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Chorale Melodies: Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation

Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Melody & Text | Use of the CM by Bach | Use of the CM by other composers

 

Melody & Text: Zahn: | EKG:

Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort is a late Luther hymn that is both liturgical for worship and a catechesis for teaching, embracing the Lutheran principles of the Word with its three stanzas upholding the doctrine of the Trinity during time of threat, says Robin A. Leaver in Luther’s Liturgical Music.7 The Trinitarian principle is “the father who preserves, the Son who defends, and the Spirit who unifies” while the three-fold threat at the time was unbelief, the military the forces of the Ottoman empire, and “the external ecclesiastical threat of Roman Catholicism,” says Leaver (ibid.: 113f). “The hymn’s catechetical connections were made explicit when it was appended to the 1549 Leipzig edition of the Small Catechism and headed A Children’s Catechism Hymn.

Bach’s setting of Luther’s text (Stanza 2), “Beweis dein' Macht, Herr Jesu Christ” (Show your might, Lord Jesus Christ), of (Wackernagel, III, #1482), is harmonized in g minor as a plain chorale to close (Mvt. 6) of chorus Cantata BWV 6, “Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden” (Stay with us, for evening is coming, Luke 24:29), for Easter Monday 1725, to a text possibly by Christian Weise Sr. or Picander. The melody and text sources for Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort are found in Charles Sanford Terry, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 2.8 <<The melody, “Erhalt’ uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,” which Bach uses in the concluding chorale of the Cantata [6], was first published in Joseph [148] Klug’s Geistliche Lieder zu Wittemberg (Wittenberg, 1543). It bears a close resemblance to the melody [Zahn 1945b] of Luther’s Hymn, “Verleih’ uns Frieden gnädiglich” (see Cantata BWV 42), both being derived from the tune of the Antiphon, “Da pacem, Domine” [HDEKM I, 1 335, NLGB 323, Word of God & Christian Church] of which Luther’s “Verleih’ uns Frieden” [Dona nobis pacem, Grant us peace] is a translation. The similarity between the melodies is matched by the intimate association of the two Hymns. In many districts of Germany Luther’s stanza was sung immediately after the sermon, either by itself or with the hymn, “Erhalt’ uns, Herr.” Bach uses the melody also in [chorale] Cantata BWV 126. The sharpened fourth note of the tune in this movement is found in an early text (1593). The words of the concluding Choral [BWV 6/6] are the second stanza [Beweis’ dein Macht, Herr Jesu Christ] of Luther’s Hymn, “Erhalt’ uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,” written, probably in 1541, for a service at Wittenberg against the Turks. Luther called the Hymn “Ein Kinderlied zu singen wider die zween Ertzfeinde Christi und seiner heiligen Kirchen, den Babst und Turcken” (A Children’s Hymn, to Be Sung against the Two Arch-enemies of Christ and His Holy Church, the Pope and the Turk, translation Leaver in Luther’s Liturgical Music (Ibid: 107). The Hymn was first printed as a broadsheet at Wittenberg in 1542, and, with the tune, in Klug’s 1543 hymnbook.>>

Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort is one of four early Lutheran chorales based on the plainsong melody associated with the Ambrosian hymn, Veni redemptor genitum, of Ambrosius [Ambroe of Milan]’s (c340-397), says Leaver (ibid., Congregational Hymnody: 199). The other three are Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Now come, Saviour of the gentiles), Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich (Grant us peace, in your mercy), and Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit (Grant to our Princes and all those in authority).9

Given the common origin of these four chorales based on Veni redemptor genitum, particularly the melody and its variants, Luther’s original 1543 setting of three verses of Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort was expanded with two additional verses of Luther close associate Justus Jonas (1493-1555) at the time of Luther’s death in 1546: Stanza 4, “Ihr Anschläg, Herr, zu nichte mach,” and Stanza 5, “So werden sie erkennen doch,” as the Turkish and papist threats continued.

 

Text:

See the full text of seven verses at: Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.

 

Melody:

Walter Chorale Origin & Expansion

Johann Walther (1496-1570), called the “First Cantor of the Lutheran Church” in Carl Schalk’s booklet, “Johann Wather,”10 had planted the seeds of Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort with a simple homophonic setting for four voices (CATB, tenor melody) in his Geistliches Gesangbüchlein of 1524 (Sämtliche Werke [SM] 1-3) in collaboration with Luther (Schalk, ibid.: 31). The original text, set to Veni redemptor genitum, along with Walther’s setting of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, is:

Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort
Und steur des Papists und Türken Mord
,
Die Jesum Christum, deinen Sohn,
Stürzen wollen deinem Thron.


