Mendelssohn’s Fifth—a Symphony for the Reformation

The Augsburg Confession of 1530 defined the theological beliefs of Martin Luther, becoming one of the most important documents of the Protestant Reformation. And 300 years later, on the anniversary of that historic document, Felix Mendelssohn celebrated this Reformation milestone in what became known as “Mendelssohn’s “Fifth Symphony," a symphony inspired by Martin Luther’s famed Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

The powerful symphonic presentation, including a finale with the entire orchestra, underscores the unmistakable “Mighty” of Luther’s hymn! Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony wasn’t published until 1868, years after his death.

Although the symphony is not played often today, it shows the enduring legacy of Martin Luther’s iconic hymn based on Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble!”

Share

More Book Minute Features

March 30, 2020

Nebuchadnezzar’s Inscription

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned several times in the Bible including his dramatic story of repentance in the Book of Daniel, Chapter...
March 16, 2020

Miserere mei Deus - Psalm 51

Miserere mei Deus (“Have mercy on me, O God”) by Gregorio Allegri, using the words from Psalm 51, is one of the most beautiful compositions ever writt...
March 09, 2020

Walt Whitman and the Bible in Poetry

Walt Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most significant 19th-century poets. Whitman references the Bible in several of his works. Evident in an...