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Choral / Chorale

By Charles Sanford Terry (1952)

Contents

The Gregorian Choral
The Protestant Choral
The Earliest Hymn-Books
Later Development
Poetry of the Choral
Bibliography

 

Choral or Chorale (German: Choral), a choral song (cantus choralis) of ecclesiastical use, whether (a) the choral plain-song (cantus planus, cantus firmus) of the Roman Office; or (b) the Protestant Church-hymn (Kirchenlied: Chorgesang).

 

The Gregorian Choral

In Roman use the Choral represented the concentus as distinguished from the accentus or intonation of the Collect, Epistle, Gospel, prayers, and other portions of the Office - Preface, Paternoster, etc. The Gregorian Choral, generally sung by more than one voice (hence Choral) in proximity to the altar,was essentially a Mass-song (Messegesang) treating, usually, a Bible text: of 630 Mass-songs in a 10th-century Codex at St. Gall, more than 430 are from the Psalms, 160 from other parts of the Bible; only 25 are non-Biblical. To the category of Chorals belong the Introitus, Offertorium, Communio, sung by the choir; the Tractus (cantus tractus), Gradual (responsorium graduale or gradale), Alleluias, sung by a voice or voices distinct from the choir between the Epistle and Gospel; and the Ordinarium Missae, i.e. the Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Credo, Sanctus, Benedietus, Agnus Dei, and Sequences (prosa), sung by the choir. There developed also a large corpus of Latin hymns and antiphons for the Church seasons and hours - Julian (p. 547) enumerates more than 500 in English mediaeval use. Sung by the clergy and choir, they were as1ittle intelligible to the passive congregation as the Mass itself. But in Germany, as elsewhere, short vernacular hymns were early admitted into public worship and, after their refrain, were called Kirleison, Leisen, or Leichen. They were the earliest congregational hymns, and consisted of a stanza or stanzas prefixed to the Kyrie eleison or Christe eleison, ejaculations which had passed from the Greek into the Latin Church, especially for festival use. The oldest of them dates from the end of the 9th century; the first of its three stanzas reads:

Unsar trohtin hat farsalt sancte Petre giwalt
Daz er mag ginerjan zcimo dingenten man.
Kyrie eleyson ! Christe elelson.

Other rare examples of pre-Reformation popular hymnody are: the Easter Christ ist erstanden, the Whitsuntide Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist, the Christmas Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, the Trinity Das helfen uns die Namen drei, the Good Friday Gott ward an ein Kreuz geschla'n, and the intercessory Mitten wir im Leben sind. Their abnormal liturgical use is suggested by the conjecture (Koch, i. 208) that the second of those named was sung by the congregation while a wooden dove or a living bird was released from the roof of the church. Another opportunity for congregational utterance was afforded by the post-gradual Alleluias sung at Easter. The Christmas Mystery plays also invited vernacular hymns - e.g. the Latin-German In dulci jubilo, and Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem (Puer natus in Bethlehem). The best Latin hymns, too, were frequently translated-e.g.the Te Deum, Gloria in excelsis, Veni creator spiritus, as well as the Credo, Paternoster, Sanctus, and some of the Psalms. Hence, when Luther set himself to provide the apparatus of congregational praise, he was able to draw upon a tradition of ecclesiastical song and a fund of popular hymnody. Between Otfrid of Weissenburg (9th century) and 1518 upwards of 1440 German vernacular hymns were written. Yet throughout the mediaeval centuries church music was almost exclusively the province of the choir and clergy. The Reformation gave a voice to the laity, but without immediately destroying the choir's monopoly.

 

The Protestant Choral

As signifying a congregational hymn, the word Choral came into general use in the second half of the 16th century, at a period when the principles of melodic symmetry and rhythm were being grasped; when, too, steps were first taken to transfer the cantus planus from the tenor to the discant in the interests of congregational singing. The Choral was the peculiar interest of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church: The Reformed (non-Lutheran) bodies, deeming the Psalter the sole inspired manual of Church praise, disapproved of original hymns as a detail of public worship, and condemned their communities consequently to musical infertility.

