Front Page Titles (by Subject) MELODIES - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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MELODIES - Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works 
Bach’s Chorals. Part III: The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works, by Charles Sanford Terry (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
Part of: Bach’s Chorals, 3 vols.
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“OF all Bach’s works, the Organ Chorals are probably the least known, even to organists,” Mr Newman remarks in Novello’s edition of the Orgelbuchlein. “Until recently,” another English writer1 confesses, “not more than one organist in a hundred knew what Bach was driving at in the Choral Preludes as a whole. We were confronted with collections of pieces bearing German titles, with no hint as to pace, power, or registration. Sometimes the thematic basis could be identified and followed, but more often not. In many cases it was even impossible to say whether the music was intended to be joyful or sad. We need not be surprised that the puzzle was laid aside in favour of Preludes and Fugues that carried their message on their face.”
Ach bleib’ bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ.
Nikolaus Selnecker’s “Ach bleib’ bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ,” was first published in his Geistliche Psalmen (Nürnberg, 1611). Actually only stanzas iii-ix are by him, being an addendum to Melanchthon’s “Vespera jam venit, nobiscum Christe maneto” (St Luke, xxiv. 29). The Alto melody (supra), which also bears the name of Selnecker’s hymn, is found in a four-part setting of the hymn “Danket dem Herrn, heut’ und allzeit,” by Seth Calvisius, in 1594. As a separate melody, however, its Alto part is at least as old as 1589. Bach uses it in the movement infra, in Cantata 6 (1736), and Choralgesange, Nos. 1, 313. His text is invariable. Its variations of the original are not traced in Zahn. In Witt (No. 476) the hymn is set to another melody, as in the Gotha Cantional (Zahn, No. 613).
N. xvi. 101 . The movement is No. 5 of the Schubler Chorals, an arrangement of the Soprano Unison Choral in Cantata 6, where the obbligato is played by the Violoncello piccolo2 . The movement paints the placid evening scene upon the road to Emmaus.
Ach Gott und Herr.
The Lenten hymn, “Ach Gott und Herr,” is attributed to Johann Major of Jena or Martin Rutilius of Weimar. It was published as a broadsheet in 1613, and with the melody in 1625. The composer of the tune is unknown. Johann Crüger reconstructed it (supra) in his Newes vollkomliches Gesangbuch (Berlin, 1640). A major version of his reconstruction appeared fifteen years later (1655). Bach employs it in Cantata 48 (c. 1740), Choralgesange, No. 3, and the first two Organ movements infra, where his text differs from Witt’s (No. 265), which very closely follows the original (1625) version2 .
There are three Organ movements on the melody:
N. xviii. 1. Six mss. of the movement exist, one of them Kirnberger’s and another in the Krebs “Sammelbuch.” A third attributes the movement to Johann Gottfried Walther of Weimar, no doubt incorrectly. A variant text of it is in B.G. xl. 152, of which there are three mss., one of which (Hauser) is inscribed “Vers. 4” and another (Schelble-Gleichauf) “Vers. 3.” The latter ms. contains seven movements on the cantus by Bach and Walther. That Bach communicated to Walther his own treatments of the melody is an obvious inference.
N. xviii. 2. In one of the eleven mss. of the movement (Schelble-Gleichauf) the composition, like No. 2 above, is attributed to Walther and is marked “Vers. 4.” Bach’s authorship does not appear to be in doubt. Ernst Naumann (B.G. xl. Introd. xvii) suggests that Bach communicated it to Walther when they were neighbours in Weimar.
N. xviii. 3. Unlike Nos. 2 and 3 the movement is in a minor key (B mi.) and follows closely the original (1625) and Witt’s versions of the tune. A copy of it in the Krebs mss. is marked “J. S. B.” Another copy is in the Königsberg University Library, among the Walther mss. The facts therefore point to Bach’s composition of all three movements in the Weimar years. In the same period, it is to be observed, Bach included the melody among the Penitential hymns of the Orgelbuchlein (No. 71).
In none of the three movements is there apparent an intention to distinguish the stanzas of the hymn by musical treatment.
Ach wie fluchtig.
The melody, “Ach wie flüchtig,” was written by Michael Franck for his hymn. Words and melody were published together in 1652. In Cantata 26 (c. 1740), where the Choral is introduced twice, and in the Orgelbüchlein Bach’s text of the cantus is uniform with Witt’s (No. 665) and is based upon a reconstruction of the melody, perhaps by Johann Crüger, published in 16612 . The closing cadence is a combination of the original (1652) and Crüger’s texts. It dates from 1679. The title of the hymn is correctly stated in the Cantata. Bach heads the Orgelbüchlein movement “Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig.” Actually, “Ach wie flüchtig” is the first line of the first and succeeding odd stanzas, and “Ach wie nichtig” the first line of the even stanzas.
There is a single Organ movement on the melody:
N. xv. 121. The hymn occurs in the section on “The Life Eternal” in the Orgelbüchlein. In treating the melody Bach was moved by the word “Nebel” (mist) in the fourth line of the first stanza, and the image of man’s life as
He therefore accompanies the melody with restless, gliding semiquavers that flicker across the movement like shadowy ghosts, or clouds driven across the sky, while the three-note phrases on the Pedals echo the words “wie nichtig.” Towards the end of his life, about a quarter of a century after the Orgelbuchlein was sketched, Bach again used the melody, in Cantata 26. So constant and invariable is his musical language that, in the opening movement of the Cantata, a Choral Fantasia, Franck’s hymn drew from him a similar treatment of the melody.
Alle Menschen mussen sterben.
Johann Georg Albinus’ hymn, “Alle Menschen müssen sterben,” written in 1652 for the funeral of Paul von Henssberg, a Leipzig merchant, was published in that year as a broadsheet, with a five-part setting by Johann Rosenmüller. The written movement (alio modo) in the Orgelbüchlein treats a tune (supra) first published, with the hymn, in Das grosse Cantional: oder Kirchen-Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, 1687). Its author is not identified. Bach’s variation of its second line is found in 1692, of the sixth in 1710, and of the last line in 1711. Witt (No. 660) uses another melody for the hymn (Choralgesange, No. 17), and Bach a third in Cantata 162 (1715)1 .
There is a single Organ movement on the melody.
N. xv. 119. The 1687 melody is treated in the “Death and the Grave” section of the Orgelbuchlein. The rhythm is used by Bach invariably to suggest blissful joy, here as in the Preludes “Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn” (N. xv. 9), “O Gott, du frommer Gott” (N. xix. 52; Partita 9), “Gelobet seist du” (N. xv. 15), “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (N. xv. 105), “Jesu, meine Freude” (N. xv. 31), and “Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott” (N. xv. 11). That Bach should introduce the rhythm into a hymn on Death is due to his disregard of the sinister message of the first stanza. He concentrates upon stanza iv’s “joy beyond our telling” and the vision of “wondrous glory” unfolded in stanza vii. The movement is a song of triumph over death, not a dirge for the dead and dying, nor merely instinct with the “tender melancholy” Spitta finds in it.
Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr’.
The melody, “Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr’,” was adapted by Nikolaus Decius for his translation of the “Gloria in excelsis,” and was published with it in 15392 . The melody is a shortened version of the plainsong Easter “Gloria in excelsis” (the first eleven lines or phrases of which are printed supra), being made up of phrases 3-4, 7-8, 11. Bach uses the melody in the Organ movements infra; Cantatas 85, 104, 112, 128 (c. 1725-35); Choralgesange, No. 12. His text is practically invariable, and closely conforms to Witt’s (No. 188).
Among the Organ works there are ten movements upon the melody; three in the Clavierübung; three among the Eighteen Chorals; and four miscellaneous Preludes. There exists also a set of seventeen Variations (B.G. xl. 195), whose genuineness is doubtful. Almost invariably Bach uses the melody to express the adoration of the Angelic hosts, and in scale passages pictures the throng of them ascending and descending between earth and heaven.
  
N. xvi. 39, 40*, 41. The three movements are in the Clavierübung, and offer separate acts of homage to each Person of the Trinity. There is further symbolic significance in the fact that every movement is in the form of a Trio.
B.G. xl. 208 (P. vi. 96) prints from the Schelble-Gleichauf mss. a movement that apparently is the original of No. 8, than which it is shorter and more concentrated. It is a Trio, the cantus being given to the Treble. In No. 9 the final ascending cadence represents the withdrawal of the heavenly host.
  
N. xvii. 56, 60, 66. The three movements are among the Eighteen Chorals. The first (No. 10) Schweitzer regards as a youthful work1 . The last thirty-one bars of No. 12 (Adagio) seem to be inspired by the first stanza of the hymn:
The ascending cadence again represents the departing host of angels.
An older text of No. 11 is in B.G. xxv. (2) 180 (P. vi. 100). Two copies of it are among the Krebs mss. Of No. 12 an older version exists (B.G. xxv. (2) 183; P. vi. 97) in Bach’s Autograph.
N. xviii. 4. The composition reveals Bach’s method of accompanying hymns and probably was written for the instruction or use of a pupil. Indeed, the ms. is in Kellner’s Collection. It is inscribed “di Johann Seb. Bach.”
N. xviii. 5. The movement, of which copies are in the Schicht and Schelble mss., differs from the others on the melody in that it omits to picture the thronging angels Spitta2 doubts whether the movement is by Bach, and observes that his nephew Bernhard Bach wrote somewhat in this style. Parry3 finds “a quaint waywardness in the accompaniment which is fascinating.” He makes the suggestion that, as in the case of No. 5 of the Schubler Chorals, the movement originally was designed for a voice with Violoncello piccolo accompaniment1 .
N. xviii. 7 (Fuga). The movement comes to us through three mss. in the Royal Library, Berlin, one of them by Oley. It is in the Pachelbel form, a Fugue in three parts upon the first two lines of the melody, which is introduced at the close as a cantus firmus on the pedal. A similar scheme occurs in the setting of the Magnificat (N. xviii. 75).
In No. 15 the ascending cadence paints the Angelic host’s withdrawal to heaven.
N. xviii. 11. The attribution of the movement to Bach rests upon a Krebs ms. in the Berlin Library marked “J.S.B.”: a “ganz correcte Handschrift,” Naumann calls it. The movement is in three parts, as, significantly, are six of the ten movements on the melody.
An Wasserflüssen Babylon.
The hymn and melody appeared together in the third part of the Teutsch Kirchēamt mit lobgsengen (Strasbourg, 1525). The words are by Wolfgang Dachstein, to whom the melody also is assigned. He was Organist of Strasbourg Cathedral, and later, having become a Protestant, of St Thomas’ Church there. He died circa 1561.
There are two movements upon the melody in the Organ works—in the Eighteen Chorals and among the miscellaneous movements (Fünfstimmig). Griepenkerl states that Krebs’ copies of the two are marked respectively “Vers 2” and “Vers 1.” They display a close relation in tonality, atmosphere, and construction. Both are in G major. Both are inspired by the word “Wasserflüssen” (waves). In quavers, against the crotchets of the cantus, the accompaniment ripples on pellucidly in a figure which, in No. 18 especially, is reminiscent of Schubert’s familiar “Barcarolle.” Though No. 17 is six bars longer than No. 18, the two movements are otherwise similar. Practically they are built upon the same Bass, and their contrapuntal accompaniment to the cantus is constructed out of the opening two lines of the melody. In No. 17 the close is prolonged upon a final (tenth) statement of the opening phrase of the cantus. The melody also occurs in Choralgesange, No. 23. In the penultimate bar (supra) E flat for E natural as the sixth note was general after 1653. Witt (No. 601) has it and also Bach’s B natural as the penultimate note of bar 4 supra. Of Bach’s B natural as the third note of bars 2 and 4 Zahn (No. 7663) affords no earlier example.
N. xvii. 18. The movement is No. 3 of the Eighteen Chorals. Schweitzer1 finds in it the evident influence of Georg Böhm, Organist of St John’s Church, Lüneburg, from 1698 to his death in 1734 (?). Spitta2 , on the other hand, detects in it the example of Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Organist of St Mary’s Church, Lübeck, but concurs with Schweitzer in regarding the movement as an early essay of Bach’s. He dates its composition circa 1712, during the Weimar period.
No. 17 is not the oldest form of the movement. B.G. xxv. (2) 157 (P. vi. 103) prints an older version of it which may be distinguished as No. 17a. In the year 1720, as will be shown, Bach revised No. 17a and produced No. 18. No. 17 seems to have been the final text, prepared for the collection upon which Bach was at work at the time of his death. With what art he creates (cf. No. 18 where the impression is less evident) an atmosphere of languor congruous to stanza i of the hymn!
N. xviii. 13 was the result of a revision of No. 17a, whose occasion Spitta suggests with plausibility. In the autumn of 1720 Bach visited Hamburg, where the post of Organist in the Church of St James was vacant. Johann Reinken, the veteran Organist of St Catherine’s Church there, came to hear Bach play, and complimented him upon an improvisation, in the broad Bohm-Buxtehude manner, upon the melody “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” a theme which Reinken himself had treated in a Prelude1 . Spitta suggests2 that Bach revised the Hamburg improvisation (No. 17a) and sent Reinken No. 18. Having regard to Reinken’s age and traditions it was natural that Bach should offer him a composition in the manner of Böhm (Reinken’s pupil) and Buxtehude rather than in the new forms Bach was originating. While preserving the framework of No. 17a, Bach added a second Pedal part, an addition which entailed removing the cantus from the Tenor, where it lies in Nos. 17a and 17, to the Treble3 .
The single ms. of No. 18 is in the Royal Library, Berlin, inscribed “J.S.B.” by Krebs.
Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir.
Written in 1523, Luther’s free translation of Psalm 130 was first published in 1524, along with the melody. The tune is known as “Luther’s 130th” and with some probability may be regarded as his composition. Bach makes little use of it. It occurs only in the movements infra and Cantata 38 (c. 1740). It is among the unwritten movements of the Orgelbüchlein. Bach’s melodic text is invariable. Witt (No. 261) uses another (1525) melody for the hymn.
There are two movements upon the melody in the Clavierübung. They are the only ones in that collection, as Sir Hubert Parry points out2 , which completely reproduce the Pachelbel type.
N. xvi. 68. The movement is in six parts and is the glory of the Clavierübung. Not even the giants among Bach’s predecessors introduce a double pedal throughout1 . A piece of pure music of unsurpassable grandeur, the Prelude seems to derive its inspiration from the mood expressed in stanza iii of the hymn:
At the thirteenth bar from the end Bach introduces a rhythm of joy that rolls on with increasing fervour to its climax of fruition and content. The addition of Trombones to the Pedal cantus enhances its impressiveness.
N. xvi. 72. The movement becomes, like No. 19, a song of triumph at the close.
Christ, der du bist der helle Tag.
N. xix. 36. These “Choralvariationen,” it is generally agreed, are a youthful work written while Bach was under the influence of Böhm. Spitta assigns their composition to circa 1701-2, when Bach was in his sixteenth or seventeenth year, resident at Lüneburg, and therefore in contact with Böhm, who was organist there1 . Schweitzer2 points out that the number of Variations corresponds to the number of stanzas in the hymn. But the inference that each Variation pictures the corresponding stanza does not survive examination. It is difficult to imagine Bach tempted to distinguish in seven pictures moods so placid and invariable as the hymn maintains. He is not even moved, as in maturer years he might have been, by references to Satan and the angels; though the convolutions of the accompanying figure in Variations II, IV, VI may have been prompted by the image of the Serpent. On the other hand, it need not follow that the numerical correspondence between the hymn stanzas and the Variations is fortuitous. The opening broad and simple treatment of the melody looks like a statement of the cantus as a preliminary to singing the first stanza. The remaining movements may have been designed as improvisations between the stanzas. They are not in the ordinary sense Variations at all, but movements in Fantasia form written for the two-manualed “Pedalflugel.” The Pedal is introduced only in the last (seventh) Variation and is marked “con Pedale se piace” (i.e. ad libitum).
The text of the Variations in Peters’ edition was printed from a ms. once the possession of Forkel. Copies also exist in the Hauser Collection. Naumann records (1893) that the Autograph was “formerly” in the possession of Capellmeister Guhr.
Christ ist erstanden.
The ancient Easter Carol, “Christ ist erstanden,” dates back at least to the thirteenth century. The melody is found in print in 1513. With the words it occurs in a text of 1535 . Bach uses it in Cantata 66 (1731); Choralgesänge, No. 36; and the movements infra. Zahn does not reveal the source of his variations: nor does Bach follow Witt (No. 141). Probably they are his own.
N. xv. 83. The movement is among the Easter tunes of the Orgelbüchlein and is the only one there in which Bach sets all the verses of the hymn. His melodic text closely fits the words of each stanza:
Through all three verses, Spitta comments1 , there flows “a fresh vitality as of the rising sun.”
A four-part setting of the melody is in B.G. xl. 173. Copies of it are in the Forkel and Hauser mss. In one copy it is inscribed “Versio IV.”
Christ lag in Todesbanden.
Luther’s Easter hymn, “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” was first published in 1524, and is described as the Easter Carol “Christ ist erstanden” “improved.” The melody, to a greater extent than the words, is drawn from the ancient hymn. It was published with Luther’s hymn in 1524 in two forms2 , and is a reconstruction of the original melody of which, no doubt, Johann Walther was the author. In the Organ works, Cantatas 4 and 158 (1708-24), and Choralgesange, Nos. 38, 39, Bach uses the form printed supra. The B natural which he almost invariably substitutes for A as the first note of the fifth phrase of the tune is in Witt (No. 140), as also is C sharp for C natural as the third note of the fourth phrase. For G sharp as the second note of the first phrase Zahn reveals no earlier authority.
The melody occurs in three movements among the Organ works:
N. xv. 79. The short movement is instinct with the triumph of Easter. The Pedal, its jubilant rhythm notwithstanding, interprets the sinister word “Todesbanden” (Death’s dark prison). The semiquaver Pedal phrases may symbolize the rolling away of the sepulchral stone.
N. xviii. 16. (Fantasia). The movement is a Trio, formal and probably written for the “Pedalflügel.” Early copies (six) of it exist in the Kirnberger and other collections. In three of them the movement concludes with the following simple setting. It is omitted in the Novello Edition.
