Archive for the ‘Christian Gregor’ Tag

Feast of Christian Friedrich Hasse (May 12)   2 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH HASSE (1771-MAY 1, 1831)

German-British Moravian Composer and Educator

Among my favorite aspects of the Moravian Church, a denomination I know only via books and music, is their traditional commitment to quality in church music.  The classicism of the European side of the Unitas Fratrum‘s music impresses me, a fan of classical music.  Some recent songs from official publications belie this tradition of caring about quality, hence the awful “In This Crowd Sing Out Loud,” a terrible text set to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  One of my fellow Episcopalians dubbed it “Jingle Christ.”  “In This Crowd” is the worst song in Sing to the Lord a New Song:  A New Moravian Songbook (2013), which contains many excellent new texts set to familiar tunes.  Hasse, I propose, would have recoiled in horror at “In This Crowd.”

We know much about the life of Chrstian Friedrich Hasse (1771-1831).  His birthplace was the Moravian settlement at Sarepta, Russia.  He studied at Niesky and Barby in Germany.  At Barby Hasse studied under the great Christian Gregor (1723-1801), the “Father of Moravian Music.”  Hasse then taught at Niesky, Barby, and Gross Hennersdorf before transferring to Fulneck, Yorkshire, England, in 1804.  There he remained for the rest of his life.  He taught music and foreign languages at the boys’ school there, served as the organist and music director of the local congregation, and composed anthems for use in church.  In 1808 he married Ann Cossart, who became the mother of his six children.  That family supplied faithful British Moravians for many years.  Hasse’s life and the church-related labors thereof ended when he died suddenly on May 1, 1831.  He was sixty-one years old.

Among our saint’s most enduring musical legacies was Sacred Music:  Partly Original;  Partly Selected from the Works of the Chief of the Most Modern German Composers, by C. F. Hasse.  The Vocal Parts as in the Original Score, and Adapted Exclusively to English Words.  The Instrumental Parts Arranged for the Piano Forte.  Hasse published the first volume in 1829.  The second volume debuted in 1832, posthumously.  The collection contained works of Moravian and non-Moravian composers.

I thank God for the faithful life and the musical legacy of Christian Friedrich Hasse.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (TRANSFERRED)

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS BECKET, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH CONDER, ENGLISH ABOLITIONIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN FARRER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BURNETT MORRIS, SR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

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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 Christian Friedrich Hasse 

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

Psalm 90

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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Feast of Johann Daniel Grimm (November 5)   1 comment

Herrnhut 1765

Above:  Herrnhut, 1765

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANN DANIEL GRIMM (OCTOBER 5, 1719-APRIL 27 OR AUGUST 20, 1760)

German Moravian Composer

I found two possible dates of the death of Johann Daniel Grimm during my research, so I have included both of them.

Grimm led a full and creative life, one which touches lives today.  In fact, Moravian hymnals still contain some of his hymn tunes and musicians continue to perform his choral and instrumental works.  He wrote cantatas, sonatas, and at least thirteen string trios.

Our saint, a native of Stralsrund, Western Pomerania, along the Baltic Coast of Germany, converted to the Moravian Church in 1747.  He, twenty-eight years old, was already an accomplished musician.  He lived at the Moravian settlements of Herrnhaag and Marienborn, in Saxony, from 1748 to 1750.  Later he settled at Herrnhut then relocated to teach music at Gross Hennersdorf, also in Saxony.  In the 1750s one student at Gross Hennersdorf was Johann Friedrich Peter (1746-1813), who, in time, became the leading Moravian composer in America.

Grimm was a pioneer in Moravian Church music.  His Choralbuch (1755) was a collection (apparently not a bound one) of about 1000 tunes.  It pioneered the practice of numbering hymn tunes.  Christian Gregor (1723-1801) simplified that system with his bound Choralbuch (1784), which incorporated much material from Grimm’s Choralbuch and set the standard for a long time.

