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Trinity 21-23, Death & Dying Chorales

Trinity 21-23, Death & Dying Chorales, Part 1

William Hoffman wrote (December 3, 2017):
In Late Trinity Time for the 23st to the 23rd Sunday after the feast of the Trinity in his cantatas and chorale settings Bach created diverse musical settings of multiple cantatas for the spiritual themes of each Sunday and in the chorale settings he turned to the themes of Death & Dying and Patience and Serenity. At the same tie, Bach used popular Passion chorales during the omnes tempore (Ordinary Time) periods of the Sundays after Epiphany and Trinity. In his cantatas for Late Trinity Time, including his chorale cantatas, Bach pursued the themes of Belief and Doubt, Penitence & Patience, and Pietist Devotion.

Bach initially relied in Leipzig on the chorales in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682 of Gottfried Vopelius, including the iconic chorales of Martin Luther, such as “Mitten wir im Leben sind” (We in the midst of life). In the 1730s, after completing three cycles of church-year cantatas Bach turned to pietist songs in his plain chorale settings and the Schmelli Songbook, particularly the well-known “Komm, süßer Tod” )Come, sweetest death). Many of the pietist songwriters are little-known today while Bach also relied on their forerunners such as Paul Gerhardt (see below, “Paul Gerhardt settings”) and the Reformation predecessor Michael Weisse.

Trinity 21, Belief & Doubt

For the 21st Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig, Bach composed four works, the first time since the 16th Sunday after Trinity when he also created a rare fourth cantata with a Picander 1728 published text (. This is the final Sunday in Trinity Time when four Bach original musical sermons survive. This significance may be due to the New Testament theme of belief triumphing over doubt, found in all four works that are unique and distinctive examples of Bach's penchant for achieving unity of theme through diversity of music. Meanwhile, the final Trinity Time Sundays summarize chorales central to the omne tempore church half-year Christian teachings of the eschatological "Last Things" in the "Completion of the Kingdom of Righteousness"

The increasingly optimistic works and first performances of the four cantatas are:

+Cycle 1, chorus Cantata BWV 109, "Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben!" (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief), October 29, 1723; +Cycle 2, chorale Cantata BWV 38, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" (Out of deep need cry I to Thee), October 29, 1724;
+Cycle 3 chorus Cantata BWV 98 with the popular dictum, "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" (What God does, that is done well), November 10, 1726; and +Picander Cycle SATB solo Cantata BWV 188, "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" (I have my confidence), probably October 17, 1728.

The basic theme of belief and doubt is found in all four cantatas. These involve the dialogue and inner struggle in Cantata 109; the hidden granting of faith and the words of comfort and wonder in Cantata 38; the intimate, genial confidence amid human vacillation between doubt and trust in God in Cantata 98; and basic affirmation of belief in Cantata 188. Among the musical devices Bach uses, beginning with the initial Cantata BWV 109, are contrasting, conflicting instrumental and vocal forces; dialogues between voices representing faith and doubt; and tonal allegory of harmonic exploration and direction.

Besides "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir,” the other three chorales set in Bach’s cantatas for the 21st Sunday after Trinity are: Cantata 109, "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (Through Adam's Fall is completely corrupted), Lazarus Spengler’s 1524 penitential hymn (NLGB 229, Catechism Justification; Cantata 98, Samuel Rodigast’s 1675 hymn of “Trust & Guidance” (no NLGB); and Cantata 188, anonymous before 1603 "Auf meinen lieben Gott" (Of my loving God), as NLGB 299, ”Persecution, Tribulation and Challenge."

Lectionary Readings. For the 21st Sunday after Trinity, the Gospel account of the healing of the nobleman's son is found in John 4:46-54); the supportive Epistle is Ephesians 6:10-17, "Put on the whole armour of God” (readings, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity21.htm); and
the Introit motet is Psalm 39, Dixi, Custodiam (I will take heed, KJV https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+39&version=KJV), an individual lament known as “The Confession of a Sufferer.”

Cantata 38: De profundis

Familiar chorales assume a major role in the 21st Sunday after Trinity, particularly in chorale Cantata BWV 38. The four designated chorales for this Sunday in Bach's favorite hymnbook, used extensively throughout omne tempore Epiphany and Trinity Times, also are given important places in Bach's cantatas. Most significant is Martin Luther's 1524 austere, penitential paraphrase of Psalm 130, De profundis, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" (Out of deep need cry I to Thee), found in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682 as No. 270 with five stanzas (see Francis Browne BCW English translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale085-Eng3.htm).

Bach’s other well-known settings of "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" are the Wolfgang Dachstein 1525 melody as organ chorale preludes BWV 686-87 in E Major and F# Minor, Clavierübung III (Catechism chorale prelude collection). The title is listed in the Weimar Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) as an omne tempore Catechism chorale, No. 67, "Confession, Penitence, and Justification," but not set. The treatment of the Cantata 38 opening movement chorale motet is similar to Bach's later treatment in the Clavierübung III. It retains the stile antico motet style but not the varied character of each line-section text setting differentiation.

The hymn, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir," is assigned to the 21st Sunday after Trinity "in all the older Leipzig hymnbooks," says Günther Stiller (JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig: 248). In Bach's NLGB it also was designated for the 11th, 19th and 22nd Sundays after Trinity as well as the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. It also was sung at Catechism and funeral services, including Luther's in 1546. It is still found in many hymnals, often for funerals, translated as "Out of the depths I cry to Thee," by Catherine Winkworth.

The other three designated hymns in the NLGB for the 21st Sunday after Trinity are: "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), Hymn of the Day; also for Trinity 2, 5, 6, 8, 19, 22 and Epiphany 3, 5. For details, see BCW, Trinity 2 Chorales, Hymn of the Day, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity2.htm. "Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn" (Lord Jesus Christ, God's Only Son); also for Trinity 18 and Epiphany 1 and 6; see BCW Trinity 18, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity18.htm. "Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (Alone with Thee, Lord Jesus Christ); also for Trinity 3, 11, 22, 24; Epiphany 3. For details, see BCW, Trinity 11, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity11.htm. Bach set the three as chorale cantatas, BWV 177, Johann Agricola’s 1529 hymn, “Christian Life & Conduct,” "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” for the 4th Sunday after Trinity; BWV 96, Elisabeth Kreutziger’s 1524 Christmas hymn, "Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” for the 18th Sunday after Trinity; and Cantata 33, Conrad Huber 1542 penitential hymn, "Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” the 13th Sunday after Trinity.

Trinity 22: Penitence, Patience

The over-arching Christian themes of late Trinity Time converge in the 22nd Sunday after Trinity, summarizing the Gospel parable and Epistle themes of life in the new Kingdom of Grace and Righteousness as declared in the Last Things when the penitent individual believer is urged to wait, watch and pray at the endof the church year (Source: BCW “Motets & Chorales for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity22.htm). The surviving works for this Sunday that Bach composed and presented are: +Solo SAB Cantata BWV 89, Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim?" (What shall I of thee make Ephriam?"); Leipzig, Oct. 24, 1723); details, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV89.htm; +Chorale Cantata BWV 115, "Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit" (Make thyself, my spirit, ready); Leipzig; Nov. 5, 1724; details, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV115.htm; and +Solo (Tenor) Cantata, BWV 55, "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht" (I, poor man, I sin's slave); Leipzig, Nov. 17, 1726; details, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV55.htm.

The penitential teachings through music are reinforced in the intimate form of the two solo cantatas for this Sunday, BWV 89, and 55, traced back to Weimar and reflecting a pattern in both the first and third Leipzig cantata cycles. Bach's choice of chorales, particularly for the chorale cantata of the second cycle, BWV 115, reveals a great freedom in the use of the particular texts and melodies for each of the three cantatas.

