publisher colophon
Early Lutheran Hymnals and Other Musical Sources in the Kessler Reformation Collection at Emory University

Emory University was founded in 1836 by the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.1 It is therefore perhaps not the most likely location for a world-class collection of primary sources from the sixteenth-century German Reformation. During the past few decades, however, several factors have contributed to the development of the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection. In 1975, Pitts Theology Library purchased the holdings of the Hartford Theological Seminary—approximately 220,000 volumes, including the Beck Lutherana Collection—and instantly became the second-largest theology library in North America.2 A dozen years later, in 1987, the Kessler Collection was established when Richard and Martha Kessler donated their private collection of Reformation imprints and manuscripts to Emory. Since then, the collection has continued to grow. Thirty years after the Hartford acquisition, it now contains more than 3,200 items.3

The centerpiece of the Kessler Collection is its extensive list of early printed works by Martin Luther, unmatched by any other library in North America. Among the over 900 publications by Luther is a large number of sermons, as well as a copy of the September Testament (Wittenberg, 1522), Luther's translation of the Greek New Testament into German. The remainder of the collection includes books, pamphlets, and manuscripts by Luther's colleagues and opponents; Roman Catholic responses to Luther; and documents such as the first Latin and German editions of the Augsburg Confession. There are substantial numbers of works by Philipp Melanchthon, Desiderius Erasmus, Johann Eck, and [End Page 503] Andreas Rudolff-Bodenstein von Karlstadt. In all cases, the focus is on the pivotal years of the German Reformation, 1500–1570.

Among the holdings of the Kessler Collection are several early Lutheran hymnals and a number of other items containing or pertaining to music. Some of these publications appear not to be held by any other library in North America, and several may not even be held in major European collections. This article provides an overview of the musical materials in the Kessler Collection, with the hope of stimulating more intensive investigations in the future.

Pamphlets Containing One Or More Songs

Lutheran hymns were printed individually before they were gathered together in hymnals. As Joseph Herl points out, "The first Lutheran hymn publications were broadsheets (also called broadsides), single sheets of paper printed on one side, and pamphlets, single gatherings of leaves usually containing only one, two, or three hymns."4 The Kessler Collection currently includes no broadsheets. It does, however, hold four pamphlets, each containing seven or eight printed pages.5

(1) Drey geystliche lieder vom wort | gottes, durch Georg kern | Landtgraff Philips | zu Hessen Ge= | sangmay= | ster. | Der Juppiter verendert geystlich, | durch Hans Sachssen Schüster. | Anno.M.D.XXv — n.p., 1525 — 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1525 Kern6

The earliest of the pamphlets (1525) includes four hymns.7 The first, "O Gott Vater, du hast Gewalt," is by a well-known Reformation figure, Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the famous cobbler and Meistersinger of Nuremberg.8 The wording on the title page ("Der Juppiter verendert geystlich") indicates that this twelve-stanza dialogue between the sinner and Christ is a contrafactum of an earlier secular song.9 It dates from [End Page 504] early in Sachs's career, just two years after his famous didactic poem, "The Wittenberg Nightingale." This probably is the hymn's first appearance in print.10 It later was incorporated into many hymnals, however, including four in the Kessler Collection: numbers (6)–(8), (10) herein.

The other three songs, in contrast, appear nowhere else and were penned by an individual about whom very little is known.11 The title page indicates that Georg Kern served as "singing master" (Gesangmayster) at the court of Philipp, landgrave of Hesse (1504–1567). A remark printed beneath each song mentions that Kern was from Geisenhausen, a town in Bavaria just a few miles southeast of Landshut. Since the first church order for Hesse was drafted just one year after this pamphlet was published, Eduard Emil Koch speculates that Kern's hymns may have helped to accelerate the introduction of the Reformation into this region.12 Beyond this, however, even the venerable Allgemeine deutsche Biographie avers that "nothing else seems to be known about Kern's life."13

(2) Zwey Schön new Geist= | lich lied, aus Göttlicher schrifft, von dem | wüsten wesen der itzigen bösen Welt, zum | schrecken den Gottlosen, vnd zu trost den | Christen, Jm thon, Frisch auff ihr Lands | knecht alle &c. durch M. R. Müntzer. | Das ander, Gott zu bitte[n] | vm[b] vergebung der sünd, vnd vmb stercku[n]g | des glaubens, auch vmb ein seliges end, | Jm thon, wie der 13. Psalm, Herr Gott | wie lang vergissest mein &c. M. R. — Nuremberg: Christoph Gutknecht, n.d. — 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1550 Munt

Even less is known about the author of the second pamphlet. His last name was Müntzer, but he has not yet been identified more specifically. The colophon indicates that it was printed in Nuremberg by Christoph [End Page 505] Gutknecht. No date is given, but Philipp Wackernagel places it around 1550.14 The booklet contains two songs. The first, "Ach Gott, thu dich erbarmen," has twelve stanzas, and the second, "Wer meinen glaub, Gott schöpffer mein," only four. Each also includes a concluding couplet.15 Like the earlier Sachs and Kern documents, this pamphlet has no printed music. Rather, the tunes are indicated by title: "Frisch auff ihr Lands knecht alle" for the first hymn, and "Herr Gott wie lang vergissest mein"—a setting of Psalm 13—for the second.16

