Achtliederbuch Woodcuts

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the first Lutheran hymnal, the Achtliederbuch (the Eight Song Book). More a pamplet than a book, the Achtliederbuch contained eight hymns: four by Martin Luther, three by Paul Speratus, and one anonymous. The official title was much longer:

Etlich Cristliche lider Lobgesang / und Psalm / dem rainen wort Gottes gemeß / auß der heyligen schrifft durch mancherley hochgelerter gemacht / in der Kirchen zu singen / wie es dann um tayl berayt zu Wittenberg in übung ist.

Some Christian Hymns, Songs of Praise, and Psalms, According to the Pure Word of God from the Holy Scriptures, by Several Learned Authors, to be Sung in the Churches as Prepared and Practiced in Wittenberg.

To celebrate its anniversary and in conjunction with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts, I made recreations of the original woodcuts found on the title pages of the first printings.

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