Above: Michael Praetorius
Image in the Public Domain
MICHAEL PRAETORIUS (FEBRUARY 15, 1571-FEBRUARY 15, 1621)
German Lutheran Composer and Musicologist
Michael Praetorius, whose German surname was Schultz, was a native of Kreuzberg, Thuringia. He, born on February 15, 1571, worked as the choirmaster at Luneberg. Then, in 1604, our saint relocated to Wolfenbuttel to become the organist, choirmaster, and secretary to the Duke of Brunswick. Over time he also worked with Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) at the court of the Elector of Saxony in Dresden and served as the Prior of the monastery of Ringelheim, near Golsar, without having to reside there. Praetorius wrote much music for the Church. His compositions included the following:
- Terpsichore Musarum;
- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming;
- Puer Natus in Bethlehem;
- Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland;
- Allein Gott in der Sei Ehr;
- In Dulce Jubilo; and
- Mass for Christmas Morning.
One might recognize some of these tunes from worship; I do.
Praetorius also wrote the Treatise on Music (1614-1620), in three volumes plus a fourth volume left incomplete due to the author’s death. The wide-ranging treatise covered a variety of sacred music as well as secular music.
Praetorius died at Wolfenbuttel on February 15, 1621, his fiftieth birthday.
His music continues to enrich the lives of many people.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
DECEMBER 2, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP IN CHINA AND JAPAN
THE FEAST OF ALICE FREEMAN PALMER, U.S. EDUCATOR AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF SAINT BRIOC, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT TUDWAL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP
THE FEAST OF SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:
We bless your name for inspiring Michael Praetorius
and all those 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
2 Corinthians 3:1-3
John 21:15-17, 24-25
–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728