The fourth Moravian Music Festival was part of the Quincentennial Celebration of the founding of the Unitas Fratrum, or Moravian Church. This Festival was held in Bethlehem, and echoed the motto of the anniversary year: “The heritage of the past is the seed of the harvest of the future.” The Rev. Reuben H. Gross was dean of the Seminar; Thor Johnson was music director, and Donald M. McCorkle (now Director of the new Moravian Music Foundation) was coordinator. Public programs included …
- Tuesday, June 25, at Central Moravian Church, featuring music by the Bach family;
- Thursday, June 27, at Central Moravian Church, with music by Michael, Handel, Gehra, Haydn, and Röhner;
- Saturday morning, June 29, in the Old Chapel, with music by Antes, Grenser, Benjamin Franklin, and Boccherini;
- Saturday evening, June 29, at Central Moravian Church, with music by Pleyel, Latrobe, Peter, Krommer, Sörensen, Naumann, and Bechler;
- a Festival church service on Sunday morning, June 30, at Central Moravian Church, with music by Handel, Geisler, Peter, Michael, Kellner, Purcell; congregational hymns; and a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Walser Allen entitled “The Song of Songs”;
- and Sunday afternoon, June 30, at Central Moravian Church, with music by J. S. Bach, Antes, Rolle, Michael, F. Schubert, Löwe, and the world premiere of the Canticle of the Martyrs by Vittorio Giannini, commissioned in commemoration of the quincentennial of the Moravian Church.
This most important Festival was organized by an “all-star” committee, chaired by the Rev. Raymond S. Haupert, and including Mrs. J. V. Honeycutt, Walter A. Schrempel, the Rev. Reuben H. Gross, Elmer Mack, C. H. H. Weikel, Mrs. Arthur B. Homer, John C. Long, Mrs. John R. Weinlick, Mrs. Edwin W. Kortz, Richard R. Schantz, the Rev. F. P. Stocker, and the Rt. Rev. Kenneth G. Hamilton.
The program book for this Festival began a tradition which continues to today – a list of those works which have received their “first modern performance” at Moravian Music Festivals. Already with this fourth Festival, over three dozen works had been introduced to the 20th century by way of these Festivals!