Luther, steeped in and esteeming the music of the ancient Church, was himself the first Evangelical hymnist, the Ambrose of the Reformation, who equipped the Protestant liturgy with the apparatus of choral song. His materials were fourfold: (1) official Latin hymnody; (2) pre-Reformation popular hymns; (3) secular folk-song; (4) original hymns.

1. Official Latin Hymnody
Of the Latin hymns, with (for the most part) their adapted melodies, which the Evangelical Church took over, the following are the most familiar:

Allein Gott In der Höh' sel Ehr (Gloria in excelsis), by Nikolaus Decius;
Also heilig ist der Tag (Solve festas dies);
Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht, by Wolfgang Meusel, or Christe, du bist der helle Tag (Christe qui lux es et dies), by Erasmus Alber;
Christum wir sollen loben schon (A solus ortus cardine), by
Luther;
Christus, der uns selig macht (Patris sapientia, veritas divina), by Michael Weisse;
Da Christus geboren war (In natali domini);
Der du bist drei in Einigkelt (O luz beota trinito'), by
Luther;
Der Tag der ist freudenreich (Dies est latetitiae);
Erhalt uns. Herr, bei deinem Wort (Sit laus, honor et glorio), by
Luther;
Hen Gott, dich loben wir (Pe Deum laudomus), by
Luther;
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der van uns (Jesus Christus nostra salus), by
Luther;
Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist (Veni Creator Spiritus), by
Luther;
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott (Veni Sancte Spiritus), by
Luther;
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Veni redemptor gentium), by
Luther;
Verleih' uns Frieden gnädiglich (Do pacem, domine). by Lutber;
Was fürcht'st du, Feind Herodes, sehr (Hosti, Herodes impie), by
Luther;
Wir glauben all' an einen Gott (Credo in Deum patrem omnipotentem), hy
Luther.

To these must be added many Psalm versions and paraphrases of Holy Scripture.

2. Pre-Reformation Popular Hymns
Realising the strength of their appeal, Luther and his colleagues appropriated many popular medireval hymns, rewriting or expanding their words and adapting their melodies. This process of Verbesserung was natural in a Reformation which was itself a gigantic act of correction. Hans Sachs (1494-1576), for. instance, christlich verändert und korrigiert the pre-Reformation Dich Frau vom Himmel ruf' ich an to Christum vom Himmel ruf' ich an. Luther described his Jesus Christus unser Heiland as John Hus's hymn verbessert; while the antiphon Regina coeli of Lossius was adopted as correctum per Herm. Bonnum. Sacred folk-song attached thus to the service of the Evangelical Church provided the following hymns or melodies or both:

The Christmas Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, and In dulci jubilo; the Passiontide Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund and O du armer Judas;
the Easter Christ ist erstanden, Christ lag in Todesbanden, and Preu' dich, du werthe Christenheit (melody was also set to Es ist das Heil uns kommen her);
the Trinity Christ fuhr fuhr gen Himmel;
the Whitsuntide Nun bitten wir den heil'gen Geist;
as well as Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot, Gott der Vater wohn uns bei, Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet, and Mitten wir im Leben sind.

3. Secular Folk-Song
Already in the 15th century Heinrich von Laufenberg had written religious parodies (contrafacta) of secular ditties. Luther was not less sensitive to the value of popular art as a contributor to the apparatus of religion; the Calvinist Church also, owing to the paucity of material at its disposal, was compelled to borrow freely. In their action, however, the early Lutheran compilers were moved also to purify popular art by substituting - to quote a Frankfort title-page dated 1571 - geistige, gute, nütze Texte and Worte for the böse und ärgerliche, Weise, unütitze und schampare Liedlein in popular use. Thus the hymn:

Ach gott, thu' dich erbarmen received its melody from the secular Frisch auf ihr Landsknecht alle;
Durch Adams Fall from the Pavia song;
Freut cuch, freut euch in dieser Zeit from So weiss ich eins, das mlch erfreut;
Helit mir Gott's Güte preisen and Von Gott will ich nicht lassen from lch ging einmal spazieren;
Herr Christ, der einig Gott's Sohn from lch bört ein Fraulein klagen;
Hilf Gott, das mirs gelinge from (?) Könnt ich von Herzen singen;
lch dank dir, lieber Herre from Entlaubt ist uns der Walde;
lch hab' mein Sach Gott heimgestellt from lch weiss mir ein Röslein hübsch und fein;
In dir ist Freude from an Italian dance-measure, A lieta vita;
Nun freut euch, lie ben Christen g'mein from a melody heard and noted by
Luther, Wach auf, wach auf, du schöne;
Nun höret zu, ihr Christenleut from Und wollt ihr hören neue Mär;
O Christe Morgensterne from Er ist der Morgensterne;
O Haupt voll Blut and Herr, lich thut mich verlangen from Mein G'mut ist mir verwirret;
O Welt ich muss dich lassen from lnspruck ich muss dich lassen;
Vom Himmel ha ch da komm ich her and Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar from Aus fremden Landen komm ich her;
Wacht auf, ihr Christen alle from a Netherlandish folk-song, Waer is mijn alder liefste;
Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz from Dein g'sund mein Freud;
Was mein Gatt will from the French Il me souffit de taus mes maulx;
and Wenn wir in höchsten Nothen sein from (?) a French folk-song.

4. Original Hymns.
Among the writers whose work enriched evangelical hymnody Luther stands pre-eminent. Between 1523 and 1543 he wrote 38 pieces, the majority of them translations, revisions, or enlargements of preReformation material. His original, or mainly original, hymns are 8 in number:

1. Christ lag in Todesbanden. (1524.)
2. Christ unser Herr zurn Jordan kam. (1543.)
3. Ein nene, Lied wir heben an. (1524.)
4. Erhalt uns, Herr. bei deinem Wort. (1542.)
5. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, Der den Tod. (1524.)
6. Nun freut euch, lieben Chdsten g'mein. (1523.)
7. Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (1535.)
8. Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar. (1543.)

It is a testimony to their virility, as it is to the conservatism of German hymnody, that all but two (No. 3 supra and Für allen Freuden auf Erden (1538) of Luther's hymns are still in German use. Seventeen of them received original tunes in the hymn-books in which they first appeared:

1. Ach Gatt vom Himmel sieh' darein. (1524.)
2. Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir. (1524.)
3. Ein neues Lied wir heben an. (1524.)
4. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. (1535.)
5. Es spricht der Unwwisen Mund wohl. (1524.)
6. Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein. (1524.)
7. Jesaia dem Propheten. (1526.)
8. Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der den Tod. (1524 and 1535.)
9. Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der von uns. (1524 and also 1535.)
10. Mench, willst du leben seliglich. (1524.)
11.
Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin. (1524.)
12. Nun freut euch, liehen Christen g'mein. (1524 and 1535.)
13. Sie ist mir lieb die werthe Magd. (1545.)
14.
Vater unser im Himmelreich. (1539.)
15. Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her. (1539: not the secular melody (1535) already referred to.)
16. Was Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit. (1524.)
17. Wohl dem der in Gottes Furcht steht. (1524.)

What share Luther himself had in their composition cannot be stated positively. Johann Walther (1496-1570) and Konrad Rupff, his predecessor as cantor at the Saxon court, assisted the Reformer at Wittenberg in 1524. But Luther concerned himself directly in their task, a fact established by the manuscript. of a discarded melody by him (Zahn, No. 2562) for his Vater unser im Himmelreich. The virile melody Ein feste Burg, if reminiscent of Gregorian material, is generally attributed to him. Jesaia dem Propheten discloses a similar borrowing (from the Sanctus). Zelle (pp. 11, 64) suggests that' Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,' and the melody of M. Weisse's Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben, are also Luther's compositions.