A variant text of the movement (without the concluding Choral) is in B.G. xl. 153 (P. vi. 104). A single ms. of it exists (Schelble-Gleichauf). It differs from No. 24 in that the cantus is on the Pedal instead of in the Alto.
N. xviii. 19. There are three mss. of the movement, none of them authoritative; one, however, bears the inscription “di Gio. Bast. Bach.” The conversation between the Great and Choir manuals in the Novello Edition is distinguished in the Bach Society’s Edition by a series of “forte” and “piano” passages1 . The fact, along with the final crotchet E, shows that Bach wrote the movement for the two-manualed “Pedalflügel1 .” Hence Spitta infers that it was composed at Lüneburg, where Bach had no Organ at his absolute disposal. In general character it resembles the first movement of Cantata 38 (c. 1740) on the first stanza of the hymn.
Besides the above movements, B.G. xl. 174 prints another (P. ix. 56), in which the cantus is on the Pedal. The ms. of it exists among forty-six “Choralvorspiele,” doubtfully attributed to Bach, in the Royal Library, Berlin. A copy of it is also among the Schelble-Gleichauf mss.
Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam.
Martin Luther’s Baptismal hymn, “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam,” was written, probably, in 1541. Johann Walther’s (?) melody, set to another of Luther’s hymns, had been published seventeen years earlier (1524). In 1543 it was attached to “Christ unser Herr” and since has remained its distinctive melody. It occurs in the Organ movements infra; Cantatas 7, 176 (c. 1735); Choralgesange, No. 43. Bach’s text is invariable. Zahn does not reveal early authority for his variations of the orginal text (G for A as the first note of the second phrase supra; B for A as the first note of the fifth phrase). Both details are found in Witt (No. 243).
N. xvi. 62. As in the Choral Fantasia on the first stanza that opens Cantata 7, Bach lets the word “Jordan” guide his treatment of the melody. Here, as there, the quick flowing stream is the background of his picture. While the Cantata movement is a setting of the first stanza of the hymn, the conclusion may be hazarded that in No. 26 Bach had the seventh stanza in his mind. Had the first been before him it is difficult to believe that he would have omitted to emphasize lines 7 and 8 in his customary chromatic idiom:
Bach seeks rather to emphasize the contrast suggested in the first four lines of the seventh stanza:
Thus interpreted, the strong, reliant melody over which Jordan ripples acquires a new significance.
N. xvi. 67. The word “Jordan” also inspires this movement, which is constructed upon the first phrase of the melody, presented in four forms in the first eight bars: (1) the first phrase of the melody in the Treble line of bars 1-4; (2) its inversion in the Bass of bars 4-8; (3) an accelerated form of it in the Bass of bars 2-4; (4) the inversion of the accelerated form in the Treble of bars 6-8. The four motives, Schweitzer points out1 , “are worked into an extremely realistic picture of great and small waves rising and falling and overwhelming each other.” It is a picture, he adds, for the eye rather than the ear.
Christe, du Lamm Gottes.
The melody, “Christe, du Lamm Gottes,” is among those which the reformed Church took over from its predecessor. The hymn is a translation of the “Agnus Dei.” With the melody it appears in a text of 1557. Bach uses it in the Orgelbuchlein; Cantatas 23, 127 (1724-c. 1740); and in the “Kyrie” of the Mass in F. His text follows Witt (No. 103).
1N. xv. 61. The “Agnus Dei” is a petition to Christ for forgiveness and pity. Bach also sees the Cross, thrice pictured in the three clauses of the hymn, and weaves round it poignant harmonies indicative of Christ’s suffering.
Christum wir sollen loben schon.
Both words and melody of Luther’s “Christum wir sollen loben schon” are adapted from Coelius Sedulius’ Christmas hymn, “A solis ortus cardine,” whose melody is printed supra from a text of 1537. The adaptation of the tune to Luther’s stanzas was probably undertaken by Johann Walther, in whose Hymn-book, printed at Wittenberg in 1524, it first appeared1 . Bach uses the tune, in its original form, in Cantata 121 (c. 1740) and in two Organ Preludes. Witt (No. 34) prints the tune in another form.
N. xv. 33. The movement is in the Christmas section of the Orgelbüchlein. Schweitzer2 points out that Bach’s habit was not to employ an actual motive to express ecstatic and spiritual joy, but to give it utterance in an “exuberant musical arabesque,” e.g. the Violin obbligato in the “Laudamus te” of the B minor Mass. It is not rash to select stanza i of Luther’s hymn as the one Bach illustrates in this movement:
The arabesque enfolding the cantus (in the Alto) “embraces a whole world of unutterable joy.”
N. xviii. 23. The movement is among the miscellaneous Preludes, and receives the alternative title of Luther’s hymn, “Was fürcht’st du, Feind Herodes, sehr.” The definition has no musical significance; the movement being merely a short “Choralvorspiel” in Fughetta form upon the first line of the melody. The hymn is a translation of the second part (Hostis Herodes impie) of Sedulius’ text and was in use at Epiphany (Witt, No. 73).
The movement is in the Kirnberger ms. and there are eight other texts of it in the Voss, Forkel, and Kittel Collections. In two of them the Prelude is specifically attributed to Bach.
Christus, der uns selig macht.
Both words and melody of the hymn, “Christus der uns selig macht,” are adapted from the Latin “Patris Sapientia, veritas divina.” The words are by Michael Weisse and were first published, with the tune, in 1531. The melody occurs also in the St John Passion (1723), Nos. 12, 35; Choralgesänge, No. 48; and the Orgelbüchlein.
Bach is not consistent in his statement of the melody. In the Choralgesänge and Orgelbüchlein he adopts the early 1531 text. In the St John Passion he uses a Leipzig reconstruction of the tune which dates from 15981 . Witt (No. 95) uses the older form.
N. xv. 64. The movement is one of the Passiontide Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. Its fierce intensity is inspired by the first stanza of the hymn, and particularly by the words.
An older text of the movement—that of the Mendelssohn Autograph2 —is in B.G. xxv. (2) 149 (P. v. 108).
Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund.
The Passiontide hymn, “Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund,” was written by Johann Böschenstein, and is found in an undated broadsheet circa 1515. Whether it is a translation of Peter Bolandus’ “Stabat ad lignum crucis” cannot be stated positively.
Boschenstein was born at Esslingen, in Würtemberg, in 1472. In 1514 he published a Hebrew grammar at Augsburg and in 1518 settled at Wittenberg (where Melanchthon was his pupil) as a teacher of Greek and Hebrew. Later he taught Zwingli Hebrew at Zurich. He died in 1539 or 1540 at Nördlingen.
The melody (supra) traditionally associated with the hymn appears first in Valentin Babst’s Geystliche Lieder (Leipzig, 1545), and is there set to the hymn “In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr.” The large number of texts of the tune found in the latter half of the sixteenth century proves it to be of earlier date than 1545. The first half of it is practically identical with the melody of Luther’s “Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein,” which is found in use at Strasbourg in 15251 . The latter tune was reconstructed by Johann Walther from pre-Reformation material, and, with “Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund,” probably traces to a common, perhaps secular, source.
The tune occurs only in the Orgelbüchlein. Bach’s form of the cantus differs in lines 2, 3, and 4 from the 1545 text. He closely follows Witt (No. 113), whose version is sanctioned generally by sixteenth century usage.
N. xv. 67. The movement is the centre of the Passiontide section of the Orgelbüchlein. The recurring Pedal rhythm, heavy, syncopated, pictures the weary exhaustion of the hanging and suffering Jesus. In two other Orgelbüchlein movements Bach conveys an impression of lassitude by the same means. In “Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf” (N. xv. 53) he seizes the lines of the first stanza
to represent in the Pedal the stumbling steps of the dying man groping towards his goal. In “Hilf Gott, dass mir’s gelinge” (N. xv. 76) Bach fastens on the stanza of the hymn which recalls that Christ
For our trespas on Croce He hang
and represents the heavy agony of the tortured Saviour in a Pedal rhythm which supports the narrative cantus above it.
Were not Bach so naïve in his literalness, it would be extravagant to interpret the seven octave leaps upward1 that end each statement of the Pedal motive (bars 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10) in “Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund” as expressing the physical effort of the dying Saviour to speak the last seven Words.
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist.
The New Year hymn, “Das alte Jahr vergangen ist,” is first found, as a single stanza of eight lines (stanzas i and ii of the translation), in Clement Stephani’s Schöner ausserlessner deutscher Psalm, und anderer künstlicher Moteten und Geistlichen lieder XX (Nürnberg, 1568). Twenty years later Johannes Steurlein included the hymn, in six stanzas of four lines, in his Sieben und Zwantzigk Newe Geistliche Gesenge, Mit vier Stimmen Componiret und in druck der lieben Jugend zu gut verordnet (Erfurt, 1588). Three of the twenty-seven hymns in the collection are marked as Steurlein’s. “Das alte Jahr” is not among them, a fact which makes his alleged authorship doubtful. As early as 1609 the whole hymn was attributed to Jakob Tapp (d. 1630).
On the other hand, the melody (supra), which has borne the name of the hymn since 1608, is generally attributed to Johannes Steurlein, son of the first Lutheran pastor at Schmalkalden, where he was born in 1546. About 1580 he became Town-clerk of Wasungen, whence he passed in 1589 to Meiningen, of which he became Mayor. He died there in 1613. He was an excellent musician and published various melodies and four-part settings by himself. In 1588 his melody was set to Nikolaus Herman’s “Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn,” though the latter has a four-line stanza. In 1608 Erhart Bodenschatz attached the tune to “Das alte Jahr vergangen ist” in his Harmoniae angelicae Cantionum Ecclesiasticarum (Leipzig, 1608), and thenceforward the hymn and melody have been associated invariably. A four-lined reconstruction of the tune is set to the hymn in the Darmstadt Cantional of 1687, and a six-lined version of it, which Bach follows literally in the Orgelbuchlein and Choralgesänge, Nos. 55, 56, is found in Witt (No. 57), but not earlier in print.
N. xv. 43. Though the hymn is a prayer for help and comfort during the coming New Year (the old year being referred to incidentally merely in the first stanza), Bach, influenced, perhaps, by the character of the melody, writes a threnody on the year that is gone, and wraps the tune in chromatic counterpoint expressing, in his idiom, poignant grief and regret. A chromatic grief motive is employed for the same purpose in the opening choruses of the B minor Mass and the St Matthew Passion. It occurs also in the eighth Partita on “O Gott, du frommer Gott” (N. xix. 51), depicting the torture of the souls awaiting the Judgment summons, of which the corresponding stanza of the hymn speaks. In the Orgelbüchlein movement, “Christus, der uns selig macht,” Bach introduces it to picture the bitter anguish of Christ, of which the hymn tells (N. xv. 64). The same thought moves him to introduce it “adagissimo” in the final bar of “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross” (N. xv. 69).
Schweitzer remarks1 that the striking major cadence is occasioned by “the consolatory conclusion of the first verse and of the poem in general.” In fact the major cadence is as old as the tune.
Das Jesulein soll doch mein Trost.
Bartholomäus Helder’s New Year hymn, “Das Jesulein soll doch mein Trost,” was published, with the melody (supra), in the Cantionale Sacrum, Das ist, Geistliche Lieder (Gotha, 1646). The author-composer, son of the Superintendent in Gotha, was in 1616 pastor at Remstädt, near Gotha, where he died in 1635. Bach uses the melody only in the Organ movement infra. His text shows the same variations of the original as Witt’s (No. 63).
N. xviii. 24. The movement is in the form of a Fughetta, and develops to the jubilant climax pictured in the last stanza of the hymn:
Bach uses only the first and second lines of the tune.
There are five copies of the movement in the Kirnberger, Voss, Forkel, and other Collections.
Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich.
The Christmas Carol, “Dies est laetitiae, In ortu regali,” dates probably from the fourteenth century. “Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich,” an early fifteenth century translation of it, is found in many versions with a varying number of stanzas. The form translated here is in four stanzas, in Joseph Klug’s Wittenberg Hymn-book, 1535 , along with the melody.
The tune, whose opening phrase is reminiscent of the Carol “Puer natus in Bethlehem,” is that of the Latin “Dies est laetitiae.” Bach uses it in the two Organ movements infra and Choralgesange, No. 62. His text closely follows Witt’s (No. 20).
N. xv. 18. A Christmas movement in the Orgelbüchlein, instinct with the spirit of the opening lines of the hymn:
The rhythm which pervades the movement uninterruptedly is one of two that Bach employs to express joy and exhilaration. It is found in “Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag” (N. xv. 91), “In dich hab’ich gehoffet, Herr” (N. xv. 113), “Wir danken dir” (N. xv. 73), and “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen” (N. xvii. 43). “A joyful soaring rhythm,” Spitta calls it1 .
N. xviii. 26. A movement upon the first half of the melody, i.e. stanza i, lines 1-4. Its source is a collection of Organ Chorals made by Johann Christoph Bach, of Eisenach, Sebastian’s uncle. It is the only one by Bach in the collection.
Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’.
Luther’s versification of the Ten Commandments was published first in 1524, with the tune (supra). The latter is an adaptation, probably by Johann Walther, of the melody of the pilgrim song “In Gottes Namen fahren wir2 .” Besides the three Organ movements in which it occurs, Bach uses the melody elsewhere in the accompaniment to the first Chorus of Cantata 77 (c. 1725) and Choralgesänge, No. 66. Bach’s text of the tune is invariable. It is noticeable that he writes G for F as the first note of the fourth line of the stanza (the ninth note of the second line supra). Therein he follows Witt (No. 222).
There are three Organ movements on the melody:
N. xv. 103. The movement is the first of the Catechism hymns in the Orgelbüchlein. It is one of three there—the others being N. xv. 39, 115—in which Bach evolves the figures of the counterpoint out of the first line of the tune3 . In the present instance the device assists his love of literalness. In the two inner parts that accompany the cantus and on the Pedal he introduces the first melodic period of the tune with constant iteration to suggest the rigidity of rule and dogma1 .
N. xvi. 42. This and the following movement belong to the Clavierübung, a work in which Bach tended to indulge in symbolism somewhat extravagantly. His purpose here is to illustrate and enforce the idea of law and of man’s bondage to it as a necessity of his moral being. To quote Schweitzer’s penetrating analysis2 : “In a lengthy fantasia each of the separate parts goes its own way, without rhythm, without plan, without theme, without regard for the others. This musical disorder depicts the moral state of the world before the law. Then the law is revealed. It is represented by a majestic canon upon the melody of the Choral, running through the whole movement.” Bach had the same idea before him when he introduced the melody into the opening Chorus of the Cantata, “Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben” (c. 1725)3 .
N. xvi. 47. The movement belongs to the shorter set of Clavierübung Preludes. It is a Fughetta, in which a counterpoint upon the first line of the melody is carefully stated ten times.
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt.
Lazarus Spengler’s penitential hymn, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt,” was first published in the Hymn-book which Johann Walther, in collaboration with Luther, issued in 1524. The melody (supra) which bears its name did not appear in association with it until the publication of Joseph Klug’s Hymn-book at Wittenberg in 1535 . The tune, the “Pavier Tone,” is said to have been sung at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. Bach employs it elsewhere in Cantatas 18 and 109 (1713: c. 1731). In the Organ movements he gives the sixth and last lines eight feet. In Witt (No. 291) and the Cantatas, as in the original, they have seven. Otherwise Bach’s text is invariable.
There are two Organ movements on the melody:
N. xv. 107. One of the movements in the “Penitence and Amendment” section of the Orgelbüchlein. Bach interprets the opening line:
When Adam fell.
The basso ostinato consists of a series of almost irremediable stumbles or falls. Notice also the pathetic significance of the little phrase accompanying the first note of every line of the melody. But the close in A major enforces the lines:
N. xviii. 28. The Fugue is among the miscellaneous movements and its form declares it an early work. The text of it is among Kirnberger’s mss. Five other copies are in the Berlin Royal Library and Hauser mss. It bears no relation to a particular stanza.
Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott.
Luther’s hymn is a free translation of Psalm 46 and probably was written for the Diet of Speyer in 1529. The tune was adapted by Luther, certainly from the Roman Gradual. Words and melody were published together in 1531 and again in Klug’s Wittenberg Hymn-book in 1535. Bach uses the tune in Cantata 80 (1730); Choralgesänge, Nos. 74-5; and the movement infra. Only in the Organ movement does he exactly follow the 1535 text in the fifth line of the melody (line 2 supra). Witt’s (No. 482) text shows the same fidelity to the original.
N. xviii. 30. Observe how triumphantly Bach brings out on the Pedal (p. 32, bars 2-9) two lines of stanza ii:
Copies of the movement are among the Kirnberger, Krebs, and Walther mss.
Erbarm’ dich mein, O Herre Gott.
The hymn, “Erbarm’ dich mein, O Herre Gott,” a translation of Psalm 51, was published in the Enchiridion Oder eyn Handbuchlein (Erfurt, 1524) and in Johann Walther’s Wittenberg Hymn-book in the same year, in the latter with the melody supra. The author of the hymn, Erhart Hegenwalt, appears to have been a student and graduate of Wittenberg and a contemporary of Luther and Walther there. The melody is reminiscent of “Es woll’ uns Gott2 ” and is with great probability Walther’s composition. Bach uses it in the Organ movement infra and Choralgesange, No. 78. His text, like Witt’s (No. 258), closely follows the original.
N. xviii. 35. The cantus is set to an accompaniment unique in Bach’s Organ music. Spitta3 finds a counterpart to it in an arrangement of “Vater unser im Himmelreich,” by Böhm, and concludes that Bach’s movement was composed at Lüneburg under Böhm’s immediate influence, at the period in which the Variations upon “Christ, der du bist der helle Tag” were written, i.e. circa 1701-2, when Bach was sixteen or seventeen years old. On the other hand, Johann Kuhnau (d. 1722), Bach’s predecessor at Leipzig, issued in 1700 six Clavier Sonatas illustrating certain Bible stories. Into the first of them, depicting the fight between David and Goliath, he introduces the melody “Aus tiefer Noth” in the right hand against repeated quaver chords in the left. As a young man Bach probably knew this work. His wistful accompaniment’s congruity to the mood of Hegenwalt’s hymn is apparent.
