Musik in neuzeitlichen Konfessionskulturen

Musik in neuzeitlichen Konfessionskulturen

Norbert Haag, Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart; Micheal Fischer. Deutsches Volksliedarchiv Freiburg; Gabriele Haug-Moritz, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Vom - Bis
13.10.2011 - 15.10.2011
Url der Konferenzwebsite
Matthew Laube, University of London

From 13-15 October 2011, the conference ‘Musik in neuzeitlichen Konfessionskulturen’ was hosted by the Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart. Organized by Norbert Haag (Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart), Micheal Fischer (Deutsches Volksliedarchiv Freiburg) and Gabriele Haug-Moritz (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Institut für Geschichte), this conference brought together scholars from multiple disciplines to discuss the place of music from the sixteenth century to the First World War within its various confessional cultures. As a point of departure, the conference was based upon the insight that Konfessionskulturen (Thomas Kaufmann) were more multifaceted, ambiguous and multi-sensual than the scholarly literature has heretofore discussed. The central focus of the conference was to make this insight fruitful for understanding the (changing) role music played in these confessional cultures, as well as to describe the dynamic alteration of the relationship between the denominational and the secular-political spheres. The quilting point of the papers revolved around four thematic aspects of confessionalisation: places (Orte), media (Medien), inclusion (Inklusion) and exclusion (Exklusion).

The first session explored many places in which confession and music intersected. STEPHEN ROSE (London) began by discussing the role of the home in the musical landscape of German Reformation. As the primary venue for the expression of family piety, the Hauskirche was plagued by tensions regarding social discipline and personal freedom. Illustrating these tensions with two case studies, Rose discussed how the Abendreihe, a dance often regarded as lascivious, was appropriated by Nicolaus Hermann in an effort to turn a song about sinfulness into one about baptism. In the second case study, Paschal Reinigius’ “Haus Kirchen Cantorei” (1587) shows how Lutherans used the confessionally-charged repertory of Genevan Psalm tunes in the home, which were disguised as Dutch rather than Genevan to avoid conflict.

BEAT KÜMIN (Warwick) then shifted the focus from Germany to England, addressing both a wide range of methodological issues and zooming in on specific examples that illustrated the important place of the parish church in the late Middle Ages and Reformation. The English parish was far from being a one-dimensional institution, and music aptly demonstrates the sometimes extensive overlapping of sacred and secular space in parish life. The church house served as an ecclesiastical venue that, among other things, hosted the performance of secular dance music. Bells were an omnipresent component in the soundscape of early modern England. They signalled not only such local events as weddings, births and religious services, but also served to create a sense of local identity through each parish’s unique ringing.

Moving to the early nineteenth century, STEFANIE STEINER (Karlsruhe) examined the confessional genre of the Mass and its adoption in Protestant areas. Taking Beethoven’s “Mass in C major” as a platform, Steiner discussed two German texts created by Protestants to replace the original Latin. While the first text (written by Christian Schreiber in 1812) fitted awkwardly with Beethoven’s music, a Klopstock-inspired text by the Silesian musician Benedict Scholz was met with approval by Beethoven in 1823. Steiner concluded that these re-settings should be seen as secularised liturgical music rather than un-confessional. The German texts aided in the increased the reception and circulation of Beethoven’s “Mass in C major”, bringing the Catholic Mass well into Protestant territories.

Concluding the first session LINDA MARIA KOLDAU (Aarhus) explored three oratorios honouring two confessional heroes of the German nation, Bonifatius (“Der heilige Bonifatius” by Friedrich Koenen, and Winfried by Carl Adolf Lorenz) and Martin Luther (“Luther in Worms” by Ludwig Meinardus). While the nineteenth-century promotion of Luther and Bonifatius to the place of national heroes has gone virtually unstudied in musicological literature, Koldau demonstrated that these works channeled the confessional and national currents that arose so sharply in the nineteenth century. In these works certain musical elements marked each oratorio as confessional specific. Whereas a limited instrumentation (organ alone) and Gregorian chant were used to represent Bonifatius’ Catholicism in “Der heilige Bonifatius”, Luther’s chorale ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,’ a prominent leitmotif throughout the oratorio, served likewise to mark it as confessionally Lutheran.