 

The Earliest Hymn-Books

The second and third quarters of the 16th century represent the productive period of Lutheran hymnody. More than 200 books published in that period contain the rugged, objective hymns of the Reformation set to melodies as direct and massive, for the most part, as themselves. Edited by Walther, the earliest of them-the so-called Achtliederbuch - was published at Wittenberg in 1524 under the title Etlich christlich lider Lobgesang, und Psalm, dem rainen wort Gottes gemess . . . in der Kirchen zu singen. It contained four melodies (Nun freut euch, lie ben Christen g'mein, Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, In Gott gelaub' ich das er hat, and In Jesus Namen heberi wir an), set to four hymns by Luther, three by Paulus Speratus (d. 1551), his assistant, and one by an anonymous writer. A. larger book, Enchiridion oder eyn Handbuchlein . . . geistlicher GesengE, und Psalmen, rechtschaffn und kunstlich vertheutscht, was published at Erfurt in a duplicated edition in 1524, probably under the direction of Justus Jonas (d. 1555) and Johannes Lange. The two editions contained 16 melodies set to 25 hymns - the eight of the Achtliederbuch, 14 others by Luther, one each by Justus Jonas, Erhart Hegenwalt, and Elisabethe Cruciger (d. 1535). the wife of Luther's favourite pupil.

Simultaneously with, or soon after, the publication of the Enchiridion, Walther issued from Wittenberg (1524) the first hymn-book to which Luther contributed a Preface. Repeatedly reissued and enlarged, his Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn contained 35 melodies set to 32 hymns (24 by Luther) and 5 Latin texts. Besides the writers already mentioned, Michael Stiefel (1486-1567) and Johannes Agricola (1492-1566) each contributed a hymn. Walther's five-part (Discantus, Altus, Tenor Bassus, Vagans or Quintus) settings of the melodies were designed, as Luther remarked in his Preface, to attract youths from der Buhllieder und fleischlichen Gesänge to etwas Heilsames. Five years later (1529) Joseph Klug published at Wittenberg for Luther, who added a new Preface, his Geistliche Lieder. Auffs new gebessert zu Wittenberg, an enlarged collection of hymns and melodies of which no copy has survived. On the evidence of a later (1535) edition it appears to have contai50 German hymns, 29 of them by Luther, with others by Hans Sachs (1494-1576), Adam von Fulda (1493-1558), Johann Kolross (d. 1558), and other writers already named. The last hymn-book published under Luther's supervision was the Geystliche Lieder. Mit einer newen vorrhede D. Mart. Luth., printed in two parts by Valentin Babst at Leipzig in 1545. The collection contained 101 German hymns, including all of Luther's. Other contributors to it, besides some of those already mentioned, were Matthäus Greitter (d. 1550 or 1552), Wolfgang Dachstein (d. circa 1561), Adam Reissner (1496-c. 1575), Johannes Schneesing (d. 1567) and Michael Weisse (d. 1534).

Melodies grew in number less rapidly than hymns. But Zahn (vol. vi) distinguishes nearly 200 new tunes in the hymn-books of 1524-1545. Surveying the whole century the notable composers are: Joachim von Burck (1541 ?-1610), Sethus Calvisius (1556-1615), Wolfgang Dachstein (d. circa 1561), Nikolaus Decius (d. 1541), Johann Eccard (1553-1611), Wolfgang Figulus (c. 1520-1591), Bartholomäus Gesius (1556-1613 or 1614), Matthäus Greiter (d. 1550 or 1552), Nikolaus Herman (1485?-1561), Johann Kugelmann (d. 1542), Joachim Magdeburg (b. 1525), Philipp Nikolai (1556-1608), Cyriakus Schneegass (1546-97), Nikolaus Selnecker (1528-1592), Johann Spangenberg (1484-1550), Melchior Vulpius (d. 1616), Johann Walther (1496-1570) and Luther himself.

