Event—Public Programming

Commemorating the Reformation—Music’s Role in Celebrating 1617 in Dresden


The 1617 centenary of the Reformation marked a new kind of commemorative event in early modern Europe due to its transregionality and its multimedia approach: the first Protestant jubilee was observed with sermons, lectures, plays, broadsheets, medals, and music. Not all media took the same approach in establishing a shared Lutheran identity. Most conveyed identity through Othering, showing that Lutherans were not the anti-Christ, the Pope, the Catholic or Reformed Churches. Polyphonic and cantional-style music held a different position. Through its ritual, liturgical, and devotional significance, music emphasized the positive identity of Protestantism, connecting the audience with the past and implying continuity of the faith.