University of Arizona

The Musical Afterlife of the Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther’s love of music is a testament to the central role music played in the Protestant Reformation. But the music of the Reformation has continued to resound well beyond the 16th century. In the 500 years since the 95 Theses, composers have made frequent reference to two of the most notable and enduring tunes from that period in history: “Ein Feste Burg,” or “A Mighty Fortress” from the Lutheran tradition, and “Old Hundredth,” initially associated with Calvinism. This talk explores the Reformation’s musical legacy, with a particular focus on appearances of these two melodies in musical compositions by figures such as J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Claude Debussy, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Presented by Matthew Mugmon, Assistant Professor of Musicology and the Daveen Fox Endowed Chair for Music Studies at the Fred Fox School of Music.

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