While the librettists of all three cantatas remain unknown, the results show a close collaboration with Bach in his crafting of three very distinctive works fusing text and music. For example, all three musical sermons are generally cast particularly in the first person singular of "I," "me" and "my" as well as the third and three persons singular of the Triune God of "he, "thee," and “thy."

The Lutheran Church Year Readings for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity in Bach’s time were:

Gospel, Matthew 18:23-35, Parable of the unmerciful servant; Epistle, Philippians 1: 3-11. Paul's love for the Philippians (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity22.htm); and Introit motet penitential Psalm 6, Domine, ne in fuore (O Lord, rebuke me not, KJV https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+6&version=KJV), or Psalm 130, de profundis (Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, KJV, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+130&version=KJV).

Cantata BWV 89 closes with Johann Heerman 1630 penitential Catechism chorale, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin?" (Were shall I flee hence?), NLGB No. 182 (Confession/Communion Hymn); chorale Cantata BWV 115, is set to Johann Burchard Frystein’s 1695 penitential hymn, "Mache dich, mein Geist” (no NLGB); and Cantata 55 closes with Johann Rist’s 1642 “Werde munter mein Gemüte" (Be alert, my soul), eschatological Morning Song of comfort (NLGB 208, Catechism), also known as “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring).

Special Hymn Choices

"The Dresden hymn schedules for this Sunday (Trinity 22) had prescribed hymns of repentance in general but also, among other hymns, specific hymns of repentance, just as in the older Leipzig hymn books only hymns of repentance are assigned to this Sunday," says Günther Stiller. 1 Bach's favorite hymnbook, Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, lists six chorales to be sung for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity, with all repeats for this final Sunday in Trinity Time except for "Allein zu dir." Details of each chorale and Bach's uses are found in the BCW lists under "Musical Contexts for Chorales and Motets for Trinity" Sundays, beginning with the first Trinity Time Sunday listed for each chorale (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Table.htm):

+"Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott" (Have mercy on me, O Lord God, penitential Psalm 51, Prayer for Forgiveness, NLGB 256), Hymn of the Day by Erhart Hegenwalt 1524; NLGB Trinity 3, 11, 13, 14; Bach set the German text to Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater," BWV 1083, for Trinity Time; also set as plain chorale in BWV 305 in E Major, and listed in the Orgelbüchelin chorale preludes for omne tempore Catechism penitenance (No. 68, Confession) but not set.

+"O Herre Gott begnade mich" (O Lord God, pardon me, alternate setting of penitential Psalm 51, NLGB 257); NLGB Trinity 3, 11, 13, 19; no Bach use is extant.
+"Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir," (From deep affliction I cry to Thee, penitential Psalm 130); NLGB Epiphany 4; Trinity 11, 19, 21; Bach's most notable use is in Chorale Cantata BWV 38 for Trinity 21. Bach also set portions of the Psalm German text in his 1701 Mühlhausen memorial service Cantata BWV 131, "Aus der Tiefe(n) rufe ich zu dir" (Out of the depths I cry to Thee).
+"Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ," (On You alone, Lord Jesus Christ, Catechism Confession Hymn); NLGB Trinity 3, 11, 21, 24; Bach's most notable use is in Chorale Cantata BWV 33 for Trinity 13, 1724.
+"Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ); Epiphany 3, 5, Septuagesimae; Trinity 2, 5, 6, 19, 21; Bach most notable use is in Chorale Cantata 177 for Trinity 4.
+"Vater unser in Himmelreich" (Lord's Prayer, Out Father in Heaven; Luther 1539 Catechism hymn); Epiphany 3, Septuagesimae; Trini5, 7, 11; Bach used the melody extensively in BWV 416 (4-voice plain chorale), 636 (Orgelbüchlein chorale prelude), 682-83 (Clavierübung III Catechism), and 737 (Miscellaneous organ chorale), as well as set to paraphrased texts of other writers in BWV 245/5 (John Passion), 90/5 (Trinity 25), Chorale Cantata BWV 101 (Trinity 10), and BWV 102/7 (Trinity 10).

Stiller (Ibid.) also notes that in the Dresden hymn schedules, "Aus tiefer Not" appears "only among the hymns of that day" (Trinity 22). Bach's employment of penitential chorale hymns for his three cantatas for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity also involved special circumstances and choices. While the general spiritual theme of repentance offered him myriad opportunities to select appropriate texts and melodies, Bach had exhausted his use of NLGB prescribed Trinity Time chorales by the 22nd Sunday in Trinity in all three cycles. As he had done previously, Bach turned especially to chorales found in Weimar and Gotha hymnbooks and in the Wagner Gesangbuch, based on various sources cited in Stiller (Ibid.), as well as numerous hymn books cited in the Neue Bach Ausgabe, according to the Thomas Braatz August 2005 BCW article, "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works/ Hymnals with which Bach possibly may have been acquainted," http://ariouswww.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Hymnals.htm.

Trinity 23: Pietist Devotion

The use of personal chorales and pietistic devotional sentiments strengthens the New Testament Gospel teachings of rendering unto Caesar (Mat. 11:15-22) and avoiding earthly corruption in all three Bach cantatas for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig: BWV 163, 139 and 52 (Source, BCW “Motets & Chorales for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity23.htm). The initial common element, beginning in Weimar, was the use of the personal chorale, developed by Johann Heerman and perfected by Paul Gerhardt, whose hymns were among Bach's favorites, in addition to various thematic, pietist Jesus Hymns and texts of songwriters Christian Friedrich Witt, Johann Christoph Rube, and Johann Jakob Rambach.

The texts and corresponding musical treatment of Cantatas BWV 163, 139, and 52 provide distinctive perspectives on this Sunday's biblical teachings, within a cautionary pietistic framework of the Last Times of the Christian and the Church year at hand in the last Sundays of Trinity Time. The three cantatas are: +Solo SATB Cantata BWV 163, "Nur jedem das Seine" (Only to each his due) (Weimar, 11/24/1715; repeated in Leipzig 10/31/1723), emphasizes distinguishing between false earthly and true spirivalues. +Chorale Cantata BWV 139, "Wohl dem der sich auf seinen Gott . . . kann verlassen" ("Well for him who himself on his God . . . can depend) repeated (Leipzig, 11/12/1724; 1732-35; 1744-47; hymn text http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale121-Eng3.htm), deals with personal trust in God; + Solo Soprano Cantata BWV 52, "Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht" (False worlds, thee trust I not) (Leipzig, 11/24/1726), focuses on the false world's deceptions, with textual influences of Rambach, as well as Cantatas 25 and 43 (see BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV52-D4.htm, paragraph beginning “Bach's interest in the pietist hymnwriter Johann . . .”, and https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Jakob_Rambach&prev=search).

The Lutheran Church Year, Readings for the Twenty Third Sunday after Trinity are: Epistle, Philippians 3:17-21 Follow not carnal things, as many do; Gospel, Matthew 22:15-22 The Pharisees and the tribute to Caesar (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity23.htm); Introit motet Psalm 85, Benedixisti, Domine (Lord, thou hast been favourable, KJV https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+85&version=KJV.

