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Selected abstracts of papers presented
at the 1998 Moravian Music Conference on J.S. Bach


Stewart Carter (Wake Forest University)
The Gütter Family: Wind Instrument Makers / Dealers to the Moravian Brethren in America

In four different museums devoted to the Moravian Brethren in America, there are nine wind instruments bearing the name "Gütter." These include two clarinets, one cornett, and one flute in the Wachovia Museum in Winston-Salem, N.C.; a serpent and a clarinet in the Moravian Church collection in Lititz, Pa.; a bassoon and a clarinet in the Moravian Museum in Nazareth, Pa., and a flute in the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Pa. Questions persist regarding the Gütter family. Of these nine instruments, two are marked simply "GüTTER." The cornett in Winston-Salem is marked "GüTTER NEUKIRCHEN 1805"; three instruments are marked "GüTTER BETHLEHEM"; and one adds the initials "H.G." to GütterÕs name. In the secondary literature, one encounters the Christian names of "H. Georg" (Neukirchen, fl. ca. 1805), "Heinrich Georg" (Bethlehem, 1797-1868), and "Heinrich Gottlieb" (Bethlehem, no dates given).

Some of the instruments raise questions as well. In particular, the cornett in Winston-Salem is one of the latest surviving specimens of its type, and with its unsigned companion in the same museum, apparently the only surviving cornetts known to have been used in North America.

It is my purpose (1) to delineate the relationships among the members of the Gütter family involved in the instrument trade; (2) to establish whether the Gütters were makers or dealers of musical instruments, or a combination of the two; and (3) to establish the manner in which these instruments were used in Moravian communities in America.


Donald G. Hoople (Castine, Maine)
Musical Training in Moravian Girls’ Schools

Moravian girls’ boarding schools such as those in Bethlehem, Lititz and Salem had rich curricula based upon the principles of Jan çmos Komensk´y (John Amos Comenius) enunciated in the 17th century and redefined in the 18th by Jean Jacques Rousseau and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. The educational richness and success of these schools made them the envy of many outsiders, so much so that some non-Moravian parents sought to have their daughters educated in them, often sending the girls away long distances for years at a time to make the experience possible. These schools offered excellent musical instruction for all students and special individual training to those who showed extraordinary ability.

Available evidence, including the Lebenslauf of Johana Elizabeth Praezel indicates that those willing to apply themselves diligently could occupy musical positions where women as well as men could ably satisfy the unique musical needs of the Moravian communities, often as singers, but as organists, teachers and copyists as well. This presentation will focus on the curricula of several Moravian boarding schools in the 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly the ways in which musical training was used to help satisfy the special needs of the Moravian communities as well as the needs of all students for a rich and satisfying educational experience.


Vernon H. Nelson (Moravian Archives, Bethlehem)
J. Fred. Wolle’s Hymns

Early in his career, J. Fred Wolle wrote two new hymn tunes for hymn texts already in use in the Moravian Hymnal. Published in 1888, one was an Advent hyrnn, "Once He Came in Blessing," the other a Lenten hymn, "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty." This lecture will explore the history of the texts and of the tunes previously in use, as well as the acceptance of the new tunes into the modern repertoire.


Jewel Ann Smith (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music)
Playing Chorales at the Piano: Performance at the Young Ladies’ Seminary
and Moravian Practice

The training of young women to be proficient accompanists for Moravian worship services was fostered at the Young Ladies’ Seminary (Bethlehem) in the early nineteenth century. The accompanist was expected to harmonize chorales from figured bass and play them in various keys. The inclusion of chorales in Caroline and Sophia KummerÕs manuscript books testifies to the importance of this activity during their studies at the Seminary (1833- c. 1843). Agnes Kummer’s chorale exercises, however, date from after she left the Seminary (1856), evidence she continued to hone her skills as an accompanist. Their books exhibit chorales in various forms: four-part harmonization, sets of variations, and harmonized chorales with interludes. These harmonizations could have been either studies for improvised accompaniment or actual performance.

At first blush it might appear the chorales with interludes in Caroline’s book were meant to be used for solo performance; however, short interludes between individual phrases of a chorale indicate a now obsolete style of accompaniment for Moravian congregational singing. This tradition can be traced from the eighteenth century through the writings of Christian Latrobe, Peter Wolle, and Rufus Grider and documented in the Lutheran Church from the time of J. S. Bach (evinced by BWV 715 and 726). Reconstructing this type of harmonzied accompaniment forces us to reassess both the tempo of congregational singing and the use of the piano as an aid to corporate worship. This paper will conclude with attendees singing the chorale "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" to Caroline KummerÕs accompaniment replete with intra-phrase interludes.


Peter Vogt (Boston University School of Theology)
"Festive Stillness": The Sound of Moravian Music in the Perception of Non-Moravian Visitors

One of the central issues in the scholarship of Moravian music is the question: What did Moravian music really sound like? This question is significant not only with regard to musicology and the quest for an authentic performance practice, but also with regard to the study of the spirituality that was expressed by Moravian music. As music represented an important and fully integrated part of the spiritual life of the Moravian communities, the Moravians paid close attention to how it should be performed and how it should sound. Accordingly, many visitors from the outside world found the sound of Moravian music to be extraordinary and distinct. An analysis of nearly two dozen descriptions of Moravian music by non-Moravian visitors from the time between 1735 and 1854 (including accounts of well-known figures such as Goethe, Mme de Stael, J. F. Reichardt, and F. Schleiermacher), reveals several attributes with which the sound of Moravian music, especially Moravian singing, was repeatedly characterized: softness, stillness, slowness, solemnity, purity of harmony, and otherwordliness. Most authors were deeply moved by it, claiming that they had never heard anything alike, and some recommended the musical quality of Moravian worship as an example to the state church. Although it is recognized that a small number of personal accounts cannot give a definitive picture, the accuracy of the overall trends is corroborated by the consistency of the descriptions and the fact that they largely correspond to the MoraviansÕ own ideals and instructions.


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