Grimm applied his creativity to the project of glorifying God inside and outside of church buildings.  He also passed his knowledge along to others.  I honor his legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 17, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN ARTISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF JOHN BOWRING, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER, SOCIAL REFORMER, AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF JULIA WARD HOWE, ABOLITIONIST

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Daniel Grimm)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Johann Gottlob Klemm, Tobias Friedrich, David Tannenberg, Johann Philip Bachmann, and Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek (November 15)   1 comment

Chart

Above:  A Chart Depicting Relationships Among People I Have Named in This Post

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANN GOTTLOB KLEMM (MAY 12, 1690-MAY 4, 1762)

Instrument Maker

mentor of 

DAVID TANNENBERG, SR. (MARCH 21, 1728-MAY 19, 1804)

German-American Moravian Organ Builder

mentor and father-in-law of

JOHANN PHILIP BACHMANN (APRIL 22, 1762-NOVEMBER 15, 1837)

German-American Instrument Maker

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JOSEPH FERDINAND BULITSCHEK (1729-1801)

Bohemian-American Organ Builder

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TOBIAS FRIEDRICH (NOVEMBER 25, 1706-JUNE 8, 1736)

German Moravian Composer and Musician

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Introduction

A process which began when I wrote a name–Johann Philip Bachmann–out of a book then assigned him a provisional date on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days led recently to taking notes on Herr Bachmann.  Then one person led to another and I had taken notes on five saints during several hours.  These life stories are like circles in a Venn Diagram, but I will do my best to minimize, if not prevent, confusion.

If I have prompted a desire for more details in you, O reader, some of the hyperlinks I have embedded in this post might interest you.  Others have devoted much time and effort into sharing such details online; I have endeavored to refer people to such websites in this post.

Johann Gottlob Klemm (I)

Our story begins with Johann Gottlob Klemm (1690-1762), born near Dresden.  Klemm’s father was an organist, organ builder, and schoolmaster.  The saint trained in the art of building organs near Dresden, starting circa 1710 after having studied theology at Freiberg and Leipzig.  Among his clients was Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), for whom he build a harpsichord.  The Zinzendorf connection brought Klemm into the Moravian Church in 1726, when the saint moved to Herrnhut, where he lived for seven years.  There he was present for the Moravian Pentecost (August 13, 1727), the birth of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum, and taught boys and led some services.

Tobias Friedrich

Klemm also built a clavichord for Tobias Friedrich (1706-1736).  This saint came from a farming family, but God put him on the Earth for music, not agriculture.  Friedrich trained to become the cantor in the nearby town of Castell when he was twelve years old.  At age fourteen (1720) he met Count Zinzendorf.  The die was cast.  Friedrich became one of the early settlers at Herrnhut, where he remained for the rest of his life, except for a few months in 1731, when the Church sent him on a missions trip to Denmark and Sweden.  He worked for Zinzendorf in a variety of capacities over time, ending as the Count’s secretary.  Friedrich served also as the first organist at Herrnhut, as a member of the Church’s Board of Direction (from 1731 to 1736), and as one of the founders of the collegium musicum (musical ensemble) at Herrnhut.

Friedrich’s lasting legacy to the Moravian Church was in the realm of hymnody.  He, a fine violinist and organist, understood well how to accompany a worshiping congregation.  He also grasped the importance of hymn tunes.  He laid the strong foundation of hymnody in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum.  More than 200 tunes in the Church’s first post-renewal hymnal, the Herrnhuter Gesangbuch (1735), flowed from his pen.  At least twenty of them reamined in Christian Gregor‘s standard-setting Choralbuch (1784).

Friedrich died on June 8, 1736, after a brief illness.  He was just twenty-nine years old.  What more might he have accomplished had he lived longer?

Johann Gottlob Klemm (II)

Klemm, once a devout Moravian, walked away from the Unitas Fratrum in 1733 and emigrated to Pennsylvania with a group of Schwenkfelders, who belonged to the sect which Kaspar von Schwenkfeld (1489-1561) had founded.  Schwenkfeld preferred a style of Protestantism more mystical than either the Lutheran or Reformed traditions, so he argued with both Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, who also argued with each other, especially regarding Eucharistic theology.  Schwenkfeld, who made good use of the printing presses to spread his ideas, had to contend with other Protestants banning his books.  He spent the last twenty-one years of his life as a fugitive due to his theology, for the religious freedom he championed did not exist for him.

