Skip to main content

Ringvorlesung

30.03. - 29.06.2022, every Wednesday from 6 p.m. via Zoom

Sing to the Lord a new song - Psalms after Heinrich Schütz

From Gregorian chant to the multi-choral music of Heinrich Schütz to the minimal music of Steve Reich: no other text of the Bible has been set to music as often and as differently as the Book of Psalms. The lecture series is dedicated to these settings and questions the seemingly self-evident. How have composers set the texts of the Psalms to music? Why in this or that specific way? What previous opinions and cultural influences come into play? With a focus on compositions after Heinrich Schütz up to the present and the cultural-historical dimension of the Psalms, the speakers will reflect on these questions and look back on more than four hundred years of dealing with canonized texts.

Benedikt Schubert will begin with a lecture on the musical-theological connection between Bach's St. John Passion and the eighth Psalm, integrating exegetical sources as well as an excursus on the history of art. Noelle Heber will then deal with the Calov Bible - the only book from Bach's theological library that has come down to us - and will look specifically at the Book of Psalms and the reading traces that the Thomaskantor left there. Joachim Klein will provide an overview of psalm settings by Jewish composers in the 20th century with their contemporary and theological references. From the biblical Psalm 23 to Paul Celan's Psalm, the texts set to music in the Suite Exile by the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli will be discussed by Chiara Bertoglio. Bartłomiej Gembicki will talk about the present-day ‘reconstructions‘ of the early modern (mostly Venetian) Vespers to show the extent to which the music industry shapes our understanding of the musical past. Katarzyna Spurgjasz will address the question of which psalm compositions were sung in everyday life and what musical conditions were necessary for this, based on sources from the 16th and 17th centuries. From a cultural-historical perspective, Patrice Veit will discuss the psalm song and psalm singing in German Lutheranism, covering a period from the Wittenberg Reformation to the song writing of a Paul Gerhardt. Helena Schuh will examine selected parallel settings of psalm texts in the 17th century and the question of the function of musical-rhetorical figures and compositional models. Junko Sonoda will focus on the 73rd Psalm in the settings of Heinrich Schütz, trying to explain exegetical characteristics with physiological phenomena as suggested by a computer-generated auditory model. In Lutheran musical culture of the Baroque, earthly music was often conceptualised as foretaste of music in heaven. Christiaan Clement deals with this phenomenon in the 18th century, focussing on the role of psalms. Albert Clement's contribution leads into the 19th century: of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's five psalm cantatas, the compositional process, biographical background and theological context are elucidated. Psalm settings from the second half of the 20th century are the focus of Moritz Oczko's lecture, which provides insights into Alfred Schnittke's Twelve Verses of Repentance and thus into the composer's compositional and spiritual thinking. Franz Liszt's attempt to overcome the difference between piety and advanced composition in his sacred music and thereby create an alternative church music, as he had already striven for in his Paris years, is the subject of Michael Heinemann's talk. Finally, Birger Petersen takes us back to the 17th century with Dieterich Buxtehude's vocal works, which raise questions not least in view of their multilingualism. The lecture is specifically devoted to the text and genre questions of Buxtehude's psalm settings.

Timeline

2022

30.3.
Dr. Benedikt Schubert(Dresden)
: Johann Sebastian Bachs Johannespassion und der achte Psalm. Eine Spurensuche

6.4.
Dr. Noelle Heber (Berlin):
Bach’s Reading of the Psalms

13.4.
Joachim Klein M. A. (Weimar): Shiru l‘Adonai Shir Chadash – Jewish Psalm Settings in 20th Century Art Music

20.4.
Dr. Chiara Bertoglio (Torino):
Kancheli’s Exil: from Psalm 23 to Celan’s Psalm. An itinerary of motifs

27.4.
Dr. Bartlomiej Gembicki (Warszawa/Dresden):
New vespers and old Psalms. Early italian music meets recording industry

4.5.
Dr. Katarzyna Spurgjasz (Warszawa/Dresden):
Common Prayer? Psalm settings in early modern songbooks of different Christian denominations

11.5.
Prof. Dr. Patrice Veit (Paris/Berlin):
Psalmlied und Psalmengesang im deutschen Luthertum von der Reformation bis zur ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts aus kulturhistorischer Perspektive.

18.5.
Dr. des. Helena Schuh (Dresden):
Musikalisch-rhetorische ›Figuren‹ und satztechnische Modelle in Psalmvertonungen des 17. Jahrhunderts

25.5.
Dr. Junko Sonoda (Weimar):
‚Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe.‘ Physiologisch-exegetische Untersuchungen zu Psalmvertonungen von Heinrich Schütz

1.6.
Christiaan Clement M.A. (Dresden):
In Defense of Heavenly Music: Psalms as Proof of Music in the Afterlife

8.6.
Prof. Dr. Albert Clement (Utrecht/Middelburg):
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and the Book of Psalms: Some thoughts on the five Psalm Cantatas.

15.6.
Moritz Oczko M. A. (Dresden):
Bocca chiusa – Vorletzte Worte in Alfred Schnittkes Bußversen

22.6.
Prof. Dr. Michael Heinemann (Dresden):
Gottvertrauen ins musikalische Material. Zu Franz Liszts Psalmvertonungen

29.06.
Prof. Dr. Birger Petersen (Mainz):
Concerto und Aria. Psalmvertonungen bei Buxtehude