(3) Ein vermanlied: | im Lager | zu Werd gemacht, zu singen | inn Pentzenawer odder | Toller weise — n.p., 1546 — 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1546 Verm

The other two pamphlets each contain just a single song. The first, "Wolauff jhr Deudsche Christen," is a "soldier's song" (Vermanlied) that runs to nineteen stanzas and was published in 1546 (see fig. 1).17 It is not a hymn but rather a pro-Lutheran call to arms: an exhortation to fight for God's honor and against the pope, king, emperor, and others who were considered to be worldly representatives of the devil.18 The pamphlet's title indicates that it could be sung to either of two popular melodies: "zu singen inn Pentzenawer odder Toller weise."19 In addition, music for a third melody is printed at the beginning (see fig. 2).20

The title of the "soldier's song" states that it was "written in the encampment at Werd" (im Lager zu Werd gemacht). The historical and cultural context of this place opens a fascinating and rich field of inquiry outside the mainstream of sixteenth-century German popular song. Werd is a small village whose population has ranged between 500 and 700 inhabitants over the past few centuries. It is located not in Germany but in the area of present-day Romania known as Transylvania, a mile or two southwest of Agnita, on the Altbach, a tributary of the Harbach River. Werd was a settlement of the Transylvanian Saxons, Germanic people who migrated east beginning in the twelfth century. The village is [End Page 506]

 Title page of Ein vermanlied (n.p., 1546)
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Figure 1
Title page of Ein vermanlied (n.p., 1546)

first documented in the early 1300s, and its church was built in the fifteenth century.21 [End Page 507]

 First stanza of Ein vermanlied (n.p., 1546)
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Figure 2
First stanza of Ein vermanlied (n.p., 1546)

Luther's writings began circulating in the 1520s among the German-speaking population of Transylvania. In 1543 Transylvania's leading reformer, Johannes Honter (1498–1549), published Formula reformationis ecclesiae Coronensis ac Barcensis provinciae. This important document "abolished [End Page 508] the Mass and other liturgical practices and replaced them with an evangelical service that included Communion in both kinds, Matins, and Vespers."22 Over the next few years, Honter and Valentin Wagner (ca. 1510–1557) helped to prepare a new church order for the Transylvanian Saxons, Reformatio Ecclesiarum Saxonicarum in Transylvania (translated into German as Kirchenordnung aller Deutschen in Sybembürgen), which marked the official introduction of the Reformation among these people.23 It was approved in 1547, just one year after the "soldier's song" was published. Because the "soldier's song" appeared around the time of the Schmalkald War (1546–47) and includes a woodcut of a war scene, it has been viewed as a religious and artistic response to that particular conflict. Future interpretations will have to take into account, however, its origins among the newly-reformed Transylvanian Saxons.

(4) Klag lied: | Deren von Magdebürgk, zu Gott vnd | allen frommen Christen. Jm thon | des Zwelfften Psalms: Ach Gott | vom Hymel sihe darein, Vnd | las dich das erbarmen — n.p., 1551 — 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1551 Klag

The last pamphlet contains a "song of lamentation" (Klaglied) and a plea for God's help, "Gantz elendt schreien Herr zu dir."24 As the title of the publication indicates, it is addressed sometimes "to God" (stanzas 1–3, 16–18) and sometimes to "all devout Christians" (stanzas 4–15, 19–24). The text is an acrostic: the first letters of the stanzas spell out the slogan "Gottes Wort bleibt ewiglich" (God's Word endures forever). The body of the song is followed by Christ's reply—an additional stanza whose prosody is different from the others—then a very specific date: "Am 8 Augusti, Anno 1551 &c." The place of publication is not given, but one assumes that it was Magdeburg. Not only does the name of this city appear in the title, but at the bottom of the title page there is a ten-line poem whose first letters spell out the word "Magdeburgk." Moreover, Magdeburg had [End Page 509] become a focal point of Lutheran resistance in the religious wars at mid-century; it was, in fact, under siege in 1550–51.25

Stanza 19 laments that over 20,000 men had shed their blood ("mehr dan[n] Zweyntzigk tausent Man, | Vergossen han jhr Blüdte"). Similarly, stanza 21 claims that more than 80,000 had suffered in one way or another ("Viel mehr dan[n] Achtzigk tausent Seel, | Die leiden Hertzlich angst vnd queel"). Though the publication has no music, its title indicates that the song should be sung to the melody of Luther's paraphrase of Psalm 12, "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein."26


(5) Etlich Cristlich lider | Lobgesang, vn[d] Psalm, dem rai= | nen wort Gottes gemeß, auß der | heylige[n] schrifft, durch mancher= | ley hochgelerter gemacht, in der | Kirchen zü singen, wie es dann | zum tayl berayt zü Wittenberg | in übung ist. | wittenberg. | M.D.Xiiij — [Nuremberg: Jobst Gutknecht, 1524] — 12 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1524 Etli

The first of the five hymnals in the Kessler Collection is a copy of the so-called Achtliederbuch, generally regarded as the earliest hymnbook of the Reformation. Of the eight hymns, four are by Luther, three by his associate Paul Speratus (1484–1551), and one is anonymous. Music is provided for five of the songs, but two of the melodies are identical, and a heading indicates that this same tune was to be used for two other hymns as well ("Die drey nachfolgenden Psalm. | singt man in disem thon"). The three songs by Speratus include lists of the biblical passages upon which they are based.