Maintain us, Lord, within thy word,
And fend off murd'rous Pope and Turk,
Who Jesus Christ, thy very Son,
Strive to bring down from his throne.11

After Jonas’ two additional verses, Walther sought to enhance Luther’s legacy with the addition of his hymn, Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit, tune (Zahn 1945b) adapted from Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort of 1543, first found in a Breslau manuscript around 1560 (Leaver, ibid.: 203f), as well as Luther’s Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich. Walther published both additional verses with the Luther’s three stanzas of Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort in 1566 whenWalther published his last collection of music. It contained eighteen German and two Latin compositions. The title was: Doctor Martin Luther’s Christian Hymn for Children, "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word," [Christlich Kinderlied D. Martini Lutheri: Erhalt uns, Herr], Augmented by Several Beautiful Christian Texts, Latin and German Songs. The collection (SM 6) was dedicated to Duke Johann Wilhelm of Saxony, says Walter E. Buszin, “Johann Walther: Father of Lutheran Church Music.” 12

The content of Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit “enshrines Luther’s view of the Christian responsibility of rulers and governments,” says Leaver (ibid.). It is a paraphrase of 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,” and concluded with a final amen.

Martin Luther's German setting of the Latin Mass Proper closing litany, Dona nobis pacem (Grant us peace) is based on the Ambrosian fourth century hymn, Veni, redemptor, genitum (O come, redeemer of the earth), first found in the 1530 Nürnberg hymnbook, and Luther’s translation of the Latin antiphon chant text, Da pacem Domine (Grant peace, Lo), published by Luther in 1531. In the Deutsche Messe (German Mass) of Luther and Walther, Luther's hymn occurs after the closing Benediction and intonation of Da pacem (Leaver, ibid.: 218).

Concerning the two hymns, Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich and Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, it “seems likely that
Luther himself connected” them together since in 1544 composers Walther and Balthazar Resinarius “linked together their respective settings of these text” in sacred songbooks issued by Georg Rhau in Wittenberg, says Leaver (ibid.: 221). “Thereafter, numerous Lutheran composers, including Michael Praetorius, Schein, Buxtehude and Johann Sebastian Bach, created many different combined settings of these two hymns by Luther.” Both hymns plus Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit are found in Buxtehude’s chorale cantata, Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (BuxWV 27), as well as Bach’s chorale Cantata BWV 126, Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (Leaver, ibid.: 205). Luther’s Verleih uns Frieden and Walther’s Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit are found in Johann Schelle’s chorale Cantata Nun danket alle Gott, in a collection of six chorale cantatas (Leaver, Ibid).

Both the four
Luther and one Walther chorale stanzas are set to a plain chorale closing (Mvt. 6) Bach’s chorale Cantata BWV 126, “Erhalt’ uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.” Cantata BWV 126 uses the Klug melody in the opening chorale fantasia with Stanza 1, in the alto-tenor trope of Stanza 3 recitative (Mvt. 3) as a tenor slow arioso. The closing plain chorale (Mvt. 6) harmonization has two additional chorale texts found in hymnbooks of Bach’s time, forming a popular seven-verse hymn: Luther’s Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich (Grant us peace, in your mercy; 1531) and Johann Walther’s Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit (Grant to our Princes and all those in authority, 1566, after 1 Timothy 2.2).13 In “Walter’s memory, ‘Erhalt uns Herr’ had become Luther’s last will and testament,” says Schalk (ibid.: Footnote 45: 36). Luther’s three verses of Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort was used as a closing hymn in services (Bighley 1986 pp. 283f.),” says Peter Williams in The Organ Music of J. S. Bach.14 The melody (Klug 1543) is found in the Neumeister organ chorale, Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, BWV 1103 (c .1700), in G Major. There are two other organ chorale settings attributed to Bach, a manualiter version, BWV Anh. 50, in A Major, and an extended (117 measures) two-manual fantasia version, BWV deest (Emans Nr. 63).15 The BWV Anh. 50 version shows that “nothing in the music points clearly to authorship,” says Williams (ibid.: 577). However, the latter version suggests “the conception could be that of an imaginative young organist creating a spacious setting while systematically surveying current techniques” in the Neumeister style, says Williams (ibid.: 581). In addition, the chorale is listed in the Orgelbüchlein chorale collection, as No. 122, “Word of God & Christian Church.” Williams displays the melody version in a minor from the Leipzig Valentine Bapst's Hymn-book (Geystliche Lieder), 1545.

