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Franz Vitzthum – countertenor, Julian Behr – lute
As a child, Martin Luther already received intensive musical training at the schools in Magdeburg and Eisenach. He sang not only in the school choirs during the church services, but also for wealthy citizens. During his studies in Erfurt, Luther studied the music theory of both the Middle Ages and antiquity and engaged in musical practice.
Luther had an intimate relationship with the music of his time: He was an admirer of the works of Senfl, Finck und Josquin and wrote a number of melodies of his own. Luther’s pastoral and almost intimate text “Frau Musica singt” (Ms. Musica Sings) to the nigthingale – which embodies music, whose song sounds forth in praise of God – makes one thing clear: music also provided Luther with solace and a place of refuge.
At his own request, Martin Luther learnt to play the lute whilst suffering from an illness in 1503. He not only studied the lute, but also the technique of intabulation, which is the arrangement of a polyphonic vocal piece for the plucked instrument.
The present selection of pieces by Luther and composers from his immediate environment, performed here by the countertenor Franz Vitzthum accompanied by the lute, could have been performed at an evening of domestic music-making at Martin Luther's house, although this cannot be proven by contemporary sources.
Martin Luther: Frau Musica singt; Sie ist mir lieb, die werte Magd; Ein neues Lied wir heben an; Das Patrem zu deutsch
Ludwig Senfl: Non moriar, sed vivam; Mein Fleiss und Müh; In pace inidispum; Ecce quam bonum
Heinrich Finck: Nigra sum, sed formosa
Hans Newsidler: Ein seer guter Organistischer Preambel; Nunnentanz
Josquin Desprez: Mille regrez
Arnolt Schlick: Maria zart
Anonymus: Nun treiben wir den Babst hinaus