Bach’s three cantatas for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity use the following chorales: BWV 163/6, Johann Hermann's 1630 Penitential/Communion Hymn, "Wo soll ich Fliehen hin" (Where shall I flee hence, NLGB 182), also known as "Auf meinen lieben Gott" (From my loving God); BWV 139, Johann Christoph Rube (c.1667-1746) 1696 pietist death song of comfort; and BWV 52/6, Adam Reusner's 1533 paraphrase of Psalm 31, "In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr" (In Thee have I hoped; NLGB 254 Psalm Hymn). Bach personalized the Hermann hymn text with a special 1679 melody found with the text in the 1715 Gotha Hymnal (Psalmodia sacra, oder Andächtige und schöne Gesänge) of Christian Friedrich Witt (c.1662-1717, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Friedrich_Witt). Rube’s biography and hymns set by Bach, see BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Rube.htm).

Trinity 23 Hymns: Psalm Paraphrases

The NLGB lists four Pulpit and Communion Hymns appropriate for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity. All are poetic paraphrases of Psalms of praise or caution found in the NLGB under the omne tempore category, Christian Life & Hope. They are Psalm 46, Martin Luther's setting, "A mighty fortress is our God"; two related settings of Psalm 124 involving Thanksgiving for Deliverance; and Psalm 1, "Wer nicht sitzt im gottliche Rat" (Who sits not in godly counsel).

+"Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A mighty fortress is our God, Psalm 46), Hymn of the Day details, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity3.htm, NLGB 265); chorale Cantata BWV 80.
+"Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt" (If Got the Lord does not abide in us, Psalm 124, Justus Jonas' 1524 paraphrase, NLGB 267), BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity8.htm (also full details of "Wo sol lich fliehen hin").
+"Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" (Were Got not with us this time, Psalm 124 Hymn, Luther, NLGB 266, anonymous melody (Zahn 4434). Bach used Luther's 1524 three-verse text once in Chorale Cantata BWV 14, "Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit," for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany in 1735. Instead of the related, rarely heard anonymous Johann Walther melody, Bach used the popular Justas Jonas accompanying melody to his 1524 Psalm 124 paraphrase, "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt." The NLGB also designates "Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit," for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany (Bach's use) and the 5th Sunday after Trinity.

"Wer nicht sitzt im gottliche Rat" (Who sits not in godly counsel) is a Psalm 1 paraphrase (Christian Life and Hope) from the Cornelius Becker 1602 Psalter (texts only to be sung to popular melodies). It was set to music in Heinrich Schütz's Becker Psalter, Op. 5, SWV 97-256 (published 1628/61). Becker's six stanzas and the "Gloria Patri," Lesser Doxology in praise of the Christian Trinity appears in the NLGB as No. 241, set to the melody (Zahn 305), "Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gib sein Gunst" (Where God to the house gives not his goodwill). The text is Johann Kolrose's four-verse setting with "Gloria" of Psalm 127 (NLGB 268). For detailed information on the settings of Psalm 124 and 127 as well as texts and translations, see BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV93-D4.htm, "Leipzig Main Service Chorales (Trinity 5).”

Pietist Judgement/Death Chorales

As Bach composed music for late Trinity Time, he turned to more recent chorales, composed after 1650, with increasingly pietist emphases, notably in the hymns of Christian Friedrich Witt, Johann Christoph Rube, and August Jacob Rambach. The initial common element, beginning in Weimar, was the use of the personal chorale, developed by Johann Heerman and perfected by Paul Gerhardt, whose hymns were among Bach's favorites, in addition to various thematic Jesus Hymns and texts of pietist songwriters Witt, Johann Rube, and Rambach. Bach's interest in the pietist Rambach (1693-1735, http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/r/a/m/rambach_jj.htm) was established early in his Leipzig tenure, with textual influences found in Cantatas BWV 25, and 43, and 52. Rambach as a prominent Halle University professor wrote more than 180 hymn texts particularly in his Sacred Poetry of 1720. Prior to Bach's Leipzig tenure, during his predecessor Johann Kuhnau's last days, an anonymous cantata (?Telemann TWV1:644) set to a Rambach text, "Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen" (God ascends to rejoicing) (Psalm 47:6), was presented on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 14, 1722. Bach set the same dictum to Cantata BWV 43, with Rudolstadt/Helm influence, for Ascension Day, 1726).

In the mid 1730s, Bach edited the music for the Schemelli Gesangbuch (SG, 1736), 954 songs (mostly text only), with 69 sacred songs settings, BWV 439-507. Some hymns are found in the Judgement category of Death & Dying in the NLGB (Nos. 324-389), more are classified under the rubric “Dying & Death” in the Edition Bachkadamie v. 85, while none in the same category are listed in the Orgelbüchlein (Nos. 127-142).

In keeping with contemporary pietist interests and modeled after the Freylinghausen 1704 hymnbook, the Schemelli Gesangbuch2 is ordered differently from Lutheran chorale books. Its emphasis is on songs of Passiontide and Death, found throughout. It begins with the omne tempore topics of Catechism Morning and Evening Songs, Penitential Songs, and Justification; then the de tempore topics of incarnation (BWV 440), birth, suffering & death, Good Friday, Resurrection, and the Holy Spirit; and then the special pietist omne tempore categories such as devotion, suffering and longing; finally are the Jesus Songs and Death Songs, found on certain recordings.3 Depending on the readings for particular services, these hymns may have served as service liturgy, although the book was primarily intended for devotional use in the home. Many of the SG songs originally were thought to be by Bach (ref. BGA, Schweitzer, Terry et.al). Instead, Bach relied on a variety of sources for the melody and bass line.

Schemelli Gesangbuch Settings

Of the two-dozen eschatological hymns of “Judgement: Death and the Grave (Dying, Death & Eternity)” in various categories and applications, Bach set eight in the Schemelli Gesangbuch (some recorded often, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV439-507-Rec2.htm) while five are unattached chorales (NBA) with three in both publications, six are set extensively in cantatas, “Ich hab’ mein Sach’ Gott heimgestellt” is a special case, and “Aus der Tiefe(n) rufe ich” is an apocryphal setting.

The eight hymns in the SG are among Bach’s best known sacred songs of settings by Erdmann Neumeister, Johann Rist, Michael Franck, Daniel Vetter, and Magnus Daniel Omeis. These strophic songs of subjective tone have little overt use on Lutheran theology but emphasize pietist sentiments of death-bed patience after life if struggle. The text of one, “Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben,” also was set as a Johann Christoph Bach motet. Bach also set “Liebster Gott, wann wird ich sterben,” as a chorale Cantata (BWV 8). Bach used a variety of sources dating back to 1642 and several are set in old Lutheran BAR Form AA’B). Here are the songs in alphabetical order:

1. “Ach, daß nicht die letzte Stunde” (Ah make that the last hour), BWV 439 has a text in six 8-line stanzas of Erdmann Neumeister (1705, https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/439.html), with an anonymous melody of unknown origin (Zahn 6721), 1736 (SG); BWV 439; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh8kkuZAZBo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GckBPClGbH8; English translation, “Oh make that the last hour,” found in Rilling Edition Bachkadamie v. 85 (Ibid.), of Stanzas 1, 5, and 6.
. “Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben” (My life is over now),4 BWV 457, is based on the seven 8-line stanza hymn of Magnus Daniel Omeis (1646-1708), dated 1673 (Fischer-Tümpel, v 169). It was initially set as a motet (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX_WFVsItt0; ABA 1, 16; BNB I/B/12) of Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) with a different melody and found in the SG (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC4rysMiuoc) with another melody (Zahn 6125) of J. S. Heimbrodt, Herzens- und Seelenmusik (Leipzig 1715) as a Death Song. Both anonymous melodies are of unknown origin. Christoph Bach’s setting “seems simplicity itself: absolute regularity of phrase-lengths, short and sweet melodic phrases often returned to and re-used, though with no repetitions of text (except for the final valediction: ‘Welt, gute Nacht’), and yet each time he repeats a melody line with new words Bach contrives to send it elsewhere harmonically, and in the final repetition of ‘world, good night!’ he uses the simple device of an interrupted cadence under the first ‘good night’, robbing it of its proper finality and, as it were, forcing the repetition (‘Good night, ladies. Good night, sweet ladies’, comes close in terms of subtlety),” says Richard Campbell (http://www.monteverdi.co.uk/downloads/booklets/sdg715.pdf).
3. “Kein Stündlein geht dahin” (No hour goes by), BWV 477, is a ten 7-line stanza text of pietist hymn-writer Michael Franck (1609-67)5 on death and resurrection (Fischer-Tümpel, iv 273), found in the Coburgisches Gesangbuch (Schleusingen, 1688), and set to the anonymous melody “Kein Stündlein geht dahin” (Zahn 4243a) of 1698, and found in a four-part version, Praxis pietatis melica (Berlin, 1698). Music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnHRsrDIlXg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrvwx-bRXhM.
4. “Liebster Gott, wann wird ich sterben” (Dearest God, when shall I die?),6 BWV 483, is a six-stanza, 8-line BAR form text (c.1690) of Caspar Neumann (1648-1715), dated 1690 and set in 1695 to the associated melody of Leipzig composer Daniel Vetter (1657/8-1721) which became chorale Cantata BWV 8 for the 16th Sunday after Trinity 1724 (BCML http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV8-D4.htm), as well as the SG song, BWV 483, which may have been performed when BWV 8 was repeated in 1735-1740 and 1746-1747 (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4X1HDMaBzs). The melody was published in 1690 (Zahn 6634), and found in Vetter’s Musicalische Kirch- und Hauss-Ergötzlichkeit (Leipzig, 1713).
5. “Liebster Herr Jesu, wo bleibst du so Lange” (Dearest Lord Jesus, where are you staying so long?),7 BWV 484, is a seven stanza 4-line song (refrain lines 1 & 2) by poet Christoph Weselovius set to the anonymous melody (1736, Zahn 3969, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Buhl_gYV698). Of the author, says Charles S. Terry: “The hymn is attributed both to Christoph Werner (fl. 1655) and Christoph Weselovius. Of the latter nothing is known. He may perhaps be identified with the Christoph Weselohe, or Weseloph, who represented Osnabrück at the Regensburg Diet in 1684 (J. H. Zedler's 'Grosses Universal-Lexikon' (Leipzig and Halle, 1748, ... ). Set to a melody by Heinrich Schwimmer (1621-96), it is found in 7 stanzas in the Nürnberg Gesangbuch (1676).”
6. “O finstre Nacht, wann wirst du doch vergehen” (Oh, dark night, when will you pass?), BWV 492,8 is a 10-stanza 8-line song of Georg Friedrich Breithaupt (1645-1705, published in 1704, to the associated, anonymous melody of 1736 (Zahn 6171).
7. “So wünsch ich mir zu gutter Letzt” (That's what I wish for, last but not least), BWV 502,9 is a Johann Rist (1607-1667) hymn of 14 stanzas 8-lines BASR form published in 1641 to the composer Johann Schoop associated melody (Zahn 5892; Himmlische Lieder, Lüneburg 1642: J. & H. Stern, not found in the NLGB). Their most well-known collaboration is the Evening Song, “Werde munter, mein Gemüthe” (Become cheerful, my mind, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werde_munter,_mein_Gemüte, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj4UTN--AsU) also 1641.
8. “Vergiß mein nicht, mein allerliebster Gott” (Forget Me Not, my dearest God), BWV 505,10 is a five-stanza 7 line BAR form hymn of pietist hymn-writer Gottfried Arnold (1666-1714, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Arnold.htm) dated to 1714 (?Poetische Lob- und Liebessprüche, von der ewigen Weißheit, nach Anleitung des Hohenlieds Salomonis) with the associated melody possibly by Bach (Zahn 4233). In the SG it is found under the rubric “Cross & Sorrow.” Arnold also is the author of the SG Trust in God song, “Vergiss mein nicht, dass ich dein nicht vergesse” (Do not forget that I will not forget you), BWV 504, under the SG rubric “God’s Love & Friendliness,” 1697, to the anonymous melody (Zahn 4779) from “Wie wohl ist mir, dass ich nunmehr entbunden” (Wolfgang Christoph Dreßler, 1692).

Related Chorales in Cantatas, Passions

Although not listed in the Orgelbüchlein, six well-known chorales with the rubrics “Death & Dying” or “Persecution,” are found in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) and were set extensively by Bach in his cantatas and Passions, with four as chorale cantatas for omne tempore Epiphany or Trinity Time (BWV 3, 114, 124, 111). The famous Passion Chorale, “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” (Heartily do I long), is set several times as four-part hymns in the St. Matthew and St. Mark Passions, set as well in chorale choruses, with the familiar melody used in various cantatas. Also found in the St. Matthew Passion are chorales “Meinen Jesum, laß ich nicht” and “Was mein Got will, das gescheh allzeit.” Also found in the St. Mark Passion is a plain chorale melody setting, “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält” to its own text, rather than the alternate text, “Ach lieben Christen sei getrost.”

“Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”(Ah God, how many a heartache) has a Martin Moller 1587 text of 18 stanzas, 4-lines (NLGB 289, Persecution; http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale065-Eng3.htm), set to the anonymous 1455 melody (Zahn 533a, EKG 317) “Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht II” (Lord Jesus Christ, my life’s light, NLGB 374, Death & Dying; http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Herr-Jesu-Christ-meins-Lebens-Licht.htm). Bach set it as a chorale cantata, BWV 3 for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (1725, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXydugzKQcw), as well as a chorale duet opening Cantata 58 for the Sunday after New Year (1727); a plain chorale closing Cantata 153, “Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind” (Behold, dear God, how my enemies) for the same Sunday in 1724; as well as an internal plain chorale (no. 4) in Cantata 44, “Sie werden euch in den Bann tun” (They will banish you, John 16:2) for the Sunday after Ascension 1724 (chorale details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV3-D5.htm). The melody was used in plain chorale BWV 335 and the funeral Motet BWV 118 (c1736/46).

“Ach lieben Christen sei getrost” (Ah dear Christians, be comforted), is the David Spaiser/Johann Gigas (1521/1561) five-stanza 7-line BAR Form Death & Dying hymn (NLGB 326; http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale087-Eng3.htm), set to the anonymous 1529 hymn, “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält” (If the Lord God does not stay with us, Psalm 124 [community psalm of thanksgiving]; NLGB 267 psalm hymn; Zahn 4441a, EKG 193). Bach set it as a chorale Cantata, BWV 114 for the 17th Sunday after Trinity (1724) (chorale details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV114-D4.htm). Bach set the melody as three plain chorales, BWV 256-258 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hjKp4Z4E7E), one of which was probably used in the St. Mark Passion.

“Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele” (Rejoice greatly, o my soul, Psalm 42) is the 10-stanza 8-line BAR Form 1620 Death & Dying hymn of Christoph Demantius (NLGB 358, text http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale030-Eng3.htm), set to the versatile 1550 Louis Bourgeois melody, “Ainsi que la biche rée” (Zahn 6543, EKG 319; http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Freu-dich-sehr.htm), set to six other texts. Bach set the melody to these texts as plain chorales in seven cantatas, BWV 19, 25, 30, 32, 39, 70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGywRakWXsU), and194, as well as a chorale aria in BWV 13 for services throughout the church year. It also was the melody originally set to the plain chorale “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder,” BWV 1122 (see below, “Free-Standing Plain Chorale Settings”; a summary of “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele” is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV70-D4.htm, “Bach Favorite Chorale, ‘Freu dich sehr’”).

