Praetorius & Heaven is my Fatherland

My husband mentioned in passing that this is a big anniversary year for Lutheran composer Michael Praetorius. He was born 450 years ago. He died 400 years ago. So I googled him, looking for anniversary publications & concerts. Low and behold, there’s a great looking book on him. It’s titled Heaven is My Fatherland: The Life and Work of Michael Praetorius. Written by Siegfried Vogelsanger and translated and edited by WELS pastor, Nathaniel Biebert, it released last year.

Praetorius is a big deal. I’m surprised there aren’t more books on him! (I would love to see Praetorius’s volume on What is Music translated into English!! With a homeschool version or study guide for it! :))

Anyway, I’m so excited to hear that Rev. Biebert did this! 

Here’s the Amazon blurb (I added paragraph breaks because Amazon can be funny about paragraphs):

Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) was “one of the most versatile, wide-ranging, and prolific German composers of the seventeenth century,” “also important as a theorist,” and “the most often quoted and excerpted writer on performance practice.” 2021 marks the four hundredth anniversary of this Lutheran musician’s death and the four hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth. Yet until now, no biography of this multitalented and fascinating man has been made available in English.

This translation of Siegfried Vogelsanger’s 2008 German biography of Praetorius will introduce you to Praetorius’s family and employers, his work as organist and court music director, his sacred and secular musical compositions, his historical and theoretical musical work, his grandiose goals and plans, and–most importantly–the man himself.

Appendices provide new insights into Praetorius’s ancestry and life, as well as new translations of primary sources written by Praetorius and others. Richly furnished with pictures and illustrations and supplemented with a glossary, Heaven Is My Fatherland will transport you into Praetorius’s world and open up for you the convictions of his heart.

Obviously I ought to add an “On Music” section to my non-fiction  living Lutheran author list! 😀

Sounds really great! Thank you, Reverend, for doing this!


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2 Responses to Praetorius & Heaven is my Fatherland

  1. Praetorius is a big deal! Working about 100 years after Luther, his music gives us an idea of what Lutheran worship was like when Lutheranism was young, but they had been doing things their own way for a while. The CD “Praetorius, Mass for Christmas Morning” shows us what the Deutsche Messe tradition became. There are many other wonderful recordings, too. Two reconstructions of “Praetorius, Christmas Vespers,” “Caduceatrix and Panegyrica” and a recording of the Magnificat with some other hymns. There’s also a CD of “Reformation 1617” which imagines a Reformation celebration with the music of Praetorius and Schuetz.

  2. Thanks so much for the mention! I appreciate it. I had a blast translating and working on the book, and I hope at least a few more people become familiar with Praetorius, his music, and his music-related writings as a result of it. Here’s a link to a great recording of some of Praetorius’s dances:

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