Simone Schwark, Johanna Krell, Raimond Fürst, Georg Poplutz, Markus Flaig & Dominik Wörner
Kammerchor Bad Homburg & Johann Rodmüller Ensemble, Arno Paduch & Susanne Rohn
The hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in 1617 was taken as an opportunity to show the strength of the new Protestant churches, and for them to position themselves against the revived strengthening of the Catholic League. So it was also in part for politically motivated reasons, that the Protestant Union called upon all Protestant churches to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the attack of Luther's theses in Wittenberg. Electoral Saxony, the heartland of the Reformation, did not belong to the Union, and saw its claims to leadership challenged by these plans, issuing its own binding instruction for the celebration of the Reformation anniversary.
The only self-contained and completely preserved composition for the Reformation jubilee in 1617 is the six-part 'Gaudium Christianum' by the cantor and pastor Michael Altenburg (1584-1640), which is recorded on this CD for the first time. This sumptuous work, with up to 19 voices, adapts the multiple choir tradition of Northern Italy, and is set for three choirs with voices and various instruments, including trumpets and timpani, which was a novelty for liturgical polyphonic music at the time. This opulence allows the festival music for the Reformation anniversary to appear as a splendid demonstration of the power of the Lutheran Church, which wished to distance itself in this way not only from the Catholic competition but also from the Calvinist reforming tendencies.
The Chamber Choir Bad Homburg, accompanied by the large Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble, has added to the thirty minute work by Michael Altenburg selected Michaelmas motets by Schütz, Scheidt, Franck, Demantius and Johann Christoph Bach.