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A mighty fortress

author of text
based on Psalm 46
translator of text

Martin Luther’s Ein’ feste Burg (he seems to have written the tune as well as the words) was described by Heinrich Heine as ‘the Marseillaise of the Reformation’. Its text, notably belligerent in tone, was inspired by Psalm 46 rather than paraphrased from it, eventually becoming so popular in Protestant countries that over a hundred translations were made. In Britain, Thomas Carlyle’s version (A safe stronghold) is standard, but in the United States the 19th-century version by F. H. Hedge is perhaps the best-known. An impressive array of composers including Bach, Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer have used this hymn in compositions of their own: Bach was possibly the first to iron out the original irregular metre of the hymn into the four-square version sung today.

from notes by Collegium Records © 2000


Sing, ye Heavens - Hymns for all time
COLCD126Download only


Track 3 on COLCD126 [4'48] Download only

Track-specific metadata for COLCD126 track 3

Recording date
11 February 2000
Recording venue
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Geoff Miles
Recording engineer
Geoff Miles & Graham Kennedy
Hyperion usage
  1. Sing, ye Heavens - Hymns for all time (COLCD126)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: August 2000
    Download only
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