 

Hymnal versions Bach may have known:

 
 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text: | EKG:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

2

BWV 6

Mvt. 6

1725

72

72

79

 

F56
A57:6

PDF

 

1

BWV 126

Mvt. 1

1725

-

-

-

 

A46:1

-

 

3

BWV 126

Mvt. 3

1725

-

-

-

 

A46:3

-

 

6-7

BWV 126

Mvt. 6

1725

215

 

321

 

A46:6

PDF

 
 
 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

-

BWV 1103

             

-

 

-

BWV Anh 50

             

-

 
 

BWV deest (Emans Nr. 63

                 
 
 
 

Use of the Chorale Melody by other composers:

Balthasar Resinarius (c1486-1567):
Chorale for 3 voices Erhalt uns herr bei Deinem Wort/Verleih uns Freiden gnädiglich

Michael Praetorius (1571-1621):
Motet for male chorus Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort a 17 (Polyhymnia caduceatrix, 1619)

Dietrich Buxtehude (c1637-1707):
Chorale Prelude for organ in G minor, Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, BuxWV 185
Chortale Cantata Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for SATB chorus, 2 violins, violone or bombarde & continuo, BuxWV 27

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706):
Chorale Prelude for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, T. 33 (also attrib. Böhm or D. Buxtehude)
Organ Chorales Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, PWC 111 & 112

Georg Böhm (1661-1733):
Chorale Prelude for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748):
Organ Chorale Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (Breitkopf and Härtel, 1961)

Johann Gottfried Habach ()
Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort, in G major, for organ (1740)

Michel Corrette (1707-1795):
Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, alle gleich; Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Two Instrumental movements for strings and basso continuo and flute (recorder, oboe) ad libitum, arranged by Klaus Hofmann (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler, 1976)

Ludwig Finzenhagen (1860-1931):
Reformation Cantata Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort, for mixed choir & soprano solo, string orchestra & organ, Op. 18[b] (Hameln: Oppenheimer, 19--)

Eduard Nössler (1863-1943):
Reformationsmotette Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort, for mixed choir (Bremen: Haake, 1889)

Hermann Grabner (1886-1969):
Partita sopra Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for organ, Op. 28 (Lippstadt: Kistner & Siegel, 19--; Brühlt : Kistner & Siegel, 2010)

Friedrich Siems (1891-1971):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for 4-voice men's choir (Hamburg Hüllenhagen & Griehl, 2010)

Fritz Werner (1898-1977):
Herr, das soll mein Erbe sein, daß ich dein Wort halte erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for 3-voice mixed choir & Gemeinde-Ges. organ. u. Pos. ad lib (Kleine Motette vom Worte Gottes) (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verl., 1959)

Ernst Pepping (1901-1981):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for unaccompanied four-part male chorus (T.T.B.B.). (Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1957)

Hans Chemin-Petit (1902-1981):
Introitus und Choral 1979 (Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort), for 4-voice mixed choir & organ (composed: 1979; Berlin Hans Chemin-Petit, 1995)

Günter Raphael (1903-1960):
Chorale-Motet Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for 5-voice mixed choir a cappella, Op 30, No. 2 (Leipzig, Wiesbaden, Berlin, London, N.Y., Brüssel : Breitkopf & Hartel, cop. 1932; Wiesbaden Breitkopf und Härtel 1960)

Kurt Thomas (1904-1973):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort: zum Reformationsfest, for mixed choir a cappella (kleine geistliche Chormusik; Werk 25 Nr. 13) (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel)

Hugo Distler (1908-1942):
Chorale Prelude for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Helmut Walcha (1907-1991):
Chorale Prelude for organ No. 11 Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Karl Schäfer (1909-1976):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, twelve old chorals in three parts for recorders (SAA) or other instruments (Celle: H. Moeck, 1964)

Herbert Gadsch (1913-2011):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Rondo on Luther-Lieder; for organ (Ditzingen : Ed. Musica Rinata, 1998)

Hans-Hermann Kurig (1914-2002):
Chorus for men's chorus (TTBarB) Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort (Hänssler-Verlag, 1962)

Jürg Baur (1918-2003):
Chorale Suite for brass band on Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort (composed: 1980; München Verband Deutscher Musikerzieher u. Konzertierender Künstler 1984)

Hans-Joachim Marx (1923-2010):
Dialogue on the Chorale "Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort" for saxophone (Es-Alto or Tenor-B-saxophone) & organ (München Friedemann Strube, 2000)

Anton Heiller (1923-1979):
Kleine Partita for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (Munich: Doblinger, c1979)

Erwin Proske (b 1925):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort selig sind, die das Wort Gottes, Liedmotette for 2 5-voice mixed choir (Berlin Merserburger, 1965)

Johann Paul Zehetbauer (1928-1989):
Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort, for 4-voice mixed choir ( Planegg Promultis-Verlag 1977; München Promultis-Verlag 2003)

Günther Heller (b 1929):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Small Partita for brass ensemble (2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba) & organ, and organ (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1976)

