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Devotional dialogue: Exploring the Musical Repertoire for Solo Voice and Clavichord from Reformation Europe

Conference paper
Authors Christina Ekström
Joel Speerstra
Published in Göteborg International Organ Academy 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords Singing, Clavichord, Luther, Moravian church, Spirituality,
Subject categories Music, Musicology


If one was to make a map of Lutheran Europe from the Thirty Years’ War to the Industrial Revolution and place it over a map of the European distribution of the clavichord (that most intensely personal and devotional of keyboard instruments) from the same time period, one would find that the two geographical areas overlap almost exactly. The clavichord was J. S. Bach’s favourite instrument for his most refined and personal thoughts, but it was also the traditional dialogue partner in the singing of devotional songs in the home. Christina Ekström, who has done original work with song collections in the archives of the Moravian Brotherhood in Christiansfeld, Denmark, began to explore this repertoire together with Joel Speerstra in a concert for solo voice and clavichord at the Theological Centre at Løgumkloster in 2013. Here we propose to go deeper into this dialogue and make a musical map of singing with the clavichord in Lutheran Europe, showing how the tradition focuses perhaps less on music as domestic entertainment so much as on music as a sharing practice that reflects and performs Lutheran faith. With a selection of repertoire from this tradition our lecture-recital will attempt to illuminate more of the instrumental, vocal and interpretive aspects of this repertoire when these songs are embodied in a dialogue with the clavichord. Repertoire explored will include Olof Kolmodin’s songbooks Andelig Duwforöst (1734), J. H. Roman’s arrangements of psalter psalms as well as songs from the Moravian Church.

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