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«Philosophische Fakultät Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold Dissertation on the topic Musical Settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. ...»

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Ruprecht – Karls – Universität


Philosophische Fakultät

Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar

Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold

Dissertation on the topic

Musical Settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. 1600-1750 in

the Perspectives of Reformational Music Aesthetics

Presented by

Billy Kristanto

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold

Second Examiner: PD Dr. Michael Heymel

Third Examiner: Prof. Dr. Dorothea Redepenning


This present study could not have been written without various supports by numerous institutions and individuals, which I owe debt of thanks here.

The following libraries and their staff have made the access to their musical and archival collections possible for me: Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg; Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main; Bibliothek der Hochschule für Kirchenmusik, Dresden; Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart; Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich;

Staatsbibliothek Berlin; and Loeb Music Library of Harvard University, Cambridge.

I would also like to thank Joachim Steinheuer, Dorothea Redepenning and the Doktorkolloquium of the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Heidelberg, for helpful feedback, discussion, various suggestions as well as constructive criticism. Special gratitude is due to both my supervisors, Silke Leopold and Michael Heymel for their patient, encouraging, and critical trust in the gradual making of this work. Enormous thanks are also due to Stephen Tong and the congregation of the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia for supporting and patiently waiting for my return without being discouraged. Many thanks are owed to Ferdinan Widjaya, Landobasa YMAL Tobing, Stevanus Darmawan, Shirleen Gunawan, Lily Rachmawati, and Lisman Komaladi for proof-reading the manuscript, giving helpful advice on my modest English.

Finally, a profound debt of thanks I owe to my wife and daughters for passing with me through the valley of Baca and for making it a place of springs.

Billy Kristanto Heidelberg, July 2009


Acknowledgments 3 Chapter 1: Introduction 8

1.1. The way to the topic 8

1.2. Topic – object of the study 10 1.2.1. Description of the topic: Musical Settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. 1600-1750 in the perspectives of reformational music aesthetics 10 1.2.2. Methods and expected result 11 1.2.3. The selected composers 13

–  –  –

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. The way to the topic How does one come to the topic “The musical settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. 1600-1750 in the perspectives of reformational music aesthetics”?

Decisive was my personal quest for a theological justification for the centrality of music in my own religious orientation. Years of practice and experiences in church music, the occupation with- and the musical performance of Psalm settings in vocal and instrumental setting aroused my interest to deal more intensively with them. After my previous study of music majoring in harpsichord and theology, my interest arose in the studies of musicology, more to integrate both disciplines, to study the sources more precisely to get to know pieces unknown to me, to examine these and to understand them within the perspectives of reformational music aesthetics.

Both in the German and English-speaking world, some comprehensive studies on the musical settings of Psalm 51 have been published in the last forty years.1 In addition, some lengthy systematic treatments on the relation between music and theology have been produced within long scholarly and musical tradition. As examples of publications of such studies, we can name

some in a chronological order:

Oskar Söhngen, Theologie der Musik, Kassel 1967, Winfried Kurzschenkel, Die theologische Bestimmung der Musik, Trier 1971, Charles Garside, The origins of Calvin’s theology of music, Philadelphia 1979 (=Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 69,4).

Joyce L. Irwin, Neither Voice nor Heart Alone: German Lutheran Theology of Music in the Age of the Baroque, New York, etc: Peter Lang, 1993 (=American University Studies, Series VII, Vol. 132).

However, most of the last publications concentrate more on the studies of the relation between theology (in this case Christianity) and music aesthetics See, for example, Peter Kolb Danner, The Miserere mihi and the English Reformation, Diss.

Stanford University 1967; Sylvia L. Ross, A Comparison of Six Miserere Settings from the Eighteenth-Century Venetian Conservatories, Diss. University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign 1972; Patrick Macey, Josquin’s Miserere mei Deus: Context, Structure, and Influence, Diss. University of California at Berkeley 1985; Magda Marx-Weber, Liturgie und Andacht. Studien zur geistlichen Musik, Paderborn, etc: Schöningh, 1999 (=Beiträge zur Geschichte der Kirchenmusik, Vol. 7).

without concrete historical studies of church music with its development of musical forms. What we have here is thus a separation of music aesthetical ideas from the musical compositions caused by the specification of interest.

Far from trying to offer a comprehensive view on this subject (that will be beyond my capacity), this present study tries to examine concrete musical works (in this case some musical settings of Psalm 51 in Germany) with all their musicological questions and insights and to bring them under the light of reformational theology of music.

1.2. Topic – object of the study

1.2.1. Description of the topic: Musical Settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. 1600-1750 in the perspectives of reformational music aesthetics There are certain difficulties that arise from the choice of the topic in this study. One might ask, “Why should we relate the reformational music aesthetics with musical settings of Psalm 51 and not with other works?” At least two reasons can be offered in answering that legitimate methodological question. First, in the writings of the Reformers, the understanding of music cannot be separated from the understanding of psalm singing. Thus, the understanding of psalm singing has played a very important role in shaping the music aesthetics in the reformational thoughts. Second, the choice of Psalm 51 is encouraged by the thought that this number had had a long tradition in the history of music, both in the context of a larger cycle of the seven penitential psalms and as an independent setting. Psalm 51 is one of the most frequent set psalm texts that can be found in Catholic, Lutheran, as well as in Calvinistic contexts.

The polyphonic psalm composition cannot be categorized as a musical genre because it defines itself alone after the psalm text. Within this category are all musical genres and forms, which stand in relation to the biblical psalms, to its texts (literal setting, translation, paraphrase, Versifizierung, free rendering/rendition, textless programmatic contents exegesis) and in the narrower meaning to its liturgical melodies.2 This study is thus not meant to examine a particular genre, but as the development of the German psalm composition took place in the contexts of the different genres, it rather tries to represent a general history in this particular composition, which shows the treatment of the Psalm texts.

