Musik und Kirche

“Musik & Kirche” is a journal for church music with a rich heritage. It was founded in 1929 and since that time it has been published six times a year by Bärenreiter.

“The ‘marriage’ between church and music is indeed a natural historically based fact... but we know ... that this union is not always, or everywhere, a happy one.”

These sentences from the foreword in which Christhard Mahrenholz set out the aims in the first volume of the newly-founded journal “Musik & Kirche” in 1929 have lost nothing in topicality to this day. The emphasis on the inconspicuous little word “&” in the title, and the insistence on excluding everything which was “just musical” or “just religious” was a logical consequence of the journal’s founding principles. From the earliest issues, it became a leading platform for Protestant church music. During the period of National Socialism, the editors trod a path which swung between unambiguous declarations of loyalty and an unwavering adherence to the revelations of Jesus Christ.

The end of the war was not initially accompanied by any great change in the journal. From 1941 to 1981 the editorship was held by one man, Walter Blankenburg, resulting in an unswerving continuity. Only gradually were there signs of an opening up and dissociation from earlier opinions. The scant regard for the Romantics only gradually subsided. However, by the 1950s, a greater awareness of contemporary composers developed when the journal began to include reports of works by Krenek, Fortner and others. An acceptance of differing views and the relinquishing of defined guidelines was now beyond doubt. After Blankenburg’s departure, a new era began under the editorship of Renate Steiger. This offered both a platform for current events in church music and for theological research into Bach. When Klaus Röhring became editor in 1996, the journal opened up in three areas. The avant-garde of composers who were writing new music for the church and thus were caught between the stools of modernism and traditional church music were now given space for their often extreme positions. Secondly, the horizons extended far beyond the German-speaking countries.  The consideration of ecumenical aspects and finally the evaluation of Catholic church music became a matter of course. In this way “Musik & Kirche” offers its readers – mostly church musicians – an indispensable stimulus for their work.