“Herzlich tut mich verlangen” (Heartily do I long, NLGB 329 Death & Dying), is the melody (Zahn 5385a) of the so-called “Passion Chorale” known in English as “O sacred head now wounded” (O Haupt voll Blut und wunden; text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale071-Eng3.htm), with the alternate title “Befiehl du deine Wege" (Commend you your ways). The melody is found most as plain chorales in the St. Matthew and St. Mark Passions (BWV 244/15, 17, 44, 54, 63; BWV 247/23, 28, 30). The melody (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Befiehl-du-deine-Wege.htm) also is set as plain chorales in Cantatas 135, 153, 159 and 161. It is set as an elaborate chorale chorus in opening chorale Cantata 135 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0ki8N1nCZ4), and closing the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248/64. Bach also used the melody only in the opening choruses of Cantatas 25, 127, and 161, as well as plain chorale BWV 270-71, 272, 1126 (?St. Mark Passion), and as organ chorale preludes, BWV 727 and 742

“Meinen Jesum, laß ich nicht” (I shall not leave my Jesus, NGB 346, Death & Dying) is the Christian Keymann (1658) six-stanza 6-line hymn (text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale054-Eng3.htm), usually set to the associated Andreas Hammerschmidt (1658) melody (Zahn 3449). Bach set it as a chorale cantata, BWV 124, for the 1st Sunday after Epiphany (1725), as well as plain chorales in Cantatas 70, 154, and 157, and the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244b=244a/29 (1727, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYT3Dh3WC9s), and plain chorale BWV 380 (details, see http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV124-D6.htm).

“Was mein Got will, das gescheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen) of Markgraf Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach, (1547-55) four 8-lines stanzas in BAR form (text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale077-Eng3.htm), to the associated melody of Claudin de Sermisy (1528, Zahn 7568, EKG 280, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Was-mein-Gott-will-das-gscheh-allzeit.htm) is found in the NLGB as No. 325, Death & Dying). Bach set it as a chorale cantata, BWV 111 for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (1725, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV111-D4.htm), as well as plain chorales in Cantatas 72/6 and 144/6 and the St. Matthew Passion (no. 25, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQTtFW0XuHA). The melody in the alternate Paul Gerhardt 1647 text, was set as chorale Cantata BWV 92, “Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn” (I have surrendered to God's heart and mind) for Septusgesimae Sunday (1725).

Free-Standing Plain Chorale Settings: “Ich hab’ mein Sach’ Gott heimgestellt”

One of the best known of Bach’s “Death & Dying” plain chorale settings is “Ich hab’ mein Sach’ Gott heimgestellt” (I have left all that concerns me up to God), is the Johann Leon (c1530-1597) 12-stanza 5-line Death & Dying hymn (NLGB 339, text & translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale009-Eng3.htm), with the associated melody by an unknown composer (Frank/Main 1589, Zahn 1679). Bach’s uses are the plain chorale BWV 351, Cantata 106/2, and the organ chorale preludes BWV 707-8 (Kirnberger) and 1113 (Neumeister), as well as the spurious St. Luke Passion, BWV 246 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eENe9-WlFJ0; details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV106-D8.htm). Other composers uses of the chorale include Heinrich Schutz, Swv.94 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/tracks/n38gqh); Johann Pachelbal, T45 (https://www.classicalarchives.com/work/639380.html); and Andreas Hammerschmidt motet, in Michael Bach motet,11 “Unser Leben ist ein Schatten,” and a Johann Heinrich Bach setting. Three variant settings similar to the four-part St. Luke Passion settings (nos. 72-73) are found in Charles S. Terry.12

Plain Chorale “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder”

Among the Bach plain chorales most recently officially admitted into the Bach BWV canon (1998 Schmieder BWV2a) is BWV 1122, “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder” (Think, O children of man), probably based on the text of Johann Hübner (1668-1731), a German author. Bach’s setting, possibly to his own melody, reveals rich associations. Hübner, who used the term “operetta” in his Poetisiches Hand-Buch (1696), wrote the original, undated text of 29 stanzas based on The Imitation of Christ (De Imitatione Christi, 1418-27), devotional book by Thomas à Kempis, Chapter 35, “That there is No Security against temptation in this Life,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWuE6EjCTxM.

“Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder” was written perhaps about 1703-07, when the pietist movement flourished in Germany, particularly in printed devotional books led by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen. As was customary, it was set to a popular hymn, “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele” (see above) 1620 Death & Dying (text, https://hymnary.org/hymn/NEGB1762/734), and was incorporated into various German Lutheran hymnbooks, with great poetic license, under the rubric “Death & Dying” or eschatological “Last Things.” The hymn text also is found in the Schmelli Gesangbuch, without music.

Before 1735, Bach set “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJI423nKHC4, http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV1122.htm) to a new melody perhaps of his own creation. “What has now been verified is that Bach set chorales to be sung at the house of the deceased,” says Peter Smaill (June 3, 2013), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV53-D3.htm. “The clinching discovery is by Michael Maul and it is (I recall unpublished research so all errors are mine!) the precise circumstances of the performance of the wonderful setting, Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder, BWV 1122, for the funeral of a high-ranking citizen of Leipzig. The main impact of this discovery (discussed at the BNUK Dialogue Meeting in Edinburgh in 2011) for me is the strong possibility that many of the chorales in Riemenschneider with no source are not in fact stubs of lost cantatas at all, but part of a repertoire of chorales for occasional use.”

“It's one of a small group of chorale settings whose attribution was doubted but is now certain. A most beautiful harmonisation, that and other lately catalogued/discovered chorales can be heard at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QC-t4AJCY4," adds Smaill (December 18, 2015, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Lost-2.htm) “It's one of a small group of chorale settings whose attribution was doubted but is now certain. A most beautiful harmonisation, that and other lately catalogued/discovered chorales can be heard at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QC-t4AJCY4."

“The tune [no Zahn melody] is certainly not a congregational chorale with it's large leaps (two leaps of a seventh and one octave) and very wide range, says Luke Dahn13 in the same discussion. <<It reminds me of the "chorale" (which Bach labels "aria") that ends the motet "Komm, Jesu Komm!", BWV 229.2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6MwugMENUI, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y14W-a0Yke8 [Chorals BWV 500a 1084 1089 1122-1126]. Most of the isolated four-part chorale settings, however, are more congregational in nature (i.e. more singable by the non-professional).”

Here is the text and translation of the first stanza, alluding to Sirach 7:40 (“In all thy works remember thy last end”): “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder / An den letzten Todestag, / Decket doch ihr frecken Sünder, / An den letzten Glockenschlag. / Heute sind wir frisch und stark, / Morgen liegen wir im Sarg, / Und die Ehre, die wir haben / Wird zugleich mit un unbegraben.”

(Think, you human children, / to the last day of death! / Think, you naughty sinners, / at the last bell stroke! / Today we are fresh and strong, / Tomorrow we'll be in the coffin / and the honor we have / is buried with us at the same time.)14

In the mid 1730s, Bach student and copyist Johann Ludwig Dietel copied 149 of Bach’s chorales, including recently-composed harmonizations not found and published in other sources, such as “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder,” called Choralsätze der Sammlung Dietel (No. 38).15 Subsequently, this setting was copied by Christian Friedrich Penzel, one of Bach’s last students and a significant copier, and is one of 30 Penzel copied (No. 213) between c.1780-99 (https://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00004033?lang=en); see also, “Provenance: Prefect Penzel: Reception History,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity9.htm. [To be continued]

 

Trinity 21-23, Death & Dying Chorales, Part 2

William Hoffman wrote (December 7, 2017):
Michael Weisse Hymn

“Es wird schier der letzte Tag herkommen” (The last day will come soon) is a Michael Weisse (c.1480-1534; biography, hymns, https://hymnary.org/person/Weisse_M) eschatological hymn (NLGB 393, “Last Days, Resurrection of the Dead, Eternal Life”) in 19 four-lines stanzas (http://matthaeusglyptes.blogspot.com/2009/12/es-wird-schier-der-letzte-tag.html), set to the melody “Ach Gott man mag wohl in diesen Tagen” (Advent II, etc.; source Felici peccatrici; Zahn 1423), published in the Bohemian Brethren hymnal, New Geseng buchlen (Jungbunzlau 1531).

