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Johann Crüger (Hymn-Writer, Composer)

Born: April 9 (or 1), 1598 - Groß-Breesen/Niederlausitz, Brandenburg, Germany (near Guben an der Neiße, on the present Polish border)
Died: February 23, 1662 - Berlin, Germany

The German composer, Johann [Johannes] Crüger, began studying theology in Wittenberg in 1620. He also studied at schools in Guben, Sorau, and Breslau, the Jesuit College at Olmütz, and the Poets’ School at Regensburg. He traveled through Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia and then settled at Berlin in 1615. Here he employed himself as a private tutor until 1622, except for a short residence at the University of Wittenberg in 1620. He received a thorough musical training under Paulus Homberger in Regensburg, a pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli.

In 1622 Crüger was appointed cantor and organist of the Nikolaikirche (St. Nikolai Church) in Berlin, a post which he retained till his death. He was also one of the masters of the Greyfriars Gymnasium.

Crüger wrote no hymns, but he was one of the most distinguished music and tune composers of his time. He was a friend of Paul Gerhardt, and wrote melodies for many hymns by Paul Gerhardt and others. He composed 71 chorales, of which 18 have received a wide usage in the Evangelical churches of the world. Crüger composed sacred works for choral and instrumental performances, and was also a musicologist and wrote about the theory and practice of music. His church-hymn collections include Neues vollkömmliches Gesangbuch, 1640; Praxis pietatis melica, 1644, which appeared in many editions; Geistliche Kirchenmelodeyen, 1649; Psalmodica sacra, 1658. His other works include: Synopsis musica, 1630; Musicae practicae praecepta (Rules for Practicing Music), 1660.


Source: Cyber Hymnal Website; ELHHB Website [Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal]
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2003, August 2003, September 2005)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 265, BWV 301, BWV 316, BWV 330, BWV 331, BWV 338, BWV 358, BWV 365, BWV 369, BWV 386, BWV 405

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works


Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig (adaptation of original melody by Michael Franck)




Auf, auf! mein Herz, mit Freuden



Brunnquell aller Güte (modified by J. Crüger)



Jesu, meine Freude


Nun danket alle Gott

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (arrangement of Wach auf, mein Geist, erhebe dich by Johann Schop)


O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen



Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele




Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott (alternate melody, not used by J.S. Bach)



Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her for 4 voices (SATB), 2 instruments, bc

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Befiehl du deine Wege, Setting

Befiehl du deine Wege (I)


Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ for 4 voices, 2 obbligato instruments (violins), and continuo

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren, 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

Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren


Links to other Sites

Johann Crüger (Cyber Hymnal)
Porträt: Johann Crüger (Luise Berlin) [German]

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook - Biographies and Sources (ELHHB)



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 09:31