The second session addressed the various media involved in confessional cultures. STEPHANIE MOISI (Graz) investigated the mediality (Medialität) of sixteenth-century Psalm settings, both framed within the medium of the Flugschrift and understood in the literary sense of paratextuality (Gérard Genette). Moisi sought to show how mediality draws out the various functions of musical Psalm settings. While certain Psalm settings appearing in Flugschriften are related to hymnbooks, thus tying them to liturgical or devotional functions, mediality shows us that other musical Psalm settings corresponded to the contemporary printing of political song. With the help of specific Psalm settings from the Reformation, she showed that investigating mediality itself can offer valuable clues concerning the original contexts in which the songs were to be used, that is, in the web of the ‘political’ and the ‘religious’.

Moving to a focus on Strasbourg and Geneva, BEAT FÖLLMI (Strasbourg) discussed the medium of the Psalms and their role in forming a specific reformed identity. The Psalms became the chief musical medium of religious expression both within the Strasbourgian and Genevan churches and without. While Psalm singing in these two metropolises shared a common bond in the figure of John Calvin, the musical culture in Strasbourg differed from Geneva in that it grew without the direction of an overarching goal, making its decline there with the end of the Interim (1560) all the more likely. For persecuted Protestants throughout Europe Psalm singing in the form of the Genevan Psalter became a real expression of identity, so much so that the French religious refugee Pineton de Chambrun, when he reached Geneva in 1680, sang Beza’s 26th Psalm as praise to Geneva, the ‘holy city’.

JANINA KLASSEN (Freiburg) then turned to Athanasius Kircher’s 1650 “Musurgia universalis” and its 1662 translation into German by the Lutheran pastor Andreas Hirsch. Alongside discussing the book’s possible readership and its use by Protestant music theorists, Klassen pointed out how Hirsch understood Kircher’s confessional orientation as a Jesuit. Rather than affirming the Catholic content of Kircher’s original work, Hirsch regards specifically Catholic components (such as veneration of the saints and the sacraments) simply as historically derived rather than apodictic. Hirsch’s translation displays a certain confessional flexibility not found in other areas of seventeenth-century Lutheranism, which in turn served to increase to circulation of the “Musurgia universalis” and aid the infusion Kircher’s thought into German music theory on a wider scale.

Exploring the multifaceted musical culture of the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine, CONSTANZE GRUTSCHNIG-KIESER (Stuttgart) spoke about three specific yet intertwined media: occasional pamphlets (both printed and manuscript), inspired devotional songs and printed hymnbooks. The occasional pamphlets marked the ceremonial aspect of the group’s communal life, including music created for such occasions as weddings, funerals and birthdays, while the Singstunden and inspired singing flowed from more routine devotional life. The Singstunden and occasional poetry were both complementary agents in the personal devotion of the members individually and the formation of a collective confessional identity. Printed hymnbooks served as a textual trace of the often improvised musical activities within the group, in addition to providing a view into the musical culture for those outside.

The third session of the conference centred on confessional inclusion. WOLFGANG FUHRMANN (Vienna) began by addressing the subject of inter-confessionalism and trans-confessionalism in music around 1800. He discussed the growing fascination among Protestants around 1800 with Catholic liturgy and music. Not all were as enthusiastic as Duke Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg (who built his own Catholic chapel in Ludwigslust), but even masses by Joseph Haydn (and others) were played in Leipzig, both in the Gewandhaus concert hall and in churches. Fuhrmann framed this case of cultural transfer within the changing ‘taste in religion’ (Friedrich Schleiermacher), which favoured an aesthetic approach over a confessionally-bound one.

