01 December 2012

Heermann on the 1st Sunday of Advent

More translation of Heermann, from the Practice of Piety.

On the First Sunday of Advent.

Rex meus es: mihi, Christe, venit Salvator ad me:
Æternum ut tecum sim, maneamque tuus.

To me Thou com’st, Lord Christ, my King, and to my good,
Thou who redeemed’st me with Thy most precious blood,
That I may come to Thee, eternally to shine
And dwell with Thee, Thy child, in soul and body Thine.

To me Thou com’st, Lord Christ, My Savior and my King,
My soul to Thee and to my heav’nly heritage to bring.

O Thou who art my King, Lord Christ, Thou com’st to me,
That I may evermore be Thine and dwell with Thee.

Christe veni, mecumque habita: me protege: vota
Audi: peccantem suscipe; tolle malum.

Come, dearest Jesus, come, within my heart to dwell:
Protect Thy subject, all distress and pain repel.
Thy royal throne is grace, and gentleness, and good.
I pray Thy grace: Oh, then, by grace grant what I would.

Come Jesus, dwell within, defend me, hear my plea,
Dispel my woes, and purge my sins most graciously.

Adventus Christi, cordi fert gaudia tristi.

O soul, rejoice! to-day is come the tide of joy,
For Christ doth come to thee and bring salvation nigh.

29 November 2012

Thank You

Dear readers,

I am pleased to refer you to a new post at Concordia Academic on Walther's Hymnal.

Also, I note with pleasure that on the book's page on the CPH website the phone number has been replaced with a full-fledged "add to cart" button. Everything seems to be progressing well, thanks be to God.

Finally, I thank you all for your comments and criticisms on this blog so far these several years while I've worked toward this project. Your input has been a great help. I look forward to having your company as I continue to explore the lost shores and forlorn grottoes of Lutheran hymnody in the future, unless the Lord returns first. I look forward to that even more.


28 November 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #3: In All My Plans, Thou Highest

Here is excerpt #3 from Walther's Hymnal from the "Travel" subsection of the category "Estate and Vocation." In later hymnals it has been often moved to the category "Vertrauen" or "Trust" and shortened to a cento of 6 or 9 stanzas. This hymn by the gifted hymnwriter Paul Flemming (1609–1640) was first published in Teutsche Poëmata (1642), though it was written  almost a decade earlier, in 1633, during the poet's travels in the service of a German embassy that made the long and arduous journey to Moscow and all the way to Ispahan (Persia). Flemming was sent on this embassy by Duke Frederick von Holstein-Gottorf, whose brother-in-law was Czar Michael I of Russia. Several of hymnals make a cento suggesting trust in the context of life's journey, or when embarking upon marriage. 

Our translation is a composite based on that of Henry Mills (Horae Germanicae, 1856).

Note that in KELG, certain words are indicated in the last line of each stanza so that it may be sung with a slightly longer original meter; this has been replicated here, though it is preferred that it be sung to the original tune, which was formerly the setting for a German paraphrase of Psalm 6. In order to adapt the lyrics to a more popular tune, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen," one trochee was removed each final line. The shorter tune is given in Walther's Hymnal in the musical appendix. The longer tune "O Welt, ich muß dich laßen" (or "Innsbruck"), may be found in The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship, and Lutheran Service Book.

Note: The following text, as with all in this Walther's Hymnal series, is an excerpt of a CPH publication and does not fall under the Creative Commons License.

IN ALL my plans, Thou Highest,
If counsel Thou suppliest,
My efforts may succeed:
But ev’ry best endeavor,
Without Thy smile of favor,
Can but to [surest] failure lead.

  2  No toil by day, nor sorrow
From evening till the morrow,
Nor murm’ring aught avails:
My goings,—I confide them
To Thee, my God, to guide them;
[Tow’rd faith] Thy mercy never fails.

 . . . (stanza 3 is included in the published version)

  4  Pursuing Thy direction,
I’ll trust in Thy protection,
Amid surrounding foes;
Thy promise, always near me,
With constant hope will cheer me,
Till Thou the [promised] good disclose.