Klemm, once he settled near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, chose to live without a formal religious affiliation for decades.  He also Anglicized his name as “John Clemm” and worked as the first professional organ and keyboard builder in the American colonies.  His market was ecumenical, including the following:

  1. Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1738);
  2. Trinity Church (then Anglican, now Episcopal) Church, Wall Street, New York, New York (1741);
  3. the Moravian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1742); and
  4. the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1746).

Klemm returned to the Unitas Fratrum at the end of his life.  The Moravian community at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, accepted him.  There he mentored David Tannenberg, Sr. (1728-1804), in the art of building organs.  They built five organs for the Moravians.  One of those instruments went to the church at Bethabara, North Carolina.  Klemm died at Bethlehem on May 4, 1762.

David Tannenberg, Sr.

Tannenberg, born into a Moravian Church family, became the major organ builder in America during the 1700s.  He grew up at Herrnhut, except for a period of schooling elsewhere from his tenth to fourteenth years of life.  In 1748 he lived at Zeist, The Netherlands.  The following year he emigrated to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Shortly after Tannenberg arrived he married Anna Rosina Kern.  For eight years he worked as a joiner and a business manager at Bethlehem then at Nazareth.  This experience helped him succeed as a master organ builder.

As I wrote, Johann Gottlob Klemm (1690-1762) settled at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1757.  Then Tannenberg became his apprentice.  Tannenberg persisted in the art and trade of building organs despite the request of Moravian Elders that he make cabinets instead.  Building organs was, they said, “tied up with much disorder.”

Tannenberg’s skill extended beyond the bounds of organ building.  He and his family relocated to Lititz, Pennsylvania, in 1765.  There he not only established his workshop but performed as a vocalist and a violinist in the community.  Tannenberg, who built an average of one organ annually, constructed fifty during his lifetime.  Nine of them survive in 2014.  He installed organs in Pennyslvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, for Roman Catholic, Moravian, Reformed, and Lutheran churches plus private homes.  Tannenberg’s output increased in 1793, when, at his request, Johann Philip Bachmann (1762-1837) arrived from Herrnhut.  They built fourteen organs in either seven or ten years.  I am unsure of the length of their professional relationship, for my source tells me that they parted ways in 1800 on one page then in 1803 on another.  (One of those dates might be a typographical error.)  That source does agree with itself, however, on the existence of tension between the men, hence their professional parting.

Tannenberg built and installed organs to the end.  His final professional act was to install an organ at Christ Lutheran Church, York, Pennyslvania.  He was ill, but he completed the job before suffering a stroke then dying.  The organ’s premiere was his funeral.

Tannenberg also built stringed instruments.  He made at least one harpsichord, which, to the best of current knowledge, no longer exists.  There is hope, however, for his oldest stringed instrument, a clavichord dating to 1761, resurfaced in 2004.

Johann Philip Bachmann

Johann Philip Bachmann (1762-1837), whose name launched me on the process of researching and writing this post, was German.  The native of Thuringia learned carpentry from his father, who might been a piano maker.  Young Bachmann left home at age sixteen to apprentice to a master carpenter.  This saint went from there to the Herrnhut, having joined the Unitas Fratrum.  At Herrnhut the carpenter learned how to make musical instruments.  In April 1793, after he arrived in Pennyslvania, he married Anna Maria Tannenberg, the youngest daughter of David Tannenberg, Sr.  Bachmann apprentice under Tannenberg until 1800 or 1803, traveling sometimes to install organs.  The two men collaborated until Tannenberg’s death (1804), despite their differences.  Bachmann turned from building organs to making pianos and cabinets by 1819, by which time he had begun to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicted him for the last two decades of his life.  He, an invalid for the final months, died on November 15, 1837.

Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek

A previous apprentice to Tannenberg was Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek (1729-1801), a native of Bohemia.  He, an organ builder, millwright, and cabinet maker, apprentice under Tannenberg sometime before 1771, when he left Pennsylvania for North Carolina.  He built at least two organs there–one for the Moravian congregation at Bethabara, the other for the Moravian church at Bathania.  The Bethania organ was unusual, for the organist’s console was behind the case, requiring a window cut through the center of the case so the organist could see the congregation.

David Tannenberg, Jr.

Tannenberg had a son, David Tannenberg, Jr. (1760-circa 1802), who also learned the art and trade of building organs.  The younger Tannenberg, unlike his father, was often at odds with the Moravian community.  The son did, however, work in the field of organ construction, infusing the Pennsylvania German school of organ building with elements of the Moravian school thereof.  One example of the fusion of these two schools was the organ for Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Bally, Pennsylvania.

Conclusion

The worship of God is a serious matter, as the saints of whom I have written in this post knew well.  They employed their skills with great care for the glory of God.  Some of their products survive–often in museums, sometimes in churches.  The old instruments remain functional if people have maintained them.  And at least one cabinet Bulitschek made survives.  It is, according to what I have read, beautiful and well-crafted.

May we do everything excellently, so that even our must mundane and seemingly meaningless tasks may glorify God.  One can glorify God by washing the dishes if one completes the chore properly, after all.

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF GENOA, MYSTIC AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF DANTE ALIGHIERI, POET

THE FEAST OF JAMES CHISHOLM, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Johann Gottlob Klemm;

David Tannenberg, Sr.;

Johann Philip Bachmann;

Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek; and

Tobias Friedrich,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Common of a Saint I, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Christian Gregor (November 6)   9 comments

Herrnhut 1765

Above:  Herrnhut, 1765

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH GREGOR (JANUARY 1, 1723-NOVEMBER 6, 1801)

Father of Moravian Music

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Given the fact that I maintain eight weblogs, I let some sit fallow for defined periods of time while I juggle projects.  Among those projects is Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America, a series at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  That series brings names and contexts to my attention, thereby expanding the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS and the breadth of material at GATHERED PRAYERS.  The name of Christian Gregor came to my attention during the process of working on a post in the Moravian liturgy series at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.

Christian Gregor (1723-1801), the “Father of Moravian Music,” was a giant in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-).  He, the son of a Silesian peasant farmer, joined the Unitas Fratrum at age seventeen.  In 1742 he arrived at Herrnhut, where he spent most of the rest of his life.  From 1742 to 1748 our saint served as organist at the Moravian headquarters in Saxony.  In 1748 Gregor transferred to the planned community of Herrnhaag (1738-1753), where he worked as the music director. He performed the same function at Zeist, The Netherlands, from 1749 to 1753.  Then our saint returned to Herrnhut, where he remained except for visits elsewhere, such as his travels in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in 1770-1772.  Gregor, back at Herrnhut, served as the treasurer of the Moravian Church’s Board of Direction, starting in 1753.  Our saint, ordained deacon in 1756 and presbyter in 1767, joined that Board in 1764 and became a bishop in 1789.

Gregor was a talented linguist.  He stabilized Moravian hymnody, toning down maudlin tendencies regarding expressions of grief regarding the crucifixion and wounds of Jesus.  His greatest contributions in the field of worship were the Gesangbuch (1778) and the Choralbuch (1784), both of which established standards for the entire Moravian world.  The Gesangbuch, a hymnal, contained no music, according to Moravian custom of the time.  This volume, which remained in use for about a century, contained 1,750 texts, 308 of which Gregor had written or recast.  His Choralbuch, which contained no words, was a volume for organists.

Gregor, a prolific composer of more than 300 musical works apart from hymns, has remained influential in Moravian hymnody.  A few of those hymns and other works for church services include the following:

  1. With Thy Presence, Our Lord and Saviour;”
  2. Make My Calling and Election;”
  3. Sing with Awe in Strains Melodious;” and
  4. Thou, Whose Human Life Did For Us Happiness Obtain.”

