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About Martin Luther

Without discussing Luther's prominence in the Reformation it is still possible to understand him as a contributing figure to the Renaissance music of Germany. As a young man he had a fine singing voice which remained with him throughout his adult life. He is known to have played both the flute and the lute and Luther was well versed in the learning of and comprehension of theory. When he visited Rome Luther was able to experience the music of such composers as Senfl and Josquin Luther worked with Walter in formulating a plainchant acceptable within the scope and idioms of the German language and he considered that music should be closely associated with the words of a text particularly since music was one of the special gifts of God. Luther composed many sacred pieces including two four-part polyphonies but his greatest contribution was in a number of hymn melodies which he both composed and arranged. "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" is perhaps his most popular hymn. It was used by Mendelssohn in his own "Symphony No. 5" as an important thematic device (The Reformation Symphony). ~ Keith Johnson

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