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The GTU's 2017 Reading of the Sacred Texts features Dr. Stephen Crist who will be speaking on "The Life and Times of a Lutheran Hymn: 'Ah, Holy Jesus,' Then and Now."
The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (1517) is an opportune moment to consider the legacy of Lutheran hymnody during the past five centuries. This lecture will focus on the origins and reception of the famous Passiontide hymn “Herzliebster Jesu,” which was written during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), and was subsequently incorporated into J. S. Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions during the 1720s. It entered British and American hymnody in the late nineteenth century, through Robert Bridges’s translation as “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended” in the Yattendon Hymnal (1897). As representative examples of this hymn’s broad reach and current resonances, we will examine settings by organist Pamela Decker (2005), choral conductor John Ferguson (1991), and the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens (2012).
Stephen A. Crist is Associate Professor of Music History at Emory University. His publications on J. S. Bach and his contemporaries, early Lutheran hymnody, and jazz in the 1950s and 1960s have appeared in many books and journals. He is past president of both the American Bach Society and the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music. His book on Dave Brubeck’s iconic 1959 album Time Out is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
Where: GTU Library Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley
When: March 9, 2017; 6:30 pm reception, 7:00 pm lecture