The ms. of the movement is in Johann Ludwig Krebs’ Sammelbuch, marked “J. S. B.”
Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag.
Both words and melody of the Easter hymn, “Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag,” are by Nikolaus Herman, and were published together by him in 1560. Bach uses the melody in the Orgelbüchlein and Cantatas 67 and 145 (c. 1725-30). Always he substitutes E for D as the sixth note of the third line of the stanza (line 2, note 7 supra). The innovation dates from a text of 1605 and is found in Witt (No. 146).
N. xv. 91. The movement is one of the Easter Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. It is pervaded by the rhythm of ecstatic joy which, in the Christmas Prelude, “Der Tag, der ist sehr freudenreich,” has already been remarked. The same rhythm is found in the B minor Mass at the words “et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum1 ,” and the upward soaring of the final close has the significance here which it bears in the Mass.
Erstanden ist der heil’ge Christ.
The Easter Carol, “Surrexit Christus hodie,” of which “Erstanden ist der heil’ge Christ” is a translation, dates at least from the fourteenth century and exists in several forms. The German hymn also is found in many versions, the one here translated being from a broadsheet printed at Nürnberg in 1544. The melody (supra) proper to the Latin Carol is found in Michael Weisse’s Ein New Gesengbuchlen (Jung Bunzlau, 1531), and is the descant melody of a four-part setting (supra) in Michael Praetorius’ Musae Sioniae (Part V, 1607).
The Choralgesange, No. 85, gives a four-part setting of another melody to which the hymn also was sung, whose evolution from the original (1531) tune is revealed in the following three-part setting in Valentin Triller’s Ein Schlesich singebuchlein aus Göttlicher schrifft (Breslau, 1555), where it appears as the descant to the original melody in the Tenor:
In the single Organ movement in which he treats the melody Bach uses the original (1531) tune with the 1607 cadence. His text exactly follows Witt (No. 143).
N. xv. 89. The movement, one of the Easter Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein, expresses the spirit and teaching of the festival. The Pedal, in bold intervals, sounds the message of resurrection, emphasized by the upward rush of the parts in the opening bars, while the animated quaver figure expresses joy. Bach employs a similar association of motives in the Christmas Prelude, “Puer natus in Bethlehem” (N. xv. 13), in which the Pedal performs the obeisances of the Wise Men from the East, while quaver passages exhibit their reverent ecstasy.
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her.
The words and melody of Paul Speratus’ (Offer or Hoffer) hymn were published in 1524 in the first Lutheran Hymn-book. Bach uses the melody in the Orgelbuchlein; Cantatas 9, 86, 117, 155, 186 (1716-c. 1733); and the Wedding Chorals (Choralgesange, No. 89). With the exception that in the Cantatas he substitutes B for G as the first note of the last phrase of the tune (ut supra), Bach’s text is invariable. The innovation is in Witt’s text (No. 292). Having regard to Bach’s invariable use elsewhere, it may be conjectured that the quaver B natural at the second beat of the final bar of the Orgelbüchlein Prelude belongs to the melody, and should be printed
N. xv. 109. The movement is the last of the penitential Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein, and one of the only two completed in that section. Bach disregards the pointedly dogmatic character of the hymn and uses its opening statement
Salvation hath come down to us
to justify a jubilant treatment of the melody. The significance of Bach’s inclusion of the hymn among the penitential hymns, already pointed out in the Introduction to this volume, is enhanced when we discover him enforcing the hymn’s message of comfort by associating its melody with a jubilant motive. Such a treatment of it was the more congruous in that the tune itself is an old Easter Carol.
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ.
Luther’s hymn, “Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ,” was published in 1524, in Johann Walther’s Hymnbook. Words and melody are derived from the Christmas Sequence, “Grates nuncomnes reddamus,” the plainsong of which is printed supra. Its simplification was accomplished, presumably, by Walther himself. Outside the Organ movements infra Bach uses the tune in Cantatas 64, 91 (1723?-c. 1740); Christmas Oratorio (1734), Nos. 7, 28; Choralgesänge, No. 107. His melodic text follows Witt (No. 19) and is invariable, except in one detail. In one Organ movement (N. xviii. 37) B natural replaces C as the sixth note of the melody. The variant is found in an early text (1535), but is not in Witt.
There are four Organ movements upon the melody:
N. xv. 15. The movement is the third of the Christmas Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. Bach treats the tidings of Christ’s birth in another mood than that which distinguishes the first Christmas Prelude, “Puer natus in Bethlehem.” The latter exhibits exuberant joy. In the present movement the rhythm expresses restrained adoration. It already has been remarked in “Alle Menschen müssen sterben” and occurs again in “Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn” (N. xv. 9).
N. xviii. 37. An Organ accompaniment of the melody. Griepenkerl (P. v. 102) printed it from mss. in the handwriting of Johann Christian Kittel and Johann Gottfried Walther. Both are now in the Berlin Royal Library. Krebs, too, preserved a sketch of it.
In B.G. xl. 158, a “Variant” of the accompaniment is printed from a Krebs ms. in the Berlin Royal Library.
N. xviii. 38. The movement is a Fughetta upon the first line of the melody. A copy of it is in the Kirnberger, and others exist in the Schicht, Schelble, and Hauser mss.
N. xviii. 39. The movement is among the miscellaneous Preludes. Apparently only a single ms. of it exists. It is in the Royal Library, Berlin, and is described as faulty and comparatively modern. Griepenkerl printed the movement in 1847 from a copy “written by Cantor Kegel.” Presumably it and the Berlin ms. are one and the same. The treatment is formal.
Gottes Sohn ist kommen.
Gott, durch deine Güte.
In the Orgelbüchlein Bach attaches the titles of two hymns, Johann Roh’s “Gottes Sohn is kommen,” and Johann Spangenberg’s “Gott, durch deine Güte,” to a tune that originally belonged to neither of them, being that of the Latin hymn, “Ave ierarchia Celestis et pia.” Its earliest printed form is in Michael Weisse’s Ein New Gesengbuchlen (Jung Bunzlau, 1531), where it is set to Weisse’s hymn, “Menschenkind, merk eben.” In 1544, simultaneously but in different Hymn-books, Roh and Spangenberg appropriated the tune to their repective hymns.
Johann Roh’s Christmas hymn, “Gottes Sohn ist kommen,” first appeared in the second German Hymn-book of the Bohemian Brethren (Ein Gesangbuch der Brüder inn Behemen und Merherrn), published at Nürnberg in 1544, with the tune (supra).
Johann Roh, by birth a Bohemian, styled himself “Cornu” in Latin, “Horn” in German. In 1518 he was appointed preacher to the community of the Bohemian Brethren at Jung Bunzlau and, in 1532, became Bishop. He died at Jung Bunzlau in 1547.
Johann Spangenberg’s hymn appears first among his Alte und Newe Geistliche Lieder und Lobgesenge, von der Geburt Christi unsers Herrn, Für die Junge Christen (Erfurt, 1544), with the melody. The hymn, accordingly, has Advent associations, though it is addressed to the Three Persons of the Trinity and directed to be sung after the Sermon.
Spangenberg was born at Hardegsen, Hanover, in 1484. After studying at Erfurt University he became preacher at Stolberg. In 1524 he was appointed pastor in St Blasius’ Church, Nordhausen, and thence in 1546 passed to Eisleben as Superintendent. He died there in 1550.
Bach uses the melody in the Organ movements infra, and Choralgesange, No. 115. His text is not invariable. In the Choralgesange he follows the 1531 text. In the Orgelbüchlein, where the sharpened fourth note of the melody is noticeable, he exactly follows Witt (No. 5), who substitutes B for F flat as the first note of the final phrase (supra). N. xviii. 42, on the other hand, agrees with the Choralgesänge text, the fourth line of the tune suffering some compression for metrical reasons.
The three Organ movements on the melody are in triple measure. Bach thereby enhances the appropriate resemblance between the Advent tune’s opening phrase and that of the Christmas Carol “In dulci jubilo.”
N. xv. 5. The Orgelbuchlein Advent movement bears the titles both of Roh’s and Spangenberg’s hymns. But Bach wrote it moved by the thought of redemption which Roh’s first stanza suggests. Hence the quaver joy rhythm.
N. xviii. 41. A short Fughetta, among the miscellaneous Preludes, on the first line of the melody. Three mss. of it exist, one of them in the Kirnberger, another in the Voss, collection.
N. xviii. 42. Spitta points out1 that the earliest form of Organ Choral, contrapuntal and without a fixed subject or episodic interludes, occurs in Bach’s use only in the present movement and “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (N. xix. 12). In both a few introductory bars imitate the first line of the melody. A copy of “Vater unser” (N. xix. 12) is among the Walther mss., a fact upon which Spitta concludes2 that it was written at Weimar. Probably the present movement must be assigned to the same period. The ms. of it is in Andreas Bach’s ms. Griepenkerl printed it for the Peters Edition from a copy “communicated by C. F. Becker.”
Helft mir Gott’s Güte preisen.
Two tunes are associated with Eber’s New Year hymn and were published with it in 1575  by Wolfgang Figulus, Cantor in the Furstenschule at Meissen. The first of them is practically identical with the contemporary “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen1 ” and derived from the same secular song, “Ich ging einmal spazieren,” to whose melody Ludwig Helmbold wrote “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.” The second tune, presumably by Figulus himself, is printed supra in a four-part setting by him. Its Tenor, it will be observed, very closely fits the first melody. Bach uses it in the Orgelbüchlein and Cantatas 16, 28, 183 (c. 1724-c. 1736).
Though Bach’s use of the tune extends from his Weimar to his later Leipzig period, his text of the tune shows little variation. To himself must be attributed the improving change of the fifth note of the melody (supra) from B flat to C natural. Witt’s (No. 56) text, which Bach otherwise follows closely in the Orgelbüchlein, has B flat and Zahn (No. 5267) does not reveal any anticipation of Bach’s emendation. For the close of lines 2 and 4 of the melody (the last three notes before the middle double-bar supra), and for lines 6 and 7, Bach generally follows Schein’s (1627) text, which for lines 6 and 7 reads.
In the four places in which he uses the phrase Bach only once (in Cantata 28) (c. 1736) adopts Schein’s B flat as its fifth note. Elsewhere he writes D, as in the Orgelbuchlein, and as he found it in Witt.
N. xv. 39. The movement is the first of the New Year Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. Besides the formula of jubilation which Bach introduces, his emphasis of the first four notes of the cantus will be remarked. The device has been noticed already in the Prelude “Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’.” Schweitzer supposes1 that Bach, unlike his predecessors, did not introduce motives derived from the melody as being musically effective, but only when he desired to emphasize the associated words of the hymn. In the present case, the repeated opening phrase creates the impression of a multitude of voices reiterating the prayer “Help me to sing God’s praises.” The movement becomes, in effect, a joyous peal of gratitude ringing in the New Year2 .
Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn.
Herr Gott, nun sei gepreiset.
Elisabethe Cruciger’s Christmas hymn, “Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn,” was published, with the melody, in Walther’s Hymn-book (1524). The tune appears to be an adaptation, probably by Walther himself, of the secular melody “Ich hört ein Fraulein klagen1 .” It occurs in the Organ movements infra and Cantatas 22, 96, 132, 164 (1715-c. 1740). Bach’s text is practically invariable. For the seventh note of the second line of the melody supra he always prefers A to F. In that particular he follows Witt’s text (No. 17).
The melody is found in two Organ movements:
N. xv. 9. The movement is one of the Advent Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. Bach gives the alternative title of the anonymous “Herr Gott, nun sei gepreiset” (published in Babst’s Hymn-book, 1553), to which the tune is set in Witt’s Hymn-book. The hymn, however, a Grace after Meat, is included by Witt among his “Tisch-Gesänge,” its stanzas have no connexion with the Christmas festival and certainly were not in Bach’s mind2 , though Walther’s (?) melody was associated with them since 1609. The rhythmic motive which Bach introduces into the Pedal expresses joyful adoration of the God-Child, to whose birth the Advent season looks forward.
N. xviii. 43. A Fughetta upon the first line of the melody. The second line is introduced at the eleventh bar. The movement is among the miscellaneous Preludes. Four mss. of it exist, one of which, in Kittel’s hand, concludes with a simple four-part setting of the melody (printed in P. v. 107).
Herr Gott dich loben wir.
Luther’s version of the “Te Deum laudamus” was published first in Klug’s Hymn-book (1535 ). The melody is a simplified form of the Latin plainsong. Bach introduces portions of it into Cantatas 16, 119, 120, and 190 (1720-30), and treats it as a whole in the Organ movement infra:
N. xviii. 44. The movement is a complete five-part accompaniment to the hymn for congregational singing, and may be compared with a four-part setting of it in the Choralgesänge, No. 133. The source of the text of the movement is an old ms. which belonged to Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818).
Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf.
Tobias Kiel’s “Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf,” was first published in the first Part of Johann Michael Altenburg’s Christliche, Liebliche Und Andechtige, Newe Kirchen und Hauss Gesange (Erfurt, 1620), with a five-part setting of the melody (supra).
Kiel was born at Ballstädt, near Gotha, in 1584. Educated at Jena, he became pastor at Ballstadt and died there in 1626. The hymn was written for the Feast of the Purification, but was also in use for the Dying, in which mood Bach treats it.
Johann Michael Altenburg, the composer of the melody, was born at Alach, near Erfurt, in 1584. His life was spent in and round Erfurt as teacher and pastor. He died there in 1640. He was a good musician and at one time was precentor in Erfurt.
Bach’s version of the melody is a combination of the descant and Quinta vox of Altenburg’s five-part setting. Bach, however, was not the author of the reconstruction. In the Gotha Cantional of 1646 the positions of the descant and Quinta vox of 1620 are reversed, the latter becoming the melody. Witt (No. 81), in 1715, formed a new melody by piecing together parts of the original descant and Quinta vox1 . His version passed into the Hymn-books of Telemann (1730), Konig (1738), and Freylinghausen (1741). His variation of the second phrase seemingly is his own. Bach uses the tune only in the Orgelbuchlein.
N. xv. 53. The movement represents the Feast of the Purification in the Orgelbuchlein. Bach depicts the faltering footsteps of the aged Simeon (stanza iii) by means of a syncopated and halting Pedal rhythm. His addition of a “second” or Quinta vox to the cantus was clearly suggested by the history of the tune. It is taken from Witt’s four-part setting of the melody, excepting the first note of the eighteenth and last note of the twenty-second bars, which are not congruous to Witt’s figuring.
Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’.
The hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’,” was first published (stanzas i-iii) in Johann Niedling’s Lutherisch Hand-Büchlein (Altenburg, 1648). It was repeated, with the melody (supra) and the fourth stanza, in the Cantionale Sacrum (Gotha, 1651). The hymn is attributed, on inconclusive evidence, to William II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. He was born in 1598, studied music, among other subjects, at Jena, fought in the Thirty Years’ War on the Protestant side, and died in 1662. The hymn is entitled “Frommer Christen Hertzens-Seufftzerlein umb Gnade und Beystand des Heiligen Geistes, bey dem Gottesdienst vor den Predigten” (A heartfelt petition of pious Christians for grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, during Divine Service before the sermon). It was in use in Saxony on all Sundays and festivals.
The melody (supra) attached to the hymn in 1651 is found three years earlier in an octavo volume published at Görlitz, entitled Pensum sacrum, Metro-Rhythmicum, CCLXVII Odis...denuo expansum expensumque Opera et Studio Tobiae Hauschkonii (1648), whose Appendix contains eighty melodies, without texts, suitable for the Latin odes in the volume. Among them (No. 45) is the melody printed supra. It occurs among several old hymn tunes, and, no doubt, dates from an older period than the volume in which it first appears. Bach’s text of the melody is invariable and follows the 1648 text except in the Choralgesänge, No. 139, where he follows Witt (No. 240) in a variation of the end of the second phrase of the tune.
Probably it is not an unrelated coincidence that the number of Bach’s Organ movements upon the melody equals the number of stanzas of the hymn. Their differing moods and appropriateness to a particular stanza support the assumption that Bach had the text of the hymn before him and followed it closely. The four movements are discussed in the order of their assumed association with the hymn text:
N. xv. 99. Throughout the Orgelbuchlein, Schweitzer supposes1 , Bach employs a motive derived from the Choral only “when there is a meaning in the repetition of the words.” If that is so, he brings out conspicuously here the words “Herr Jesu Christ” in imitation throughout the movement, an emphasis of the initial invocation which would not appear to be demanded2 .
N. xviii. 50. The movement, one of the miscellaneous Preludes, is quiet and reflective in mood. The undulations of melodic treatment permit the conjecture that Bach had in mind the words of the second stanza:
Eight mss. of the movement are extant, in the Kirnberger and Voss Collections and elsewhere.
N. xvii. 26. The movement is one of the Eighteen Chorals, a Trio upon the melody, jubilant in mood and attuned to the third stanza of the hymn:
Spitta points out1 that Bach follows Pachelbel here in forming a theme out of the opening phrase of the cantus and, after developing it adequately, bringing in the complete melody on the Pedal. A Fugue upon “Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’ ” (N. xviii. 7) shows similar treatment.
Peters’ Edition (P. vi. 107, 108) prints two older readings of the movement, the first of which exists in a ms. in Oley’s hand, and the second is among Johann Ludwig Krebs’ mss. The Berlin Royal Library has a third ms. of the movement (B.G. xxv. (2) 160) of recent and minor authority.
N. xviii. 52. An Organ accompaniment of the tune. Parry suggests2 that the movement, like others of its kind3 , was written for the instruction of “some insufficiently discreet or experienced performer.” It is not extravagant to hold the movement inspired by the fourth stanza of the hymn:
The ms. of the movement is among the Kellner mss. in the Berlin Royal Library.
Herzlich thut mich verlangen.
