wpe3F.jpg (4745 bytes) JOHANN WALTHER (1496-1570)

Writer Information

 

Johann Walther was a close friend of and collaborator with Luther on many hymns.  For three weeks in 1524 Walther lived in Luther's home as they worked on the German Mass and prepared the five-part harmony for Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn.  Walther is considered to be one of the earliest Lutheran composers, known more for his musicianship than his hymnwriting.  He was born in Cola (or Kahla) near Sachensburg in Thuringia in 1496.  The first 28 years of his life are unknown until in 1524 when it is reported that he was singing bass in the court of Friederich the Wise, Elector of Saxony at Torgau.  In 1526, he was made Singengermeister (Kapellemeister) by Elector Johann of Saxony.  When this electoral kapelle was disbanded in 1530, the town reconstituted it and Walther later became the cantor in 1534 at the school at Torgau.  In 1548, he went to Dresden as Kapellmeister to Elector Moritz of Saxony where he remained until 1554 when he was pensioned on August 7.  He returned to Torgau shortly thereafter and died March 25, 1570 or at least no later than April 24, 1570.  Most of his hymns appeared in Das christlich Kinderlied D. Martini Lutheri, published in Wittenburg in 1566.   He and Luther are said to have laid the foundation for evangelical church song.

 


Tunes by Johann Walther:

HERZLICH TUT MICH ERFREUEN

MITTEN WIR IM LEBEN SIND


Hymns in Walther's Geistliche Gesangbuchlein, 1524:

"CHRIST JESUS LAY IN DEATH'S STRONG BONDS"

"GOD THE FATHER, BE OUR STAY"

"O LORD, WE PRAISE YOU"

"SAVIOR OF THE NATIONS, COME"

"TO GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, LET US PRAY"

"TO JORDAN CAME THE CHRIST OUR LORD"


Return to the list of writers

Return to the Hymnuts Homepage