Peter Benary (b 1931):
Chorale Partita for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (composed: 1954; Luzern: Edition Cron, 1981)

Manfred Spiller (b 1932):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for organ (Leipzig: Ebert, 2010)

Gustav Gunsenheimer (b 1934):
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Chorale Cantata for soloists, choir & instruments (Munich, Berlin: Strube, c2010)

Wolfgang Wiemer (b 1934):
Chorale Fantasie for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (composed: 1961; Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1964)

Gerald Stier (b 1940):
Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Chorale Motet for 4to-5-voice mixed choir (Munich: Strube, c2005)

Gunther Martin Göttsche (b 1953):
Chorale Variations for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, Op. 58 (Wiesbaden Daimonion-Verl. 2001)

Hartmut Bietz (b 1942):
Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort, for brass choir (East Berlin Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1983)

Stein Skøyeneie (b 1961):
Preludium, koral und passacaglia on erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for otgan (Three movements for organ, based on the hymn by Martin Luther. For manuals and pedals. Of moderate to advanced difficulty) (Oslo: Norsk Musikforlag, 2011)

Uwe-Karsten Gross (b 1930), arranger:
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, a chorale in the mirror image of contemporary German composers: (Wolfenbüttel Zürich: Karl Heinrich Möseler, 1990):
Helmut Barbe (b 1927): Orgeltriptychon
Zsolt Gárdonyi: Meditation
Karl-Heinz Höne: Choral-Fantasie
Matthias Kern: Choralbearbeitung
Johannes H.E Koch (b 1918): Meditation "...steh bei uns in der letzen Not"
Bernhard Krol: Kleine Orgelmesse
Wolfgang Stockmeier (b 1931): Choral-Improvisation
Burghard Schloemann: Choralspiel
Heinz Werner Zimmermann: Prolog und Fuge

 

Footnotes

7 Leaver, Principles and Implications, Chapter II, Musical Catechesis William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapid MI, 2007: 107-115).
8 Terry, The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Cantatas and Motetts (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 2. April 28, 2014; http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/bach-bachs-chorals-vol-2-the-hymns-and-hymn-melodies-of-the-cantatas-and-motetts, scroll down to Cantata VI.
9 Details of Veni redemptor genitum found at BCW, “Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works,” Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, Melody & Text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Nun-komm.htm. The full text (eight stanzas) of the hymn with Francis Browne’s English translation and notes are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV61-Eng3.htm. Luther’s adaption of the hymn is discussed by Dick Wursten at: BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV62-D.htm.
10 Schalk (Concordia Publishing, St. Louis Mo., 1992).
11
Translation, Virtual Baroque site. Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort is best known in English in the Luther three-verse hymn, “Lord, keep us in Thy Word and Work” as “A Children’s Song against the two arch-enemies of Christ and his Holy Church. Today it is known as “Lord, keep us steadfast in your word” (Katherine Winkworth 1863, http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/k/lkusitwo.htm), in the hymnal category “Word of God,” No. 517, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Augsburg Fortress: Minneapolis MN, 2006. A similar translation, from William Sterndale Bennett 1865, is found online at The Hymns of Martin Luther [1884], http://www.fullbooks.com/The-Hymns-of-Martin-Luther3.html, scroll down to XXXIII:
Maintain us, Lord, within thy word
,
And fend off murd'rous Pope and Turk
,
Who Jesus Christ, thy very Son
,
Strive to bring down from his throne
.
12 Buszin, published in the Valparaiso University Musical Heritage series in 1946. - See more at: http://cyberbrethren.com/2006/04/26/johann-walther-father-of-lutheran-church-music/#sthash.Q6BtF1iF.dpuf.
13
Further details are found in Charles Sanford Terry, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 2 (ibid.: scroll down to Cantata CXXVI). See also Peter Smaill’s Introduction, Cantata 126 BCML Discussions Part 3, March 28, 2010, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV126-D3.htm.
14
Williams, 2nd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2003: 556f)).
15 J. S. Bach Organ Works: Organ Chorales from Miscellaneous Sources, BA 5251; ed. Reinmar Emans (Bärenreiter: Kassel, 2008).

 

Sources: NBA, vols. III/2.1 & 2.2 in particular [Bärenreiter, 1954 to present] and the BWV ("Bach Werke Verzeichnis") [Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998]
The PDF files of the Chorales were contributed by Margaret Greentree J.S. Bach Chorales
Software: Capella Professional 2008, Version 6.0.
Prepared by William Hoffman & Aryeh Oron (May 2014 - July 2014)

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 - N. Matt | Chorales - H. 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

Chorale Melodies: Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation

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Last update: ýJuly 28, 2014 ý06:43:40