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The Music of the Moravian Church in America

The Music of the Moravian Church in America

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 372
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  • Book Info
    The Music of the Moravian Church in America
    Book Description:

    The Moravians, or Bohemian Brethren, early Protestants who settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in the eighteenth century, brought a musical repertoire that included hymns, sacred vocal works accompanied by chamber orchestra, and instrumental music by the best-known European composers of the day. Moravian composers -- mostly pastors and teachers trained in the styles and genres of the Haydn-Mozart era -- crafted thousands of compositions for worship, and copied and collected thousands of instrumental works for recreation and instruction. The book's chapters examine sacred and secular works, both for instruments -- including piano solo -- and for voices. The Music of the Moravian Church demonstrates the varied roles that music played in one of America's most distinctive ethno-cultural populations, and presents many distinctive pieces that performers and audiences continue to find rewarding. Contributors: Alice M. Caldwell, C. Daniel Crews, Lou Carol Fix, Pauline M. Fox, Albert H. Frank, Nola Reed Knouse, Laurence Libin, Paul M. Peucker, and Jewel A. Smith. Nola Reed Knouse, director of the Moravian Music Foundation since 1994, is active as a flautist, composer, and arranger. She is the editor of The Collected Wind Music of David Moritz Michael.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-746-9
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    Laurence Libin

    To Moravians, music carries deeper meanings than that of casual entertainment. Whether composed by Moravians or adopted into their repertoire, during half a millennium music has helped build communal identity and differentiate Moravians from their neighbors, organize the rhythm of daily life, punctuate and extend the liturgy into every waking hour, and attract others to the brethren’s ways. As the following chapters explain in detail, distinctive vocal and instrumental genres give flight to spiritual sentiments that, to Moravians, transcend words alone, allowing communication plainly and directly from the heart. This immediate, heartfelt expression, especially through uncomplicated hymns within range of...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    Nola Reed Knouse
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Chapter One The Moravians and Their Music
    (pp. 1-28)
    Nola Reed Knouse

    The breadth, depth, and significance of the worldwide Moravian musical culture is unknown to most, and a mere curiosity to many others.¹ The musical life of the Moravians has been one of artistry, integrity, and harmony with their spiritual and moral values. From the beginning of the Unitas Fratrum in the middle of the fifteenth century through the beginning of the twenty-first century, music has greatly enhanced the Moravians’ ability to worship with the heart as well as the mind, to express and teach their faith to each other, to strengthen their communities, and to go around the world in...

  8. Chapter Two Moravian Worship: The Why of Moravian Music
    (pp. 29-43)
    C. Daniel Crews

    Those who have studied the music of eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century Moravian composers have been impressed with the skill and artistry of many of them. As with anything else, however, the full explication and appreciation of their music and gifts requires some knowledge and understanding of the context, the matrix, within which they wrote, and for Moravian composers that necessarily leads to a consideration of Moravian worship.

    A musicologist who knows nothing of the Moravian Church or of its theology and life in the eighteenth century can, of course, analyze and certainly appreciate Moravian music. In reality, though, that approach is...

  9. Chapter Three Hymnody of the Moravian Church
    (pp. 44-87)
    Albert H. Frank and Nola Reed Knouse

    In the preface of the 1569 Polish edition of the Brethren’s hymnal, Bishop Andrew Stefan (1528–77) of the early Unitas Fratrum wrote, “Our fathers have taught us not only to preach the doctrines of religion from the pulpit, but also to frame them in hymns. In this way our songs become homilies.”¹ When we consider the tens of thousands of hymns and single stanzas that Moravian writers have composed since 1457, the truth of Stefan’s statement becomes obvious.² As the Moravian Church has spread around the world and the need for worship materials in additional languages has been realized,...

  10. Chapter Four Moravian Sacred Vocal Music
    (pp. 88-132)
    Alice M. Caldwell

    Although hymns made up the bulk of documented musical activity by the Moravians from their beginnings through the eighteenth century, independent sacred vocal compositions for soloists and choirs flourished especially during the period of approximately 1750 to 1830 . During this time, Moravian composers wrote choral music, accompanied by instruments, that was heard or performed by members of Moravian congregations week in and week out throughout the church year. Although the Moravian Church worldwide has maintained a continuous tradition of vocal and instrumental music to the present day, the period 1750–1830 stands apart for the sheer intensity and volume...

