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Lucas Osiander (Composer)

Born: December 16, 1534 - Nuremberg, Germany
Died: September 7, 1604 - Stuttgart, Germany

The German theologian and composer, Lucas [Lukas] Osiander, was the son of the Protestant controversialist, Andreas Osiander. He was himself a theologian of some eminence, pastor at Esslingen and elsewhere in Würtemberg. In 1563 he settled in Stuttgart as a pastor and then as court minister. He was tutor to Prince Ludwig, but was exiled in 1599 by the latter’s successor, Prince Friedrich. He returned to Stuttgart in 1603.

Lucas Osiander had received a thorough musical training, both theoretical and practical, which qualified him to bring out what is sometimes described as the first real German Chorale-Book, the first, that is, in which the melody is definitely placed in the descant or soprano part, and provided with a simple note-for-note counterpoint a 4. Though not absolutely the first to put the chorale melody in the descant (it had been occasionally done by Le Maistre and others), he was the first to do it systematically, and for the express purpose of enabling the whole congregation to join in the singing of it. The full title of his work is 'Fünfzig geistliche Lieder und Psalmen wit 4 Stimmen auf contrapunctsweise also gesetzt, dass eine ganze christliche Gemein durchaus mitsingen kann,' Stuttgart, 1586. In the preface he says:

'I know, Indeed, that composers otherwise usually put the Choral in the Tenor, but when that is done, the Choral is not sufficiently recognisable among the other voices, and the congregation (der gemeine Mann) cannot follow or join in the singing. I have, therefore, put, the Choral always in the Descant.'

His homophonic psalm settings for choir and congregation enjoyed wide currency, refined by others in later generations.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, 4-pt. setting

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein


Christ lag in Todesbanden, 4-pt. setting

Christ lag in Todesbanden


Christum wir sollen loben schon, 4-pt. setting (?)

Christum wir sollen loben schon

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, a simple, straight-forward 4-pt. setting (stylo simplici) (or ‘stilo semplice’)

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ


Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, 4-pt. setting for voices

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

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Last update: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 23:39