Concordia Publishing House has produced what is believed to be the most comprehensive collection in English of the hymns, ballads and chants composed or authored by Martin Luther.
“Martin Luther — Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth” includes 39 tracks and is a one-of-a-kind resource, according to Rev. Paul T. McCain, CPH interim president/CEO.
“We realized that nobody has ever before published a comprehensive recording of all of Martin Luther’s hymns, ballads and chants in English, and so we thought it would be a great blessing to the church to have these treasures all together in one collection,” McCain told Reporter.
The four-CD set, which took four months to complete, features professional vocalists and musicians playing period instruments. Most of the organ music in the collection is performed by Rev. David Johnson, CPH’s director of music and worship resources. Johnson, who served as the project’s developer, executive producer and conductor, deserves much of the credit for its completion, according to McCain.
“This is not simply a relatively boring verse-by-verse singing of the hymns,” said McCain. “Each presentation is masterfully presented with careful instrumental work, some of it original for the recording.”
The “intense, consuming” project included research, consultations, searches for musicians specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music, and numerous recording sessions in which the various instruments — and voices — were layered and mastered, according to Johnson.
“Although many projects include some of Luther’s hymns, this is the first comprehensive set — and one that integrates English translations, and even quotes from Martin Luther concerning worship, music and liturgy,” he said.
“So much of our theology is vitally expressed in music — it is the vehicle through which divine truths are put on the lips of the people,” Johnson added. “Luther embodied Scripture, doctrine and theology in music constantly directing people toward Christ.”
The set includes a 64-page booklet with words to each hymn and historical information.
Now through year’s end, CPH is offering “Martin Luther — Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth” at a discount. Regularly $44.95, each set is available for $30, plus shipping, when three or more are purchased by Dec. 31.
To view the booklet, or listen to audio samples of each track, go to www.luther.cph.org/hymns on the Web. To order (item no. 99-1726), contact CPH at (800) 325-3040 or visit the Web site above.
Posted Nov. 2, 2004