The first stanza (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b2tIZ2c8Zs), based on Matthew 24:3 (What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?, KJV), is: “Es wird schier der letzte Tag herkommen / denn die Bosheit hat sehr zugenommen, / was Christus hat vorgesagt, das wird jetzt beklagt.” (LO, THE final day is fast approaching, / Sin increasing, wickedness encroaching: / Now with grieving we behold / What the Christ foretold. Matthew Carver trans.). Bach set this as a plain chorale, BWV 310; the others are BWV 264, “Als der Gütig Gott”; “Christus ist erstanden, hat überwunden (BWV 284); “Christus, der uns selig macht”(BWV 245/15, 38; 283, 1084); Den Vater dort oben, BWV 292; and “Weltlich Ehr und Zeitlich Gut” (BEWV 426). Other composers uses of “Es wird schier der letzte Tag herkommen” include: Johann Crüger (http://www.johann-crueger.de/kritische-ausgaben/MuCruegJ1649_160.pdf); and Georg Philipp Telemann, Missa sopra 'Es wird schier der letzte Tag herkommen,’ TVWV 9:7 (1740-55, http://imslp.org/wiki/Missa_sopra_%27Es_wird_schier_der_letzte_Tag_herkommen%27,_TWV_9:7_(Telemann,_Georg_Philipp)

Other Death Chorale Settings

“Gottlob es geht nunmehr zum Ende” (Thank God, the end is near, http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0321.htm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28CPMekkcIY) is based on the text of Christian Weise (1680) of seven 6-line stanzas, to the melody (Zahn 2855) of J. B. Reiman (Hirschberg 1747, Birnstiel 1769). Bach set the hymn as plain chorale, BWV 321. Bach used an adaptation of the first verse of the Weise (1642-1708, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Weise) poem “Der weinende Petrus” (The weeping Peter) for the text of the aria "Ach, mein Sinn" in the St John Passion. Gotha pietist poet BenjaminSchmolck (1672-1737) provided an alternate text to “Gottlob es geht nunmehr zum Ende,” called “Ich liegt und schlafe ganz mit Frieden” (I lie down and sleep completely in peace, Psalm 4:8), four stanzas in his Lieder und Gebete. “Gottlob es geht" is found in the current Lutheran Hymnal with new text as "The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lyrics/tlh163.htm).

“Herr, ich denk an jene Zeit” (Lord, I think of that time) is a seven 7-line stanza hymn in BAR form with a text of Georg Mylius (1548-1607),16 published in 1640, and the melody “Lob sei dir, gütiger Gott,” a Death Song of Petrus Herbert in the Bohemian Brethren Songbuch (1566, Zahn 4840). Three stanzas are found in the Anthology of Christian Gesanche by Rambach (1720). Bach set the hymn as a plain-chorale, BWV 329 (http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0329.htm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=napHQKsIt80).

“Mitten wir im Leben sind” (We in the midst of life) is Martin Luther’s 1524 three-stanza Death Song liturgy (NLGB 334) composed in 1524 with the melody (Zahn 8502), in a collaboration of Luther and Johann Walther, says Robin A. Leaver.17 Bach composed the hymn as a free-standing chorale, BWV 383 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gR8wQqA-OA, http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0383.htm). Extensive details of this chorale are found at BCML, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV156-D4.htm, “Media vita in morte sumus” and “Cantata 156: Luther Chorale” “Mitten wir im Leben sind.”

Free-Standing Chorales/Schmelli Songs

Bach composed three free-standing Death & Dying chorales and then set them in the Schmelli Songbook:

1. “Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht” (I am, Lord, in your power,) uses two different melodies in cantional-style settings, BWV 345 and BWV 464, to the text of Königsberg poet Simon Dach (1605-1659, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Dach.htm), published in 1648 in eight 8-line stanzas as a deathbed reflection and divine answer.18 The accompanying melody (Zahn 5869a) in Schmelli sacred song, BWV 464 (NBA No. 58, BWV deest/Wiemer 7; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aHEm_cjfz0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usFfHfQnQtw), is attributed to Heinrich Albert (1604-1651, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Albert-Heinrich.htm) in Siebender Theil der Arien (Königsberg, 1648). This melody previously was attributed to J. M. Müller (Frankfurt/M., 1736). In Bach’s four-part setting, BWV 345 (http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0345.htm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBnUQchZklo), the melody (Zahn 8090a-b) is attributed to Bach.
The alternative melody as model is the familiar eschatological “O Ewigkeit du Donnerwort” (Zahn 5820; BWV 513, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7OYTN6JZcg). Use of the Albert Chorale Melody (Zahn 5869a) was set by other composers: Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), “Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht,” sacred cantata, TWV 1:822 (1754); and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), “Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht,” chorale setting for organ (or keyboard), H. 336/2 (before 1789, https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&ei=y2IgWrH8DYaWjwODr5boDg&q=Ich+bin+ja%2C+Herr%2C+C.P.+E.+Bach&oq=Ich+bin+ja%2C+Herr%2C+C.P.+E.+Bach&gs_l=psy-ab.12..33i160k1.858748.895518.0.897922.37.24.2.0.0.0.1111.3117.0j11j0j1j7-1.14.0....0...1c.1j2.64.psy-ab..23.9.2211.6..35i39k1.372.S1INyzR77xI).

2. “Meines Lebens letzte Zeit” (My life’s last time ), is an anonymous (Gotha, 1726) seven 7-line stanza song set to an anonymous melody (Zahn 6380, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/BWV488.htm). It is a pietist death-bed plea that finds consolation in the wounds and blood of Jesus. Bach set it twice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp4OW3nAAxA), as a plain chorale, BWV 381 (http://www.bach-chorales.com/PDF/Bach_Chorales_Dahn_Edition_Sample.pdf, p. 151), and a Schmelli Song, BWV 488.
“Meines Lebens letzte Zeit,” anonymous German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale488-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale488-Eng3.htm&prev=search.

3. “O wie selig sind ihr doch, ihr Frommen” (O how blessed are you, you pious) is another Simon Dach song, in six 4-line stanza setting (memorial broadsheet, Danzig 1635) to the Johann Crüger (Berlin, 1647) associated melody (Zahn 1583, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/BWV495.htm), a death-bed homily with answer, based on Rev. 14:13-14 (https://hymnary.org/person/Dach_S).19 Bach set the text and Crüger melody as plain chorale, BWV 405, and the text as a plain chorale, BWV 406, to the anonymous melody “Ach, wie groß ist Gottes Güt und Wohltat” (Bohemian Brethren, Nürnberg 1561, Zahn 1581), as well as a Schmelli Song, BWV 495 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqQ8pH2Frb4, composite setting). The melody was set as an organ chorale prelude by Johannes Brahms, Max Reger, Franz Schmidt, and Karl Höller.

