"It is my wish to let the godly melodies of the Jews resound in the Black Forest"
- Johannes Reuchlin, 1518.
Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) was a German humanist from the city of Pforzheim in the Black Forest. Despite his name has remained in the shadows of time, he was admired by colleagues such as Erasmus, Münster and Melanchthon and was best known as the father of Christian Hebrew studies as well as for his controversial fight against the Dominicans on their attempt to confiscate and burn Jewish books in the early 16th century. Thus, he became a symbol of interreligious tolerance during a period of growing anti-Semitism in Germany.
In his last work of Hebrew grammar, De Accentibus... (1518), Reuchlin published the first example of notated Ashkenazi Torah cantillation, presenting thirty-four tropes set to four voices. Although this setting is often regarded as a misunderstanding of Jewish monophonic tradition, it gives us an insight to a phenomenon that goes beyond liturgical practice. This musical experiment was meant to serve Hebrew students in their learning of a long lost language among Christians. It combines Jewish and German musical traditions, but also two of Reuchlin's mystical passions: the secrets found in the Hebrew words and letters as proposed in the Kabbalah and the magical effect of harmonies and proportions of Phythagoreanism.
Based on this musical fragments found in Reuchlin's work, Catalina Vicens has reconstructed selections of the Hebrew Bible in commission of the Reuchlin Museum in Pforzheim. This program will be framed by Germanic polyphony and Latin odes of the early 16th century.
A Reconstruction of Music from the Hebrew Bible set to polyphony in 16th-c.Germany
The reconstruction and recording of this work was comissioned by the Johannes Reuchlin Museum and the City of Pforzheim
For video teaser, watch bellow.
Music as a symbol of religious tolerance in Renaissance Germany
The Reuchlin Project
& The Creation of Tolerance
Line-up: 4 Musicians
- 4 singers
- organ / organetto (optional)
- lutenist (optional)
- Hebrew Music
- German Renaissance
- Religious Tolerance
- Religious Syncretism
- Early Humanism in Germany
Special Thanks to:
Dr. Timm - Johannes Reuchlin Museum Pforzeim.
Kulturamt Stadt Pforzheim
Doron Schleifer - consultation
Singers in the video teaser and audio-installation