Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Luther's German Mass

Hello -
Our pastor at church would like to use potions of the Martin Luther Deutsche Liedmesse in English for Reformation services this year and, as choir director, I'm interested.  Several searches of the usual sites have come up blank.  Are you aware of an English translation in modern notation? Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Best wishes,
on October 7, 2010 7:32am
Hello, Mike -
You might try contacting Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder Colorado (Pastor Ron Roschke, Music Director Joyce Kull). I did the Deutsche Messe there (in English) back in the 80's when I was choir director there, and they might still have the copies. I'm afraid that I don't have the masters any more, unfortunately.
Richard Toensing
on October 7, 2010 8:11am
Hi Mike,
The Deutsche Messe may be found in English in Volume 53 of the American edition of Luther's works, f.p. in 1965 by Fortress Press.
Here is a link to another translation of the preface to Luther's Deutsche Messe online:
This text lists the chorales Luther used, including "Wir glauben all an einen Gott", "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist", "Jesaja, dem Propheten", and "Gott sei Gelobet", all of which are in both Lutheran Book of Worship and Lutheran WorshipLutheran Worship also has "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland" (No. 237 with the tune Luther knew).
Both hymnals have other hymns that came into common use during Luther's lifetime:  "Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit" (the Kyrie) and "Allein Gott in der Hoeh sei Ehr"  (the Gloria in excelsis). 
There are several choral settings of these hymns suitable for choirs of every level and voicing.  Some years back - for the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation [Wow! 500 is coming up in seven years: I'd better get crackin'!], I made my own edition of Deutsche Messe for my choir at Concordia Church in Manchester, CT.  I may have an aging "ditto" copy somewhere; the church may have additional copies.  It is a project worth revisiting.  I made use of three-part settings of the hymns by Johannes Kugelmann (1495-1542).  They were just the ticket for my little group.
I also have a "Bach" Deutsche Messe with the chorales in settings by JSB.  I cobbled this together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The service has settings of "Kyrie, Gott Vater", "Allein Gott in der Hoeh", "Sanctus" (melody from Lucas Lossius, 1508-1582), and my own setting of "Christe, du Lamm Gottes".
Here is a link to what appears to be, upon casual scan, an excellent article on Luther, Bach, and Deutsche Messe by Robin Leaver:
Please let me know whether I can be of any help.  Lutheran liturgy and music are very important to me. 
on October 7, 2010 8:36am
 Hi Mike,
Do you use ELW?
Kyrie 409
Glory to God 410
Gospel Acclamation - not sure yet what I'll use.
H of the D A Mighty Fortress 504
Creed - 411 We All Believe in One True God
Offering - Choir -  a setting of Now Thank We All Our God
Holy, Holy - 868 Isaiah in a Vision Did of Old
Lamb of God - Choir setting of Lamb of God, Pure and Sinless 357
Communion - 499 O Lord, We Praise You
Sending - 440 In Peace and Joy I Now Depart  
Paul Westermeyer has a brief outline of Luther's German Mass on page 227 in the new Hymnal Companion for ELW.
Good luck!
Tom Keesecker
on October 7, 2010 9:11am
Hi Mike,
You'll find all the music you need in any Lutheran hymnal. The old green Lutheran Book of Worship outlines a "Chorale Service of Holy Communion" immediately after the 3 settings of the liturgy in the front part of the hymnal. The hymns are also available in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, but you need to consult the volume called "Occasional Services for the Assembly" to find the list of chorales in the German mass. If you're using ELW, the main parts are:
Kyrie - Hymn 409, Kyrie! God, Father
Gloria - Hymn 410, All Glory Be to God on High
Credo - Hymn 411, We All Believe in One True God
Sanctus - Hymn 868, Isaiah in a Vision Did of Old
Agnus Dei - Hymn 196, O Christ, Lamb of God OR Hymn 357, Lamb of God, Pure and Sinless
There are some others listed, but I those are the main ones that usually get included.
Have fun!
Tim Getz
Director of Music
Grace Lutheran Church, Palo Alto, CA
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.