Another text is “In This Sepulchral Eden” (with an English translation by Christian Ignatius LaTrobe):

In this sepulchral Eden the tree of life I’ve found,

Here is my treasure hidden, I tread on hallowed ground;

Ye sick, ye faint and weary, howe’er your ailments vary,

Come hither, and make sure of a most perfect cure.

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Here lies in death’s embraces,

My Bridegroom, Lord and God;

With awe my soul retraces

The dark and dolorous road

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That leads to this last station;

Here in sweet meditation

I’ll dwell by day and night,

Till faith is changed to sight.

Here is a translation of another Gregor text:

Sing hallelujah, Christ doth live,

And peace on earth restore;

Come, ransomed souls, and glory give,

Sing, worship and adore:

With grateful hearts to Him we pay

Our thanks in humble wise;

Who aught unto our charge can lay?

‘Tis God that justifies.

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Who can condemn, since Christ was dead,

And ever lives to God?

Now our whole debt is fully paid,

He saves us by His blood:

The ransomed hosts in earth and heaven

Through countless choirs proclaim,

“He hath redeemed us; praise be given

To God and to the Lamb.”

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In all we do, constrained by love,

We’ll joy to Him afford,

And to God’s will obedient prove

Through Jesus Christ our Lord:

Sing hallelujah, and adore

On earth the Lamb once slain,

Till we in heaven shall evermore

Exalt His Name.

And here is another translated Gregor text:

Countless hosts before God’s throne,

Where the Lamb abideth,

And as God and Man, His own

To life’s fountain guideth,

Now possess perfect bless,

Which for us is wanting,

And for which we’re panting.

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O how excellent and fair,

Goodly beyond measure,

Is the lot which we shall share;

And how rich the treasure!

When we see, bodily,

Our beloved Saviour,

And He is, for ever.

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May this ever blessed hope

Fill our hearts with gladness,

And ‘mid weakness bear us up,

Till from sin and sadness

We shall be wholly free,

And above for ever,

Praise our gracious Saviour.

Gregor introduced concerted anthems and arias into Moravian Church music.  Among his contributions in this regard was a 1783 setting of the following text:

Hosanna!  Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!

The arrangement in two voice parts fills two pages in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923).

Blessed is He Gregor

Above:  Gregor’s 1783 Setting of the Hosanna

Scan Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Our saint attended a meeting of the Board of Direction at Herrnhut on in early November 1801.  Afterward he suffered a fatal stroke.  Gregor, his work completed, died on November 6.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL EXILED SAINTS

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Christian Gregor)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of John Worthington, John Antes, Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Christian Ignatius LaTrobe, Peter, LaTrobe, Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus, and Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg (November 3)   7 comments

November 3 Saints

Above:  Relations and Influences–A Useful and Partial Guide

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN WORTHINGTON (NOVEMBER 3, 1725-MARCH 12, 1790)

British Moravian Minister and Composer

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JOHN ANTES (MARCH 24, 1740-DECEMBER 17, 1811)

U.S. Moravian Instrument Maker, Composer, and Missionary

Brother-in-Law of

BENJAMIN HENRY LATROBE, SR. (APRIL 10, 1728-NOVEMBER 29, 1786)

British Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

Father of

CHRISTIAN IGNATIUS LATROBE (FEBRUARY 12, 1758-MAY 6, 1836)

British Moravian Composer

Father of

PETER LATROBE (FEBRUARY 15, 1795-SEPTEMBER 24, 1863)

British Moravian Bishop and Composer

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JOHANN CHRISTOPHER PYRLAEUS (APRIL 25, 1713-MAY 28, 1785)

Moravian Missionary and Musician

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AUGUSTUS GOTTLIEB SPANGENBERG (JULY 13, 1704-JULY 18, 1792)

Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

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This post is an outgrowth of a research project I call Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America, the Prologue to and Part I of which I have posted at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  Having read them (especially Part I) will improve the comprehension of this material.  Reading and note-taking for Part II (scheduled to cover 1735-1848) are in progress.  In fact, work on this project overlaps with that effort.