Christoph Knoll’s funerary hymn, “Herzlich thut mich verlangen,” was first printed in 1605. Eight years later (1613) it was attached to the tune supra. The melody had been published four years before Knoll’s hymn was written. Its composer, Hans Leo Hassler, set it in 1601 to a secular song, “Mein G’mut ist mir verwirret von einer Jungfrau zart.” It is known, however, through its association with three well-known hymns—Knoll’s “Herzlich thut mich verlangen” (1613), Cyriacus Schneegass’ “Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder” (1620), and Gerhardt’s “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” (1656), to which it was attached at the dates indicated. Bach uses the tune in association with all three hymns, in the Organ movement infra; Cantatas 25, 135, 153, 159, 161 (1715-c. 1740); St Matthew Passion (1729), Nos. 21, 23, 53, 63, 72; Christmas Oratorio (1734), Nos. 5, 64; Choralgesange, Nos. 157, 158.
Bach’s text of the cantus is almost invariable. He regularly substitutes C for G as the penultimate note of the melody. For the fourth note in the fourth phrase (the fifth note in line 2 supra) he very rarely (only in Cantatas 153, 161 (1715-24), St Matthew Passion, No. 72, and N. xviii. 53) follows the text of 1601; elsewhere he substitutes B flat for D. For both innovations there is early sanction; for the first, a text of 1694; for the second, a text of 1679. Witt (No. 253) adopts the first of them, but rejects the second. Bach occasionally introduces poignant variations of the original text in the second phrase of the melody (notes 8-13 supra). In No. 72 of the St Matthew Passion, No. 5 of the Christmas Oratorio, and the Organ movement infra, by a turn of the phrase he conveys an impression of wistfulness which, in the two Oratorios, certainly was suggested by the words. The fact affords a clue to the interpretation of the single Organ movement in which the melody occurs:
N. xviii. 53. The movement’s poetic basis is found in the first stanza of Knoll’s hymn. Bach’s treatment of the melody of the second line of the stanza is inspired by the word “verlangen.” As Sir Hubert Parry points out1 , Bach breaks up the melody into short phrases each one of which becomes a sigh of tender aspiration:
The movement matches those in the Orgelbuchlein as an example of Bach’s poetic and pictorial treatment. Hence Schweitzer’s conjecture that Bach neglected the melody in that work—it is among its unwritten movements (No. 73)—on the ground that it “could only be developed as pure music1 ,” is untenable. Spitta2 holds the movement to have been composed during the Weimar period. Copies of it are among the Krebs and Walther mss.
Heut’ triumphiret Gottes Sohn.
The Easter hymn, “Heut’ triumphiret Gottes Sohn,” appeared first in the Kinderspiegel (Eisleben, 1591) of Caspar Stolshagius, Lutheran pastor at Iglau, in Moravia. Whether he wrote it cannot be stated positively. It is also attributed to Jakob Ebert and Basilius Förtsch.
The melody (supra) is found in association with the hymn in Bartholomäus Gesius’ Geistliche_deutsche Lieder, published in 1601 at Frankfort a. Oder, where Gesius at that time was Cantor. The tune appears in 1601 for the first time and certainly was composed by Gesius himself.
Bach uses the melody in the Organ movement infra, Choralgesänge, No. 171, but employs different melodic texts. In the Choralgesange the fourth and last phrases of the tune do not follow the original. In the Organ movement, excepting the last three bars, which are an added “Alleluya,” he follows the 1601 text and Witt, who also (No. 145) has three concluding “Alleluyas”:
N. xv. 94. The movement is the last of the Easter Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein, instinct with the triumph of the festival1 . The Pedal subject, as Schweitzer points out2 , is almost ferocious in its representation of the risen Christ spurning his foes as though He were treading the wine-press. In Cantata 43, written for Ascension Day (1735), the Aria “ ’Tis He Who all alone hath trodden well the wine-press” has a similar masterful subject3 .
Hilf Gott, dass mir’s gelinge.
This hymn or ballad of the Passion was written by Heinrich Müller—the initial letters of its thirteen stanzas spell “Heinrich Müler.” The last two lines of the last stanza repeat his name, and state that the hymn was written by him in prison . He appears to have been a Lutheran of Nürnberg, imprisoned, circa 1527, by the Duke of Saxony. Released in 1539, he conducted a school at Annaberg until about 1580. The ballad was published as a broadsheet in 1527 and was included in the Rostock Hymn-book of 1531. Luther thought so highly of it that he introduced it into Valentin Babst’s Geistliche Lieder (Leipzig, 1545), the last Hymn-book issued under his supervision. The first of the three melodies (supra) was attached to it there.
The author of the tune is not known. It is found in many forms in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century Hymn-books and probably is of secular origin. The earliest approximation to the form in which Bach knew it is found in 1573 (supra). From 1601 the first half of the tune definitely took the form Bach uses. For the second part of the melody he is not consistent. In the Orgelbuchlein he follows the 1573 text (the F sharp that ends his sixth line is as old as 1609). In the Choralgesänge, No. 172, he prefers Crüger’s (1653) text (supra). Witt’s (No. 94) has peculiarities which Bach does not repeat.
N. xv. 76. The animation of this movement, one of the Passiontide Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein, is hardly congruous to the mood of Müller’s hymn. Influenced by the character of the melody, Bach would appear not to have looked beyond the words “ditty” and “perfect song” in the first stanza. The incessant stream of semiquaver triplets appears to be called into being by the word “frohlich”:
The low F sharp on the Pedal in the last bar is an emendation by Bach himself. In the Mendelssohn Autograph he wrote1
Ich hab’ mein Sach’ Gott heimgestellt.
Johannes Leon’s hymn, “Ich hab’ mein Sach’ Gott heimgestellt,” was first published in Psalmen, geistliche Lieder und Kirchengesäng (Nürnberg, 1589). The author was born at Ohrdruf, near Gotha, and after service as an army chaplain became pastor at Königsee and Wölfis. He died at Wölfis in 1597.
Associated with Leon’s hymn are two melodies, both of which are used by Bach, and are traced to the same origin, a four-part setting (supra) of the secular song “Ich weiss mir ein Roslein hübsch und fein,” published by Johann Rhau in 1589. The Tenor of the setting becomes the melody of Leon’s hymn in a Hymn-book dated 16091 and in Witt (No. 317). Bach introduces it into the orchestral accompaniment of Cantata 106 (1711). Meanwhile, the descant melody of the 1589 four-part setting also became attached to Leon’s hymn in David Wolder’s Hymn-book, published in 1598. Bach uses this tune in the Organ movements infra, and there is a four-part setting of it among the Choralgesänge, No. 182. Bach’s text is practically invariable. The D natural which he substitutes for F natural as the fourth note of the melody (supra) has early (1611) sanction. His variant of the opening of the second line of the stanza (notes 3-5 of line 2 supra) follows a reconstruction of the melody which became the accepted form of the tune in Hymn-books after 1601, when it first appears.
N. xviii. 54. The movement treats in fugue the five phrases of the cantus. MSS. of the movement are among the Kirnberger and Oley mss. and four other copies are extant. The B.G. Edition ascribes it confidently to Bach’s early period, and Spitta1 attributes it to Walther. There does not appear to be any close relation between it and the stanzas of the hymn. Five of the six mss. of it conclude with a plain four-part harmonization of the tune, having a certain amount of free figure work. It is omitted from the Novello Edition, and printed in P. vi. 77.
N. xviii. 58. The two arrangements come from different sources. The first (A) is found in Kirnberger’s, Voss’, and three other mss. The second (B) occurs in a much later (1836) text and is misleadingly described in the B.G. Edition as a “Variant” of A. Both settings are plain four-part harmonizations of the tune, of greater simplicity than that appended to No. 66 supra.
Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ.
Johannes Agricola’s hymn, “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” was published, along with the anonymous melody (supra) in Klug’s Hymn-book in 1535 . The tune is also used by Bach in the Orgelbüchlein and Cantatas 177, 185 (1715-32). His text of it is invariable and follows Witt’s (No. 299).
N. xv. 111. The movement is the only completed number in the “Christian Life and Experience” section of Part II of the Orgelbuchlein. It may be conjectured that, when he wrote it, Bach had before him particularly the first stanza of the hymn. His treatment of the melody of the first two lines of the stanza conveys a wistfulness of appeal that may have been suggested by the words
Underneath this petition the Pedal asserts a firm and confident rhythm which seems to express the
True faith from Thee, my God, I seek
of the fifth line, and may be compared with the steadfast procession of Pedal crotchets in the “Credo in unum Deum” of the B minor Mass, which symbolizes the unshakable solidarity of the Church’s faith.
In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr.
Adam Reissner’s hymn, “In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr,” based on Psalm 31, was first published in 15332 . In the sixteenth century two tunes attached themselves to it, both of which Bach uses.
N. xv. 113. The movement is the second in the “In Time of Trouble” section of the Orgelbuchlein. It is described as “alio modo,” i.e. the melody Bach uses is different from that to which the hymn is set in Witt (No. 606). Bach’s tune, a pre-Reformation Easter melody, occurs in a fifteenth century ms. now in the Royal Library, Berlin, set to the hymn “Christ ist erstanden” or “Christus ist erstanden.” It is found in print, set to the latter hymn, in 1536. In 1555 Valentin Triller, describing it as old and well-known, set it to the Easter hymn “Erstanden ist uns Jesus Christ.” Five years later, with an altered last line, the tune was attached to Reissner’s “In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr,” in the Strasbourg Gros Kirchen Gesangbuch (1560). The Easter associations of the tune throw light upon Bach’s treatment of it in this movement.
N. xviii. 59. The second of the two melodies is used in this Fughetta. The tune (supra) by Seth Calvisius, one of Bach’s predecessors in the Cantorate of St Thomas’, Leipzig, was first published in association with Reissner’s hymn in 1581. Elsewhere Bach uses it in the St Matthew Passion (1729), No. 38; Christmas Oratorio (1734), No. 46; Cantatas 52, 106 (1711-c. 1730); Choralgesänge, No. 212. His melodic text is practically invariable and shows marked divergencies from the 1581 form. His first phrase is found in Witt (No. 606). His closing cadence is in Schein (1627). He differs from Witt in his treatment of phrases 4 and 5, and his version is not traceable in Zahn. Perhaps it is his own. Only in the Fughetta (N. xviii. 59) does he follow the original and Witt in those phrases, with a single variation—B flat for A as the first note of phrase 5 (the second note of line 3 supra).
In this movement, as in No. 69 supra, Bach’s exegesis of Reissner’s hymn does not travel beyond the first line of stanza i. It exhibits a mood of confidence and trust which this happy Fughetta reflects. Copies of it are among the Kirnberger, Voss, and Oley mss.
In dir ist Freude.
The hymn, “In dir ist Freude,” is found first in Johann Lindemann’s Amorum Filii Dei decades duae, published, perhaps at Erfurt, in 1598. It is there entitled “Liebe zu Jesu” (A hymn of love for Jesus), the collection of twenty hymns being described in the subtitle as “Weyhenachten Gesenglein” (Little Christmas Songs). The hymn, which appears without any indication of its authorship, has been attributed to Lindemann himself, but cannot positively be regarded as his.
Lindemann was born at Gotha circa 1550, and from 1571 or 1572 to 1631 held a post there which he describes on his title-page as “Der Kirchen und Schulen zu Gotha Cantor und Musicus” (Cantor and Musicus of the Churches and Schools at Gotha). He died after 1634. The hymn passed into general use as a Christmas hymn.
The melody (supra), which at least from 1663 has been regarded as proper to the hymn, is by Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi. He was born at Caravaggio circa 1556, and was successively Capellmeister at Mantua and Milan (1592). He died at Milan in 1622.
In 1591 Gastoldi published at Venice a set of “Balletti.” Among them is one entitled “L’innamorato: A lieta vita: à 5,” which, in 1609, was inserted as a hymn tune in David Spaiser’s Vier und zwainzig Geystliche Lieder, Sambt ihren aignenWelsch- und Teutschen Melodeyen. The tune is set there to Spaiser’s hymn, “O Gott, mein Herre,” whose eight-lined stanza the tune exactly fitted. In 1663, if not earlier1 , it was attached to Lindemann’s (?) hymn in Nikolaus Stenger’s Christlich-Neu-vermehrt und gebessertes Gesangbuch (Erfurt), each half of the tune being repeated in order to fit the sixteen-lined stanza.
It is worthy of remark that three of Gastoldi’s dance measures (1591) passed into use as hymn tunes, and Spaiser included them all in his volume. One of them—“A lieta vita”—eventually was attached to “In dir ist Freude”; the other two also were set to Lindemann’s (?) texts: “Viver lieto voglio” to “Jesu, wollst uns weisen”; and “Questa dolce sirena” to “Wohlauf, ihr Musicanten.”
Bach treats the melody in a single Organ movement:
N. xv. 45. The New Year Prelude pulses with joy, the basso ostinato being particularly animated. The trills in the last eight bars, Schweitzer supposes2 , “correspond to the ‘Alleluia’ of the text.” In fact the “Hallelujah” falls only in the last bar of the movement.
The cantus is not clearly laid out in the movement. The first statement of the first half of the tune begins at bar 4 of the middle stave on page 45 of the Novello Edition and ends on bar 5 of the third stave. The repetition of the first half begins at bar 4 of the middle stave on page 46 and ends at the first bar on page 47. The first statement of the second half of the tune begins at bar 3 of the middle stave of page 47 and ends at the first bar of the second stave on page 48. The second statement of the second half begins at the second bar of the middle stave of page 48. Bach follows Witt’s (No. 62) text, which differs materially from the original1 .
The Prelude, as Spitta points out2 , is a free handling of the melody in the manner of Bohm. Its brilliant executive requirements are somewhat foreign to the collection in which it occurs. Spitta therefore concluded that “undoubtedly” it is of an earlier date than the other contents of the Orgelbüchlein. But Bach’s evident reliance on Witt’s text affords a reason for challenging Spitta’s inference.
In dulci jubilo.
The mediaeval Christmas hymn, “In dulci jubilo,” a macaronic partly German, partly Latin, dates from the early part of the fifteenth century, or earlier. It is found in various forms, of from three to eight stanzas in length. The ancient melody of the hymn was printed for the first time in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder zu Wittenberg (Wittenberg, 1535 ).
Besides a four-part setting of it in Choralgesange, No. 215, the melody is treated in two Organ movements. Witt (No. 36), it may be remarked, has B natural for the fifth and thirteenth notes of the tune (supra):
N. xv. 26. The Christmas movement is a canon on the octave between the Bass and Treble, against a florid background in Bach’s characteristic “joy” rhythm. In the original Autograph the Pedal part is written for an 8ft. stop and is carried up to F sharp. A Pedal of that natural compass was unusual then and remains unusual now. Spitta infers1 that Bach used the Weimar Castle 4ft. Cornet stop on the Pedals. But in a movement of very similar construction, “Gottes Sohn ist kommen.” (N. xv. 5), where the Pedal is carried up to F natural, Bach’s own direction is “Ped. Tromp. 8 F.” In N. xv. 26 the Pedal is transposed down an octave.
N. xviii. 61. A brilliant treatment of the melody, inspired, it is impossible to doubt, by the third stanza of the hymn, a vision of the heavenly halls:
If, as certainly was the case, the movement was designed to accompany the congregational singing of the hymn, we can understand, though not be tempted to associate ourselves with, the complaint of the Arnstadt Consistory against Bach, February 21, 1706: “Charge him with having been hitherto in the habit of making surprising variationes in the chorals, and intermixing divers strange sounds, so that thereby the congregation were confounded1 .” It is in the Christmas hymns particularly—judging by the examples that survive—that Bach painted the glorious pictures which their melodies summoned before his responsive mind.
Of this movement Spitta writes finely2 : “The first lines are brought out in majestic five-part harmony below the notes of the melody. But from the third line the flood of ornate imagery which is poured in among them can no longer be held back. It spreads out under cover of the upper part, becomes visible during the pauses between the sections, sometimes makes its way to the highest part, overspreading the melody for a little space; then, hurried on into triplets, it surges from the depths with added force, and returns to calm only on the last line but one, where the master restores the peace that ruled at the beginning, and builds up at last a seven-part harmony on the tonic pedal, which is held through several bars. As we contemplate such a piece as this, some dim idea steals over us of the form it must have assumed under Bach’s fingers, when, wrapt in the ecstasy of religious inspiration, he called up visions of celestial palaces, appearing and vanishing in an instant, and golden cloud-castles, the sublime and visionary birthplace of these sacred voices and pious melodies.”
The movement comes to us through a ms. once in the possession of Johann Christian Kittel1 , who died in 1809. He was the last of Bach’s pupils. Krebs also preserved a sketch of it.
B.G. xl. 158 prints a “Variant” of the movement from a Krebs ms. in the Royal Library, Berlin. It is significant of their purpose that these examples of the art of accompanying survive generally in the collections of Bach’s pupils.
Jesu, meine Freude.
Johann Franck’s hymn, “Jesu, meine Freude,” was published, to Johann Crüger’s melody (supra), in 1653. Bach uses it in Cantatas 12, 64, 81, 87 (c. 1723-35?), and a Motett (1723). A collation of his texts proves Bach to have used at different times three forms of the melody. In the Organ movements infra and, as far as it goes, in a fragment upon the melody in his son Friedemann’s Clavierbüchlein (P. v. 112) he follows Witt’s (No. 337) version of the 1653 text. In the Motett, Cantata 81, and Choralgesänge, No. 195, he prefers a version of the second and penultimate phrases of the tune not found in print, according to Zahn (No. 8032), before 1730. As the Motett and Cantata were composed in 1723-24, this version of the melody may be attributed to Bach himself, a deduction supported by the circumstance that it is printed for the first time in the Hymn-book (1730) of his Leipzig contemporary Georg Philipp Telemann. In Cantatas 64 and 87, the latter of which is assigned conjecturally to 1735, Bach employs a third form, whose source is not disclosed, the first part of which reverts to his earlier pre-Leipzig use.
The melody is treated in two Organ movements:
N. xv. 31. The movement is among the Christmas pieces of the Orgelbüchlein, an act of personal devotion to the Child Saviour. Bach sets the melody in the significant rhythm which has been considered in the Preludes, “Alle Menschen” and “Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn.”
N. xviii. 64. The movement is a Fantasia, which Schweitzer1 regards as a youthful work. It does not seem to be related to any particular stanza of the hymn. There are resemblances, however, between the ⅜ section and Bach’s setting of stanza v in the Motett on the hymn. Seven mss. of it are extant in the Kirnberger, Voss, Fischhof, and other Collections. A variant reading is in B.G. xl. 155, from the Schelble-Gleichauf mss.
