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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
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren

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

 

Melody & Text:

Composition: Zahn: 159 | EKG: 227

This melody is by Nikolaus Selnecker and first appeared in print in “Christliche Psalmen, Lieder vnd KirchengesengeLeipzig, 1587:

Selnecker, or Selneccer, was born in 1530 in Hersbruck near Nürnberg and even as a boy already became an organist in Nürnberg. He was a pupil of Philipp Melanchthon, a major figure in the Reformation. Because of his support of Lutheran orthodoxy, Selnecker was repeatedly involved in controversy and removed from the positions he had assumed. In these positions as preacher at the court in Dresden, a professor in Jena and in Leipzig, as ‘Generalsuperintendent’ (an overseer of all spiritual matters) in Wolfenbüttel and similarly in Hildesheim, he was a very powerful influence and was also involved in the unification of Lutheranism. One of his most important contributions was as a supporter of congregational singing. He died in Leipzig in 1592.

In 1713, Johann Mattheson, speaking for all Lutheran church musicians and composers, calls him ‘the great teacher’ and points to Selnecker’s discussion of the question: “By which means will a person be more edified (instructed, but also uplifted)? Is it by hearing a sermon (of which Selnecker gave quite a few during his lifetime) or is it by means of hearing/singing music which absorbs the listener’s/singer’s attention with reverence?”

 

Early Forms of the Melody:

In an early motet setting based upon this chorale melody, the composer, Joachim à Burck / Joachim von Burck (1546-1610) departs quite radically from the established melody so that it becomes almost unrecognizable. Here is the original soprano incipit:

(Unfortunately the Gothic font could not be reproduced.). The complete soprano part from this 4-pt. motet is as follows:

There are three important mid 17th-century sources that demonstrate how the melody was notated, one from Johannes Crüger (1598-1662) which is contained in “Geistliche Kirchenmelodien über die von Herrn D. Luthero sel, und anderen vornehmen und gelehrten Leuten aufgesetzte geist- und trostreiche Gesänge und Psalmen... in 4 Vokal- und 2 Instrumental-Stimmen, als Violinen und Cornetten übersetzt ...Berlin, 1649:

another is a 4-pt. setting by Samuel Scheidt in his “Tabulatur=Buch” (Görlitz, 1650):

and finally there is mid to latter half of the 17th-century form from an unspecified hymnal that appears like this:

 

Text (Text 1): Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren | EKG: 227

The author of this chorale text is Ludwig Helmbold and it earliest appearance is in 1575, 12 years before Selnecker’s chorale melody which is normally associated with this text can be documented.

Helmbold was born in Mühlhausen (Thuringia) in 1532. In 1554, he gave up his position as a school teacher to become Professor of Philosophy in Erfurt. Due the conflicts and clashes with forces of the Counter-Reformation, he was forced to resign his position, Undaunted, he then studied theology and, in 1571, became the pastor at the Liebfrauen Church in Mühlhausen (his birthplace) and later also “Superintendent” [an overseer of spiritual matters in the regions]. He died from the plague in 1598.

In addition to the above chorale text, there is another one which is still found in the present-day ‘Evangelical Hymnal’: “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.” Bach has used the text from the latter in BWV 73/5.

 

Alternate Text (Text 2): Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe | EKG: 348

This ‘Morning Song,’ as it is classified in the current German hymnal, is by the famous hymn-text writer, Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). There are two possible dates pointing to its year of origin: 1647/1653.

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text 1: Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren | EKG: 227
Author: Ludwig Helmbold (1575)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

8

BWV 79

Mvt. 6

1725

-

267

-

-

A184:6

PDF

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

5

BWV 165

Mvt. 6

1715

-

266

-

-

A71:6

PDF

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

 

Text 2: Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe | EKG: 348
Author: Paul Gerhardt (1647/1653.)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

9 & 10

BWV 194

Mvt. 12

1723

93
257

268

257

19

F152
A91:12
B31:12

PDF

Mvt. 12 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 6 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by other composers:

Joachim à Burck (1546-1610):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren a 4-pt motet from the collection Dreißig Geistliche Lieder auff die Fest durchs Jahr (1594). See: Score

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren - Ein Danklied für alle Wohltaten Gottes [“A song of gratitude/hank for all of God’s merciful/good deeds”] 4-pt setting from “Tabulatur=Buch” (Görlitz, 1650). See: Score

Heinrich Schütz (1587-1672):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, Setting for 6 voices.

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637?-1707):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, for SATB voices, 2 violins & continuo, BuxWV 81

Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694):
Chorale for Organ Nun laßt uns Gott dem herren oder Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, Chorale Prelude for Organ, T. 59.

Vincent Lübeck (sr.) (1654-1740):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Georg Friedrich Kauffmann (1679-1735):
Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, Chorale Prelude for Organ.

Johann Michael Bach (1648-16):
Chorale for organ Nun laßt uns Gott dem herren oder Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe

 

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)

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 [Schweitzer] | The Origin of the Melodies of the Chorales [Schweitzer] | The Chorale in the Church Service [Schweitzer] | Choral / Chorale [Terry] | The History of the Breitkopf Collection of J. S. Bach’s Four-Part Chorales [Braatz] | Chorale Melody Allusions in Bach's Vocal Works [Braatz]
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: ýMarch 12, 2008 ý17:24:18