The literature on the Achtliederbuch describes three versions of this publication, which differ from one another in minute details.27 It has long been known that they were printed in Nuremberg by Jobst Gutknecht, despite the fact that "Wittenberg" is given as the place of publication. The date also is incorrect in many of the exemplars (including the one in the Kessler Collection): the Roman numeral should have another "X" (1524 instead of 1514). [End Page 510]

Emory's Achtliederbuch is a unique copy of a fourth version, a variant corrected printing of the first edition. The woodcut border at the top of the title page matches Ala1 in the Weimar edition of Luther's works (Benzing, no. 3571) rather than Ala2 (Benzing, no. 3572). On the other hand, a typographical error in a date ("1523") at the top of page A2b in Ala1 is corrected in the Kessler copy. It appears then that the Achtliederbuch in the Kessler Collection fits between Ala1 and Ala2 . Moreover, it matches the description of Benzing's missing "Variante 2" of no. 3571.28

(6) Enchiridi= | on Geistliker | leder vnde Psalmen, | vppet nye gecorri= | geret. | Sampt der Vesper | Complet, Metten | vnde Missen — Magdeburg: Michael Lotther, 1536 — 109 numbered leaves, 3 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1536 Ench

By present-day standards, it may seem odd to refer to a publication with a relatively small number of songs, such as the Achtliederbuch, as a "hymnal." The term most certainly is appropriate, however, for the Magdeburg Enchiridion, which contains seventy-five hymns, plus orders of worship for Vespers, Compline, Matins, and the Mass. One-third of the songs are by Luther, and another dozen by members of his circle. The rest are an eclectic collection, "written by pious men in places other than Wittenberg"—that is, in cities such as Nuremberg, Strasbourg, Breslau, Basel, and even distant Riga. Thirty-one of the hymns in the main part of the book, plus the Te Deum in the Matins service, have printed music.

The Enchiridion is one of the earliest hymnals printed in Magdeburg, the first major free city in North Germany to adopt the ideas of the Reformers and among the first to accept the Augsburg Confession. This little book also is one of the few remaining Low German hymnals dating from Luther's lifetime. It was published ten years before his death, and no other copies are known to have survived. Low German was the spoken and written language of North Germany until the first half of the seventeenth century. Writings and songs of the Reformation were translated into Low German and began appearing as early as 1525. In addition to the printed material, the Enchiridion contains four handwritten hymns in its endpapers—in a dialect of Low German that can be traced to the northwest corner of Germany, near the Dutch border. These songs apparently were entered by an early owner of the book, probably within a decade after it was published, to supplement the printed repertory. They include Luther's "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" of 1541; [End Page 511] "Nun lob, mein Seele, den Herren," a metrical version of Psalm 103 by Johannes Gramann of Königsberg; "Ich danck dir, liebe Herre," a morning song by Johannes Kohlross, pastor in Basel; and "Herr Gott, der du erforschest mich," a metrical version of Psalm 139 by Heinrich Vogther.29

(7) Geistliche Lie | der Zu Wit= | temberg, | Anno 1543 — Wittenberg: Joseph Klug, 1544 — 198 leaves, most numbered — shelf mark 1544 Luth I

The next two items—numbers (7) and (8/9)—both are editions of important hymnals that preserve the Wittenberg repertory of congregational song. Robin A. Leaver provides the following concise summary:

The first collection that Luther prepared specifically for congregational use in Wittenberg was the Geistliche Lieder, printed by Joseph Klug in 1529.... [T]he 1529 Wittenberg hymnal was carefully planned and followed closely the structure of the church year. The Wittenberg hymnal was reissued in enlarged and revised forms during the remainder of Luther's life: later known editions appeared in 1533, 1535, 1543, 1544 (three times), and 1545. The beautiful edition published by Valentin Bapst, Geystlicher Lieder (Leipzig, 1545), was effectively a later edition of the "Wittenberg" hymnal, the last to be overseen by Luther.30

The title page of Emory's copy of the Klug hymnal has the year 1543, but the colophon indicates that it was printed the following year ("Gedruckt zu Wittemberg, Durch Joseph Klug, Anno M. D. XLiiij"). No copy of the original 1529 edition has been preserved, and we have only one surviving exemplar for each of the 1533 and 1535 editions. The volume in the Kessler Collection is, therefore, one of just a few remaining copies that were published during Luther's lifetime.31

Though the scope of this article does not permit detailed comparison of the 1543/44 and 1533 editions, it is worth noting that the differences are considerable. On the one hand, many items appear in the later edition that were not present a decade earlier. On the other hand, quite a few items in the former edition subsequently were either altered or omitted [End Page 512] altogether. Thoughtful analysis of the similarities and differences between the editions of Klug's hymnal would surely yield important clues about the development of hymnody, liturgy, and doctrine in the early decades of the German Reformation.

