The article explores the musical culture of East Prussia of the 18th c. in different forms of its expression. The epoch of Enlightenment provided a new impetus for the development of the culture in the region. The Protestant Lutheran hymnody was developing, and the tradition of Evangelical surinkimai (prayer hours held in private homes by lay preachers (German: Stundenhalters)) was progressing. Königsberg University was of great significance for the promotion of the regional culture. In the 18th c., the East Prussian school of composition was born, different techniques of instrumental ensemble and solo music making started developing, the house music making traditions were gaining popularity, and big cities had the first musical theatres. It was in that context that the personality of Donelaitis and the character of his cultural activity was maturing and developing.
Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780), who was born and lived in Prussian Lithuania, was a Lutheran priest, therefore, it was not surprising that his poem “The Seasons”, as it was observed a long time ago, reflected the Lutheran ideology prevailing in Prussia at that time. To date, the links of Donelaitis’ poetry with the that time hymnals of Prussian Lithuania have not been paid sufficient attention to, although the texts of a high artistic level published in the hymnals, mainly translated from the German originals, were bound to contribute to the mature poetic expression demonstrated in the writing of the poem to be considered the first masterpiece of the Lithuanian belles lettres. The issue was raised in the monograph by L. Gineitis “Kristijonas Donelaitis ir jo epocha” [Kristijonas Donelaitis and his Epoch], however, the author did not indicate the particular hymnals by means of which Donelaitis could have become acquainted with the church hymns that influenced his poetic imagination. That is understandable, since, during the Soviet times. Some important hymnals stored in the foreign libraries were unknown to, or unavailable to, Lithuanian scholars.