It is sung as "Oh, How Blest Are Ye Whose Toils are Ended” in the current Lutheran Hymnal (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lyrics/tlh589.htm).

Patience & Serenity Death Settings

Under the hymnal subcategory of “Death & Dying: Patience & Serenity” are various settings found as free-standing chorales and Schmelli Songs, which are “Gib dich zufieden und sei Stille” and “Nicht so traurig, nich so sehr,” as well as the iconic song, “Komm, süßer Tod” (Come, sweetest death), and the chorale cantata setting, BWV 73, “Herr, wie” du willt, so sichts mit mir.”

Paul Gerhardt settings

“Gib dich zufrieden und sei Stille” (Be content and be quiet) is the Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Gerhardt.htm) iconic 1666 setting in 15 nine-line stanzas, set to the Jakob Hintze (1622, 1702, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Hintze-Jacob.htm) associated 1670 melody (Zahn 7415, Johann Crüger Praxis pietatis, Berlin, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/BWV460.htm). It first appeared in Johann Georg Ebeling's Pauli Gerhardt Geistliche Andachten (Berlin, 1666/67). It is a description of contentment for the Deity, with its closing refrain, “Be satisfied.”

Gerhardt as a devotional literature writer based “Gib dich zufrieden,”20 on Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him” (KJV), as he did with his Passion chorale setting, “Befiehl du deine Wege” (1653, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale066-Eng3.htm). The first five verses of “Gib dich zufrieden” deal with God’s love; the next five on the individual’s way of life; ands the last five on one’s fate. It is found in various hymnbooks for Latare Sunday (4th in Lent) and for “Cross and Consolation” in the Catherine Winkworth 1855 translation, “Be thou content; be still before” (https://hymnary.org/text/be_thou_content_be_still_before). No English version can be found in 20th century Lutheran hymnbooks.

“Gib dich zufrieden” was set by Bach as a plain chorale, BWV 315 (?Bach melody, Zahn 7417a, Fischer-Tümpel iii: 474). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4DGTzenQBs; a Schmelli song, BWV 460 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr6dtpcuIMM), and variant song/keyboard settings in the 1725 Anna Magdalena Bach Clavierbüclein, BWV 511-512 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxXyErXQWQI&app=desktop; all, Rilling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZvpV2cecz8).

Gerhardt’s “Nicht so traurig”

The other Paul Gerhardt Death & Dying chorale is “Nicht so traurig, nich so sehr” (Do not be so mournful), in 15 six-line BAR Form stanzas, published in 1647, Johann Crüger Geistliche Kirchenmelodien and Praxis pietatis melica (1648, no. 251).21 It also is found in J. A. Freylinghausen Geistriches Gesangbuch (Halle, 1704, Wackernagel no. 12). It is based on Psalm 66:7, “God shall bless us” (KJV), Psalm 42:6-12, “O my God, my soul is cast down” (KJV), and 1 Tim. 6:6, “But goodliness with contentment is great gain.” The English version is, “Ah! grieve not so, nor so lament.”

Bach also set “Nicht so traurig” as a plain chorale, BWV 384 (melody Zahn 3355, ?Bach; http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0384.htm (AmB 46II: 87, & 118; Penzel 189), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLmWDDMJvxg), and a Schmelli Song no. 574 (NBA no. 41), BWV 489 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdo63LzVC70, https://www.bachscholar.com/bach-chorales/bwv-384; melody, anonymous, Zahn 3342, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/BWV489.htm).

“Herr, wie” du willt"

Bach set the Kaspar Bienemann (1540-1591, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bienemann.htm)1582 hymn “Herr, wie” du willt, so sichts mit mir” (Lord, as you will, deal with me), as chorale Cantata BWV 73 for the omnes tempore 3rd Sunday after Epiphany 1725.22 The chorale is set to the anonymous 1529 melody “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt” (If the Lord God does not stay with us, Psalm 124). Cantata 73 closes with the plain chorale setting of Ludwig Helmbold 1563 “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen” (If the Lord God does not stay with us).

As with other Death and Dying chorales set as chorale cantatas for Epiphany Time (BWV 124 and 111, see above), Bach blended progressive, dance-like music to these sorrowful texts. For the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, Bach essentially relied on two early Reformation hymns on the theme of “Death and Dying” for his four cantatas (BWV 73, 111, 72, and 156): Kaspar Bienemann’s (1582) “Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir” (Lord, as you will, deal with me, NLGB 349), Cantatas 73 and 156, and Markgraf Albrecht von Brandenburg’s 1547/55 “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen). Cantata 156 uses the Bienemann’s text as the closing plain chorale (no. 6), but set the text to the alternate melody (Zahn 4438), “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (II, From deep affliction I cry out to you), Penitential Psalm 130 paraphrase. Bach also sets the melody as a plain chorale, BWV 339, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_osiUY3hfc, http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV0339.htm.

“Komm, süßer Tod”

“Komm, süßer Tod” (Come, sweetest death), in C Minor, BWV 478,23 based on an anonymous text (Dresden 1724) of 10 (five extant) seven-line stanzas (http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/eng/komm,_süßer_tod,_komm_selge_ruh) to an original ?Bach melody (Zahn 868, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/BWV478.htm),. anonymous German text in the Schmelli Songbook (NBA No. 59; Schemelli No. 868), music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-I7wbMY-A4, https://musopen.org/sheetmusic/3868/johann-sebastian-bach/komm-susser-tod-bwv-478/. One of the best-known arrangements is Leopold Stokowski’s symphonic transcription (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL_PZmSICXs) and others such as organist Virgil Fox (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xje4OYalB5Q).

“Ich halte treulich still”

“Ich halte treulich still” (I’ll be loyal and true), BWV 466,24 is a 12 eight-line stanza Patience & Serenity hymn of J. H. Till 1736 set to an unknown melody (Zahn 5082, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZmGFYvU-2E). It is a popular song of trust in trying times, performed by various artists and is known in English as "Spirit of Faith, Come Down" (332, The United Methodist Hymnal) used in the British Methodist Church.