(8) Geystliche | Lieder. | Mit einer newen Vorrede, | D. M. Luth. | ... Leipzig — Leipzig: Valentin Babst, 1567 — 200 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1567 Geys:1

(9) Psalmen vnd | Geistliche lieder, welche | von frommen Christen | gemacht vnd zusamen | gelesen sind. | Auffs newe vbersehen, | gebessert vnd ge= | mehret. | Leipzig. | M. D. LXVII — Leipzig: Valentin Babst, 1567 — 144 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1567 Geys:2

The hymnal published in Leipzig by Valentin Babst was, for all intents and purposes, a later version of Klug's hymnal. The content of part one of the original 1545 printing of Babst is similar to the 1543 edition of Klug.32 The first part of Emory's 1567 copy of Babst (no. 8), in turn, is virtually identical to the first edition. It runs to 199 unnumbered leaves containing eighty-nine songs, ordered with Roman numerals, and it includes elaborate metal-engraved borders on each page as well as numerous large engravings illustrating Biblical themes (see fig. 3). Part two—number (9)—is bound together with part one but has its own title page, and the numbering of the songs starts over with Roman numeral I. Unlike part one, it is quite different from the first edition. The quantity of hymns is greatly expanded—from forty to seventy—and the original songs are reordered. As with Klug's hymnal, careful examination of these differences would doubtless be fruitful.33 The vast majority of songs in both parts have music.

Emory's copy of Babst's hymnal contains signatures and dates in the hand of several former owners: "Hinrich Burmester" (1731), "Johann Christoph Schmügel" (1758), and "Hermann Laut Heinrich Nobbe" (1853). Schmügel (1727–1798) was a student of Georg Philipp Telemann in Hamburg, who subsequently served as organist at St. John's in Lüneburg (1758–1766) and as organist (1766–1784) and Kantor (1784–1798) at St. Nicholas's in Mölln.34 The book also has a stamp indicating that it [End Page 513]

 Title page of part one of 1567 edition of Babst hymnal, Geystliche Lieder (Leipzig: Valentin Babst, 1567)
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Figure 3
Title page of part one of 1567 edition of Babst hymnal, Geystliche Lieder (Leipzig: Valentin Babst, 1567)

once belonged to the manor library in the Thuringian village of Niedertopfstedt, about twenty-five miles northeast of Erfurt.

(10) Kirche[n] | Gesäng, Aus dem | Wittenbergischen, vnd allen an= | dern den besten Gesangbüchern, so biß an | hero hin vnd wider außgangen, colligirt vnd ge= | samlet, Jn eine feine, richtige vnd gute Ordnung gebracht, vnd | auffs fleißigest, vnd nach den besten exemplaren, | corrigiret vnd gebessert | Fürnemlich de[n] Pfarherrn, Schulmeistern | vnd Cantoribus, so sich mit jren Kirchen zu der Christ= | lichen Augspurgischen Confession bekennen, vnd bey | denselben den Chor mit singen, regieren vnd | versorgen müssen, zu dienst vnd | zum besten. | M. D. LXIX — Frankfurt am Main: Johann Wolff, 1569 — 4 unnumbered leaves, 353 numbered leaves, 7 unnumbered leaves, plus 24 additional leaves with manuscript material — shelf mark 1569 Kirc

The most recent songbook in the Kessler Collection is a huge volume titled Kirchen Gesäng, which was published in Frankfurt in 1569 (see fig. 4). Containing about 400 hymns (roughly half with music)—including songs of the Bohemian Brethren, and psalm settings by Johann Magdeburg (ca. 1520–1565), Nicolaus Herman (1500–1561), and Burkhard Waldis (ca. 1490–ca. 1557), as well as the standard repertory by Luther and his circle—this collection is effectively a summation of the first great epoch of Protestant church music. It was the subject of a detailed study by Oswald Bill, which appeared in 1969.35

Emory's copy includes two handwritten inscriptions, in Latin and German, that provide valuable clues about its provenance. Both are found inside the front cover, and they affirm the same things, though the German provides more details. It states that on 24 May 1587—eighteen years after the book was published—"Herr Karl vonn Lichtenstein" gave it to the choir of the church at "Felsburg."

The princely house of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest noble families still in existence, dating back to the twelfth century, and now in its twenty-fifth recorded generation.36 Karl (1569–1627) was the most important member of the house of Liechtenstein. Among his many honors, [End Page 515]

 Title page of Kirchen Gesäng (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Wolff, 1569)
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Figure 4
Title page of Kirchen Gesäng (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Wolff, 1569)

he held the highest office at the imperial court of Rudolph II, and in 1608 he was elevated to the rank of hereditary prince. Feldsberg was the family estate where Karl was born. It is located on the southern border of the Czech Republic, near the corner where Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic meet, and it is known today as Valtice. Karl von Liechtenstein is a fascinating figure—not least because he was raised as a Protestant, and even attended a Bohemian Brethren school, but converted to Roman Catholicism in 1599 at age thirty.37

Knowledge of Karl von Liechtenstein's religious proclivities may help to explain why this large book—which transmits the cream of the Lutheran and Bohemian Brethren traditions—also includes forty-five pages of added manuscript material at the end, mostly in Latin. We may never know, however, how a music book that Karl gave to the church of his family estate when he was eighteen years old made its way into the hands of William Salloch, a rare-book dealer in Ossining, New York, from whom it was purchased for the Kessler Collection.


