Luther: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

Chorales, Motets and Sacred Concertos
Kammerchor der Frauenkirche Dresden, Instrumenta Musica, Matthias Grünert
69:01
Rondeau Productions ROP6074

This fine CD presents six of Luther’s most important poetic texts in a variety of settings (organ and choral hymn tunes, motets, sacred concertos, amongst others): Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Vom Himmel hoch, Gelobet seist du Jesus Christ, Christ lag in Todesbanden, Komm heiliger Geist, Vater unser in Himmelreich and the title piece, Ein feste Burg. Prominent amongst the sources are the Görlitzer Tablaturbuch (organ settings by Scheidt) and Musae Sioniae by Michael Praetorius. Other composers include Schein, Hassler, Pachelbel, Hammerschmidt, Eccard, Franck and Schütz. Each section is rounded off by a dance from Terpsichore.

Most of the 42 tracks are under two minutes, with only three tracks lasting longer than twice that length; many are extracts from larger works, but the prominence of the chorale melody throughout gives the recital a satisfying overall shape. The chamber choir of the Dresden Frauenkirche sing well, and Instrumenta Musica (recorder, cornetto, strings, trumpets, trombones, and continuo) lend stylish support throughout. Two different organs based on historical models are used for the keyboard material. As we approach the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, this CD is a fine illustration of the widespread musical influence of Luther.

Brian Clark