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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
O Gott, du frommer Gott

Overview | Melody 1 | Melody 2 | Melody 3 | Melody 4 | Use of the CM by other composers | Arrangements/Transcriptions

 

Overview:

The preceding diagram is a succinct survey of all the important characteristics that help to distinguish the various melody variants that are linked together by use of the chorale text O Gott, du frommer Gott by Johann Heermann (1630). Bach used these variant melodies to set the same chorale text, but also other chorale texts as well. Only the last variant (Zahn 5187) was not set directly to music using Heermann’s chorale text; however, it is nevertheless linked to this entire group by another text Ich freue mich in dir by Kaspar Ziegler (1697), a situation where a relatively new melody was used which has nothing in common with the other three melodies except that Bach used the same chorale text with two out of the three melodies for “O Gott, du frommer Gott” listed above it.

 

Observation:

Reflecting a fairly common situation found in 16th, 17th, and 18th century hymnals, Bach would not only use alternate melodies for the same chorale text, but also alternate texts for the same chorale melody. This can become very confusing, since even in Bach’s time, there is a strong tendency to refer to any specific chorale text and melody as clearly linked unit as if the union between text and music is a firm and everlasting one since the time of its conception. To be sure, Bach himself sometimes suggested alternate titles for chorale compositions as in his “Orgelbüchlein”, but, more often than not, these alternate chorale texts that were used with a specific melody are not even mentioned. This seems to reflect the general situation that prevailed as underlying melodies, sometimes even those originally connected with a given chorale text would be supplanted by another melody, this often being dependent upon popularity of the text-melody combination as it existed in various cities and principalities throughout Germany. Another development which may have begun even before Bach’s time and certainly became quite prominent after his death is the reduction of chorale melodies to a minimum so that eventually a congregation could sing hundreds of different chorale texts to a small stock of melodies of not more than two dozen melodies that were used over and over again. Bach seems to have been working hard to counter this incipient trend by employing many different melodies which his congregations would have heard his choirs sing and which they later might emulate in congregational singing.

Alfred Dürr, in his book “Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Kantaten” Bärenreiter, 1995 (last revised edition) p. 157, discusses Bach’s marginal notation in 1724 of an apparently new chorale melody for Ich freue mich in dir, a text which he otherwise set to other variants of the “O Gott, du frommer Gott” melody. Dürr speculates that this melody (Zahn 5187) “was apparently new to Bach and, accordingly, probably not customary in Leipzig.”

 

Procedure:

Each chorale melody will be treated separately (See: Melody 1, Melody 2, Melody 3, Melody 4), although the textual connections between all of the ones in this group are quite strong. At the very end, after all 4 melodies have been presented, a list of other composers using these melodies is presented. There is, however, a strong caveat attached to this list as it does not presume to make any distinctions between all the possible chorale melody variants that any specific composer might have used.

 

Melody 1: Zahn: 5138 | EKG: 383

This melody is first documented in Johann Calvin’s “Aulcuns Pseaumes et Cantiques mys en chant” (1539) as the melody used for “O Seigneur, que de gens”, a French, rhymed version of the 3rd(?) Psalm. However, this melody is very likely from a yet earlier, unknown source. Later, this melody appeared in a somewhat changed form as it appears here and used with a different chorale text “Groß ist, o großer Gott” in “New Ordentlich Gesangbuch” Braunschweig, 1648:

Here is the shape of the melody as recorded in a Lüneburg hymnals from 1661:

A much later documentation is found in the Freylinghausen 1741 hymnal:

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text: Ich freue mich in dir EKG:
Author: Kaspar Ziegler (1697)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

All

BWV 465

-

b 1736

-

-

-

 

F231

-

 

BWV 465: Ich freue mich in dir
The BWV Verzeichnis has BWV 465 listed with the references: (Mel. 13, Nr. 194) The NBA lists it as Nr. 13 but the section containing all Bach's possible melodies states "aus Schemellis Gesangbuch" [extracted from Schemelli's 'songbook'] Thus it becomes clear that Schemelli's songbook probably included hundreds of 'songs' and Nr. 194 refers to its location in that book, while the NBA has selected only those songs which can be attributed to Bach and numbered them accordingly.

 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

-

BWV 767

-

1702-07

       

K95

-

 

BWV 767 Title: Partite diverse sopra: O Gott, du frommer Gott

 

Melody 2: Zahn: 5148 | EKG: 383

This melody’s origin can only be traced back to circa 1670. No other information regarding its composer or its first time connection with the Johann Heermann (1630) is available. Here is how this melody appeared in a hymnal from Meiningen in 1693:

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text: O Gott, du frommer Gott
Author: Johann Heermann (1630)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

1

BWV 24

Mvt. 6

1723

336

-

337

 

A102:6

PDF | PDF s

Mvt. 6 (MG) | Mvt. 6 (MG) short [midi] Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

6

BWV 71

Mvt. 2

1708

-

-

-

-

B1:2

-

Mvt. 2 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

-

BWV 399

-

?

314

282

315

 

F157.1

PDF

Chorale (MG) [midi]

 

Melody 3: Zahn: 5206b | EKG: 461

The composer of this melody, the one which Bach most frequently utilized for his settings of Johann Heermann’s (1630) chorale text, but also for many other texts as well, is identified as Ahasverus Fritsch with a date of composition set as 1679. The chorale texts associated with this melody are numerous:

1. “Die Wollust dieser Welt” not used by Bach, but possibly the original use of the melody (Text author unknown)
2. “O Jesu, süßes Licht” Text by Joachim Lange (1670-1744) not used by Bach, but still in use today in the EKG
3. O Gott, du frommer Gott Text by Johann Heermann (1630)
4. Was frag ich nach der Welt Text by Balthasar Kindermann (1664)
5. Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott Text by Johann Olearius (1665)
6. O Jesu, meine Lust Text by Matthäus Avenarius (1673)
7. Ich freue mich in dir Text by Kaspar Ziegler (1697)

Here is the original melody by Ahasverus Fritsch (1679) as it appears in the present-day Evangelical-Lutheran hymnal printed in Germany. The text by Lange appears to have been added later.

