Feast of Georg Friedrich Hellstrom (December 9)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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GEORG FRIEDRICH HELLSTROM (DECEMBER 7, 1825-1912)

Dutch-German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Educator

Georg Friedrich Hellstrom was one of many composers and musicians of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) who used his talents for the glory of God and the spiritual enrichment of his faith community.  He, whose father was Swedish and mother was Danish, entered the world at Zeist, The Netherlands.  Our saint studied at Niesky, where he played viola in the orchestra, sang in the choir, and trained as an organist.  Later Hellstrom taught in the Moravia Church schools at Niesky, Kleinwelka, and Ebersdorf.  From 1852 to 1894 he served at Christiansfeld, Denmark, where he observed the development of the congregation’s musical style into a more Romantic one.  He left for Gradenfrei in 1845, Kleinwelka in 1895, and Neudietendorf in 1898.  There he died in 1912.

Hellstrom was a frugal man and a prolific composer.  He was also a much sought-after music teacher and organist.  In 1859 he turned down an offer to move to Gradenfrei (where he moved in 1894) so he could remain at Christiansfeld.  Our saint was so frugal that he often copied his music on the back of works of other composers, not that using new paper would have constituted an offense.  Among his works was a setting of Morning Star, the great Christmas text, which, in his hands, came accompanied by a brass quartet.

Hellstrom and others like him were reasons the Moravian Church earned a reputation for musical excellence.  If one will praise God with music, why not do so with the best music?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILL CAMPBELL, AGENT OF RECONCILIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Georg Friedrich Hellstrom and

all who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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