(11) Ein weyse Christ= | lich Mess zu hal= | ten vnd zum tisch | Gottes zu gehen. | Martinus Luther. | Wyttemberg. | M. D. xxiiij — Wittenberg: n.p., 1524 — 18 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1524 Luth BBB

(12) Ein weyse Christ | lich Mess zuhal= | ten vn[d] zum tisch | Gottis zu gehen. | Martinus Luther. | Wyttemberg. | M. D. xxiiii — Wittenberg: n.p., 1524 — 19 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1524 Luth U

The next group of documents is orders of worship for church services. Numbers (11) and (12) are copies of Paul Speratus's German translation of Luther's Formula Missae et Communionis pro Ecclesia Vuittembergensi (Form of Mass and Communion for the Church at Wittenberg). This important treatise was "Luther's first attempt to describe an evangelical mass in its entirety."38 It was drafted at the behest of Luther's friend Nicolaus Hausmann, pastor at St. Mary's in Zwickau, and published first in Latin in December 1523, then in German the next month.39 At the end of the first printing of the first German edition (no. 11, see fig. 5) are the words of the hymn "Fröhlich wollen wir Halleluja singen" by [End Page 517]

 Title page of first edition of Ein weyse Christlich Mess zu halten (Wittenberg: n.p., 1524)
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Figure 5
Title page of first edition of Ein weyse Christlich Mess zu halten (Wittenberg: n.p., 1524)

Johann Agricola (1494?–1566).40 Similarly, an appendix to a subsequent printing—number (12)—includes both Agricola's hymn and one by Luther: the first appearance of "Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein."41

(13) Deutsche | Messe vnd Ordnu[n]g | Gotes diensts, zü Wit= | temberg, fürge= | nom[m]en. | M. D. XXVI — n.p., 1526 — 26 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1526 Luth R

The Kessler Collection includes a copy of Luther's German Mass and Order of Service, a very important publication in which the reformer sets forth his ideas about public worship, especially the main service on Sundays. Most of the printed music in the volume is chant: formulas for intoning the opening psalm, the Epistle, and the Gospel; the Kyrie; and the Words of Institution. Also included is Luther's metrical version of the German Sanctus, "Jesaja, dem Propheten, das geschah."42 After the Deutsche Messe appeared in Wittenberg early in 1526, it quickly was reprinted in several other cities. Emory's copy was published in Augsburg, just four years before the diet that led to the formulation of the Augsburg Confession (see fig. 6).43

(14) Teütsche | Letaney, vmb | alles anligen der | Cristenlichen | gemayn — n.p.: Jobst Gutknecht, n.d. — 8 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1529 Luth

The Kessler Collection also holds a rare copy of the German Litany of 1529, Luther's adaptation of the Roman Litany of All Saints.44 Appended at the end of this lengthy liturgical chant is Luther's hymn "Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich," his German translation of the antiphon "Da pacem Domine."45

(15) Ordnu[n]g des | Herren Nachtmal: so | man die messz nennet, sampt der | Tauff vn[d] Jnseg[n]u[n]g der Ee, Wie | yetzt die diener des wort gots zü | Straßburg, Erneüwert, vnd | nach götlicher gschrifft gebes= | sert habe[n] vß vrsach jn nach= | gender Epistel | gemeldet. | M D. xxv — n.p., 1525 — 24 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1525 Ordn [End Page 519]

 Title page of Augsburg edition, Martin Luther, Deutsche Messe (n.p., 1526)
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Figure 6
Title page of Augsburg edition, Martin Luther, Deutsche Messe (n.p., 1526)
[End Page 520]

This booklet contains orders of service for the Mass, and for the ceremonies of marriage and baptism, as they were practiced in the city of Strasbourg (see fig. 7).46 Its rich cache of liturgical data offers the opportunity for comparison of Strasbourg's distinctive traditions with the central practices of Wittenberg. The Strasbourg liturgy includes four hymns with music. In addition to Luther's versions of Psalm 130 ("Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir") and Psalm 67 ("Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein"), there are settings of Psalm 13 ("Ach Gott, wie lang vergissest mein") by Matthäus Greiter, cantor of Strasbourg Cathedral, and of Psalm 3 ("Ach Herr, wie sind meinr sünd [sic] so vil") by Ludwig Oeler, another local figure.47

Church Orders

The church orders in the Kessler Collection vary greatly in size and scope, from about 40 pages to over 600. The earliest was printed in 1531, while others appeared as late as the 1560s. These publications document the introduction of the Reformation into many different regions of Germany, and into cities as well as larger territories. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation explains that

as the Reformation was officially adopted by princes for their territories and by city councils, it had to be regulated by church orders (Kirchenordnungen). These documents addressed matters of church polity, administration, congregational life, charitable institutions, schools, the calendar, and worship, and therefore effected a "revolution" in social life.48

Although the church orders contain an enormous amount of information concerning matters of liturgical practice, the quantity of printed music in them is relatively small. Typically, it is limited to formulas for chanting portions of the Mass such as the Lord's Prayer, the Words of Institution, the Agnus Dei, and the Nicene Creed.49

In most cases, the Kessler Collection holds two or three different versions of a particular church order. It therefore can serve as a valuable [End Page 521]

 Title page of Strasbourg liturgy, Ordnung des Herren Nachtmal (n.p., 1525)
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Figure 7
Title page of Strasbourg liturgy, Ordnung des Herren Nachtmal (n.p., 1525)

resource for studying the development of liturgy, as well as other aspects of church life, in the early years of the German Reformation.