 

Later Development

The Lutheran revolution did not immediately substitute congregational for professional singing. Composers continued to place the canto fermo in the tenor in four- or five-part settings for the choir, leaving to the congregation restricted opportunities to participate. As in the pre-Reformation period, congregational hymns were sung unisono without accompaniment, vocal or instrumental. But before the 16th century ended, the first step was taken to release the Choral from the traditions of the Motet and to admit the congregation to associate with the choir in singing it. Lukas Osiander (1534-1604), a Protestant minister, published at Nürnberg in 1586 his Funfftig geistliche Lieder und Psalmen, a collection of (for the most part) old melodies, whose cantus, however, he removed from the tenor to the discant, in order das ein gantze christliche Gemein durchauss mit singen kan, supposing that the clearer definition of the melody would encourage the congregation to do so. Inadequate as it was - for a small choir could afford inadequate support to a congregational melody - Osiander's innovation was repeated by later editors: Johann Raw (partially)in 1589, Rogier Michael in 1593, Sethus Calvisius and Johann Eccard in 1597, the Eisleben Gesangbuch of 1598 (all but eleven melodies), the Regensburg compilation in 1599 ( Mit 5 Stimmen also gesetzt, dass jederman den Choral und bekandte Melodey jedes Gesangs ungehindert wol mit singen kan), the Nürnberg hymn-book of 1608, Georg Quitschreiber's Jena collection of 1608, and Hans Leo Hassler's Kirchengesang of 1608, whose melodies were simpliciter gesetzt to promote their congregational rendering.

The ultimate substitution of a discant for a tenor melody was also due to the weakening of the Netherlandish contrapuntal tradition and the penetration of the Italian melodic style into Germany in the 17th century, a development of which Hans Leo Hassler (d. 1612) and Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) were pioneers. It is significant that already in 1591 Adam Gumpelzhaimer had published at Augsburg his Neue teutsche oeistliche Lieder, three-part settings (cantus, tenor, bass) nach art der Welschen [i.e. Italian] Villanellen. In the half-century that followed, the Italian Concerto invaded the precincts of Lutheran hymnody, revolutionising the treatment of the Choral, which composers began to offer to the public under the title of Harmoniae, Cantiones sacrae, Geistlicher Harfenklang, Rosetulum musicum, Rosengartlein, and so forth. The Concerto, however, was essentially non-congregational, while the choir of the period was inadequate to afford the harmonic support which effective congregational singing required.

On the other hand, the organ, a newly perfected instrument, was available for that service, while the introduction of figured bass (continuo) aided the organist to underprop the melody and decided the victory for the discant over the tenor. The earliest important hymnbook of the 17th century - Johann Hermann Schein's (1586-1630) Cantional (1627) - added a figured bass to its melodies for the use of 'organists, instrumental players and lutenists.' The organ decisively assumed the responsibility which the choir was unable to fulfil, when in 1650 Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), the Halle organist, published his Tabulatur Buch containing 112 settings of 100 melodies to serve as accompaniments of congregational singing.

As he distinguished the separate stanzas of the hymns, Scheidt may be regarded as the father of the Choral cantata. and no less is the founder of Germany's organ school, which built itself upon the Choral and thereby was happily diverted from mere virtuosity. From Scheidt onwards, German organists developed their technique upon the Choral, treating it either in free counterpoint with the melody as the cantus firmus (praeambulum), or in canonic variations, or fugally. Pre-eminent in this art were Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), Johann Michael Bach (1648-94), Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Georg Böhm (b. 1661), Johann Adam Reincken (1623-1722), Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748), and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). In modern times the full revelation of Bach's grandeur has brought the organ and Choral again into association in a literature which Hubert Parry (1848-1918) in England, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Sigfrid Karg-Elert and Max Reger (1873-1916) in Germany, have enriched.

