully furnished with God’s Word.  It has been described as “the true confessional hymn of the Reformation.”  It served as the inspiration for Luther’s hymn-writing, especially, “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” (556).

The introduction is a setting of this hymn by Christopher Loemker (b. 1976).  The choral settings are by Daniel Reuning, kantor at Redeemer—Fort Wayne; and Hans Chemin-Petit (1902-1981), instrumentalist and choral conductor in Berlin.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God   The PRELUDE is a setting of Luther’s hymn (656) on Psalm 46.  It is an abbreviated version of the monumental fantasy on “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” composed by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), a prolific composer of the third generation of the Lutheran church.  He is known for his extensive repertoire of choral and instrumental settings of Lutheran chorales.  He referred to this composition on “A Mighty Fortress” as a “Deutscher Psalm pro organicis” (German Psalm for organ).  The tune is treated in a Fugue-like manner and is heard in various voices (right hand, left hand, pedal) throughout the work.

The lessons are Revelation 14.6-7; Romans 3.19-28; and St. John 8.31-36.
The hymns are: 578 Thy Strong Word
555 Salvation Unto Us Has Come
585 Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide
644 The Church’s One Foundation
865 Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain
656 A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Prelude: A Mighty Fortress is Our God -M. Praetorius
Voluntary: O God, O Lord, Thy Holy Word

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