  11. Chapter Five The Organ in Moravian Church Music
    (pp. 133-168)
    Lou Carol Fix

    Beginning with the renewal of the Moravian Church in the early eighteenth century, organs and organists played an essential role in church and community life, and continue to do so today. In perhaps no other religious community of early America did the organ have such an important and visible presence in the daily life of its members as it did among the Moravians. Moravians were a Germanspeaking people, and one Episcopal visitor to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, commented on the practice of religion by German ethnic groups: “[T]hey place almost half their devotion in their organs.”¹ As William Armstrong observed, the service...

  12. Chapter Six The Role and Development of Brass Music in the Moravian Church
    (pp. 169-188)
    Paul Peucker

    One Saturday evening in 1760, a young German man named Johann Heinrich Danke was working in the fields on a farm located a mile or so south of the Moravian community of Zeist in the Netherlands. In the distance, Danke heard music; trombones were playing a familiar German tune. When he asked the farmer about the music, the farmer responded, “That is in Zeist with the Herrnhuters.” Danke had never heard about the “Herrnhuters,” and the farmer did not have a high opinion of them. But when he had the chance, Danke visited Zeist. The worship service he attended there...

  13. Chapter Seven The Collegia Musica: Music of the Community
    (pp. 189-211)
    Nola Reed Knouse

    Although sacred vocal music and hymns have been the central focus of the musical life of the Moravians from their earliest years, at no time in their history have they eschewed the use of musical instruments. With no dividing line between “sacred” and “secular” aspects of life, the Moravians could adopt (and adapt) many positive features of their surrounding culture for their life of personal and communal piety and evangelism. Even their emphasis on the primacy of the text did not lead them to avoid the use of stringed and wind instruments in addition to the organ for their anthems;...

  14. Chapter Eight Music in Moravian Boarding Schools through the Early Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 212-227)
    Pauline M. Fox

    A number of factors in the history of the Moravian Church contributed to the success of music education in the schools. From its inception, leaders of the ancient Unitas Fratrum valued education. By 1495 , Bishop Lukáš of Prague had led the church to establish a school in each of its two hundred congregations and to open several institutions of higher learning.¹ Although a 1508 mandate prohibited Moravian religious practices, before 1510 fifty or more printed works appeared from the press of the Unity.² Bishop Jan Amos Comenius (1592–1670 ), the author of historical and theological treatments of his...

  15. Chapter Nine The Piano among the Moravians in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Music, Instruction, and Construction
    (pp. 228-251)
    Jewel A. Smith

    One of the first instruments transported to the New World by the Moravians was a spinet, which arrived on January 25, 1744 . The instrument suffered considerable damage during the voyage, but was quickly repaired and used in the following day’s service.¹ The Moravian scholar William Reichel documents that in 1792 the Moravian Young Ladies’ Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, owned seven pianos and clavichords, and in 1805 an invoice for tuning harpsichords suggests that it might have owned at least as many of these instruments.² In Maximilian Wied’s diary, which chronicles his travels in North America from 1832 through 1834,...

  16. Chapter Ten Moravian Music: Questions of Identity and Purpose
    (pp. 252-266)
    Nola Reed Knouse

    Before the founding of the Unitas Fratrum, Jan Hus advocated congregational song in the vernacular. Music has been an integral part of the life of the Moravian Church since its very beginnings. Tradition holds that the ordination of the first ministers of the Unitas Fratrum in 1467 was marked by the singing of a new hymn. The Unitas Fratrum published an astonishing array of hymnals, providing an abundance of texts for its members to use in sharing their faith, strengthening their community, and steeling their souls in the face of turmoil and persecution. These hymnals were published in Czech, German,...

  17. Appendix One Biographical Sketches
    (pp. 267-289)
  18. Appendix Two A Moravian Musical Timeline
    (pp. 290-304)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 305-330)
  20. List of Contributors
    (pp. 331-334)
  21. Index
    (pp. 335-346)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 347-351)