Luther, Martin

(10 November 1483, Eisleben, Germany – 18 February 1546, Eisleben)
   Founder of the Lutheran church, which initiated the Protestant Reformation, in a series of events beginning with the nailing of Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg on 31 October 1517 and culminating with the presentation of the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V on 25 June 1530.
   Luther’s reform was primarily theological, not liturgical, and at first did nothing to abolish the Latin language or Catholic musical traditions, which he admired, being a trained singer, flutist, and lutenist. Unlike Huldrych Zwingli or Jean Calvin, Luther believed music to be essential to liturgy. His first liturgical reform, the Formula Missae of 1523, provides for traditional Latin chant throughout.
   But ultimately much more influential was his second reform, the {}Deutsche Messe ("German mass") of 1526, intended for smaller and less cultivated congregations. In the meantime, he had been heavily involved in the publication of the first Lutheran chorales (1524), which replaced many ordinary and proper Latin prayers in the Deutsche {}Messe. These, along with metrical settings of the most important psalms, became the Kernlieder, the core hymn repertory of Lutheran liturgy. Some of these are Luther’s own compositions; Friedrich Blume ascribes 36 chorales "with certainty to the Reformer."

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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