German composers in the 17th century, on the whole, were less successful in writing fine melodies than in rearranging the treasures of the past to satisfy the taste of their period. The most notable of them are: Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), Melchior Franck (d. 1639), Johann Michael Altenburg (1584-1640), Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630), Johann Schop (d. 1664 or 1665), Johann Crüger (1598-1662), the finest melodist of the century, Heinrich Albert (1604-1651), Andreas Hammerschmidt (1612-75), Johann Rosenmüller (1619-1684), Christophe Rung (1619-1681), Georg Neumark (1621-1681), Peter Sohren (d. 1692 or 1693), Jakob Hintze (1622-1702), Johann Rudolph Ahle (1625-1673), Johann Georg Ebeling (1637-1676), Gottfried Vopelius (1645-1715) and Joachim Neander (1650-1680). Zahn enumerates upwards of 450 hymn-books published in the 17th century. In addition to Schein's (1627) already mentioned, the most important of them are: Johann Crüger's Newes vollkömliches Gesangbuch (Berlin, 1640); his Praxis pietatis melica (Berlin, 1648 (3rd edn.)); the Crüger-Runge hymn-book (Berlin, 1853); and Gottfried Vopelius's Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (Leipzig, 1682). The publication of local hymn-books was very general in the latter part of the century.

 

Poetry of the Choral

Viewed as poetical literature, the Choral passed in the 17th century through the testing experience of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), a period of unrelieved and universal gloom whose agony found a relief in Kreuz- und Trostlieder and a hymnody subjective, sincere, devout. Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), the principal hymnist of the century, is second only to Luther in popularity, and in fertility his superior. The second half of the century culminated in the Pietistic revival led by Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705), a reaction from the formalism of official Lutheranism which, however, except in Bohemia and Moravia, never developed into organised dissent.

Of hymn-writers, to the earlier period belong Johann Michael Altenburg (1584-1640), Johann Heermann (1585-1647), Martin Rinkart (15861649), whose Nun danket alle Gott (1636) voiced the people's relief at the conclusion of the devastating war, Georg Weissel (1590-1635) and Paul Flemming (1609-40). In the second half are notable, besides Gerhardt, Christian Keimann (1607-1662), Johann Rist (1607-1667), Johannes Olearius (1611-1684), Johann Franck (1618-1677), Georg Neumark (1621-1681), Johann Georg Albinus (1624-1679), Louise Henriette of Brandenburg (1627-1667), Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer (1635-1699), Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1637-1706), Salomo Liscow (1640-1689) and Christoph Tietze (1641-1703).

The change which passed over the spirit of German hymnody in the 17th century was reflected consequently in its melody. The rugged, rhythmic tunes of the Reformation, so congregational in their simplicity and directness, were dispossessed by unmctrical, arialike tunes, and even by dance rhythms. In Halle, the centre of Pietism, Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen published (1704) the classic Gesangbuch of that school. It contained nearly 700 hymns, set to 174 melodies, with figured bass. Nearly half (82) of the tunes were new; only five represented the 16th century and the traditions of Luther. Pietism, indeed, connoted for the Choral the end of its creative period, a fact strikingly illustrated in the case of Bach. Spitta (i. 367) has dispelled the illusion that he contributed tunes to Freylinghausen's 'Spiritual Hymn-Book,' though there are countless proofs in his Passions and cantatas that he had much in common with a literature so intimate and warm. Also he contributed to Schemelli's Gesangbuch (1736) melodies for three hymns included in Freylinghausen's collection - Dir, dir Jehovah, will ich singen, Eins ist not; ach Herr dies eine, and Wie wohl ist mir, O Freund der Seelen. But they are typical of all his compositions in this form. Unapproachable in his treatment of the ancient melodies, as his preference for them is patent, Bach's original hymn-tunes (e.g. No. 42 of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)) are of the aria type, and, if they cannot be said to be wholly uncongreg~tional, distinctly lack the characterIstics of an effective congregational hymn.

