Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Bach & Other Composers

Johann Gramann (Poliander) (Hymn-Writer)

Born: July 5, 1487 - Neustadt, Bavaria, Germany
Died: 1541 - Königsberg, Germany

Johann [Johannes] Gramann (or Graumann), also known by the name Poliander, the Greek translation of his name, studied in Leipzig (M. A. 1516; B. D. 1520).

After finishing his studies, Johann Gramann was appointed teacher at the Thomas-Schule. During the disputation of 1519 between Eck, Martin Luther, and Carlstadt, Graumann served as a loyal Catholic on Eck’s side. But this disputation brought on him a doubt as to the correctness of his position, and this for two reasons: he was struck by the fact that Martin Luther always supported his opinions with references to the Holy Scriptures; in the second place, he was moved by Martin Luther’s strong appeal to the dictates of conscience rather than by Eck’s cleverness in the art of disputation. As Graumann often had occasion to preach, his sermons from now on became more and more Lutheran. In 1520 he was appointed rector of the Thomas-Schule. But he nourished a strong desire to leave Leipzig and go to Wittenberg, all the more now because his activities in the interest of the Reformation had brought on strained relations with the Catholic duke, George of Saxony. In 1522, after having found one who could take his place as rector of the Thomas-Schule, he went to Martin Luther and Melanchthon at Wittenberg.

The following year Johann Gramann was made a preacher in the Bavarian town of Würtzburg am Main. There he served for two years, until 1523, when the Peasants’ War broke out and spread into those parts. Gramann moved to Nürnberg. But Martin Luther, the same year, induced him to go to Königsberg, where he assisted John Briesmann in furthering the cause of the Reformation in the province of Count Albrecht of Brandenburg. Gramann also reorganized the school system of Brandenburg. The count appointed him preacher in the Altstädt church of Königsberg. There he not only gathered a large number of hearers, but he showed that he was fearless in his proclamation of the Gospel truths, and braved even the risk of incurring the displeasure of the count. It came about in this manner. Anabaptist doctrines had gained favor with many congregations and preachers, and, although their leader was an intimate friend of the elector, still Gramann sharply attacked him. The count decided that the two parties should meet for a public disputation, and the victorious doctrine should be given the right of way in the land. At the disputation Graumann was victorious. No matter how cleverly the Anabaptists advanced their proofs, Gramann, with clear and direct Scripture statements, refuted all their arguments and silenced all his opponents. In that manner the province was saved from the Anabaptist domination. Graumann died in the year 1541 from a stroke of paralysis.


Source: BCL Website [Dahle, Library of Christian Hymns; Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 17, BWV 28, BWV 29, BWV 51, BWV 167, BWV 225, BWV 231

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Nun lob, mein' Seel', den Herren


Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Links to other Sites

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook - Biographies and Sources (BCL)




Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Bach & Other Composers


Back to the Top

Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 14:44