Saturday, November 27, 2010

City of the Arts – 1700’s

Civil War French Horn
Moravians in our early Salem continued their traditions, brought with them from Europe, of using music in their religious ceremonies. Instruments included organs, trombones and voices. Later many other instruments were added. Trombone music was often played on rooftops for many occasions, ensuring that they could be heard for great distances. Bands have played in the streets of Salem on Easter morning for hundreds of years. A legend claims that a group of Native American warriors approaching a Moravian settlement during the French and Indian War left after hearing a trombone choir because they believed it to be the voice of their Great Spirit. Moravians translated their music into Native American languages.

David Tanneberg Organ - 1799
Our Salem Moravians also had a tradition of secular art music including the famed composer Johann Friedrich Peter, a German born in Holland, who immigrated to Bethlehem in 1770. He brought with him copies of compositions by Joseph Haydn, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Johann Stamitz and C. F. Abel. After living in Bethlehem for a time, Peter moved to Salem founding the Collegium Musicum (in 1786) and collected hundreds of symphonies, anthems and oratorios. During this period Peter composed a number of well-respected instrumental pieces for two violins, two violas and a cello; he also composed sacred anthems like "It Is a Precious Thing" and arias like "The Lord Is in His Holy Temple".

The Moravian Church continued to produce a number of renowned composers into the 19th century, including John Antes as well as Francis F. Hagen, Johann Christian Bechler, Edward W. Leinbach, Simon Peter, David Moritz Michael, Georg Gottfried Müller, Peter Wolle, Jeremiah Dencke and Johannes Herbst. Herbst was also a noted collector whose archives, left to the Salem church after his death, were made public in 1977; these included more than 11,000 pages of content. Salem has gradually become the center for Moravian musical innovation, partially due to the presence of the Moravian Music Foundation.

The Archie K. Davis Center
The Moravian Music Foundation cares for the physical safety of over 10,000 music manuscripts, books, and documents interpreting Moravian and early American musical traditions. Our collections include:
  • One of nine surviving copies of the 1st printing of the Star Spangled Banner
  • A complete set of Civil War band books from the 26th NC Regimental Band
  • The 1789 Six String Quintets of Johann Friedrich Peter, perhaps the earliest chamber music composed in America
  • The only known surviving copy of JCF Bach's Sinfonia in E
  • Sacred vocal works with orchestra accompaniment used by the early Moravian settlers in America
  • A collection of hymnals from the 16th through 21st centuries
That is only the tip of the iceberg! Visit The Moravian Music Foundation Website to learn more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love to have your comments here.

Because of the nature of this blog, all comments are moderated and will not appear until they are reviewed. All comments will be approved unless they are found to be blatantly inappropriate, vulgar, and abusive or attempt to reveal the identity of anyone involved with this blog. NO comment with a commercial link will be accepted!