2014 November 30: The Pilgrims

November 30, 2014 10:30

Les Pèlerines (The Pilgrims) F. Couperin (1668–1733)
   March
   La Caristade (Almsgiving)
   Le Remerciement (Thanksgiving)

Chorale Prelude on "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"

Mein Hoffnung, Trost und Zuversicht (My Hope, Trust and Confidence) J. Cruger (1598-1662)

Last week we considered Martin Rinkart (1586–1649) — the Lutheran pastor who wrote the words to "Now Thank We All Our God" in the midst of the starvation, war and plague of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Johann Crüger (1598-1662) wrote the melody. The son of an innkeeper, he studied at the Lateinschule in Guben until he was 15. He then traveled and studied at schools throughout Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia, including the Jesuit College at Olmütz, and the Poets’ School at Regensburg. At age 17 he settled in Berlin where he studied theology at the University of Wittenberg and trained himself further in music through private study. Crüger lived in Berlin for the rest of life, some 40 years, simultaneously a teacher at the gymnasium Zum Grauen Kloster and cantor and organist of the Nikolaikirche in Berlin. Berlin also suffered badly in the War — a third of the houses were damaged, and the city lost half of its population. He wrote the melody for "Now Thank We All Our God" around 1647 — some 29 years into the War.

Crüger composed numerous concert works and wrote extensively on music education. In 1643 he became acquainted with the famous hymn writer Paul Gerhardt, for whom he wrote the music for various hymns. In 1647 he edited the most important German Lutheran hymnal of the 17th century, Praxis Pietatis Melica.

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