Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig. - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig. - 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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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.
[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.