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der den Tod.
Luther’s Easter hymn, “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der den Tod überwand,” was first published in 1524, in Walther’s Wittenberg Hymn-book and in the Erfurt Enchiridion. In Walther’s book it is set to the first and second melodies printed supra. Both are the Tenor of a four-part setting probably composed by Walther himself. In the Enchiridion only the second tune is found. The hymn was repeated in Klug’s Hymn-book, 1535 , but with a new melody, the third of those printed supra, which has displaced the earlier ones. Its source is not determined.
Bach uses the Klug melody in the Organ movement infra and Choralgesange, No. 207. With one trifling exception—the substitution of G for A as the second note of the first and fourth phrases of the melody (supra) in the Choralgesange—his two melodic texts are identical and conform to Witt’s version (No. 144). Bach’s (and Witt’s) closing cadence dates back to 1585.
N. xv. 81. The movement is the second of the Easter Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. The assertive, jubilant figure in the accompaniment expresses the triumph of which the first stanza of the hymn sings.
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der von uns.
The hymn is a translation, by Martin Luther, of the Eucharistic “Jesus Christus, nostra salus,” generally described as “St Johannes Hussen Lied,” though Hus’s authorship is doubtful. Luther’s hymn was published in Walther’s Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn (Wittenberg, 1524) and in Enchiridion oder eyn Handbuchlein (Erfurt, 1524), in both cases with the tune (supra). The hymn is described as “St John Hus’s hymn improved.” In fact only the first of its ten stanzas is based on the Latin. Luther and his musical helper, Johann Walther, appear to have discarded the old melody of the Latin hymn. The 1524 tune is attributed, without strong evidence, to Luther himself. When the hymn was repeated in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder (Wittenberg, 1535), a tune was substituted for that of 1524, which also bears no resemblance to the Latin melody.
In Choralgesange, No. 206, and the Organ movements infra Bach uses the 1524 melody, his text of which is invariable. His version of the second and third phrases differs from the original and is found in Witt (No. 320).
The 1524 melody appears to have been very dear to Bach. The Organ movements on it number four; two of them in the third part of the Clavierübung, and the other two among the Eighteen Chorals.
N. xvi. 74. The most striking feature of this Clavierübung Fantasia is the arresting “step” motive which paces throughout it, a musical exegesis of the hymn. The striding and confident theme inculcates stedfast faith in the power of the sacrament to forgive sin. “Bach wishes,” writes Schweitzer1 , “to illustrate the Lutheran dogma of the Communion. We know that Luther was opposed to the rationalism of Zwingli, who regarded the sacramental words as symbolical and the whole celebration as a simple ceremony of remembrance. To Luther the essence of the doctrine of the sacrament was faith in a real change in the elements, in virtue of which the Communion gives remission of sins.” Bach shared Luther’s conviction and expresses his confidence in a theme spaced extraordinarily widely. The tremendous “step” motive in the “Sanctus” of the B minor Mass may be compared with it, in which the adoration of men and angels is built upon a theme that strides in octaves and arches the heavens. In the present movement Bach clearly had the fifth stanza of Luther’s hymn before him:
N. xvi. 80. The second of the Clavierübung movements is in strong contrast to its predecessor. Fugal in form, and based on the first phrase of the melody only, it is contemplative in mood, and seems to follow No. 77 as the ninth stanza of the hymn is the corollary of the fifth:
N. xvii. 74. When, eight or nine years after the Clavierubung was published, Bach included two movements upon the melody among the Eighteen Chorals, he approached the hymn from a different standpoint. He probably felt that the first of the Clavierübung movements sacrificed art to dogmatics. The first of the movements in the “Eighteen” is a Communion Prelude; alone of the four it is marked “sub communione.” It is one of two Preludes—“O Lamm Gottes” (N. xvii. 32) being the other—in which Bach illustrates in their sequence the lines of the hymn text. In the present movement he selects from each of the four lines of the first stanza a particular word for illustration:
For the first thirteen bars Bach’s treatment of the cantus is inspired by the word “Redeemer.” At the fourteenth bar he introduces a rhythm which Schweitzer likens to the accompaniment of the Arioso “O gracious God” (No. 60) in the St Matthew Passion, which recalls Christ’s scourging. It suggests the strokes of God’s anger, from which the Redeemer’s Passion rescued mankind, and persists to the twenty-sixth bar, accompanying the second phrase of the cantus. At bar twenty-seven chromatic scale passages picture Christ’s “bitter Leiden” (sufferings sore and main). They are woven above and below the third phrase of the cantus and reach their climax in the thirty-seventh bar. At bar thirty-eight the fourth phrase of the cantus is introduced by a short figure
which typifies the Resurrection and man’s rescue from the pains of Hell. “We fancy,” writes Schweitzer “we can see in this affecting ending the strong arm of the Saviour drawing mankind upward1 .”
B.G. xxv. (2) 188 (P.vi.112) prints an older text of the movement, the ms. of which formerly was in Krebs’ possession.
N. xvii. 79. The movement must have been one of the last Bach revised. The ms. of it is in his son-in-law Altnikol’s hand1 . It is, however, one of Bach’s early works. Schweitzer2 points to the influence of Buxtehude. Spitta3 places the composition in the first years of Bach’s residence at Weimar.
It cannot be without design that Bach devotes the last nine bars of the movement to an elaboration of the fourth phrase of the cantus. Consequently he emphasizes the line:
Did help us all out of hell-pain.
Jesus, meine Zuversicht.
The Easter hymn, “Jesus, meine Zuversicht,” attributed to Luise Henriette Electress of Brandenburg, was published, set to Johann Crüger’s (?) melody, in Christoph Runge’s Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (Berlin, 1653)2 . A reconstruction of the melody (supra) appeared in the Berlin Praxis pietatis melica of the same year. The melody was attributed posthumously to Crüger, though possibly only the reconstruction is by him. Bach uses the Praxis version invariably, in Cantata 145 (1729-30), Choralgesange, No. 208, and the movement infra. Invariably he substitutes G for A as the third note of the second bar of the melody (supra), an innovation found in Freylinghausen (1704). Bach’s treatment of the first bar of the second part of the tune (line 2, bar 1 supra) varies. Only in the Organ movement does he follow Crüger’s version. As his other readings differ in that passage, they may perhaps be regarded as his own. Witt (No. 712) sets the hymn to another tune.
Luise Henriette, to whom the hymn is attributed, was born at the Hague in 1627. She was a granddaughter of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, wife (1646) of Frederick William the “Great Elector” of Brandenburg, and great-grandmother of Frederick the Great. She died in 1667.
N. xviii. 69. The movement is in the Clavierbüchlein which Bach made for his wife Anna Magdalena in 1722. As Spitta points out1 , it is a three-part Clavier piece, included in the Clavierbüchlein in order to give practice in the fioriture, which, it may be remarked, are not accurately printed in the Peters and Novello Editions2 . Another ms. of the movement, a “gute alte Abschrift,” is in the Berlin Royal Library.
Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist.
The words and melody of Luther’s Whitsuntide hymn, “Komm, Gott, Schopfer, heiliger Geist,” are derived from the Latin “Veni Creator Spiritus,” and were first published in 1524. In Klug’s Hymn-book (1535 ) the melody, considerably modified2 , approached the form in which it is universally known. In the Cantata “Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch,” attributed to Bach, the tune is used exactly in its 1535 form. Elsewhere, in Choralgesänge, No. 218, and the two Organ movements (infra), Bach follows a version of the melody based on Cruger’s text (1640) (supra) invariably for the third phrase. Witt (No. 171) exactly conforms to the 1535 text.
Bach treats the melody in two Organ movements:
N. xv. 97. The movement is the only completed Prelude in the Whit-Sunday section of the Orgelbüchlein. The similarity of its Bass to that of the four-part setting in the Choralgesange suggests that they were written in close association.
Spitta1 finds the movement out of place among Preludes in which Bach undertook to treat the Pedal uniformly obbligato throughout. He regards it as the fragment of a movement conceived on a much bigger scale—in fact, an introduction to No. 83 infra.
An older reading of the movement is in P.vii.86(A), whose original is in the Mendelssohn Autograph.
N. xvii. 82. The movement is among the Eighteen Chorals and is the Orgelbuchlein Prelude with the addition of another verse, in which the cantus is on the Pedal. Its treatment suggests that Bach had in mind Acts ii. 2, 3: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven.....And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire.”
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.
Luther’s Whitsuntide hymn, “Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott,” an expansion of the Latin “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” was first published, with the melody, in the Erfurt and Wittenberg Hymn-books of 1524. Klug’s Hymn-book of 1535  prints an older form, with an expanded cadence for the concluding “Hallelujahs.” Bach uses the 1524 form invariably for the body of the tune. In Cantatas 59 and 175 (1716-1735?) and the Motett “Der Geist hilft” (1729) he uses the cadence of the 1535 version. There is also an abbreviated treatment of the melody in Cantata 172 (1724-5). In the Organ movements he invariably uses the 1524 cadence (supra) somewhat altered, in a form which dates from 1569 (supra). Witt (No. 170) also prefers the 1524 text, but his cadence is quite distinct from the other versions.
There are two Organ movements upon the melody:
N. xvii. 1. The Fantasia is No. 1 of the Eighteen Chorals. Schweitzer1 finds it reminiscent of Buxtehude’s style, an early work retouched, no doubt, by Bach for inclusion in his final collection. The strong statement of the cantus and the flickering semiquavers above it seem to paint stanza ii—“He is the verite,” and the tongues of fire. An earlier, perhaps the original, text is printed in P. vii. 86. Two mss. of it are extant, one of which was formerly in Krebs’ possession.
N. xvii. 10. The movement, a treatment of the cantus phrase by phrase, is No. 2 of the Eighteen Chorals. The last sixteen bars are a joyous setting of the “Hallelujahs” in Bach’s characteristic idiom. An older version of the movement is in P. vii. 88. The ms. of it comes through Krebs.
Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter auf Erden?
Caspar Friedrich Nachtenhöfer’s hymn was first published in the Coburg Hymn-book of 1667, to the anonymous melody “Hast du denn, Liebster,” which had appeared two years earlier (1665) in the Stralsund Hymn-book. Zahn (No. 1912) supposes it founded on a secular tune.
Nachtenhöfer was born at Halle in 1624, became deacon and later pastor at Meder, and eventually (1671) pastor in Coburg. He died in 1685.
Bach uses the melody in Cantatas 57, 137 (c. 1732-40), in the unfinished Cantata “Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge” (c. 1740) and in the Organ movement infra. All of these works belong to his later Leipzig years. But though his form of the melody is fundamentally uniform, he treats it with a freedom which its spirited character invited.
N. xvi. 14. The movement is No. 6 of the Schübler Chorals, and is an adaptation of the Alto Solo on the second stanza of Joachim Neander’s “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren,” in Cantata 137 (? 1732):
The accompaniment on the first Manual is a Violin Solo in the Cantata.
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit.
The Litany is a recast of the “Kyrie summum bonum: Kyrie fons bonitatis,” printed, apparently at Wittenberg, in 1541. The melody is a literal adaptation of the Latin plainsong. It is printed supra from the Teutsch Kirchenamt (Erfurt, 1525), where it is set to other words. Bach’s melodic text, in Choralgesänge, No. 225, and the Organ movements infra, is invariable and follows the original (1525), to which Witt (No. 187) also conforms.
N. xvi. 28-38. The two sets of three movements, the one long (N. xvi. 28-35), the other short (N. xvi. 36-38), are in the Clavierübung. Schweitzer points out2 that the majority of the long movements in the Clavierübung are worked out to such excessive length as to diminish the impression they would otherwise make. The criticism does not apply to the “Kyrie.” The longer set is developed in the style of Pachelbel rather than that of the Choral Fantasia, with magnificent tonal effect. The shorter set is of a different texture, written for the manuals only, and in another mood.
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier.
Tobias Clausnitzer’s hymn, “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier,” for use before the sermon, was first published, but without a melody, in the Altdorf Bet-und Gesang Büchlein (1663).
Clausnitzer was born at Thum, in Saxony, in 1618. He graduated at Jena University in 1643 and became an army chaplain in Swedish service during the Thirty Years’ War. Upon the conclusion of peace in 1648 he was appointed pastor at Weiden, where he died in 1684.
The melody (supra) of the hymn was composed by Johann Rodolph Ahle, and was published first in his Neue Geistliche Auf die Sontage...gerichtete Andachten (Mühlhausen, 1664). It is set there to Franz Joachim Burmeister’s hymn, “Ja, er ists, das Heil der Welt.” A reconstruction of the melody (supra) was attached to Clausnitzer’s hymn in the Darmstadt Cantional of 1687.
Besides a four-part setting of the melody in the Choralgesänge, No. 228, there are five short treatments of it among the Organ works. Bach’s text is invariable only for the first phrase of the melody, which exactly follows the 1687 reconstruction, excepting the last note, where he substitutes C for A (supra). For the remaining phrases, though his text generally conforms to the 1687 reconstruction, Bach introduces into all of them variants which, generally, have their authority in Leipzig use. The five melodic texts are discussed in the sections infra. A peculiar intimacy distinguishes Bach’s treatment of them all.
P. v. 109 and N. xv. 101. The melody appears twice, among the Trinity hymns, in the Orgelbuchlein. It is the only tune introduced more than once into that work, and the significance of the fact has been pointed out in the Introduction to this volume. Making allowance for the free embellishments Bach introduces, the cantus exactly follows the reconstruction of 1687, excepting the last note of the first phrase of the tune, which is C natural intead of A. This improvement is found in Witt (No. 241), whose text Bach exactly follows. The two Orgelbüchlein movements differ in the smallest details, and the Novello Edition only prints the second of them; Bach distinguished it as “distinctius.” The first movement, “in Canone alla Quinta,” is printed in the other Editions.
N. xviii. 70. The melodic text of the movement conforms to the 1687 reconstruction, except in the third phrase, which is first found in Vetter’s Hymn-book (1709). The melodic text of the Choralgesänge setting is identical with that of this movement, allowance being made for the free figures that embellish the latter. Both are in the key of G major. Peters printed the movement from Kittel’s ms. The Dröbs ms. provides another copy.
N. xviii. 71. The melodic text of the movement conforms to the 1687 reconstruction, excepting the third phrase, whose source is not ascertained; probably it is Bach’s own. The authorities for the movement are as in No. 91 supra.
N. xviii. 72. This is a simple four-part setting in two verses. The first half of its melodic text exactly conforms to the 1687 reconstruction. The second half of it follows Vetter. Six mss. of the setting are extant, one of them being in the Kirnberger and another in the Krebs Collections.
Since Bach uses the 1687 or Witt form of the melody only in the Orgelbüchlein, while all the other settings show variants which are traceable to Vetter’s Hymn-book, which was published at Leipzig a few years before Bach went there, it is a reasonable deduction that Nos. 91, 92, 93 and the Choralgesange setting date from the Leipzig period.
Lob sei dem allmachtigen Gott.
Michael Weisse’s Advent hymn, “Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott,” was first published in Ein New Gesengbuchlen (Jung Bunzlau, 1531), the earliest Hymn-book of the Bohemian Brethren, of which he was editor. Its melody (supra) is that of the Latin Advent hymn, “Conditor alme siderum.”
The melody is treated in two Organ movements. The source of Bach’s variations of the 1531 text is not ascertained. In Witt (No. 15) the hymn is set to the melody “Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her.
N. xv. 11. The movement is the last of the Advent Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. The imminence of Christmas, rather than the text of the hymn, moves Bach to an expression of fervent devotion by means of a characteristic rhythm (cf. N. xv. 9, 31).
N. xviii. 73. A brief Fughetta, for the manuals, upon the first line of the cantus stated in free form. A copy of the movement is among the Kirnberger mss. There are three other mss. of it in the Berlin Royal Library, one of them in Forkel’s Collection.
Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich.
The words and melody of the Christmas hymn, “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich [allzugleich],” by Nikolaus Herman, were first published together in 1560. The tune (supra) had appeared six years earlier in association with another hymn by Herman. In both hymns the fourth line of the stanza is repeated.
Bach uses the melody in Cantatas 151 and 195 (?c. 1726-40), Choralgesänge, Nos. 233, 234, and in the two movements infra. His text generally differs from that of 1554 in phrases 2 and 4. His version of both is adumbrated in texts dated 1576 and 1592. Excepting his treatment of the second phrase (the last six notes of line 1 supra) Bach’s version of the melody is invariable. In the Orgelbüchlein and Cantatas 151 and 195 he adopts the 1554 form, which is also that of Witt (No. 32), but always begins the second phrase on G (not A ut supra). The source of his variation of that line elsewhere is not ascertained. An unimportant modification of the closing cadence occurs in Cantata 195 (?c. 1726).
N. xv. 29. The movement, in the Christmas section of the Orgelbüchlein, expresses the jubilation of earth at the angels’ Christmas message. Bach introduces into the movement, therefore, a characteristic rhythm of joy.
N. xviii. 74. A brilliant Organ accompaniment of the melody, inspired by stanza viii, more literally translated thus:
Bach buries the second phrase of the cantus under harmonies soaring heavenward followed by a downward rush of whirling notes, typifying dispersal of the forces that hitherto barred the Gate of Life.
A copy of the movement is in the Dröbs ms. A so-called “variant,” which comes from the Krebs mss., is printed in B.G. xl. 159. The second phrase of the melody is in a form Bach does not use elsewhere.
Meine Seele erhebt den Herren.
The association of “Tonus Peregrinus” with the Magnificat dates at least from the sixteenth century. Bach invariably associates the two, in the Organ movements infra, Cantata 10, and the Latin Magnificat (No. 10). There are two harmonizations of the melody in Choralgesange, Nos. 120, 121.
N. xvi. 8. The movement, the fourth of the Schübler Chorals, is an arrangement of the fifth movement of Cantata 10 (c. 1740), an Alto-Tenor Duetto to the words, “He remembering His mercy hath holpen His servant Israel.” In the Cantata the cantus is played by the Oboes and Tromba in unison. In the Magnificat (? 1723) Bach introduces the melody obbligato in the same verse of the Canticle. In the present movement the care-free subject sung by the two voices displays the mood of ransomed Israel.
