Sunday, June 4, 2017

Barihunks performing in quincentenary of Reformation

Marco Vassalli (left) and Malte Roesner (right)
Germany will have musical celebrations of Martin Luther's Reformation, which occurred 600 years ago this year. 

One of our favorites will have its world premiere at an open air concert in Tecklenburg in September with additional performances at the Stadtkirche Westerkappeln on October 14th and 15th, and then in Seligenstadt and Aschaffenburg. The concerts will feature barihunks Marco Vassalli and Malte Roesner in a new piece written by composer Thomas Gabriel and librettist Eugen Eckert called "Bruder Martin" (Brother Martin). The two singers will be part of a four soloists backed by orchestra and a massive chorus, which will tell the life story of Martin Luther in an oratorio-style piece. 

Leipzig is in the midst of a month long celebration of the Reformation featuring a number of barihunks. On June 12, Felix Schwandtke will perform music by Johann Rosenmüller at the Nicolaikirsche,  Jochen Kupfer will perform Mendelssohn's Paulus at the Thomaskirsche on June 15th,  and on June 18th, Luca Pisaroni will perform Bach's Mass in B-minor at the Thomaskirsche. The entire program is available here.

Felix Schwandtke
On June 17th, barihunk Roman Trekel will perform the debut of composer Daniel Pacitti and librettist Christian Meißner's new work "Luther Oratorio" under the baton of Helmuth Rilling at the Berliner Dom. 

The Reformation happened when Martin Luther rejected several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the Catholic view on indulgences as he understood it to be, that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his 95 Theses of 1517. Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God.

His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry.  

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