Recently I wrote names out of a wonderful book, The Music of the Moravian Church in America (2008), Nola Reed Knouse, Editor.  More recently I started taking notes on one man–John Worthington, whom I had penciled in for consideration for a slot on November 3 on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  His biography led me to another person, which led me a third, et cetera.  The process ended with seven saints sharing one post.  I could have made it at least eight or nine, but a reader absorbs enough details without the author going further into the material in this post.  But, just in case you wonder, O reader, I plan note-taking sessions on Christian Gregor and Frederick William Foster, numbers eight and nine, respectively.  At the heart of the web of relationships and influences on which I focus in this post is a family tree.  This fact ought to remind one of the importance of family in nourishing and continuing the faith.  There are also three people outside the family tree yet crucial to the story I am telling.  This reality ought to remind one of the importance of other human relationships in influencing people, hopefully for the positive.

Perhaps the best way to commence the historical narrative is with Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg (1704-1892).  Some sources among the Moravian books I consulted gave his first name as Augustus, some as August, and others as both, depending on the page.  He is, for my purposes, Augustus, which sounds properly Germanic.  Spangenberg was, of course, German, from the state of Saxony, to be precise.  (Germany was a cultural, not a political, designation prior to 1871.)  He, the son of a Lutheran minister, studied theology at the University of Jena starting in 1721.  He taught at Halle in 1732-1733 then became a Moravian at Herrnhut, on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) near Berhtelsdorf, Saxony.  Spangenberg became a trusted aide to the Count.

Spangenberg was a foundational figure in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-).  He traveled the world on church business, even leading a group to settle in Georgia in 1735.  The Georgia mission (1735-1779) was never successful.  Disputes internal and external (with the Lutherans at Ebenezer) contributed greatly to the Savannah Moravians’ troubles, but the domestic politics of the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748) made matters worse.  Georgia was a military colony on one of the borders between the British and Spanish Empires.  The Georgia Moravians, being pacifists, refused to take up arms against anyone–especially the Spanish enemies.  (Governments tend to dislike people who refuse to fight the enemy.)  Most of the Moravians in Georgia left for Pennsylvania in 1740.  There, the following year, they founded the settlement of Nazareth.  The second Moravian mission in Georgia, by the way, was to Native people.  It started in 1800 and ended with Indian Removal in the 1830s.

Spangenberg traveled widely on Moravian Church business after 1735.  In the late 1730s alone his itinerary included Pennsylvania and St. Thomas.  And, in 1742, he founded the first Moravian settlement in England.  Spangenberg, back in America, became the bishop for North America in 1744.  He left for Herrnhut in 1762 to sit on the Church’s governing council and help to stabilize the denomination in the wake of the death of Count Zinzendorf (1760).  Spangenberg retired in 1791 and died the following year.

Spangenberg, known for his compassion, left a written and musical legacy:

  1. His writings included The Life of Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (three volumes, 1772-1774; English translation, 1838) and the Exposition of Christian Doctrine (1782, English translation, 1784, by Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr.).
  2. In 1744 the bishop founded the collegium musicum at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This, according to my specialized sources, was his greatest musical legacy.  A collegium musicum is a small musical ensemble which fills a variety of functions.  It educates its participants, fills time which they might spend otherwise in dubious pursuits, provides wholesome entertainment, and serves a function in worship.  These roles were like circles in a Venn Diagram for, as a Moravian ethic says, all of life is liturgical.  The original collegium musicum formed at Herrnhut in 1731.  The early composition of the Bethlehem collegium musicum changed over time.  It started with horn players, added trumpeters the following year, and came to include a harpist and a violinist in 1752.  There were fourteen members in 1748.  The original leader was Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus (1713-1785), to whose story I will turn in this post.
  3. Some early organ music of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-) was elaborate.  Spangenberg considered this to be in bad taste and about virtuosity, not worship.  He encouraged excellent musicianship focused on glorifying God, not the performer.  As the bishop told a young church organist, Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836), son of Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr., “Keep it simple.”
  4. Spangenberg composed hymn texts.  Among them were “When Simplicity We Cherish” (1740), “What Can We Offer Thee, O Lord” (1734), “High on His Everlasting Throne” (1737), and “The Church of Christ, Which He Hallowed Here” (1745).

Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus (1713-1785) studied music as a young person.  Then he studied theology at the University of Leipzig while Johann Sebastian Bach was there in town.  At Leipzig Pyrlaeus encountered Moravians and converted to the Unitas Fratrum.  That connection brought him to America–Pennsylvania, to be precise.

Pyrleaus had an eventful time in America.  In 1742, while Count Zinzendorf was serving as a Lutheran pastor in Philadelphia, Pyrlaeus worked as the Count’s assistant.  On one memorable Sunday in 1742, in fact, a drunken crown even drove Pyrleaus from the pulpit.  From 1743 to 1751 he served as a missionary to Native peoples, becoming the first Moravian musician to do so in the future United States.  Pyrleaus, a capable vocalist, organist, and instrumentalist, also translated many hymns into Mohican.  He also, at the request of Bishop Spangenberg, organized the first Moravian Indian-language school in the future United States.  And, as I have established, Pyrlaeus (from 1744 to 1751, when he returned to Europe) led the collegium musicum at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He also provided early music lessons to John Antes (1740-1811).

John Antes was a son of Johann Heinrich (Anglicized as John Henry) Antes, the Baron von Blume (1701-1755), who had emigrated from Germany.  The Baron, originally of the Reformed Church, came to prefer the Moravian Church in Pennsylvania, so he converted in 1746.  Bishop Spangenberg baptized the American-born John Antes, who went on to make instruments, such as harpsichords and violins.  In 1759, in fact, he made one of the earliest violins in America.  Antes operated his own instrument-making business at Bethlehem from 1762 to 1764 then relocated to Europe for a few years.  He settled at Herrnhut in 1764 and moved to Neuweid the following year.  His European ventures proved unsuccessful, but he found a vocation as a missionary to Egypt (1769-1781) and an avocation as a composer.  Antes, toward the end of his tenure in Egypt (where he also made watches in Cairo), mailed a copy of his Three Trios to Benjamin Franklin, then an American diplomat in Paris.  Antes, the earliest American composer of chamber music, nearly died of torture at the hands of Ottoman imperial officials.  The part-time composer returned to Europe, where he spent the rest of his days, in 1782.  He was at Herrnhut (again) in 1782-1783.  Then, from 1783 to 1785 Antes served as the business manager of the congregation at Neuweid.  He filled the same role at Fulneck, England, from 1785 to 1808.  He died at Bristol, England, three years later.

Some of his music has survived.  Antes wrote the Three Trios, of course, but also more than thirty sacred vocal works.  The Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) contains six of his hymn tunes.  Unfortunately, a set of his quartets is lost to history, to be best of human knowledge.  Hopefully they will join the ranks of music considered lost until someone identified a copy in a library or a collection somewhere.

Antes had a sister, Anna Margaretta (Anglicized as Anna Margaret) Antes (1728-1794), who married Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr. (1725-1786), father of the aforementioned Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836).  Benjamin, Sr., a bishop in South Africa, served as a mission secretary and as a Provincial Elder from 1768 to 1786.  He also wrote and translated hymns.  He wrote, for example, “Jesus’ Name, Jesus’ Name” (1789).  Antes also translated a German text by his contemporary, Christian Gregor (1723-1801), a foundational figure in Moravian Church music, rendering a 1772 text in English as “The Lord Bless and Keep Thee in His Favor.”

Benjamin, Sr., and Anna Margaret had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.  Two of these were Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Jr. (1764-1820) and Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836).  Benjamin, Jr., an engineer and architect, moved to the United States, where he worked on the first waterworks system in Philadelphia, designed interiors (such as the Old Senate and House Chambers) of the rebuilt (post-War of 1812) U.S. Capitol building, and designed the Basilica of the Assumption at Baltimore.

Below:  Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore, Maryland, Between 1980 and 2006

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-16726

16726v

14279v

Above:  Interior, Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore, Maryland, Between 1980 and 2006

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-14279

Benjamin, Jr., the father of the U.S. architectural profession, died of yellow fever in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1820.

I will turn to Christian Ignatius LaTrobe shortly.

