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Johann Walther

Dr Stephen Rose from Royal Holloway, University of London, discusses Johann Walther, the man behind Luther's musical Reformation.

Johann Walther was adopted out of poverty as a boy and could sing like a canary. Initially taking a series of courtly composer and cantor roles, he jumped at the chance to edit the people's first Protestant hymn book. It's a great untold story - the hymns of Luther and Walther began a rich musical tradition in Protestant Germany which changed the musical world. Without Luther and Walther we would not have the oratorios, cantatas and passions of Bach and the word-centred, 'Protestant' tradition of high-quality and complex music and hymnody we know today. Dr Stephen Rose from Royal Holloway University of London tells the story of Johann Walther, the man behind Luther's musical Reformation.

Producer: Rosie Dawson

Part of Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution.

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15 minutes

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