(16) Der Erbarn | Stadt Braunschwyg | Christenliche Ordenung, zu | dienst dem heiligen Euange= | lio, Christlicher lieb, zucht, fri | de vnd eynigkeit, Auch darun | ter vil Christlicher lere | für die Bürger, | Durch Joan[n]. Bugenhagen | Pomer beschriben. 1531 — Nuremberg: Friedrich Peypus, 1531 — 130 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1531 Buge

(17) Der Erbarn Stadt | Braunschweig Christliche Orde= | nung, zu dienst dem heiligen Euangelio, Christ= | licher lieb, zucht, friede vnd einigkeit, | Auch darunter viel Christli= | cher lehre für die | Bürger. | Durch Johan. Bugenhagen | Pomer beschrieben. | M. D. XXXI — n.p., 1563 — 184 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1563 Buge

Number (16) is the first High-German printing of the church order for the city of Braunschweig (see fig. 8). It originally was drafted in Low German in 1528 by Johannes Bugenhagen (1485–1558), who also produced similar documents for Hamburg (1529) and Lübeck (1531).50 Number (17) is a revised reprint.51

(18) Kirchen Ordnung, Jn | meiner gnedigen herrn der Marggra= | uen zu Brandenburg, vnd eins Er= | bern Rats der Stat Nürmberg | Oberkeyt vnd gepieten, Wie | man sich bayde mit der | Leer vnd Ceremo= | nien halten solle. | M. D. XXXIII — Nuremberg: Christoph Gutknecht, 1533 — 2 unnumbered leaves, 57 numbered leaves, 1 unnumbered leaf — shelf mark 1533 Kirc:1

(19) Kirchen Ordnung In | meiner gnedigen Herrn der Marg= | grauen zu Brandenburg, Vnd eins Erbarn Raths | der Stadt Nürmberg Oberkeyt vnd Gebie= | ten, wie man sich bayde mit der Lehr | vnd Ceremonien hal= | ten solle. | Auffs new yetzo, dem alten Exemplar nach, mit | sonderm fleiß widerumb gedruckt. | Zu Nürnberg, bey Chri= | stoff Heussler. | 1564 — Nuremberg: Christoph Heussler, 1564 — 2 unnumbered leaves, 57 numbered leaves, 1 unnumbered leaf — shelf mark 1564 Evan:1

This document was drafted in 1529 by a group of theologians under the supervision of Andreas Osiander (1496?–1552) for use in the territories of Brandenburg-Nuremberg. It was put into effect in the city of Nuremberg on 1 January 1533 and in rural areas on 9 February. It subsequently became a model for other church orders, including number (22).52 Number (19) is a later edition.53

(20) Kirchen= | ordnunge zum an= | fang, fur die Pfarher in | Hertzog Hein | richs zu Sach | sen v. g. h. Fürsten= | thumb. | M. D. XXXIX — Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1539 — 22 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1539 Kirc [End Page 523]

 Title page of first High-German printing of church order for Braunschweig, Johannes Bugenhagen, Der Erbarn Stadt Braunschwyg Christenliche Ordenung (Nuremberg: Friedrich Peypus, 1531)
Click for larger view
Figure 8
Title page of first High-German printing of church order for Braunschweig, Johannes Bugenhagen, Der Erbarn Stadt Braunschwyg Christenliche Ordenung (Nuremberg: Friedrich Peypus, 1531)

(21) AGENDA, | Das ist, | Kyrchenordnung, wie | sich die Pfarrherrn vnd Seelsorger in | jren Ampten vn[d] diensten halten sollen, | Fur die Diener der Kyrchen in | Hertzog Heinrichen | zu Sachssen V. G. H. | Fürstenthumb | gestel=| let. | Gedruckt zu Leipzig, | durch | Nicolaum Wolrab. | M. D. XL — Leipzig: Nikolaus Wolrab, 1540 — 6 unnumbered leaves, 64 numbered leaves, 2 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1540 Agen:1 [End Page 524]

Numbers (20) and (21) are the first and third editions, respectively, of the church order for Albertine Saxony (see fig. 9).54 It was drafted by Justus Jonas (1493–1555) and other reformers, in connection with the introduction of the Reformation into this region (which included northern Thuringia, Leipzig, Meissen, and Dresden) by Duke Henry (1473–1541).