John Worthington (1725-1790) came under the positive influence of Benjamin, Sr.  Worthington, as a boy, sang in a choir at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in his native Dublin, Ireland, until his voice changed.  Then he turned to gambling and to singing in coffeehouses (not that coffeehouses, where alcohol was absent and people met to discuss topics such as politics and philosophy, seem like disreputable institutions to me) before Benjamin, Sr., himself a musician of great renown, hired him as a music teacher.  Worthington converted to the Unitas Fratrum and became a minister, serving at Fulneck, England, in the 1750s, at Ockbrook, England, from 1769 to 1777, and finally at Dublin, Ireland, where he died.  He composed music, which Christian Ignatius LaTrobe observed, had a reputation for “simplicity and elegance.”

Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836), educated in Germany from 1771 to 1778, taught at the Moravian school at Niesky from 1779 to 1784.  LaTrobe worked from London for many years, administering Moravian missions.  He retired in 1834, moved to Fairfield (near Manchester), and died two years later.  That was his life in broad strokes.

LaTrobe’s other great contribution was musical.  He, who knew luminaries such as Franz Joseph Haydn, was, at the time, the only Moravian Church composer with a reputation outside the Unitas Fratrum.  LaTrobe composed music for both the Moravian Church and the Church of England.  Works for the latter were more complex than those for the former.  As Bishop Spangenberg, in Europe from 1762 to 1792, had advised the young LaTrobe, who was once a church organist, “keep it simple.”  LaTrobe composed and arranged works for SATB choir, organ, strings, bassoon, oboe, and piano forte.  There were also “secular” (a term with less meaning in the Moravian Church than in other denominations), such as three piano sonatas, which he dedicated to his friend, Haydn.

LaTrobe’s volumes for the Moravian Church included:

  1. Hymn Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected by Chrn. Igns. LaTrobe (1775);
  2. Hymn Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren (1790); Moravian hymnals of the time had words only and church musicians used the tune books);
  3. Selection of Sacred Music (six volumes, 1806-1826), as Editor;
  4. Anthems for One, Two, or More Voices Performed in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected and the Instrumental Parts Adapted for the Organ or Piano Forte, Composed by Various Authors (1811);
  5. Hymn-Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected by Chrn. Igns. LaTrobe; A New Edition Revised & Corrected with an Appendix (1826); and
  6. Original Anthems for One, Two, or More Voices Adopted for Private Devotion or Public Worship Composed and the Accompaniments Arranged for the Piano Forte or Organ (1828).

There were also nine organ preludes in an appendix to L. B. Seeley’s Devotional Harmony (1806).

LaTrobe also translated hymns into English.  Among them was a Christian Gregor (1723-1801) text, which LaTrobe rendered as “In This Sepulchral Eden.”

Among the children of Christian Ignatius LaTrobe and Hannah Benigna Syms LaTrobe (1758-1824) was Peter LaTrobe (1795-1863).  The Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) contains one, “Sweeter Sounds.”  Hymntime.com lists two others, “Fairfield” and “Invitation.”  The London-born bishop, who died at Berthelsdorf, Saxony, near Herrnhut, the worldwide Moravian headquarters, married twice.  His first wife (1825-1839) was Mary Louisa Foster (1793-1839).  The second wife (1842-1863) was Jeanetta Margaret Brett, who survived him.  Peter’s first father-in-law was therefore Frederick William Foster (1760-1835), a British Moravian bishop (from 1814) and editor of the hymnal of 1801, its supplement of 1808 (and thus the composite 1809 edition) and the revised hymnal of 1826.  Peter updated his father’s 1826 volume, publishing Hymn-Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren First Collected by Chr. Ign. LaTrobe; An Enlarged Edition, Arranged in Parts for the Use of Choirs (1854).

These saints, consistent with their Moravian ethos, contributed much via music, whether overtly Christian (as in anthems, hymns, and works of instruments in church) or merely beautiful and composed well.  As Philippians 4:8 (Revised Standard Version–Second Edition, 1971) says:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FREEMAN BRAGG, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:

Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by their fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy.

We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit,

and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 726

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