Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Dubitsky, Franz. "'Ein feste Burg' und 'B-A-C-H' in Werken der Tonkunst." Musikalisches Magazin 61 (1914): 3-22.

Luther's Ein feste Burg resembles the B-A-C-H motive in that it signifies something outside of its musical character. In addition, Ein feste Burg begins with four memorable notes, comparable not only to the four notes of B-A-C-H but also to the striking four-note opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Insofar as Ein feste Burg has a broader function outside of its musical characteristics, it epitomizes the powerful and energetic voice of evangelical Christianity, in a tradition began by Luther. Bach felt deeply moved by the religious sentiments of the tune and set it in a cantata with eight movements. Meyerbeer altered the tune more than Bach did and subjected it to various musical treatments, including theme and variations as well as parody, in Les Huguenots. The Romantic generation in particular responded to the tune in various compositional manners, especially by means of reinstrumentation and paraphrase technique, including settings by Mendelssohn, Nicolai, and many others. Wagner set the tune in his Kaisermarsch in order to evoke the sense of driving away the enemy. All of these settings discussed seek to maintain the spirit of the tune. The prolific uses of the tune reinforce the religious connotations that Luther intended. Although the B-A-C-H motive is not specifically associated with a source, many composers, including Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov, Liszt, and others incorporate it in various ways into their works.

Works: J. S. Bach: Ein feste Burg, BWV 720 (7); Beethoven: Gott ist eine feste Burg, WoO 188 (7); Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots (8); Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Reformation (9-10); Nicolai: Kirchliche Fest-Ouvertüre über "Ein feste Burg" (10); Heinrich Karl Breidenstein: Grosse Variationen über "Ein feste Burg" für Orgel (10); Friedrich Lux: "Ein feste Burg" Konzertfantasie für Orgel (10); H. Schellenberg: Fantasie über "Ein feste Burg" (10); Karl Stern: Präludium und Fuge über "Ein feste Burg" (10); Karl August Fischer: Präludium und Fuge über "Ein feste Burg" für Orgel mit Blasinstrumenten (10); Wagner: Kaisermarsch (11); Raff: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, Op. 127 (11-12); Reinecke: Zur Reformationsfeier (12); Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen: Reformationssinfonie (12); Richard Bartmuss: Liturgischen Feiern No. 5, Reformation (13); Heinrich Pfannschmidt: Reformationsfestspeil (13); Hans Fährmann: Fantasie und Doppelfuge für Orgel über "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," Op. 28 (13); Reger: Chorale fantasia "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (14), Schumann: Sechs Fugen über den Namen Bach, Op. 60 (16-17); Rimsky-Korsakov: Sechs Stücker über BACH, Op. 10 (17-18); Liszt: Präludium und Fuge über Bach (18-19); Wilhelm Middelschultes: Kanonische Fantasie über BACH und Fugue über vier Themen von J. S. Bach (19); Hans Fährmann: Orgelsonata in B moll, Op. 17 (19-20), Vorspiel und Doppelfuge für Orgel (20); Georg Schumann: Passacaglia und Finale für Orgel, Op. 39 (20).

Sources: Luther: Ein feste Burg (7-8).

Index Classifications: 1700s, 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Katie Lundeen

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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