Reformation 500 - the changing face of Church Music in Germany and England

Sunday 19 November 2017

Reformation 500 - the changing face of Church Music in Germany and England

19 November, 2017 - 19:30 University Church

This term the Cherwell Singers marks the 500th anniversary of the publication in 1517 of the 95 theses by Martin Luther that is popularly considered to have marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

For church music the Protestant imperative to attend more to text in general, and scripture in particular, as well as greater focus on the human spirit and body, resulted in great change. Some argue Protestantism inaugurated a culture of greater listening, as well as participation through the congregational psalm and hymn singing in the vernacular.

In the first half of our concert we explore the response of some of the German composers to these changes, including two works by Schutz who was the leading Lutheran composer of the seventeenth century, as well as JS Bach with whom the Lutheran tradition reached its peak.

In the second half the response of the English composers is shown, with works by William Byrd, who was perhaps most famously caught up in the religious turmoil of the day, as well as Thomas Tallis, John Sheppard and William Mundy.

The organist will be Benjamin Bloor who will play organ music from the Reformation by Buxtehude and Byrd on the Metzler organ of the University Church. The University Church played an important role in the history of the Reformation as the setting of the trial of the Oxford martyrs, so provides an apt historical setting. Do join us for this evening to mark this important moment in musical and religious history.

Directed by: James Brown