Also exploring the concept of confessional inclusion, MEINRAD WALTER (Freiburg) discussed J.S. Bach’s Passions and “B minor Mass”. Rather than approaching Bach simply as a Lutheran composer, Walter instead placed these works within a tension between Bach’s Lutheranism on the one hand and his curiosity for all things musical, even Catholic music, on the other. Furthermore, as the eighteenth century passed into the nineteenth century, the confessional aspects of these works take a less prominent position. Bach is then seen to be a specifically German composer by early Bach scholars Johann Nikolaus Forkel and Philipp Spitta, and as an Enlightenment figure in the later German Democratic Republic.

The third session ended with MARKUS RATHEY (Yale/New Haven) and his concentrated view of Bach reception, confessionalism and nationalism. Using a wide variety of primary sources, Rathey illustrated how the movement of Bach’s music from the church to the concert hall ran concurrently to Bach’s ascension to being the master of the whole of German music. Rathey’s conclusions also have implications for understanding the relationship between Mendelssohn and Bach. Rather than rediscovering Bach as a composer who had drifted completely from memory (as is sometimes thought), we can now see that Mendelssohn’s performance of the “St Matthew Passion” in 1829 helped to rediscover Bach’s vocal music for the concert hall.

The second day closed with a concert held at the Stadtkirche Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, which featured music of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Instrumental compositions by William Brade and Peter Morhardt complemented the vocal compositions by such composers as Johann Hermann Schein, Martin Luther, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz, to name a few. Meinrad Walter guided the listeners through the concert with a narrative describing the way in which music expressed and helped to form confessional piety.

The final session examined the confessional concept of exclusion, a necessary counterpart to inclusion. KATHARINA TALKNER (Hannover) addressed the role of sacred songs in the Protestant Frauenklöster of Lüneburg. As the cloisters were forcibly reformed by state officials in the 1520s and 1530s, Talkner discussed newly discovered and well-documented musical confrontations where the nuns defiantly sang Gregorian chant when they were supposed to sing Lutheran chorales. With the cloister’s embrace of Lutheran theology, Talkner then moved to the theme of inclusion and the process by which young girls were educated and enfolded into the cloister. Once there, both printed music (Gesangbücher) and performed music (Chorstunden) were a vital part of the girls’ devotional and educational life, helping to establish them in their faith and the Lutheran confession more broadly.

The next paper addressing exclusion was given by GABRIELE HAUG-MORITZ (Graz)about music and conflict in sixteenth-century Paris. Processions served as a primary means of communication in Catholic conflict, and since the Parisian processions of 1562/63 were not only ceremonial and visual but also aural, they are an apt location for studying the role of music in these conflicts. As examples of the Generalprozessionen (processions générales), she discussed the Purification Processions of 1562/63 and the funeral procession of François de Lorraine, duc de Guise, showing that sound helped fashion them as “movements between religion and politics” (Jörg Gengnagel et al.). She then illustrated that sound allowed older forms of procession to be reinscribed with new meaning, and, through religious dissent, enabled them to conform to the changing conditions of social communication.

In a joint presentation SILVA ERBER and SANDRA HUPFAUF (Innsbruck) explored Kriegs- and Kämpflieder in Innsbruck between 1796 and 1809, narrowing in specifically on some of the mechanisms used in songs targeted first against France and later Bavaria. Josef Abenthung, an unusually well-documented author of songs from the Tirolian Freiheitskampf of 1809, used the musical medium of the Catholic Church in his adoption of the ‘Te Deum’ as a framework for his songs. Similarly, Rogerius Schranzhofer adopted a canon melody of W.A. Mozart for a propagandistic contrafactum detailing the fall of the French in Tirol in 1797. In both of these cases the motivations behind these songs were both nationalistic and religious, as Tirol’s national identity drew heavily on its deep-seated Catholicism.