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text 3/1: O Gott, du frommer Gott
Author: Johann Heermann (1630)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

2

BWV 45

Mvt. 7

1726

84

278

85

 

A113:7

PDF

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

 

Text 3/2: Was frag ich nach der Welt
Author: Balthasar Kindermann (1644)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

1

BWV 64

Mvt. 4

1723

255

280

255

14

A14:4

PDF

Mvt. 4 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 4 (Leusink) [ram]

1

BWV 94

Mvt. 1

1724

-

-

-

-

A115:1

-

Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

3

BWV 94

Mvt. 3

1724

-

-

-

-

A115:3

-

Mvt. 3 (Leusink) [ram]

5

BWV 94

Mvt. 5

1724

-

-

-

-

A115:5

-

Mvt. 5 (Leusink) [ram]

7,8

BWV 94

Mvt. 8

1724

290

281

291

72

A115:8

PDF

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

 

Text 3/3: O Jesu, meine Lust
Author: Matthäus Avenarius (1673)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

4

BWV 128

Mvt. 5

1725

-

279

-

 

A76:5

PDF

Mvt. 5 (YFM) [midi] | Mvt. 5 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 5 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Text 3/4: Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott
Author: Johann Olearius (1665)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

1

BWV 129

Mvt. 1

1725

-

-

-

-

A93:1

-

Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

5

BWV 129

Mvt. 5

1725

-

-

-

114

A93:5

-

Mvt. 5 (MG) [midi] | Mvt. 5 (HSEM) [mp3] | Mvt. 5 (Leusink) [ram]

 

Text 3/5: Ich freue mich in dir
Author: Kaspar Ziegler (1697)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

4

BWV 197a

Mvt. 7

1728

-

-

-

 

A11:7

PDF

-

 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

-

BWV 1125

-

?

-

-

-

113

 

-

 

-

BWV 398

-

1728

311

277

312

 

F45.2b

PDF

Chorale (MG) [midi]

BWV 1125: O Gott, du frommer Gott probably from a lost cantata.
BWV 398 = BWV 197a/7

 

Melody 4: Zahn: 5187

Neither the composer nor date of composition is known. The first appearance of this melody in print is in 1738. The circumstances surrounding Bach’s notation of the melody in the blank space left on the score of the “Sanctus” (1724) later incorporated into the B-minor Mass (BWV 232), may be evidence of its rather recent origin with Bach not being familiar with the melody before this time.

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text: Ich freue mich in dir
Author: Kaspar Ziegler (1697)

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

1

BWV 133

Mvt. 1

1724

-

-

-

-

A16:1

-

Mvt. 1 (Leusink) [ram]

4

BWV 133

Mvt. 6

1724

61

181

60

56

A16:6

PDF

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

 

Use of the Chorale Melodies by other composers:

Additional composers using the same 4 chorale melodies with the titles given above. They are organized by title and as chronologically as possible.

O Gott, du frommer Gott

Georg Friedrich Kauffmann (1679-1735):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, 2 Chorale Preludes for Organ, one with an obbligato instrument

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788):
O Gott du frommer Gott, Chorale setting for Organ (or Keyboard), H. 336/1

Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Cantata

Johann Friedrich Doles (1715-1797):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Cantata

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ, Op. posth. 122/7 (1896)

Dame Ethel (Mary) Smyth (1858-1944):
O Gott du frommer Gott, for organ

Max Reger (1873-1916):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ, Op. 67/31 (1902)
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ, Op. 135a/20 (1914)

Kurt Fiebig (1908-1988):
O Gott, du frommer Gott, Choralkantaten for Chor, Soli, Instr. u. Org. (1935-1945)

 

Gelobet sei der Herr

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672):
Gelobet sei der Herr for 5, 10, 11, 20 voices (Weimar)

Johann Rosenmüller (1615-1684):
Gelobet sei der Herr for 4 or more voices + instruments

Johann Krieger (1652-1735):
Gelobet sei der Herr, Cantata (1689)

>>Besonders nennenswert ist die Tripel- Fuge in »Gelobet sei der Herr« (NA in DTB VI/1); eine . Kopie dieses Werkes ist von Händels Lehrer Zachow geschrieben, was vermuten läßt, daß das Werk (1689 in Weißenfels aufgef.) auch Händel bekannt war.<<
[“Particularly noteworthy is the triple fugue in “Gelobet sei der Herr”. Zachow, Handel’s teacher, personally made a manuscript copy of this work which was performed in Weißenfels in 1689. It is likely that Handel was also acquainted with this work.”]
[Harold E Samuel in an article from the MGG1, Bärenreiter, 1986; English translation by Thomas Braatz]

 

Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach's use of the Chorale Melodies:

Walter Rummel (1887-1953)::
Piano transcription of O Gott, du frommer Gott! from Cantata BWV 94

See list of Piano Transcriptions of BWV 24/6, BWV 94/1, BWV 129, 5 by various composers/arrangers at:
Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works - Index by BWV Number Part 1: Cantatas

See list of Piano Transcriptions of BWV 767 by various composers/arrangers at:
Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works - Index by BWV Number Part 4: Chorale Preludes 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 (December 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
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References:
Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438
Texts & English Translations of Chorales:
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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 ý19:40:59