06 December 2011

O Freude über Freud

Here is my translation of the Christmas hymn “O Freude über Freud” (Georg Reimann, 1598). The tune is proper, by Eccard (the most famous of three). Here are two others

JOY of joys! that we
This happy day should see,
When in our flesh was given
Th’ eternal God of heaven
Through sinless incarnation,
For our true consolation;
The Virgin Mary, pure and bright
’Twas gave Him to the world this night.

2. Oh, what a noble Guest
Is welcomed here to rest!
O world, now humbly bending
To Him thy praise be lending,
Who shall, the Law fulfilling,
The wrath of God be stilling.
And righteousness to us restore
And heav’nly bliss forevermore!

3. Rejoice we now therefore
With songs this Child adore:
And from thy heart sincerely
Sing out with gladness clearly,
With heart and mouth we render
Due glory, praise, and splendor,
For on this day we celebrate
The time of grace from dawn till late.

4. O Christ, we sing to Thee,
Who man didst come to be,
The serpent’s head to smother,
And bring us to Thy Father,
His grace and love renewing,
Else death were our undoing:
O, grant us grace to worship Thee
Both now and in eternity.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011.

1. O Freude über Freud, 

Wir habn erlebt die Zeit, 

Da uns zu Trost und Frommen

Der ewig Gott ist kommen 

Ins Fleisch ohn alle Sünden, 

Mit uns sich zu verbinden; 

Jungfrau Maria auserkorn,
Die hat ihn zu der Welt geborn.

2. Ach welch ein großen Gast 

Du überkommen hast. 

O ganze Welt, dich neige, 

Ihm göttlich Ehr erzeige, 

Der wird das Gsetz erfüllen,
Des Vaters Zorne stillen, 

Uns wiederbringn Gerechtigkeit,
Darzu die ewig Seligkeit.

3. Drumb laßt uns fröhlich sein, 

Und diesem Kindelein 

Singen und jubiliren, 

Mit Freuden musizieren, 

Ihm Lob und Ehr beweisen, 

Mit Mund und Herzen preisen.
Weil wir die gnadenreiche Zeit 

Begehn und celebrieren heut.

4. O süßer Jesu Christ,
Der du Mensch worden bist, 

Der Schlang den Kopf zertreten,
Beim Vater uns verbeten,

Sein Huld und Gnad erworben,
Sonst wären wir verdorben, 

Gieb Gnad, daß wir auch loben dich
Darfür zeitlich und ewiglich.


Walter said...

That is one strange chorale tune; not tongue-in-cheek memorable. But you have made lemon-aid outta that funny lemon. And a great translation. Thanks Matt

Walter said...

Dear Matt, I meant the previous melody for O Freu dich ...not the tune for this one...sorry. My eyesight is not that good and the Freu dich there with the Freude über here confused me.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thanks, duly noted! As I say in the intro to O Freu dich Jerusalem, I concluded that it should be interlocking 8787, with a slur instead of two separate syllables. It would sound much more familiar to us that way. I hope to do that someday.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

I mean two separate syllables instead of a slur. For example:

O REJOICE, Jerusalem;
O Church, thy silence stem!
Praise thy God exultingly,
Who turned His wrath from thee,

would become something like:

O Jerusalem, rejoice:
O Church, hold still no longer,
Praise Thy God with gladsome voice,
Who spared thee His great anger…

See? Much more familiar sounding. But the way I did it reflects the Bohemian German approach more accurately, if less familiarly.

Walter said...

Yes Matt, that would take some working-through.