MICHAEL FISCHER (Freiburg) closed the conference with a detailed look at how confessional boundaries shifted between the late nineteenth century and the First World War. Using ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’ as a case study, Fischer showed how confessional mentalities surrounding Luther’s chorale shifted from being exclusively Lutheran to exclusively German, thereby including both Lutherans and Catholics. German soldiers of both confessions in the First World War are known to have sung Luther’s hymn, but the confessional implications of this action are unclear. Contemporary critics wondered whether the soldiers really united confessionally or simply nationalistically. Supplemented with a variety of iconographic, written and printed materials, Fischer also demonstrated the important intersection of this ecumenical trend with the ever-increasing equation: Chorale and Protestantism equal a truly German identity.

Although the papers all touched on different topics surrounding music and confession, certain leitmotifs cut across the papers. The Lutheran choral ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’ received treatment from many of the presenters, from the sixteenth century until the First World War. Another topic addressed by multiple papers was music’s role in the creation of confessional identity. Paradoxically, various religious communities used two musical extremes to achieve the same end, namely prescriptive music (Genevan Psalter) and improvised song (Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine) as a means of creating confessional identity and fostering individual and collective piety. Gratitude is due to the Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart for hosting the conference. Many thanks are also due to the organisers of the conference, whose hard work and foresight ensured an edifying and enjoyable time for all.

Conference overview:

Norbert Haag (Stuttgart)

Stephen Rose (London): „Haus Kirchen Cantorei“: performance and place in sacred music of late 16th-century Germany

Beat Kümin (Warwick): Musik in englischen Kirchengemeinden der Reformationszeit

Stefanie Steiner (Karlsruhe): Beethovens Missa op 86. Kirchliche Musik auf dem Weg in den Konzertsaal

Linda Maria Koldau (Aarhus): Nationalreligiosität und Oratorien: Bonifatius und Luther als konfessionelle Antipoden im 19. Jahrhundert

Stephanie Moisi (Graz): Das geistliche Lied und seine Medialität zur Zeit der Reformation

Beat Föllmi (Straßburg): Der Genfer Psalter als Medium. Die Rolle von Straßburg und Genf bei der Ausbildung eines musikalischen Repertoires als Ausdruck reformierter Identität

Janina Klassen (Freiburg): Musikologische Fachliteratur des 17. Jahrhunderts und ihre konfessionelle Verortung: Athanasius Kircher

Konstanze Grutschnig-Kieser (Stuttgart): Handschriftliches Carmen, inspiriertes Singen und gedrucktes Gesangbuch – Lieder im Kontext der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine

Rainer Bayreuther (Halle-Wittenberg) - erkrankt: Musikphilosophische Problemstellungen der religiösen Identitätsbildung durch Musik

Wolfgang Fuhrmann (Wien): Interkonfessionalität oder Überkonfessionalität? Kirchenmusik im kulturellen Transfer um 1800

Meinrad Walter (Freiburg): Protestantisch, katholisch, ökumenisch? Bach-Deutungen am Beispiel der h-Moll-Messe und der Passionen

Markus Rathey (Yale/New Haven): Geschichte als ästhetische Gegenwart – Bach-Rezeption und protestantische Identität im frühen 19. Jahrhundert

Katharina Talkner (Hannover): Die Rolle des geistlichen Liedes auf dem Weg vom Lehrmädchen zur lutherischen Klosterjungfrau in den Lüneburger Klöstern der Frühen Neuzeit

Gabriele Haug-Moritz (Graz): Musik im Konfessionskonflikt. Paris im ersten Religionskrieg (1562/63) als Beispiel

Silvia Erber/Sandra Hupfau (Innsbruck): »S’Zibori ausser g’rissen, die Hostien umher g’schmissen« – Die Religion als abgrenzendes Moment in den politischen Liedern Tirols zwischen 1796 und 1809

Michael Fischer (Freiburg): Der Lutherchoral »Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott« zwischen Befreiungskriegen und Erstem Weltkrieg


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