re music, OT re text ...
Thanks for the Wiki link, Robert. The MS version is very faithfully reproduced in the Evangelisches Gesangbuch (#362), except for the sigh motif on 'bö-hö-hö-se Feind,' which they smooth out to just two notes on 'bö-.'
I just still don't get it. I totally subscribe to the concept of text taking precedence over bar lines in older music, I like chant, I like cathedrals with reverb, I don't feel I have a Victorian need for extreme metric order -- but the 188.8.131.52 just doesn't work for me, nor does the unmediated drop of a third in 'Rüstung ist' (or would a passing tone have been taken for granted?). It comes across to me, frankly, as crude, clumsy. You can't find the natural speech accent, or rather, the words and the music clash, especially in the second and third 5-syllable lines, which are just one thud after another. There's no anchor, no point of reference. (And I don't think Luther was postmodern enough to have done that on purpose.) It limps, like bad verse.
That's not necessarily a condemnation. Luther had better things to do than get fancy about either music or meter. But I just don't see why I should have to feel guilty about preferring the modern version of the hymn, or settings such as Mendelssohn. If I have to like authentic Luther, I'd rather put my energy into something like 'Wir glauben all an einem Gott.' Now that's strong -- perhaps because Luther didn't write the tune?