Skip to content

Johann Walther’s foreword to the Wittemberg Songbook, 1537

February 25, 2008

Johann Walther (1496-1570) was Martin Luther’s musical advisor.

Wittemberg Gesangbuch

[1537]

Foreword to the revised edition

No wonder that music is so utterly despised and rejected at this time, seeing that other arts, which after all we should and must possess, are so lamentably regarded by everyone as altogether worthless. But the Devil will have his way: now that, by the grace of God, we have overthrown against him the popish mass with all its trappings, he throws to the ground in turn, as best he can, all that God requires. Yet, in order that our fair art may not be thus wholly destroyed, I have – in God’s praise and in pure defiance of the Devil and his contempt – brought out in print the spiritual songs formerly printed at Wittemberg, setting the greater part anew, insofar as God permitted me, carefully correcting and improving the rest, and further adding several little pieces for five and six voices. So I pray that every pious Christian may bear with this my insufficiency and do the same or better for the glory of God and the furtherance of the art. And although these my songs will have many critics, I readily concede to anyone the honor of being my judge, seeing that I perhaps am still a student in this art. With this I commend all pious Christians to almighty God; may he grant us all his grace. Amen.

Strunk, Oliver, Source Readings in Music History, The Renaissance, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York, 1965, ISBN 0-393-09681-5, pp.153-154.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: