Front Page Titles (by Subject) Gott, durch deine Güte. - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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Gott, durch deine Güte. - 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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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.”
[2 ] The original hymn has three stanzas.
[1 ] Vol. i. 605.
[2 ]Ibid. 654.