Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Egbert, Pastor and Johann Walter, Kantor, Saint

Today we commemorate Egbert and Johann Walter. According to dailysaint:

St. Egbert was Benedictine monk born in Nuthumbria, England to a noble family. He unsuccessfully worked to stop King Egfrith from invading Ireland in 684. Studied at Rathmelsigi monastery, (modern Mellifont, County Louth) Ireland, and then served as a teacher to newer brothers. Once, near death from plague, he prayed for a longer life to have time to do penance; he vowed to live in exile, and never returned to England. He wanted to go to the foreign missions himself, but was instructed in 688 by a vision of Saint Boisil to work for reform of monastic life. In 716 he finally accepted the assignment, and travelled to Iona to the houses following the Rule of Saint Columba. There he spent 13 years gently, prayerfully convincing the monks to accept Roman ways, especially in the method of computing Easter. Died immediately following the celebration of Easter Mass.

According to Wikipedia:

Walter was born in Kahla, Thuringia in 1496. According to a document filed with his will, he was born with the surname of Blanckenm├╝ller, but adopted out of poverty by a citizen of Kahla, and given an education at Kahla and Rochlitz under his new name, Johann Walter. He began his career as a composer and bass cantor in the chapel of Frederick the Wise at the age of 21. It was a position he would hold until Frederick’s death in 1525. By this time, he was the director of the chapel and had become an outspoken musical spokesman for Lutherans. Walter edited the first Protestant hymnal, Geystliches gesangk buchleyn, published in 1524, with a foreword by Martin Luther himself and for the German-language Deutsche Messe produced in 1527.

Following the conclusion of his appointment to Frederick’s chapel, Walter became cantor for the Torgau town choir in 1525, a post he would hold until 1554 when he was named court composer for Moritz, Duke of Saxony in Dresden.

While in Dresden, Walter composed a responsorial Passion in German. In earlier musical versions of the Passion story the entire narrative was a succession of polyphonic motets, but Walter used a monophonic reciting tone for the Evangelist and dramatis personae, reserving for the people and disciples simple falsobordone (chordal) polyphony.

Walter did not remain in Dresden very long, and by 1554 he had accepted a pension from the duke and returned to Torgau, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died on 25 March 1570.

1 comment:

F├Ârderkreis Johann-Walter-Orgel Kahla said...

The picture does not show Johann Walter (of whom no known picture exists) but composer and musician Michael Praetorius (1571 - 1621).

Please see here the project in Kahla (Johann Walter's birthplace) in his honor: www.jwok.de