It does not follow from the presence of Chorals simplice stylo in Bach's cantatas and oratorios that he desired them to be sung by the congregation, though his orchestration of them strongly suggests that they were so sung. But his art and the Choral are inextricably associated. His earliest compositions were Choral studies for the clavier or organ. All the famous hymn melodies in common use he enriched with matchless harmonies. They are rarely absent from hie cantatas and oratorios. Their stanzas and their melodies inspired the work of his maturest genius. His organ technique was developed upon them, and they are the theme of the bulk of his music for that installment. It would appear, as Spitta (iii. 107) comments, that Bach was impelled to connect the Choral with all his work for the service of God, and to display it in its fullest brilliance. So complementary are they that Bach and the Choral together fell under the ban of 18th-century Rationalism, awaiting the 19th-century Revival which restored them to repute. It is not merely a coincidence that Philipp Spitta, who first interpreted the resurrected Bach, was the son of the author of Psalter und Harfe, through whom Evangelical hymnody recovered the spirit of which Rationalism had deprived it.

 

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J. S. Bach's Original Hymn-Tune.. (Oxford, 1922);
Bach's four-part Chorals: complete edition. (Oxford,1927.)
G. von Tucher: Sehatz des evangelischen Kirchengesangs. (2 vols.:
Leipzig, 1848.)
Unvelfalälschte Liedersegen. Gesangbuch für Kirchen, Schulen und Häuser. (14th edn.:
Berlin, n.d.)
Philipp Wackernagel: Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der älsten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts. (5 vols.:
Leipzig, 1864-77.)
Carl von Winterfeld: Der evangelische Kirchengesang. (3 vols.:
Leipzig, 1843.)
Eugen Wolff: Das deutsche Kirchenlied des 16. und 17- Jahrhundrets. (Stuttgart, n.d.)
Philipp Wolfram: Die Entetehung und erste Entwickelung des deutschen evaugelischen Kirchenliedes in musikalischer Beziehung. (
Leipzig. 1890.)
Franz Wüllner: Joh. Seb. Bachs Werke: Lieder und Arien für vierstimmigen gemischten Chor. (
Leipzig, 1901.)
Johannes Zahn: Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder (6 vols.: Gütersloh. 1889-93);
Psalter und Harfe für das deutsche Haus. (Gütersloh,1886.)
Friedrich Zelle: Das älteste lutherische Hausgesangbuch. (Göttingen, 1903);
Die Singweisen der ältesten evangelischen Lieder. (3 pts.:
Berlin, 1899, 1900, 1910.)

 

Source: Article 'Chorale or Chorale' by Charles Sanford Terry, from Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (New York - The MacMillan Company, 1952)
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (September 2005)

Chorales BWV 250-438
Recordings | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Chorales in Bach's Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Hidden Chorale Melody Allusions | Passion Chorale
Individual Recordings:
Hilliard - Morimur | Chorales - Matt | Chorales - Rilling | Preludi ai Corali - Quartetto Italiani di Viola Da Gamba
References:
Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438
Texts & English Translations of Chorales:
Sorted by Title
Chorale Melodies:
Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation
MIDI files of the Chorales:
Cantatas BWV 1-197 | Other Vocal Works BWV 225-248 | Chorales BWV 250-438
Articles:
The Origin of the Texts of the Chorales [A. Schweitzer] | The Origin of the Melodies of the Chorales [A. Schweitzer] | The Chorale in the Church Service [A. Schweitzer] | Choral / Chorale [C.S. Terry] | The History of the Breitkopf Collection of J. S. Bach’s Four-Part Chorales [T. Braatz] | Chorale Melody Allusions in Bach's Vocal Works [T. Braatz]
Hymnals used by Bach | Abbreviations used for the Chorales | Links to other Sites on the Chorales

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Last update: żNovember 3, 2010 ż01:27:22