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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
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

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

 

Melody & Text: Zahn: 4486 | EKG: 167

Melody:

The melody has been traced back to hymnals from Görlitz, 1587 and Dresden, 1593. The Görlitz hymnal has the title: Harmonia hymnorum. No further information about the composer or the possibility of a contrafact being involved is available. There is no indication that Bartholomäus Ringwaldt was the composer, but this possibility can not be entirely excluded. The NBA editors never refer to Ringwaldt as the composer, they simply state that the “chorale is by Ringwaldt” without differentiating between the poet and composer in this instance.

Some older sources of the melody:

A source with which Bach may have been acquainted is the Gotha hymnal from the year 1715:

Samuel Scheidt has two 4-pt. settings in his “Tabulatur=Buch” (Görlitz, 1650):

Here is the melody as it appears during Johann Pachelbel’s lifetime, albeit with a different text which will be discussed below:

 

Text 1: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut | EKG: 167

The author of Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut is Bartholomäus Ringwaldt/Ringwald (1530-1599) who was born in Frankfurt on the Oder and who, in his final position, was a pastor in Langenfeld in the province of Neumark. He was known for his intrepid sermons on penance and in support of high morals. There are some important chorale texts by him still in use today which include, in addition to the presently mentioned one, “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” and “Lobet den Herrn, und dankt ihm seine Gaben.”

 

Text 2: Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiß gar wohl

This is another chorale text by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt which no longer exists in the EKG. It dates from 1582 and it was still available in Bach’s time.

Here is Samuel Scheidt's 4-pt. setting with the alternate text (1650):

Here is a 17th-century source with the alternate text:.

Bach (or more correctly speaking, Bach’s librettist) uses this text which Bach set to music in BWV 166/3. This is Bach’s only instance of using this chorale text.

 

Text 3: Herr Jesu Christ, ich schrei zu dir

The text author is unknown, but the text can be traced back to Freiberg (1620). Bach only uses this text in BWV 48/7.

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text 1: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut | EKG: 167
Author: Bartholomäus Ringwaldt

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

1

BWV 113

Mvt. 1

1724

-

-

-

-

A122:1

 

Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

2

BWV 113

Mvt. 2

1724

-

-

-

-

A122:2

 

Mvt. 2 (Leusink) [ram]

4

BWV 113

Mvt. 4

1724

-

-

-

-

A122:4

 

Mvt. 4 (Leusink) [ram]

8

BWV 113

Mvt. 8

1724

293

142

294

74

A122:8

PDF

Mvt. 8 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 8 (Leusink) [ram]

2

BWV 131

Mvt. 2

1707

-

-

-

-

B25:2

 

Mvt. 2 (Leusink) [ram]

5

BWV 131

Mvt. 4

1707

-

-

-

-

B25:4

 

Mvt. 4 (Leusink) [ram]

8

BWV 168

Mvt. 6

1725

92

143

92

-

A116:6

PDF

Mvt. 6 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 6 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Text 2: Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiß gar wohl
Author: Bartholomäus Ringwaldt

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

3

BWV 166

Mvt. 3

1724

-

-

-

-

A71:3

 

Mvt. 3 (RMM) [midi] | Mvt. 3 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Text 3: Herr Jesu Christ, ich schrei zu dir
Author: Anon

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

12

BWV 48

Mvt. 7

1723

266

144

266

40

A144:7

PDF

Mvt. 7 (CCARH) [midi] | Mvt. 7 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 7 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

-

BWV 48

Mvt. 1

1723

-

-

-

-

A144:1

 

Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

-

BWV 334

-

?

73

141

73

-

F202:1

PDF

Chorale (MG) [midi]

-

BWV 1114

-

b 1710

-

-

-

-

K187

   

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by other composers:

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654):
2 different 4-pt. settings from the “Tabulatur=Buch” (Görlitz, 1650). See: Score
4-pt setting from the “Tabulatur-Buch, with an alternate text Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiß gar wohl (Görlitz, 1650). See:
Score

Johann Wolfgang Franck (1641-1710):
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut Cantata from the Ansbach period (1672-1679).
composed just before murdering another court musician:

>>He composed a considerable body of sacred music for the court chapel, and in 1677 was made court chaplain. In January 1679 he fled Ansbach after having murdered another court musician. He found asylum in Hamburg, where his music was to dominate the opera for the next six years.<<
George J. Buelow in Grove Music Online [Oxford University Press, 2005, acc. 923/05]

August Kühnel (1645-1700):
Choral variations on Herr Jesu Christ, Du höchstes Gut for viola da gamba & continuo

Johann Samuel Welter (1650-1720):
Herr Jesu Christ du höchstes Gut Cantata for SATB, 2 violins, 2 violas da gamba, violone, bc.-organo

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706):
Herr Jesu Christ, ichweiß gar wohl, Chorale Prelude for Organ on the alternate text for the main melody. See: Score

Christian Andreas Schulze (also known as “Schultze” or “Praetorius” the Latin translation of “Schultze”) (c1660-1699):
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut Cantata for SSATB soloists and ripieni, 2 violins, 2 violas, bassoon and bc

Georg Friedrich Kauffmann (1679-1735):
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut Chorale Prelude for Organ from the collection “Harmonische Seelenlust” (Leipzig, 1733)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767):
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut a lost cantata

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780):
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785):
Herr Jesu Christ, Du Höchstes Gut, Choral Prelude for organ

 

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 2004 Software, version 5.1.
Prepared by Thomas Braatz & Aryeh Oron (September 2005, November 2005)

Chorales BWV 250-438
Recordings | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Chorales in Bach Cantatas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | 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 | 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 [Schweitzer] | The Origin of the Melodies of the Chorales [Schweitzer] | The Chorale in the Church Service [Schweitzer] | Choral / Chorale [Terry]
Hymnals used by Bach | Abbreviations used for the Chorales | Links to other Sites about the Chorales

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

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Last update: ýApril 20, 2006 ý21:25:04