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.