(22) Kirchenord= | nung, wie es inn des durch= | leuchtigen hochgebornen Fursten vnnd Herrn, | Herrn Albrechts des Jungern Marggrauen zu | Brandenburgs, zu Preussen, zu Stettin, Pomern, der Cassuben | vnd Wenden, auch in Schlesien zu Oppeln vnd Ratibarn etc. | Hertzogs, Burggrauens zu Nurmberg, vnnd Für= | stens zu Rugen, Fürstenthumb, Landt, Obrig | keit vnd gebiet, mit der lehr vnd Ceremoni= | en bis auff vernere Christliche ver= | gleichung gehalten werden sol. | Gedruckt zu Leipzig | durch Wolff Günter. | M. D. LII — Leipzig: Wolff Günter, 1552 — 2 unnumbered leaves, 57 numbered leaves, 1 unnumbered leaf — shelf mark 1552 Evan

This is the third church order for Prussia (after those of 1525 and 1544). It was introduced under Albert, margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and duke of Prussia (1490–1568), and is a reprint of the 1533 Brandenburg-Nuremberg church order—number (18)—which has been characterized as "perhaps the single most influential and widely copied work of its kind during the Reformation."55

(23) Kirchenordnung: | Wie es mit Christlich= | er Lere, reichung der Sacra= | ment, Ordination der Diener des Euan= | gelij, ordenlichen Ceremonien, in den | Kirchen, Visitation, Consistorio | vnd Schulen, | Jm Hertzogthumb | zu Meckelnburg etc. ge= | halten wird. | Witteberg. | Gedruckt durch Hans Lufft. | 1552 — Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1552 — 136 numbered leaves — shelf mark 1552 Kirc

(24) Kirchenordnung: | Wie es mit Christlich= | er Lere, reichung der Sacra= | ment, Ordination der Diener des Euan= | gelij, ordenlichen Ceremonien, in den | Kirchen, Visitation, Consisto= | rio vnd Schulen, | Jm | Hertzogthumb zu | Meckelnburg etc. gehal= | ten wird. | Witteberg. | Gedruckt durch Hans Lufft. | 1554 — Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1554 — 144 numbered leaves — shelf mark 1554 Evan

These are two early editions of a church order for the duchy of Mecklenburg, which was commissioned by Johann Albrecht, duke of Mecklenburg- Schwerin (1525–1576).56 Johannes Aurifaber (1519?–1575), who had served as Luther's personal attendant during his last year (1545–46), [End Page 525]

 Title page of first edition of church order for Albertine Saxony, Justus Jonas, et al., Kirchenordnunge (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1539)
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Figure 9
Title page of first edition of church order for Albertine Saxony, Justus Jonas, et al., Kirchenordnunge (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1539)
[End Page 526]

helped to draft it, and editorial assistance was provided by Philipp Melanchthon.

(25) Kirchen Ordnung | Wie es mit der Reynen Lehr des Euan= | gelij, Administration der heyligen Sacrament, Anneh= | mung, verhörung, vnd bestetigung der Priester, Ordent= | lichen Ceremonien in den Kirchen, Visitation vnd | Synodis, in der Herrschafft Waldeck gehal= | ten werden soll. Anno Domini 1556. | Mense Martio auffgericht — Marburg: Andres Colben, 1557 — 68 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1557 Evan

This church order was written by a team of theologians in 1556 and issued the next year by the counts of Waldeck, a principality about twenty miles southwest of Kassel, for use in their territories.57

(26) Kirchenordnung: | Wie es mit Christlicher Lere, reichung | der Sacrament, Ordination der Diener des | Euangelij, Ordentlichen Ceremo= | nien, Visitation, Consisto= | rio vnd Schulen, | Jm Hertzogthumb Lünenburg gehal= | ten wird. | Wittemberg. 1564 — Wittenberg: Georgen Rhawen Erben, 1564 — 95 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1564 Brau

This is the first church order for the principality of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. It was commissioned by Dukes Henry and William.58

(27) Kirchenordnung | Vnnser, von | Gottes Genaden, | Julij, Hertzogen zu | Braunschweig vnd Lüneburg, &c. Wie | es mit Lehr vnd Ceremonien vnsers Fürsten= | thumbs Braunschweig, Wolffenbütlischen Theils, | Auch derselben Kirchen anhangenden sachen vnd ver= | richtungen, hinfurt (vermittelst Göttlicher | Gnaden) gehalten werden sol. | Gedruckt zu Wolffenbüttel, | durch Cunrad Horn. | M. D. LXIX — Wolfenbüttel: Cunrad Horn, 1569 — 64 unnumbered leaves, 448 pages (numbered 1–442, with many errors), 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1569 Brau

(28) Kirchenordnung | Vnnser, von | Gottes Genaden, | Julij Hertzogen zu | Braunschweig vnd Lüneburg, etc. | Wie es mit Lehr vnd Ceremonien vnsers Für= | stenthumbs Braunschweig, Wulffenbütlischen | Theils, Auch derselben Kirchen anhangenden | sachen vnd verrichtungen, hinfurt | (vermittelst Göttlicher Gna= | den) gehalten wer= | den sol. | Gedruckt zu Wulffenbüttel, | durch Cunradt Horn. | M. D. LXIX — Wolfenbüttel: Cunrad Horn, 1569 — 68 unnumbered leaves, 456 pages (numbered 1–451, with many errors), 4 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1569 Brau A [End Page 527]

