Walter or Walther (real name, Blanckenmüller), Johann(es)

views updated

Walter or Walther (real name, Blanckenmüller), Johann(es)

Walter or Walther (real name, Blanckenmüller), Johann(es), German composer and poet; b. Kahla, Thuringia, 1496; d. Torgau, March 25,1570. He was adopted by a townsman in Kahla and pursued his career under the name Johann Walter. He studied at the Univ. of Leipzig from 1521 to 1525, during which time he entered the chapel of the Elector Friedrich the Wise of Saxony as a bass (the Elector divided his residence between Altenburg, Torgau, and Weimar). In 1524, at Wittenberg, he publ. the Geystliches gesangk Buchleyn for 3 to 5 Voices, the first Protestant singing book. In 1525 he was summoned to Wittenburg by Luther to assist in the composition and regulation of the German Mass. Shortly after the death of the Elector Friedrich (1525), his chapel was disbanded, and Walter became cantor of the Municipal Latin-School in Torgau and director of the Stadtkantorei (community choir) there (1526-48). In 1548 he was called upon by the new Elector of Saxony, Moritz, to organize the court chapel in Dresden, and remained there as Kapellmeister until 1554, when he retired to Torgau on a pension. See O. Schröder, ed., Johann Walter: Sämtliche Werke (6 vols., Kassel, 1953-73).


Cantio septem vocum in laudem Dei omnipotentis et Evangelii ejus (Wittenberg, 1544); Ein schöner geistlicher und Christlicher Berckreyen...Herzlich tut mich erfrewen (Wittenberg, 1552); Magnificat octo tonorum for 4 to 6 Voices (Jena, 1557); Ein newes Christliches Lied for 4 Voices (Wittenberg, 1561); Das Christlich Kinderlied D. Martini Lutheri Erhalt uns Herr for 6 Voices (Wittenberg, 1566); various other works, including Magnificat settings, passion music, motets, and fugues.


Lob und Preis der löblichen Kunst Musica (Wittenberg, 1538; ed. by W. Gurlitt, Kassel, 1938); Lob und Preis der himmlischen Kunst Musica (Wittenberg, 1564).


O. Michaelis, Johann Walter (1496-1570), der Musiker-Dichter in Luthers Gefolgschaft (Leipzig and Hamburg, 1939); C. Gerhardt, Die Torgauer Walter-Handschriften; Eine Studie zur Quellenkunde der Musikgeschichte der deutschen Reformationszeit (Kassel, 1949); J. Stalmann, Johann Walters Cantiones latinae (diss., Univ. of Tübingen, 1960); W. Blankenburg, /. W.: Leben und Werk (Tutzing, 1991).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire