Feast of Christian Gottfried Gebhard (August 2)   Leave a comment

Europe in 1763

Above:  Europe in 1763, from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD (AUGUST 2, 1755-AFTER 1799)

German Moravian Composer and Music Educator

Information about Christian Gottfried Gebhard is scarce due to the gaps in official records of the Moravian Church and the lack of other historical data.  We know, however, that he was a composer and a music educator in the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Gebhard trained in music in Germany (a geographical, not political label during his lifetime).  He started attending the Moravian theological seminary at Barby, Saxony, in 1777 and taught music there from 1784 to 1790.  For the next nine years the Moravian Church records contained no information about him.  We can say for certain, however, that Gebhard composed more than forty anthems (including “Lord, My Rock”) and a number of piano sonatas (including one in C minor).  The Moravian records went silent regarding Gebhard in 1799.

The Moravians have earned their reputation as excellent keepers of historical records, a fact for which many historians have been grateful.  Nevertheless, most of Gebhard’s life seems to have fallen between proverbial cracks.  He has almost joined the ranks of the anonymous dead.

Some of them have left behind a name,

so that others declare their praise.

But of others there is no memory;

they have perished as though they had never existed;

they have become as though they had never been born,

they and their children after them.

But these also were godly men,

Whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.

–Sirach 44:8-10, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

May the memory of Christian Gottfried Gebhard continue, not fade away.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation

in the work of your servant Christian Gottfried Gebhard.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.  

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8

2 Chronicles 20:20-21 or Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 4:8-9

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (1996), page 61

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