FOOTNOTES

1 Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, trans. Herbert J. A. Bouman, Daniel F. Poellot, Hilton C. Oswald, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis: Concordia, 1985: 246.
2 Schemelli Gesangbuch sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_and_arias_by_Johann_Sebastian_Bach; BCW Details & Discography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV439-507.htm; BCW General Discussions http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV439-507-Gen.htm (Thomas Braatz wrote December 11, 2004, June 1, 2006, and Evan Cortens wrote (July 20, 2009); music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGaLJIio_H4 (Dying, Death & Eternity; Hänssler, 1998); index, possible Bach attribution http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/IndexRef12.htm; text index, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/IndexTexts8.htm; select commentary: Gilles Cantagrel, J.-S. Bach: Passions, masses, motets (Fayard, 2011); Bach Schmelli-Gesangbuch, CPO, Klaus Häfner 1995 liner notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV439-507.htm, no. 7.
3 Recordings: Edition Bachakademie Vol. 85, A Book of Chorale-Settings for Trust in God, Cross & Consolation / Justification & Penance / Dying, Death & Eternity/In the Evening; http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV250-438-Rilling.htm, CH-12; details, https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/10141372; CD 1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3E5uDXq3tI&t=74s, CD 2, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh8kkuZAZBo; and Vol. 84, P& Serenity, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvIyL34zUTQ&t=43s; score, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV439-507-BGA.pdf, NBA III/2.1 (https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/shop/product/details/BA5076_41/).
4 “Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben,” text, https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/457.html; English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/457.html&prev=search; recording notes, http://www.monteverdi.co.uk/downloads/booklets/sdg715.pdf; Omeis biography, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Daniel_Omeis&prev=search; score, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV439-507-BGA.pdf, no. 19.
5 Michael Franck, BCW Biography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Franck-Michael.htm; German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale477-Eng3.htm; English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale477-Eng3.htm&prev=search.
6 “Liebster Gott, wann wird ich sterben”; Caspar Neumann, biography BCW (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Neumann.htm); Daniel Vetter (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Vetter-Daniel.htm); text & Francis Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale112-Eng3.htm; BCW melody information, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale112-Eng3.htm; see also, Ignace Bossuyt, De dood in cantates van JS Bach: From Actus tragicus to Trauer Ode (Death in the Cantatas of J. S. Bach), Leuven University Press: 2015, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fupers.kuleuven.be%2Fen%2Fbook%2F9789462700109; https://songslane.com/songs/liebster-gott-wann-werd-ich-sterben-bwv-483.html.
7 “Liebster Herr Jesu, wo bleibst du so Lange” text, https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/484.html; English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale484-Eng3.htm&prev=search; author (Charles S. Terry), https://books.google.com/books?id=07g2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=Christoph+Weselovius&source=bl&ots=s09lw9YdMc&sig=7Bs2rAaJMwTh_Kix3DEb2dX2TPc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwgObKktjXAhUBzWMKHZuCAVIQ6AEITDAF#v=onepage&q=Christoph%20Weselovius&f=false; images, https://www.google.com/search?q=Liebster+Herr+Jesu,+wo+bleibst+BWV+484&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0ahUKEwjjsc7rldjXAhUL2GMKHTQJDng4FBCwBAgs&biw=1106&bih=713.
8 “O finstre Nacht, wann wirst du doch vergehen,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqPwYjPO-Ko), BCW biography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Breithaupt.htm; music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPCRe6oBxKg; text https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/492.html; German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale492-Eng3.htm; English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale492-Eng3.htm&prev=search; Commentary, Gilles Cantagrel, J.-S. Bach: Passions, messes, motets (Fayard: 2011), https://books.google.com/books?id=kROQBgAAQBAJ&pg=PT202&lpg=PT202&dq=bwv+492+o+finstre+nacht+wann+wirst+du+Gilles+Cantagrel&source=bl&ots=rVQ6SN4Oi0&sig=kcmqINeGhoXiVZPnGQK7qF90HB4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikh9mUqNjXAhVU3WMKHf2JDisQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=bwv%20492%20o%20finstre%20nacht%20wann%20wirst%20du%20Gilles%20Cantagrel&f=false.
9 “So wünsch ich mir zu gutter Letzt” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJYoc44HxyA), text, https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/502.html; English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale502-Eng3.htm&prev=search; music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJYoc44HxyA.
10 “Vergiß mein nicht, mein allerliebster Gott” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcnP8IFeC6I); text https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/505.html, English translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/505.html&prev=search); images, https://www.google.com/search?q=vergiss+mein+nicht+bwv+505&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwizwaau29jXAhUEKWMKHartC6kQsAQIXA&biw=1106&bih=713.
11 Source, Spitta (II: 58): https://books.google.com/books?id=6eMPAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=ich+hab+mein+sach+gott+composers&source=bl&ots=B7QDouOvYY&sig=v5S6tVWjMDNzwUm5n_OgrhbQxkE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6oYSopOTXAhUH52MKHe5WD244FBDoAQg5MAQ#v=onepage&q=ich%20hab%20mein%20sach%20gott%20composers&f=false.
12 Charles S. Terry, The Four-Part Chorals of J. S. Bach (London: Oxford University Press, 1929), Nos. 188a, b, c (p. 195).
13 Luke Dahn (December 18, 2015, http://www.lukedahn.net/BachPage.htm; source: http://www.bach-chorales.com/Index.htm, Appendix I: Cross Indices |1. Dietel-to-BWV Chorale Index (p.206), http://www.bach-chorales.com/PDF/Bach_Chorales_Dahn_Edition_Sample.pdf, by Luke Dahn, Copyright 2017).
14 “Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder,” English translation (on-line, 17 stanzas), https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.monarchieliga.de/index.php%3Ftitle%3DDenket_doch,_ihr_Menschenkinder&prev=search; three-stanza recording, Rostock Motet Choir, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENggEfRUTAY; score, http://www.bach-chorales.com/BWV1122.htm; discography, https://www.allmusic.com/composition/denket-doch-ihr-menschenkinder-chorale-setting-for-4-voices-bwv-1122-mc0002511500).
15 See: Frieder Rempp NBA III, Motetten, Choräle, Lieder; Vol. 2.1. Choräle und geistliche Lieder, Part 1 (pp.31) (Kassel: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1991, BA 5075); and Dreißig Choral- und Leidsätz der Sammlung von Christian Friedrich Penzel, Motetten, Choralsätze und Lieder zweifelhafter Echtheit, Vol. 3 (2002, BA 5098: 55ff). Penzel Collection 213. Literature: Wolfgang Wiemer, “Ein Bach-Doppelfund: verschollene Gerber-Abschrift (BWV 914 und 996) und unbekannte Choralsammlung Christian Friedrich Penzels,” Bach Jahrbuch, vol.73 (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1987: 32ff.); Hans-Joachim Schulze, "150 Stück von den Bachischen Erben": zur Überlieferung der vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs, Bach Jahrbuch, vol. 69 (1983: 81ff).
16 Mylius German text and English on-line translation, https://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalWork_work_00000399?XSL.Style=detail, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalWork_work_00000399&prev=search; biography, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Mylius_(Theologe,_1548)&prev=search.
17 Robin A. Leaver, The Whole Church Sings: Congregation Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg (Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmanns Publishing, 2017: 100).
18 “Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht,” Dach German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale464-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale464-Eng3.htm, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale464-Eng3.htm&prev=search.
19 “O wie selig sind ihr doch, ihr Frommen,” Dach German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale495-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale495-Eng3.htm&prev=search; music, http://www.bach-chorales.com/PDF/Bach_Chorales_Dahn_Edition_Sample.pdf, p. 159f.
20 “Gib dich zufrieden und sei Stille” German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale460-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) translation, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale460-Eng3.htm&prev=search; description, (http://www.bach-chorales.com/PDF/Bach_Chorales_Dahn_Edition_Sample.pdf, p. 123).
21 “Nicht so traurig,” German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale489-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) translation), https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale489-Eng3.htm&prev=search; Ah! grieve not so, nor so lament,” text, https://books.google.com/books?id=YuACAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=Hymn+A+grieve+not+so&source=bl&ots=NUkgQ7rZaa&sig=QPlwisKNT7JR37s1NpD62rU-cyw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLrPnP4enXAhVC8GMKHbh9DyEQ6AEIPTAD#v=onepage&q=Hymn%20A%20grieve%20not%20so&f=false.
22 Source: Cantata 73 details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV73-D4.htm, “Cantata 73 Chorales”; music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suCkBgDYuLg). Chorale text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale084-Eng3.htm.
23 “Komm, süßer Tod” discography, https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&ei=ZAojWp_nM-W4jAP0zIuoDQ&q=komm%2C+s%C3%BC%C3%9Fer+discography+youtube&oq=%22&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.35i39k1l10.2069.4779.0.8003.7.7.0.0.0.0.232.1271.0j1j5.7.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.7.1430.6..0j0i20i263k1j0i131k1.160.u4lhULrCQ-8.
24 “Ich halte treulich still,” NBA no. 46; Schemelli No. 657; German text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale466-Eng3.htm; English (on-line) text, https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale466-Eng3.htm&prev=search; melody https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale466-Eng3.htm&prev=search

 


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