Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Thomas B. Payne
Jamie C. Bartlett
Alexander B. Angelov
Through an investigation of the organ music of the American composer Paul Manz (1919-2009), this study will seek to link sacred music with the composer’s theological convictions, as well as with external circumstances that inform compositional practices. Manz’s organ works are widely performed in church and concert settings, especially in the American Lutheran tradition, and his motet E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come has become a staple of the sacred choral repertoire, selling over a million copies since its publication in 1954. Despite this, very little scholarship has been produced on his life and work. Broadly, this provides an avenue to investigate the practice of church music in American Protestantism and how it has diverged from its parent traditions.
The research question of this project is threefold: do the organ works of Paul Manz reflect the theological and political circumstances of mid- to late-20th-century American Lutheranism, and, regarding the 1970s doctrinal schism in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, how does he accomplish this? Finally, what impact did he have on sacred music in contemporary American liturgical churches? I posit that sacred music has the ability to act theologically, particularly when used as an instrument of propaganda or doctrinal criticism during conflicts in the church, and that Manz used his career to push for social change and greater ecumenical engagement in the traditionally insular Missouri Synod.
Oei, Justin, "“Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage:” Theology in the Organ Music of Paul Manz" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1930.