Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott: Luther and the music of the Reformation CD review

Nicholas Kenyon

Martin Luther’s 95 theses fulminating against religious abuses appeared exactly 500 years ago; he began the Protestant Reformation whose music these thoroughly researched CDs and handsome book explore in detail. We are guided through the seasons of the church year and the foundations of the Lutheran liturgy in the company of composers, from Luther himself, Schein, Scheidt and Praetorius to the little-known Steffens and Joachim a Burck. Nothing surpasses the solemn beauty of Schütz’s German Magnificat, but Thomas Selle’s Die mit Tränen säen (later set by Brahms) is piercingly beautiful. Intensely focused singing from Vox Luminis, and fine organ interludes by Bart Jacobs.

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