The chronological limits of this study hardly need any special defense.

The Baroque era is demarcated as beginning in 1580 and extending to 1730 (applying to Italy) or in 1600 to 1750 (applying to northern countries) by musicologists.3 On the side of ‘history’ of Psalm 51 settings in Germany, the Ludwig Finscher, Art. “Psalm“, in: MGG2, Sachteil 7, Kassel 1997, col. 1876.

Joyce L. Irwin, Neither Voice nor Heart Alone: German Lutheran Theology of Music in the Age of the Baroque, New York, etc: Peter Lang, 1993 (=American University Studies, Series VII, Vol. 132), p. x.

initial date corresponds roughly with Michael Praetorius’ setting Gott, sei mir genädig nach deiner Güte (1607), arguably the first important musical setting of Psalm 51 after Josquin’s Miserere mei Deus. The cut-off date 1750 in this study allows the inclusion of Johann Sebastian Bach as well as the discussion concerning parody practice, whereby the idea of music autonomy can be seen as being strongly encouraged by Enlightenment’s values.

1.2.2. Methods and expected result I will examine the musical settings of Psalm 51 in Germany c. 1600-1750 from the perspectives of reformational music aesthetics after the following

points of view:

- What are the central tenets in Luther’s and Calvin’s theology of music?

- How is the continuation of Lutheran and Calvinistic theology of music in Germany from 1600 to 1750? What can be said as being inherited from Luther or Calvin and what is considered as progressive development in those thoughts?

In answering the first two questions, I will use the first chapter of this study to include some research reports on the music theology of Luther and Calvin. As for the development/continuation of reformational music aesthetics in the age of confessionalism, some are research reports and some are my own observations.

In the second chapter, I will treat the Psalm 51 under the following points

of view:

- What were the sources for the genesis of the text set to music by various composers treated in this study?

- How many text versions do we have and what are they?

- Is there any relation between the structure of the Psalm texts in contemporary (Psalter- and Bible) printings and the structure of the musical compositions? In case they are not related, what could be the reason for the division of the Psalm verses made by the composers?

- As the objects of examination are musical settings of Psalm 51 in Germany from Michael Praetorius to Johann Sebastian Bach, I will thus examine them in the context of theological thoughts of that period and of Lutheran and Calvinistic theology of music. I will examine theological sources, both writings which represent the theology of music at that period (texts about music) as well as writings which are in close connection with the psalm texts (texts of music). For the second purpose, the psalms commentaries are of particular importance here.

Finally, the last (third) chapter will deal with the historical developments of

the musical settings of Psalm 51. Following questions will be considered:

- How far has the biographical context of the composers played a role in their understanding of church music?

- Before the analysis of each Psalm 51 setting, I will first describe the composers’ music aesthetics or their understanding of church music. I will examine whether the music aesthetics of each composer can be drawn from the composer’s own writings or from other relevant sources. I will also ask whether the influence of reformational music aesthetics can be traced in the composer’s understanding of (church) music.

- The collections, to which the selected settings of Psalm 51 belong, should also be included. The prefaces and dedicatory epistles of the collection will be explained to find out the backgrounds of the psalm settings.

- After that, the description of the individual musical setting and writing follows.

- The description should be able to carry out a comparison of the writings of different composers.

- At the end, we shall get a general impression, how far the psalm settings of those composers correspond to the development of reformational music aesthetics or reformational understanding of psalm singing.

The following questions, though not as principal as the above listed questions

will also be considered:

For which context were musical settings of Psalm 51 written to? Which reasons and causes are there for their origins? Do causes, performance places and way of performance have effects on the writing? How is each vocal part treated?

The goal of this study is to represent the music historical development primarily, in which it analyzes and connects the theological aesthetic flux and historical changes in the psalm compositions. In the psalm settings of the selected composers, Psalm 51 was particularly frequently set to music and these will be examined in order to show how different composers had dealt with the same text or the similar text. I will argue that the development of the musical settings of Psalm 51 corresponds with the development of reformational music aesthetics in Germany, so that we can view the Psalm settings not only from the perspectives of, but also within the limits of reformational music aesthetics alone.

1.2.3. The selected composers We cannot examine all composers who set Psalm 51 from 1600 to 1750 in Germany. It is rather here a choice of composers who were more or less decisive for the development of Psalm 51 musical settings. Of course, one can still question about the choice and argue about it, why this composer is selected and not the other one. I am fully aware of such methodological difficulties. The start with Praetorius can be understood from a consequence of the chronological limits of this study. His musical setting of Psalm 51 is published in the collection of Musae Sioniae V appeared in 1607. Besides, Praetorius is a composer who also wrote extensively on the idea of music in his three volumes Syntagma Musicum. Schütz, Schein, and Scheidt are the three great S, which W. C. Printz praised in his Historische Beschreibung der Edelen Sing- und Kling-Kunst as “the best three composers in Germany”.

Hammerschmidt is in so far important because his musical compositions reflected a kind of a via media between the controversies of theology of music in his time. I choose Bernhard for two reasons: his proximity to Schütz and his important musical treatise on musical-rhetorical figures, which serves as an important document for the development of music aesthetics. Kuhnau is another composer who also wrote some thoughts on music aesthetics in his Preface to his Biblische Historien. He is Bach’s predecessor in Leipzig and to certain extent had influenced the young Telemann. A setting of an anonym composer (probably Telemann) and another setting by Telemann are selected to show the continuation of aesthetic flux in sacred music composition.

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