Front Page Titles (by Subject) Wo soll ich fliehen hin. - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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Wo soll ich fliehen hin. - 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.”
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 ] 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).