Hypotheses Regarding the Number and Contents of Philipp Nicolai’s Musical Works

The present article, aims to present findings not only about the two famous songs unquestionably attributed to Nicolai, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgernstern“ (“How brightly shines the morning star”) and “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (“Awake, the voice is calling us”), but also a number of other works.

In the first part, the subject is approached through an introductory discussion of Nicolai’s time, place, and religious setting, concentrating on his and other composers’ importance as the sculptors of German spiritual inner-life from the late 16th century on. A short biography of Nicolai is included. The quality of his musical works is exemplified through the praise of his contemporaries and heirs in composition; he is further acknowledged for his largely unknown contributions in multiple fields. It is also illustrated how, in contrast, his brilliant work as a poet and theologian are the cause of vicious, ongoing turmoil in his life and regional history.

In the section “Musical Output of Philipp Nicolai”, the article focuses on the question of the count of Nicolai’s musical inventions. The main sources for such speculations are discussed, and a novel song of the author is identified, thanks to a single piece of evidence. The finding is categorized among and likened to well-known trend of stylistically similar items of the times.