N. xviii. 75. Spitta points out1 , in regard to this sublime Fugue, that in it Bach illustrates the Pachelbel form at its highest expression, prefacing the melody, treated with brilliant counterpoint, by a Fugue constructed on the first line of it. A Fugue of ninety-seven bars on the manuals precedes the cantus firmus’ “ponderous foundation-stones” on the Pedals. The Fugue on “Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr” (N. xviii. 7) may be compared with it. Griepenkerl printed the movement for Peters “from a single copy, in my collection,” his Preface to P. vii. states. The B.G. Edition quotes two mss., one of which is in the Amalienbibliothek, the other being a copy by Grell.
Mit Fried’ und Freud’ ich fahr’ dahin.
Martin Luther’s free rendering of the Nunc dimittis was first published, with the melody, in Walther’s Wittenberg Hymn-book (1524). It is probable that the tune was composed by Luther himself.
Besides the Orgelbüchlein movement (infra) Bach uses the melody in Cantatas 83, 95, 106, 125 (1711-c. 1740), and Choralgesange, No. 249. His text differs from the original form (supra) only in the substitution of B flat for B natural as the second note of the third line supra, and of B natural for A natural as the first note of the second line supra. In both particulars he conforms to Witt’s text (No. 80).
N. xv. 50. The movement is one of two Preludes for the Purification in the Orgelbüchlein. It illustrates the first line of the aged Simeon’s song:
In peace and joy I now depart.
Bach therefore accompanies the cantus throughout with the rhythm expressive of joy. The sturdy and reliant Pedal figure represents the confidence in God’s promise with which Simeon faces the unknown journey.
Nun danket alle Gott.
Martin Rinkart’s hymn, “Nun danket alle Gott,” was first published in 1648, with the melody (supra). The latter, published anonymously in 1648, was attributed to Crüger in 1653. It has been assigned also to Rinkart himself and to Luca Marenzio.
In addition to the Organ movement infra, Bach uses the melody in Cantatas 79, 192 (c. 1732-5), the Wedding Chorals (No. 3), and Choralgesange, No. 257. His text is invariable. His versions of the second and last lines of the melody differ from the 1648 form and are found in Witt (No. 386).
N. xvii. 40. The movement, the seventh of the Eighteen Chorals, is both a splendid exercise in the Pachelbel form and a jubilant musical expression of the triumphant hymn2 .
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein.
Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit.
The melody, “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein,” generally known as “Luther’s Hymn,” is said to have been written down by the Reformer after hearing a travelling artisan sing it. Its original is the secular song “Wach auf, wach auf, du schöne,” whose melody (supra) Valentin Triller in 1555 (Ein Schlesich singebüchlein aus Göttlicher schrifft) appropriated to his hymn “Merk auf, merk auf, du schöne.” Luther’s melody is also associated with Bartholomäus Ringwaldt’s Advent hymn, “Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit” (1582). In the Organ movement (infra) the names of both hymns are attached to the tune. It occurs also in the Christmas Oratorio (1734), No. 59, Cantata 70 (1716), and Choralgesange, No. 262.
Bach’s text of the melody is invariable and differs, as to the third and fourth phrases (line 2 of the 1535 melody supra), from the 1535 form. His variants are found in late sixteenth century texts and also in Witt (No. 293). The third phrase of the tune in Hymns Ancient and Modern, No. 52, it may be noted, occurs in a 1598 text.
The melody is treated in a single Organ movement:
N. xviii. 80. The semiquaver subject suggests that Bach had before him particularly the first stanza of Luther’s hymn. But it cannot be stated positively that the addition of “Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit” to the title of the movement is without significance. Bach occasionally gives a festive treatment to the Advent tunes in anticipation of Christmas. Ringwaldt’s hymn has a particular relation to the Second Advent, and it is not improbable that Bach had in mind here its last stanza.
Four copies of the movement survive, in the Fischhof and Oley mss. P. vii. 91 prints a variant reading. Two mss. of it are extant, one of them in a volume of Organ Chorals attributed to Bach, in the Berlin Royal Library, another in Schelble’s hand.
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.
Luther’s Advent or Christmas hymn, “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” a translation of St Ambrose’s (?) “Veni Redemptor gentium,” was published in 1524, with the melody2 , a simplification of that of the Latin hymn (supra), a reconstruction which may be attributed to Luther or Johann Walther.
Besides the Organ works infra, the melody occurs in Cantatas 36, 61, and 62 (1714-c. 1740). Bach’s text is invariable, with the exception that in the Eighteen Chorals and their variants he writes G sharp for G natural as the fourth note of bar 1 and second note of bar 4 supra. The modification is not found in Witt (No. 4). It produces the interval of a diminished fourth, which is very significant of suffering (cf. the “Crucify” theme in the St Matthew Passion and the first Chorus of Cantata 61 (1714), where the rhythm of majesty is given to the strings while the Saviour’s suffering is, by this means, suggested by the voices).
There are five Organ movements on the melody—one in the Orgelbuchlein, three among the Eighteen Chorals, and one among the miscellaneous Preludes.
N. xv. 3. The movement is the first of the Advent Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. It breathes a certain wistfulness of petition, a reiterated “Now, come.”
  
N. xvii. 46, 49, 52. The three movements are the ninth, tenth, and eleventh numbers of the Eighteen Chorals. As they exist in a text of Walther’s they must be assigned to the Weimar period. Spitta1 regards them as having been composed by Bach “as a connected whole.” Their tonality is identical. The first is in the Buxtehude form and the phrases of the cantus are unusually prolonged. The second is a Trio, which needs nothing but a freely invented theme to place it in the category of the Choral Fantasia. It therefore forms a bridge between the first and the third, which is a Choral Fantasia. They illustrate the hymn as a whole rather than any particular stanza. Older readings of all are in P. vii. 92, 93, 94, 96 from the Kirnberger, Krebs, and Walther Collections. Of P. vii. 93 the Autograph is in the Berlin Royal Library.
N. xviii. 83. A Fughetta, on the first phrase of the melody, among the miscellaneous Preludes. Copies of the movement are in the Kirnberger and Schelble-Gleichauf mss. in the Berlin Royal Library.
O Gott, du frommer Gott.
Johann Heermann’s hymn, “O Gott, du frommer Gott,” entitled “Ein täglich Gebet” (A daily prayer), was first published, but not to the above melody, in his Devoti Musica Cordis (Leipzig, 1630), in eight stanzas. A posthumous ninth stanza2 was added to the hymn in the Hanover Neue Musikalische Kreutz-Trost- Lob- und Dank Schuhle (Lüneburg, 1659).
The melody (supra) is found for the first time in the New Ordentlich Gesang-Buch (Hanover, 1646), set to Johann Heermann’s hymn, “Gross ist, O grosser Gott.” A widespread and erroneous impression that Bach composed it arose, presumably, from the fact that his harmonized version of the melody is found in Schemelli’s Hymn-book (1736) (Erk, No. 103). Elsewhere it occurs only in the Organ works. His version of the last two phrases of the tune is not uniform. In the Organ Partite infra it approximates significantly to a Hamburg text of 1690. Witt (No. 527) uses another melody.
N. xix. 44. The melody is treated in a series of nine Partite, or Variations. Spitta is convinced that they were written in Lüneburg, or under the direct influence of Böhm, in the first decade of the eighteenth century1 , a conclusion supported by the strong Hanoverian associations which attach to Bach’s melodic text and to the added ninth stanza. Schweitzer also holds them to be the product of Bach’s earliest youth, on the ground of the awkward harmonization of the melody and the optional use of the Pedal2 . Parry finds in them an air of ingenuous simplicity that proves them to be very early compositions3 . It is the more interesting to find the youthful Bach illustrating in some of them the text of the hymn, the number of whose stanzas corresponds with the number of Partite.
Partita I may be regarded either as an introduction to stanza i, or perhaps as a broad expression of the opening line
O Gott, du frommer Gott,
the word “frommer” summoning the picture of a Personality strong, reliable, unwavering.
The second stanza hardly invites pictorial treatment. Bach would appear, as Spitta notes, to be copying Böhm’s habit of extending the cantus.
Stanza iii, like its predecessor, does not appear to have drawn the juvenile Bach to attempt illustration.
In Partita IV Bach’s youthful eye caught the words “Gieb das ich meinen Feind...überwind” (Help me to overcome my foe); the left hand sounds a triumphant rhythm.
In Partita V the general atmosphere of “Fried und Freundschaft” (peace and friendship), of which the corresponding stanza speaks, draws from Bach one of his characteristic joy motives in the animated semiquaver passages which accompany the cantus.
Stanza vi, with its reference to “meine graue Haar” (my hoary head), summons to Bach’s mind instantly the picture of an old man with halting footsteps groping his way to the grave. The same idea is expressed by similar means in “Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf” (N. xv. 53) and “Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund” (N. xv. 67).
In Partita VII, by prolonged descending passages in the first four bars and at the close of the movement, Bach illustrates the word “Grab”:
By similar means a quarter of a century later, in the last number of the St Matthew Passion, he pictured the lowering of the dead Christ to the tomb.
In Partita VIII, in chromatic passages, Bach pictures the torture of the dead awaiting judgment.
Partita IX is built throughout upon the rhythm of fervent adoration elsewhere found in “Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn” (N. xv. 9) and “Lob sei dem allmachtigen Gott” (N. xv. 11).
The ms. from which the Partite were published by Griepenkerl in 1846 belonged to Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818). Another ms. is in the Collection of Bach’s pupil Krebs, and bears the inscription “J. S. B.” Naumann mentions a third copy by F. Roitzsch in Dehn’s Collection, inscribed “da Giov. Bast. Bach.”
O Lamm Gottes unschuldig.
There are two forms of the ancient melody of the “Agnus Dei” adapted by Nikolaus Decius to his translation of that hymn: the original published in 1542, and a later version published in 15452 . The latter is in use particularly in North Germany and Bach uses it with textual variations, chiefly in the fourth phrase of the tune. It occurs in the St MatthewPassion (1729), No. 1, Choralgesange, No. 285, and the two Organ movements infra. In the second of them (No. 110) Bach’s melodic text approximates to a reconstruction of the 1545 version found in an Eisleben Hymn-book of 1598 (supra).
The melody occurs in two Organ movements:
N. xv. 58. The movement is the first of the Passiontide Preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. The cantus is accompanied by a sequence of sobbing notes slurred in pairs. In Bach’s unvarying idiom they depict mental pain in contradistmction to the chromatic sequence by which he represents physical suffering. Bach’s melodic text conforms closely to Witt’s (No. 104).
N. xvii. 32. The Prelude, the sixth of the Eighteen Chorals, is a setting of the three stanzas of the hymn. In Verses 1 and 2 Bach does not attempt word painting. But at bar 19 (N. xvii. 37) of Verse 3, anticipating the melodic phrase of the line
Our sins Thou bearest for us,
Bach introduces a subject clearly based on it
which, upon the entry of the cantus (N. xvii. 38, bar 4), accompanies it with increasing urgency of self-accusation until the words
Else had despair reigned o’er us
are heard in the cantus (N. xvii. 38, bar 10). Chromatic sequences, entering at the bar, express in poignant harmonies the agony of the Saviour’s death. With the entry of the last phrase of the cantus (N. xvii. 39, bar 1) and its petition
Grant us Thy peace to-day, O Jesu!
the threnody is stilled, and undulating quaver sequences remind us, as Schweitzer comments1 , of the angelic proclamation of “Peace on earth” in some of the Christmas Preludes. The final ascending cadence may be pictured as the Heavenward flight of the angelic messengers.
P. vii. 97 prints an older reading of the movement. The ms. of it is among the Krebs mss.
O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross.
Matthäus Greitter’s melody, published in 1525, was from circa 1584 attached to Sebald Heyden’s Passiontide hymn, “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross.” Bach uses it in the St Matthew Passion (1729), No. 35, Choralgesänge, No. 286, and the movement infra. His text is practically uniform and close to that of 1525. The B naturals which replace B flat as the penultimate notes of bars 1 and 2 supra are in Witt (No. 96) and elsewhere. In the Orgelbüchlein Bach writes B natural as the third note of bar 7.
N. xv. 69. The movement is among the Passiontide Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. It is written upon the first stanza of the hymn, whose last line
The shameful Cross enduring
is painted by Bach in his chromatic “grief” motive. The concluding bars, as Sir Hubert Parry remarks1 , “show how fully Bach realised the highest capacities of harmony.”
Puer natus in Bethlehem.
The melody of the fourteenth century Christmas Carol “Puer natus in Bethlehem” (“Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem”) exists in two forms. Of the original there is a text printed in 15432 . The second (supra), found in 1553, is the descant of a four-part setting in which the original (1543) tune appears as the Tenor. Bach uses it in Cantata 65 (1724) and a single movement infra. His text is invariable, except that in the latter he substitutes F sharp for F natural as the ninth note of the second line supra. Otherwise his text conforms to Witt’s (No. 35).
The 1543 melody, with slight modifications, is that of the Christmas hymn, “Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar,” and is used by Bach in the Orgelbüchlein for that Carol. (See No. 126 infra.)
N. xv. 13. The movement is the first of the Christmas Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. Though the hymn stands there as a general introduction to the festival, its central incident is the visit of the three Kings from the East and their homage. Bach seemingly sets himself to paint stanza iv. While the quaver passages express the visitors’ joy at the fruition of their long quest, he distinguishes the three Wise Men individually on the Pedal. In bars 1-4 the bearer of incense approaches the manger. The first two Pedal notes mark his deep obeisance to the Infant. In bars 5-7 the myrrh giver performs his duty in a similar manner. In bars 8-11 the bearer of gold makes his obeisance and gift. In the last six bars (bar 12—end) the Three Kings withdraw, making obeisance at every step, and their deepest curtsey as they leave the Presence. The “programme” might be rejected as extravagant but for Bach’s naïve habit of literalness. An alternative interpretation of the movement as a lullaby is not supported by the character of the music.
Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele.
Johann Franck’s Eucharistic hymn, “Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele,” was first published, with Johann Crüger’s melody (supra), in 1649. Bach uses the melody in Cantata 180 (c. 1740) and in the movement infra. His text of it is practically invariable. Of his variation of bars 4 and 5 (supra) Zahn does not reveal an earlier instance. Witt’s text (No. 308) did not guide him.
N. xvii. 22. The movement is the fourth of the Eighteen Chorals and, as is invariably the case when the words of the hymn stirred Bach to deep emotion, the cantus is treated very freely. He retards, embellishes, and emphasizes it as if to make it interpret the Holy of Holies of his thoughts. The intimacy which characterizes Bach’s treatment of the melody is inspired by the lines of the last stanza:
Schumann once wrote to Mendelssohn, who had played the movement to him, that around the cantus “hung winding wreaths of golden leaves, and such blissfulness was breathed from within it, that you yourself [Mendelssohn] avowed that if life was bereft of all hope and faith, this one Choral would renew them for you. I was silent and went away dazed into God’s acre, feeling acutely pained that I could lay no flower on his urn1 .”
B.G. xl. 181 prints a movement on the melody whose genuineness is doubtful. The text of the second part of the tune differs conspicuously from that which Bach uses elsewhere. Five mss. of it are extant in the Schelble, Hauser, and other Collections. It is also attributed to Gottfried August Homilius (1714-85).
Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig.
Christian Keimann’s hymn, “Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig,” was first published in Martin Janus’ Passionale Melicum (Görlitz, 1663). In the Wolfenbüttel Hymn-book of 1672 its stanzas are printed alternately with those of the Passiontide prayer, “Salve Jesu, summe bonum,” attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaulx. There does not appear to be reasonable ground for holding Keimann’s hymn a version of the Latin. Two stanzas, improbably by Keimann, were added to his original five in the Gotha Geistlichen Gesang-Buchlein of 1666.
The melody (supra) is first found in Gottfried Vopelius’ Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (Leipzig, 1682), where it is set to Keimann’s hymn. It is one of fourteen new anonymous melodies in that work, in all probability by Vopelius himself, one of Bach’s predecessors (d. 1715) as Cantor of St Nicolas’ Church, Leipzig. His name is not attached to “Sei gegrüsset,” perhaps because the first half of the tune is practically identical with a melody set to E. C. Homburg’s “Grossfürst hoher Cherubinen,” composed by Werner Fabricius and published in 1659. As Fabricius was a former Organist of St Nicolas’ his tune must have been familiar to Vopelius. There is a four-part setting of Vopelius’ melody in Choralgesänge, No. 307. Bach uses it elsewhere in the Organ works, where also his own is uniform with Witt’s (No. 125) text, though he writes D for B as the penultimate note of bar 8 (supra).
N. xix. 55. A set of Partite or Choral Variations on the melody. There are eleven movements. Schweitzer1 asserts inaccurately that the hymn has eleven stanzas, and infers that the numerical correspondence of movements and stanzas is intentional. In fact the original hymn contained five stanzas, and occasionally is found in a seven-stanza form. In eleven stanzas it is not known.
The allegation of an artistic relation between the stanzas and Bach’s Partite is also rejected upon an analysis of the Variations.
Spitta divides the eleven movements into three groups which, he gives grounds for supposing, Bach wrote at different times. They are as follows2 :
Group I. Partite 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, Spitta concludes, were written at about the period in which the Partite on “O Gott, du frommer Gott” and “Christ, der du bist der helle Tag” were composed. He instances, in proof, their restriction to the manuals and general resemblance to Bohm’s models. They display the true Partita form, in which the cantus is completely or partially absorbed by the ornament.
Group II. Variations 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 are all Orgelchoräle, similar in form to the type that predominates in the Orgelbuchlein. All but one of them (Variation V) have an obbligato pedal.
Group III. Variation 8.
If Spitta is correct, the Partite were composed by Bach at three periods, in two of which he set himself to produce five movements on the melody. The hymn itself has five stanzas. But there is no evidence of any intimate relation between them and the Partite. The hymn, in fact, is the prayer of a dying man, of uniform mood throughout, and affording none of the pictorial vistas which Bach’s warm imagination so readily explored.
Griepenkerl published the Variations for Peters in 1846 partly from Johann Ludwig Krebs’ ms., partly from a copy in the possession of Carl Ferdinand Becker, a Leipzig organist and Bach enthusiast. The former contains only Partite 1, 2, 4, 10. The latter places Partita 7 before Partita 6. The Voss, Westphal, Forkel mss., among others, contain copies.
Valet will ich dir geben.
Valerius Herberger’s funerary hymn, “Valet will ich dir geben,” was published, with the melody (supra), in 1614. The familiar tune is by Melchior Teschner, and bears a close resemblance to “Sellenger’s Round.” Bach uses it in the St John Passion (1723), No. 28, Cantata 95 (? 1732), Choralgesänge, No. 314, and the two Organ movements infra. His text is practically invariable. The substitution of C natural for A as the eleventh note of the first phrase of the tune is found in a Gotha text of 1648 and Witt (No. 722). Excepting N. xix. 2, Bach always writes G for E as the eighth note of the last phrase. The innovation dates from 1668. Bach’s second phrase is quite distinct from Witt’s.
N. xix. 2. The movement, perhaps, is a treatment of the first stanza of the hymn, the ascending final cadence being inspired by the words:
Two mss. of the movement are in the Berlin Royal Library, both of them of secondary authority.
An older reading of the movement is in P. vii. 100. The fact that it is found in Walther’s Collection, where it is inscribed “J. S. B.,” is good evidence that the Prelude belongs to the Weimar period.
N. xix. 7. The movement has the rhythm of a funeral march. But the mood is joyful and reflects that of the second half of stanza i rather than its opening valediction. Three mss. of the Prelude exist, one of them in Dröbs’ hand.
Vater unser im Himmelreich.
Luther’s versification of the Lord’s Prayer, “Vater unser im Himmelreich,” was first published, with an anonymous melody (supra), in 1539. Fr. Zelle1 supposes the tune in origin a “Bergmannslied.” Bach uses it in Cantatas 90, 101, 102 (1731-c. 1740), Choralgesange, No. 316, St John Passion (1723), No. 5, and four Organ movements infra. Excepting a single detail, his melodic text is invariable and conforms to the original: in the three Cantatas, the Orgelbüchlein, and N. xvi. 61 he substitutes B for G sharp as the thirteenth note of the second line supra. Witt (No. 232) has G sharp there.
N. xv. 105. The movement is in the Catechism section of the second part of the Orgelbuchlein. It stands for “Prayer,” and Bach illuminates it by enforcing the intimate and rapt spirit in which prayer should be offered. The rhythm he employs on the Pedal to express blissful adoration has already been remarked in the Preludes “Alle Menschen müssen sterben,” “Jesu, meine Freude,” and others.
N. xvi. 53, 61. These two Clavierübung movements, a long one and a short one, illustrate the ordinance of Prayer. Of the first and longer one Bach’s programme is not patent. Schweitzer1 finds the word “Father” prominent in it; it does not seem to be more so than any other. Spitta, remarking2 that the melody appears against three parts in counterpoint in canon on the octave, speculates that Bach thereby intended to symbolize the childlike obedience with which the Christian appropriates the prayer prescribed by Christ Himself. The device would appear unduly complicated for the conveyance of that impression. It is, on the whole, safer to draw attention to the fact that the simple, unadorned cantus (in canon on the octave) is a thread in a larger fabric woven by (1) an exceptionally embellished presentment of the cantus (in canon on the fifth), and (2) a Pedal part markedly contrasted in character. Conjecturally, the plain cantus is the Prayer of Prayers, Christ’s own utterance. The embellished, ruminative version of the cantus expresses the intimate spirit of prayer; and the firm, reliant Pedal part typifies the faith without which prayer is vain.
In the shorter movement the cantus is unadorned and, alone among the Clavierubung Choral movements, is presented without interludes. P. v. 109 prints a variant reading from a Hauser ms.
N. xix. 12. The movement, a solemn prayer, is an early work of the Weimar period, similar in form to “Gottes Sohn ist kommen” (No. 53 supra). The ms. of it is in the Walther Collection of Choral Preludes.
In addition to the above movement, B.G. xl. 183, 184 prints two of doubtful authenticity. Both are among the Kirnberger mss. and are attributed to Georg Bohm, of Lüneburg, Bach’s contemporary there, who died circa 1734.
Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her.
Luther published his Christmas hymn, “Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her,” in Schumann’s Hymn-book (1539) with a tune which is generally attributed to himself. Bach uses it in the Christmas Oratorio (1734), Nos. 9, 17, 23, and in the Organ movements infra. His text is invariable and conforms to the original except in one detail: for the fifth note of the last phrase he takes the melody up to D (supra). The emendation dates from 1629 and is found in Witt’s text (No. 21).
N. xv. 21. In the Christmas group of the Orgelbüchlein the hymn records the Angelic annunciation of the new-born Christ. By ascending and descending scale passages Bach indicates the presence of the heavenly host.
N. xix. 14. The movement is a Fughetta, for the manuals, on the first two phrases of the melody. In more vivid colours Bach paints again the Orgelbüchlein picture. The brilliant scale passages not only represent the ascending and descending angels, but sound joyous peals from many belfries ringing in the Saviour’s birth. Five copies of the movement, an early work, are extant, one of them in the Kirnberger Collection, another in the Schicht mss.
N. xix. 16. A Fugue on the melody, phrase by phrase, without attempt at pictorial treatment. There are seven texts of the movement, a youthful work, in the Kirnberger, Schelble, and other collections.
N. xix. 19. An Organ accompaniment of the melody exhibiting the same pictorial treatment as in Nos. 121 and 122. A ms. of the movement survives in Kittel’s handwriting, and another in Dröbs’. A variant reading is in B.G. xl. 159, printed from Krebs’ ms. in the Berlin Royal Library.
N. xix. 73. The Canonic Variations upon the melody have been discussed already in the Introduction1 . They are five in number and exhibit the pictorial treatment already remarked in Nos. 121, 122, 124.
Besides the Autograph (Berlin Royal Library), copies of the Variations are in the Westphal, Forkel, Drobs, Schelble, and Schicht mss.
Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar.
Martin Luther’s Christmas Carol, “Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar,” was first published in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder zu Wittemberg (Wittenberg, 1543). The melody (supra) with which it is familiarly associated is proper to the Carol “Puer natus in Bethlehem,” published in the same Hymn-book, and is found as the Tenor of a fourpart setting in which the 1553 melody of the Carol2 appears as the descant. Zahn (No. 192a) seems to imply that the conversion of the 1543 melody to the use of “Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar” first appears in Vulpius (1609). The hymn, in fact, had two earlier melodies of its own, both of which are reconstructions of Latin hymns: one of them (1593) being developed from “A solis ortus cardine,” and the other (1598) from “Puer nobis nascitur.”
Bach uses the melody only in the Organ movement infra. His distinctive first phrase (varying notes 1-8 supra) is in Witt (No. 22).
N. xv. 23. The movement is one of the Christmas Preludes in the Orgelbüchlein. The brilliant scale passages represent the descending and ascending angels. The Pedal notes, too, provide a ladder. Had Bach Jacob’s vision in his mind?
Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.
Ludwig Helmbold’s hymn, “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen,” was written circa 1563 to a secular melody, “Ich ging einmal spazieren,” and was published along with it in 1572 . Its relation to Paul Eber’s “Helft mir Gott’s Güte preisen” has been discussed already1 . It occurs in Cantatas 11, 73, 107 (c. 1725-35), the doubtful “Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munde,” Choralgesange, Nos. 324-326, and the Organ movement infra. Zahn (No. 5264b) does not reveal an earlier example of Bach’s distinctive variation of the opening phrase. It is not in Witt (No. 542). Bach’s text of the fifth (notes 9-13 of the second line supra) invariably contains one foot more than the original, an elongation of the line due to the addition of a syllable—“Er reicht mir seine Hand” for “Reicht mir seine Hand.”
N. xvii. 43. The movement is the eighth of the Eighteen Chorals. By means of a characteristic rhythm of joy, Bach, as in the Prelude “In dich hab’ich gehoffet, Herr,” expresses complete trust in and loyalty to God. The impression of intense feeling is conveyed by his ruminative treatment of the melody in the opening bars. Below these expressions of intimate feeling the Pedal canto fermo marches with unfaltering assurance in God’s goodness. An older text of the movement is in P. vii. 102. Two mss. of it exist, one of them in Krebs’ hand.
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.
Philipp Nicolai’s hymn, with the melody (supra), was published in 1599. Its opening line is identical with “O Lamm Gottes2 ” and, according to Christian Huber (1682), the tune appeared in Balthasar Musculus’ Cithara sacra, c. 1591, some years before its association with Nicolai’s hymn. It would seem, therefore, that, as in the case of “Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern,” Nicolai adapted older material.
Bach uses the tune in Cantata 140 (1731) and in the Organ movement infra.
N. xvi. 1. The Prelude is the first of the Schübler Chorals, a rearrangement of the fourth movement of Cantata 140. In the latter the cantus is assigned to the Tenor and the obbligato (“dextra” manual) to the Violins and Viola in unison. The movement is a setting of the second stanza of the hymn. The happy, smooth-running obbligato illustrates the words:
Wenn wir in höchsten Nothen sein.
Paul Eber’s “Wenn wir in hochsten Nöthen sein,” for use in time of trouble, is founded upon a hymn by his former master at Nürnberg, Joachim Camerarius:
Eber’s hymn was first printed as a broadsheet at Nürnberg circa 1560, and later in the Dresden New Betbuchlein (1566).
The melody (supra) is by Louis Bourgeois. It appeared first in the French Psalter of 1547: Pseaulmes cinquante de David, Roy et prophete, traduictz en uers francois par Clement Marot et mis en musique par Loys Bourgeoys, à quatre parties (Lyons, 1547). It is set there to the hymn on the Ten Commandments, “Leve le cœur, ouvre l’oreille.” The tune was attached to Eber’s hymn by Franz Eler, in his Cantica sacra (Hamburg, 1588). There are harmonizations of the melody in Choralgesänge, Nos. 358, 359. The tune does not occur in Bach elsewhere than in the Organ works infra. His text is invariable. Witt’s (No. 656) is uniform with it.
N. xv. 115. A short movement of nine bars in the “In Time of Trouble” section of the Orgelbuchlein. It will be noticed that Bach constantly states and inverts the opening four notes of the cantus,
The effect, as Schweitzer notes1 , is that the three lower parts constantly voice the urgency of their “utmost need,” while over their lament the melody flows along “like a divine song of consolation, and in a wonderful final cadence seems to silence and compose the other parts.” The cantus itself is treated in Bach’s most intimate and reflective manner, as though he sought to convey through its short phrases the utmost of the intense feeling that filled his own soul.
N. xvii. 85. The movement is the last of the Eighteen Chorals. During Bach’s last illness he continued to revise his Organ Preludes, a work upon which he had been engaged for some time. He was almost blind and passed his days in a darkened room. Paul Eber’s hymn had brought comfort to many in their distress, and to its melody Bach turned in the last weeks of his life. His strength no longer being equal to the effort, he dictated to Altnikol, his son-in-law, this movement upon a melody he had treated years before in the Orgelbuchlein. “In the dark chamber,” writes Schweitzer finely1 , “with the shades of death already falling round him, the master made this work, that is unique even among his creations. The contrapuntal art that it reveals is so perfect that no description can give any idea of it. Each segment of the melody is treated in a fugue, in which the inversion of the subject figures each time as the counter-subject. Moreover, the flow of the parts is so easy that after the second line we are no longer conscious of the art, but are wholly enthralled by the spirit that finds voice in these G major harmonies. The tumult of the world no longer penetrated through the curtained windows. The harmonies of the spheres were already echoing round the dying master. So there is no sorrow in the music; the tranquil quavers move along on the other side of all human passion; over the whole thing gleams the word ‘Transfiguration.’ ”
But it was not Paul Eber’s hymn that Bach employed to disclose the spirit of his music. His was no cry of distress, but the simple faith of a devout nature facing eternity, and ready to meet it, with the words of a prayer of daily use upon his lips. Bach bade Altnikol inscribe the music with the title “Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich hiemit.” The hymn was first published by Justus Gesenius and David Denicke in the New Ordentlich Gesang-Buch (Hanover, 1646), and is entitled “Am Morgen, Mittag und Abend kan man singen” (For use morning, mid-day, and evening). Its authorship is attributed, on certain grounds, to Bodo von Hodenberg, who was born at Celle in 1604 and died in 1650 at Osterode, where he then was Landrost. The Novello Edition (xv. 114; xvii. 185) quotes Hodenberg’s (?) hymn as “Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich allhier.” Fischer-Tümpel (ii. 410) does not sanction this form. The hymn had its proper melody (Zahn, No. 669) since 1695, but neither hymn nor melody was in general use: the former is not in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen (Berlin, 1851).
“Death,” writes Sir Hubert Parry1 , “had always had a strange fascination for Bach, and many of his most beautiful compositions had been inspired by the thoughts which it suggested. And now he met it, not with repinings or fear of the unknown, but with the expression of exquisite peace and trust. Music had been his life. Music had been his one means of expressing himself, and in the musical form which had been most congenial to him he bids his farewell; and only in the last bar of all for a moment a touch of sadness is felt, where he seems to look round upon those dear to him and to cast upon them the tender gaze of sorrowing love.”
The foundation of the movement is the Orgelbuchlein Prelude (supra), minus its elaborate ornamentation of the cantus, and with the addition of the astonishing interludes on which Schweitzer’s commentary already has been quoted.
Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten.
Georg Neumark’s consolatory hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten,” was first published, words and melody (supra), in 1657. Bach uses the tune in Cantatas 21, 27, 84, 88, 93, 166, 179, 197 (1714-c. 1740); Choralgesänge, No. 367; and the movements infra. His text is invariable. The E flat for E natural as the third note of the second phrase dates from 1682. In the second half of the tune he invariably writes A for B flat as the first note, and C for B flat as the seventh note of the second line supra, while his closing phrase differs from the original. In all these details he follows Witt (No. 553).
There are four Organ movements on the melody:
N. xv. 117. The movement is the last of the “In Time of Trouble” section of the Orgelbüchlein, and is placed there by Bach in order to end upon a note of confidence. For that reason he introduces the rhythm of joy which the thought of God’s nearness and watchfulness ever roused in him (cf. “In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr,” and “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen”). The movement particularly illustrates the first stanza:
N. xvi. 6. The movement, No. 3 of the Schubler Chorals, is an arrangement of a setting of the fourth stanza of Neumark’s hymn in Cantata 93 (? 1728)1 . In the Cantata the cantus is played by Violins and Violas in unison, while the part allotted to the “dextra” manual is a Duetto for Soprano and Alto. The “sinistra” manual plays the original Continuo. As in the Orgelbüchlein movement Bach uses the rhythm of joy:
N. xix. 21. The movement stands in contrast to the others upon the melody, not in mood, but in the means by which Bach expresses it. The animated semiquaver passages accompanying the cantus express whole-hearted joy. In the B.G. Edition the movement ends with a simple four-part setting of the melody. It is not reproduced in the Novello Edition, but will be found in P. v. 57. Copies are among Kirnberger’s, Voss’, Westphal’s, Fischhof’s, and Forkel’s mss.
N. xix. 22. This short, intimate movement is found in Wilhelm Friedemann’s (1720) and Anna Magdalena’s (1722) Clavierbuchlein. It is also among the Kirnberger, Oley, and Schelble mss. Bach probably gave it to his son and wife as an exercise in playing fioriture. But, as in “Wenn wir in hochsten Nöthen sein,” his reflective treatment of the cantus reveals the intimacy of its appeal to his religious feelings.
The movement is extracted from a longer one, printed in P. v. 111. The latter includes the cantus, as in N. xix. 22, with a prelude of nine bars; an interlude of two bars between lines } and } of the melody; an interlude of five bars before the second part of the tune; and a postlude of four bars to conclude it. No doubt the movement was written for Church use, and Spitta1 attributes it to the early years of the Arnstadt period, in view of its evidence of Bohm’s influence. There are two mss. of the movement, one in Schelble’s hand, the other in a collection of Organ Chorals attributed to Bach, in the Berlin Royal Library.
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.
Philipp Nicolai’s hymn was first published, with the melody, in 1599. The tune (supra) is a reconstruction of older material. The first half is taken, with the alteration of two notes, from the first, second, and concluding phrases of the melody (supra) to which Psalm 100, “Jauchzet dem Herren, alle Land,” is set in Wolff Köphel’s Psalter, published in 1538. The concluding phrase of Nicolaī’s tune also is modelled on that original. The opening phrase of the second part of his tune (line 7 of the hymn) is identical with one in the old Carol “Resonet in laudibus,” whose opening phrase, moreover, bears close similarity to “Jauchzet dem Herren,” a fact, perhaps, which drew Nicolai’s attention to it.
The tune occurs in Cantatas 1, 36, 37, 49, 61, 172 (1714-c. 1740); Choralgesänge, No. 375; and the movement infra. Bach’s text is invariable for the first part of the melody and follows the original, except for the substitution of A for C as the first note of the third phrase, as in Witt (No. 479). For the second part of the tune Bach either keeps to the original, as in Witt (No. 479), Cantata 172 (1724-5), and the Organ movement; or follows Crüger (1640) in substituting A and B flat for G and A as the sixth and seventh notes of line 3 supra, as in Cantatas 1 and 36 (c. 1730-40); or adopts Vopelius’ (1682) text there, as in Choralgesange, No. 375.
N. xix. 23. The movement seems to be inspired by the third stanza of the hymn:
Bach’s Autograph (four leaves of small quarto) is in the Royal Library, Berlin. Spitta assigns it to the Arnstadt period1 .
B.G. xl. 164 prints another, but incomplete (23 bars), movement on the melody, the Autograph of which is in the Berlin Royal Library.
The Christmas hymn, “Wir Christenleut’,” was written by Caspar Fuger, whose son (?), also named Caspar, wrote the melody to it. The tune (supra), which is certainly as old as 1589, was published with the hymn in 1593. Bach uses it in Cantatas 40, 110, 142 (c. 1712-c. 1734); Christmas Oratorio (1734), No. 35; and the Organ movements infra. His text is invariable and follows the original. Witt’s (No. 33) text is uniform with it.