Numbers (27) and (28) are two printings of the massive church order commissioned by Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel to introduce the Reformation in his lands.59 It was written by Martin Chemnitz (1522–1586), superintendent of the churches in the city of Braunschweig, and Jakob Andreae (1528–1590), professor of theology at the University of Tübingen.60

(29) Agend | Büchlein | für die Pfar= | Herren auff | dem Land — Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg and Ulrich Neuber, 1543 — 88 printed, unnumbered leaves, plus 13 additional leaves with manuscript material sewn in — shelf mark 1543 Diet

(30) Agend | Büchlein für die | Pfarrherrn auff | dem Land. Durch | Vitum Dietrich. | M. D. XLV — Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg and Ulrich Neuber, 1545 — 124 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1545 Diet B

(31) Agend | Büchlein, für die | Pfarrherren auff dem Land. | Durch: | M. Vitum Dietrich. | Gedruckt zu Nürnberg, durch Vlrich | Newber. | M. D. LXIX — Nuremberg: Ulrich Neuber, 1569 — 121 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1569 Diet

The Kessler Collection holds the first (1543), fourth (1545), and fifth (1569) editions of the handbook for rural clergy by Veit Dietrich (1506– 1549), pastor of St. Sebaldus in Nuremberg.61 The 1545 and 1569 versions (see figs. 10 and 11) include not only the usual liturgical chants but also the song "Als Jesus Christus vnser Herr"62 by Sebald Heyden (1499– 1561), rector of the St. Sebaldus school and author of the important theoretical treatise De arte canendi (1540),63 as well as the German Litany.

Other Sources

(32) Die letzste[n] drey | Psalmen von Orgelen, | Paucke[n], Glocken vnd | der gleychen eüsserlichen Gotß | dienst, ob vnd wie Got dar | ynnen gelobt wyrdt, Ver | deütscht durch Wen= | tzeßlaum Linck Ec= | clesiasten zü Alden | burgk. | M D.XXIII. | Zwickaw — Zwickau: Jörg Gastel, 1523 — 12 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1523 Linc B

This pamphlet contains a German translation and exegesis of Psalms 148–50 by Wenceslaus Linck (1483–1547), a friend of Luther and leader [End Page 528]

 Title page of fourth edition of Veit Dietrich, Agend Büchlein für die Pfarrherrn auff dem Land (Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg and Ulrich Neuber, 1545)
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Figure 10
Title page of fourth edition of Veit Dietrich, Agend Büchlein für die Pfarrherrn auff dem Land (Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg and Ulrich Neuber, 1545)
[End Page 529]
 Title page of fifth edition of Veit Dietrich, Agend Büchlein für die Pfarrherren auff dem Land (Nuremberg: Ulrich Neuber, 1569)
Click for larger view
Figure 11
Title page of fifth edition of Veit Dietrich, Agend Büchlein für die Pfarrherren auff dem Land (Nuremberg: Ulrich Neuber, 1569)
[End Page 530]

in the Lutheran church during the first half of the sixteenth century (see fig. 12). He served as preacher in the Thuringian city of Altenburg (1522–24) and in Nuremberg (1525–47). The treatise on Die letzsten drey Psalmen dates from Linck's tenure in Altenburg.64 It was published in Zwickau, about twenty miles south of Altenburg.65

(33) Ain kurtzer be | griff vnd innhalt der gantzen | Bibel, in drew Lieder zü singen | gestellt, durch Joachim | Aberlin. | M. D. XXXIIII — n.p., 1534 — 48 unnumbered leaves — shelf mark 1534 Aber

This pedagogical work by Joachim Aberlin condenses the entire content of the Bible into three very long songs. The Old Testament is summarized in 132 stanzas, the psalter in 50, and the New Testament in 45.66 Each song is preceded by several musical options—a melody in musical notation, followed by a list of song titles—with the indication that it may be sung to any of these tunes.67 The songs also are acrostics. The first letter of each stanza of the Old Testament song spells out a biographical sketch:

Joachim Aberlin auß dem dorf Garmenschwiler, zwischen dem vrsprung der Dünaw vnnd dem Bodense (in ainer gegne die haißt das Madach) gelegen, sang es also am Jstro. (Joachim Aberlin, from the village of Garmenschwiler, located between the source of the Danube and Lake Constance [in a region called the Madach]; it therefore was sung on the Istro.)

For the psalter, the hidden message reads: "Wol allen denen die auff Gott den Herren jr vertrauwen haben" [Happy are all those who put their trust in God the Lord]. The acrostic for the New Testament quotes 1 Timothy 2:5, in Latin—"Vnus Deus vnus etiam conciliator Dei et hominum homo Christus Iesus" [There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus]—but it is incomplete, ending with the "C" in "Christus." The project is pervaded with the work of an educator, and Aberlin did indeed spend the bulk of his career as schoolmaster and pastor in the towns of Lauingen, Göppingen, Heiningen, and Fortschweier.68 [End Page 531]

 Title page of fifth edition of Veit Dietrich, Agend Büchlein für die Pfarrherren auff dem Land (Nuremberg: Ulrich Neuber, 1569)
Click for larger view
Figure 12
Title page of Wenceslaus Linck, Die letzsten drey Psalmen (Zwickau: Jörg Gastel, 1523)

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