The melody is treated in two of the Organ Chorals:
N. xv. 36. The movement concludes the Christmas section of the Orgelbüchlein. Bach’s reason for placing it there is revealed in his treatment of the melody. He is not moved by the hymn’s invitation to rejoice over the Christmas story, but by the blessings which result to mankind from it. They are stated in the latter half of the first stanza: “He whose faith stands fast to the Incarnation shall never be confounded.” To bring out this interpretation of the hymn Bach sets the cantus upon a broadlyspaced figure on the Pedals, which, frequently repeated, typifies the Christian’s confident faith in the Incarnation as the instrument of his salvation.
N. xix. 28. The movement, a direct and happy treatment of the Christmas tune, conveys none of the symbolism of the Orgelbuchlein Prelude. Copies of it are in the Kirnberger, Oley, Schicht, and Schelble mss.
Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ.
Christoph Fischer’s Passiontide hymn, “Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” is found in the Dresden Gesangbuch of 1597. Fischer was born at Joachimsthal, in Bohemia, in 1520. He graduated at Wittenberg in 1544, held pastoral charges at Halberstadt and elsewhere, and died at Celle in 1597. Though he was a voluminous writer, this is the only hymn known to be his.
The melody (supra), which is sung to several hymns, was published first in Johann Eccard’s Geistliche Lieder, Auff den Choral oder gemeine Kirchen Melodey durchauss gerichtet (Part II, Königsberg, 1597). The tune is attributed by Winterfeld to Eccard himself. But the many and divergent texts of it found about the year 1597 prove the melody of greater antiquity. The tune was set in 1597 to Paul Eber’s hymn, “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott.” Bach has not used it elsewhere than in the Orgelbuchlein. Witt’s (No. 135) text, like Bach’s, is true to the original form of the melody.
N. xv. 73. The movement is among the Passiontide Chorals of the Orgelbüchlein. The hymn is a thanksgiving for the Atonement. Hence the characteristic “Joy” formula in the Pedal part.
Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Schöpfer.
Luther’s “Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott,” a free version of the Nicene Creed, was first published, with the melody (supra), in Johann Walther’s Hymnbook (Wittenberg, 1524). The hymn was sung at the funeral of Luther’s patron, Frederick the Wise of Saxony, in 1525, and was used as a funeral hymn in later times. During the Reformation it was generally sung after the sermon. The tune, no doubt, is derived from the plainsong of the Creed and was adapted by Walther. Bach uses it in the Organ works infra and Choralgesänge, No. 382. His text conforms closely to the original and Witt (No. 226).
N. xvi. 49. This and the following movement stand for the Creed among the Catechism hymns of the Clavierübung. To this, the longer of the two, English use attaches the popular name, the “Giant’s Fugue,” on account of its Pedal passages. They symbolize the impregnable foundation on which the Church’s faith rests and may be compared with the structure of Pedal crotchets on which Bach builds the “Credo in Unum Deum” and “Confiteor” of the B minor Mass. Above this foundation the first phrase of the melody
We all believe in One true God
N. xvi. 52. The shorter movement in the Clavierübung is a Fughetta, for manuals only, upon the first line of the melody.
B.G. xl. 187 (P. ix. 40) prints a movement on the melody which Naumann holds to be “recht gut von Seb. Bach herrühren.” It is quite different in style from the Clavierübung movements and treats the melody without interludes. The ms. of it is in Krebs’ Sammelbuch.
Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Vater
Tobias Clausnitzer’s Trinity hymn, “Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Vater,” was first published in the Neu-Vollstandigers Marggrafl. Brandenburgisches Gesang-Buch (Bayreuth, 1668). The melody (supra) was set to it in the Neu verfertigtes Darmstadtisches Gesangbuch (Darmastadt, 1699). Bach uses it only in the Organ movement infra. Witt’s (No. 228) text is uniform, excepting that he writes C for E as the fourth note of the second part of the tune.
N. xix. 30. Schweitzer1 places the movement among Bach’s “admittedly youthful works,” and Spitta2 finds the concluding arabesque “an unmistakeable Buxtehude coda.” But the Prelude is not juvenile in feeling. The ms. of it is in the Schelble-Gleichauf Collection. With alterations Krebs included it in his Organ Tonstucke3 .
Wo soll ich fliehen hin.
Johann Heermann’s “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” was published in 1630. The melody associated with it from the outset had been sung, since 1609, to Sigismund Weingärtner’s (?) “Auf meinen lieben Gott,” which was published in 1607. The tune is of secular origin, and as attached to “Auf meinen lieben Gott” largely retained the form of the original2 . The version in later use (supra) is found in Johann H. Schein’s Leipzig Cantional (1627).
Bach uses the melody in Cantatas 5, 89, 136, 148, 188 (c. 1725-35), and the Organ movements infra. His text is invariable, with one exception: in the Organ movements his second phrase of the melody follows Schein; elsewhere he writes G for F as the fifth note (supra) of it. Of this and other variations of Schein’s text (A for E as the first note of bar 4 supra; A for F as the fifth note of bar 5 supra) Witt’s text (No. 695) seems to afford the earliest example.
There are two Organ movements on the melody:
N. xvi. 4. The movement is the second of the Schübler Chorals. That it is among them indicates it as the arrangement of a movement in one of the lost Cantatas. The titles of Heermann’s and Weingärtner’s (?) hymns are both attached to it. There is no doubt, however, that it was inspired by the first stanza of “Wo soll ich fliehen hin.” Its constantly recurring “genial little figure,” as Sir Hubert Parry calls it1 , was suggested by the word “fliehen”:
O whither shall I flee?
N. xix. 32. The movement also is based upon the first stanza of Heermann’s hymn and exhibits similar treatment of the word “fliehen.” Copies of it are in the Kirnberger, Voss, Forkel, and Schicht mss.
In Krebs’ Sammelbuch, in the Berlin Royal Library, is the ms. of a movement on the melody, printed in B.G. xl. 170 (P. ix. 39) among the “doubtful” compositions of Bach1 .
CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY J. B. PEACE, M.A., AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
[1 ] Mr Harvey Grace in The Musical Times for October 1920, p. 671.
[1 ]Hymnologia Christiana (Lond. 1863), No. 41. The original hymn has nine stanzas.
[1 ] The reference is to the Novello Edition. To identify the movement in the other Editions, refer to the Table on pp. 2-11 supra.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 146.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England (London, 1865), No. 107. The original hymn has six stanzas of six lines, 1 and 2, 4 and 5, 3 and 6 rhyming.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 237, where the 1625 and 1655 texts of the tune are printed.
[1 ]Hymns (London, 1825), No. 35. In Franck’s setting each half of every stanza is sung twice. The original has thirteen stanzas.
[2 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 193.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 196. The original hymn has eight stanzas. Stanzas v and viii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 434.
[1 ] Ed. 1877, No. 199. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[2 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 305. Phrases 3-4 (supra) are repeated.
[1 ] Vol. i. 292.
[2 ] Vol. i. 656.
[3 ]Op. cit. 504.
[1 ] See p. 85 supra.
[1 ] For the nonce, for the purpose.
[2 ]Remains (Parker Society, 1846), p. 571. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 292.
[2 ] Vol. i. 616.
[1 ] For Bach’s visit to Hamburg, see Forkel (trans. Terry), p. 20.
[2 ] Vol. i. 617.
[3 ] Spitta points out (i. 608) that the characteristics of the Buxtehude form were melodic ornamentation, richness of harmony and tone, the constant employment of two manuals, one having the cantus, and the frequent use of the double Pedal (pedale doppio).
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 40. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[2 ]Op. cit. p. 472.
[1 ] See Spitta, iii. 217.
[1 ] The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 213.
[2 ] Vol. i. 282.
[1 ] The melody of stanza ii is identical with that of stanza i.
[2 ]Remains, p. 563. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 600.
[1 ] Cantata 4, Novello’s edition. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[2 ] See the second in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 138.
[1 ] They are identically reproduced in the Peters edition.
[1 ] See Spitta, i. 214. On the Organ there would be no need to strike the E. On the Flugel, on the other hand, the E sustained in the preceding chord already would have ceased to be heard.
[1 ]Exotics (London, 1876), p. 98. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 59.
[1 ] The original has three clauses.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 46. The original hymn has eight stanzas, of which iii-v are omitted in the translation.
[2 ]Exotics, p. 50. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[1 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 368.
[2 ] Vol. ii. 66.
[1 ]Psalmodia Germanica (London, 1765), p. 24. The original hymn has eight stanzas.
[1 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 491.
[2 ] See Spitta, i. 649.
[1 ] Ed. 1746, Part II. p. 714. The original hymn has nine stanzas.
[1 ] See the melody in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 271.
[1 ] In fact the interval in bar 4 is a seventh.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 171. The original hymn has six stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 68.
[1 ] The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 600.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 84. The original hymn has twelve stanzas.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 287, for the tune.
[3 ] Spitta, i. 600.
[1 ] I accept this interpretation from Mr Harvey Grace’s illuminating article on the Orgelbuchlein in the Musical Times for October 1, 1920. Schweitzer (ii. 59) speaks of the phrase being repeated ten times “in the Pedal,” once for each Commandment. This is inaccurate.
[2 ] Vol. ii. 59.
[3 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 288.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 18. The original hymn has nine stanzas, of which ii, v-vii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 124. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[1 ]Remains, p. 576. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[2 ] More generally known as “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam.” See p. 120 supra.
[3 ] Vol. i. 216.
[1 ]Psalms and Hymns (Cambridge, 1851), No. 113. The original hymn has fourteen stanzas, of which iii-xii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] Novello’s edition, 1908, p. 153.
[1 ]Lyra Davidica (London, 1708), p. 12. The original hymn has nineteen stanzas of two lines.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 19. The original hymn has fourteen stanzas, of which ii-iv, vii, viii, xi-xiv are omitted in the translation.
[1 ]Remains, p. 562. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 26. The original has nine stanzas, of which iv, vi, vii, viii are omitted in the translation.
[2 ] The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 605.
[2 ]Ibid. 654.
[1 ]Psalmodia Germanica, p. 10. The original hymn has six stanzas.
[1 ] See it in Bach’s Chorals, Part I. 63.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 67.
[2 ] See also Sec. 59 infra.
[1 ]Remains, p. 553. The original hymn has five stanzas, of which Coverdale (corrected above) reverses the order of iii and iv.
[2 ] The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 186, for the tune.
[2 ] Why Schweitzer, ii. 63, quotes the movement by this secondary title is not clear. He thereby associates a motive of “beatific peace” with thanksgiving for food and drink!
[1 ]Exotics, p. 112.
[1 ]Lyra Germanica (second series, London, 1868), p. 232. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] The arrows are introduced into the setting supra to show the method of the reconstructed melody.
[* ] The accidental is not found in the 1651 text.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 733. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 67.
[2 ] See also Sec. 54 supra.
[1 ] Vol. i. 615.
[2 ]Op. cit. 502.
[3 ] See “Allein Gott” (N. xviii. 4), “Gelobet seist du” (N. xviii. 37), “In dulci jubilo” (N. xviii. 61), “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen” (N. xviii. 74), “Herr Gott dich loben wir” (N. xviii. 44), and “Vom Himmel hoch” (N. xix. 19).
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, App. IV. The original hymn has eleven stanzas.
[1 ]Op. cit. 503.
[1 ] Vol. i. 287.
[2 ] Vol. i. 654.
[1 ]Songs of Syon (London, 1910), No. 50. The original hymn has six stanzas, of which iv is omitted in the translation.
[1 ] The Prelude is wrongly associated with Ascensiontide in the Novello Edition.
[2 ] Vol. ii. 63.
[3 ] See Novello’s Edition, God goeth up with shouting, p. 22.
[2 ] P. 42. The original hymn has thirteen stanzas, all of which are translated in the Ballatis. The translator interpolates a stanza between v and vi of the German.
[1 ] Spitta, i. 651.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 127. The original hymn has eighteen stanzas, of which ii-x, xii, xv, xvii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 344.
[1 ] Vol. i. 656.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 116. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 120. The original hymn has seven stanzas, of which the last is omitted in the translation.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part I. 17.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 156. The original hymn has two stanzas.
[1 ] According to Winkworth (Index, p. xi) the association is found in the Gotha Cantionale Sacrum of 1646. If so, Witt’s reconstruction of the tune is the more noteworthy in relation to Bach’s treatment of the melody.
[2 ] Vol. ii. 69.
[1 ] A harmonization of the 1609 melody is in the Chorale Book for England, No. 156.
[2 ] Vol. i. 603.
[1 ]Scottish Text Society (1897), p. 53. The translation is of a three-stanza version dated 1550.
[1 ] Vol. i. 602.
[1 ] Spitta, i. 315.
[2 ]Ibid. 596.
[1 ] Peters, v. 103.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 151. The original hymn has six stanzas, of which iii is omitted in the translation.
[1 ] Vol. i. 293.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 54. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 103. The original hymn has ten stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 61.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 73. See also Spitta, i. 613. He anticipates Schweitzer’s analysis.
[1 ] Altnikol married Bach’s daughter Elisabeth in 1749.
[2 ] Vol. i. 292.
[3 ] Vol. i. 613.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 59. The original hymn has ten stanzas, of which iv-vi are omitted in the translation.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 412, for the Runge form.
[1 ] Vol. i. 594 n.
[2 ] The second beat of the third bar should be marked [Editor: illegible character].
[1 ]Exotics, p. 56. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[2 ] For the 1524 version, see Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 479.
[1 ] Vol. i. 650.
[1 ]Remains, p. 542. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 292.
[1 ] The original hymn has five stanzas.
[1 ]Psalms and Hymns, No. 14. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[2 ] Vol. ii. 67.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 12. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 31. The original hymn has fourteen stanzas, of which iv, xi-xiii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ]Psalms and Hymns, No. 52. The original hymn has eight stanzas, of which ii, iv, v, vii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] Vol. i. 606.
[* ] In later texts a [Editor: illegible character] here.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 81. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[1 ]Hymns Ancient and Modern, No. 379. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[2 ] See supra, p. 81.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 80. The original hymn has ten stanzas.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 1215. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 39. The original hymn has eight stanzas.
[2 ] See it in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 208.
[1 ] Vol. i. 618.
[* ] A Lüneburg text of 1665 has a ♯
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 115. The original hymn has only eight stanzas.
[2 ] The translation of it supra is by the present writer.
[1 ] Vol. i. 211.
[2 ] Vol. i. 282.
[3 ] P. 505.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 46. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[2 ] Both are printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part I. 1, and Part II. 495.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 72.
[1 ]St Matthew Passion, No. 35, Novello’s Edition. The original hymn has twenty-three stanzas.
[1 ]Op. cit. 556.
[1 ]Songs of the Christian Creed and Life (London, 1876), No. 35. The original hymn is in twelve stanzas, of which xi is omitted in the translation. To fit the melody the first line of every stanza must be repeated from the word marked *.
[2 ] See it on p. 308 infra.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 93. The original hymn has nine stanzas, of which iii, vi, viii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] Quoted in Parry, Bach, p. 539.
[1 ] The original hymn has five stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 282.
[2 ] Spitta follows the order of the Peters Edition, in which Partite 6 and 7 are transposed. The Novello and B.H. Editions follow the B.G. Edition in printing Peters’ 6 as 7 and his 7 as 6. The references to the Partite supra are to the Novello Edition.
[1 ]Moravian Hymn-book, ed. 1877, No. 1182: Chorale Book for England, No. 137. The original hymn has five stanzas. The last two lines of each are repeated to the melody.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 91. The original hymn has nine stanzas.
[1 ]Die Singerweisen der altesten evangelischen Zeit, p. 54.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 68.
[2 ] Vol. iii. 216.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 30. The original hymn has fifteen stanzas.
[1 ] See p. 75 supra.
[1 ]Exotics, p. 48. The original hymn has six stanzas.
[2 ] See supra, p. 286.
[* ] See page 313.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 140. The original hymn has nine stanzas, of which ii and vii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part I. 63.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 200. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 495.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 141. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ] The original hymn has fifteen stanzas. In the eleventh stanza the words “morning,” “mid-day,” “evening” are alternatives in the second line.
[1 ] Vol. ii. 71.
[1 ] Vol. i. 224.
[1 ]Johann Sebastian Bach, 542.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 134. The original hymn has seven stanzas.
[1 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 321.
[1 ] Vol. i. 313.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 149. The original hymn has seven stanzas, of which ii, v, vi are omitted in the translation.
[1 ] Vol. i. 254.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 34. The original hymn has five stanzas. The first line of each is repeated to the melody.
[1 ]Hymnologia Christiana, No. 622. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, App. VI. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 75. The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 293.
[2 ] Vol. i. 609.
[3 ] B.G. xl. Pref. xxxvi.
[1 ] Ed. 1877, No. 286. The original hymn has eleven stanzas, of which vi and viii are omitted in the translation.
[1 ]Chorale Book for England, No. 147. The original hymn has five stanzas.
[2 ] See Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 142, for the secular and 1609 forms.
[1 ]J. S. Bach, p. 504.
[1 ] Besides the 143 authentic compositions considered in this volume, there are six others of doubtful authority (see supra, p. 11): (1) Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh’ darein. The melody of Luther’s hymn is also treated in Cantata 2 and elsewhere (see Part II. 132). (2) Ach, was soll ich Sunder machen. Johann Flittner’s adaptation of this secular tune is treated by Bach in the Choralgesange, No. 10. (3) Aus der Tiefe rufe ich. The familiar tune (Hymns A. and M. No. 92) is not used by Bach elsewhere. (4) Gott der Vater wohn’ uns bei (N. xiii. 153). The melody of Luther’s hymn is treated in the Choralgesange, No. 113, but not elsewhere by Bach. (5) O Vater, allmachtiger Gott. This sixteenth century (1531) melody to Johann Spangenberg’s hymn is not used by Bach elsewhere. (6) Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod. Bach uses Vulpius’ tune in Cantata 159 and elsewhere (see Part II. 431).