 . . . (stanza 5 is included in the published version)

  6  I travel to my station,
My faraway vocation,
Which He hath bid me fill;
His blessing He shall send me,
In His direction tend me,
To serve [His world] as is His will.

  7  Though deserts wild enwreath me,
Yet Christians friends are with me,
And Christ Himself is near;
He who hath safely kept me,
And from all dangers swept me
Can [also] keep me safely here

  8  He on our way will speed us,
And on our journey lead us,
And help us as we live,
Body and health sustaining,
Time, wind, and rain ordaining,—
All things [we need] our God shall give.

  9  His angel, my protector,
Drives off each foe and specter,
And keeps them far from me 
As we by faith pursue Him,
We make our progress through Him,
Yet how, we scarcely [know or] see.

 . . . (stanzas 10–12 are included in the published version)

13  But if it please Him mainly,
And if my mind not vainly
Its whisperings express,
God I shall praise in duty
With many strains of beauty
When peace [at home] I do possess.

14  Loved ones He will be keeping
Blest while awake and sleeping,
Who is my shield and theirs;
And He will be conceding
Our common wishes, heeding
Our many [common] tearful pray’rs.

15  Be His, my spirit, wholly,
And trust His wisdom solely,
Who has Thy being blest:
Whate’er on earth be given,
Thy Father rules in heaven,
Appointing what [for thee] is best.

23 November 2012

Heiliger ewiger Gott

Here is my translation of a hymn originally written as a vernacular Sanctus for Holy Trinity among the Bohemian Brethren, beginning "Heiliger, ewiger Gott…" (P. Herbert, 1531, 1566; see Kirchengesenge, 1588, fol. 104), which is also included in Keuchenthal's Kirchengesenge (1573), pp. 383–385, where it is appointed as the Sanctus for the feast of the Holy Trinity. The tune seems to be a modal variation on that of the ancient office hymn.

Holy Lord of Saboath
Holy, blessed Trinity,
Thine the glory ever be.

2. Father, Son, and Spirit, God,
Now receive our praise and laud;
Filled be earth from deep to height
With Thy glory, pow’r, and might.

3. FATHER of Christ Jesus, Lord,
God our Maker thrice adored,
Who uphold'st us by Thine hand,
Thine be thanks in every land.

4. Thou who sent’st Thy dearest Son
From Thy lofty heav’nly throne
To us in this vale of grief
To bring Adam’s sons relief:

5. Let us all, from high to low,
Thee and Jesus only know;
Thy Beloved grant, that we
May in Him accepted be.

6. JESUS Christ, Eternal Word,
Image of the Father, Lord,
His eternal Wisdom, Son,
Evermore Begotten One.

7. Unbegotten Deity
Essence from division free,
Yet in person Thou alone
Art the everlasting Son.

8. Jesus Christ, our thanks to Thee
Who a Man didst deign to be
To redeem man’s nature lost:
Save us by Thy precious cost.

9. HOLY GHOST, Thou Comfort fair,
Who from both proceedest e’er,
Equal glory is Thy due:
Make our heart and mind anew.

10. Stir within us godly fear,
Let our heart Thy Word revere,
Grant anointing by Thy pow’r,
Stay Thy Church at every hour.

11. Sanctify us and bestow
That we in Thy way may go;
And in Jesus’ righteousness
Come to heaven by Thy grace.

12. God who art in person three,
Yet in substance Unity,
Undivided, very God,
Ever Thine be praise and laud.

13. Hear us, Holy Majesty,
As we lift our pray’r to Thee
In Thy name: oh, kindly deign
To reply Amen, Amen.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Heiliger, ewiger Gott,
Heiliger Herr Zebaoth,
Heilige Dreifaltigkeit,
Dir sei Lob in Ewigkeit.

2. Gott Vater, Gott Sohn und Geist,
werd von uns herrlich gepreist:
alle Land, Berge und Thal,
werden deiner Ehren voll.

3. Vater des Herrn Jesu Christ,
der du unser Schöpfer bist,
und erhältst uns von Anfang:
Dir sagen wir Lob und Dank.

4. Der du hast dein lieben SOhn,
gesandt vom himmlischen Thron,
zu uns in den Jammerthal,
aufzurichten Adams all.

5. O laß uns beid groß und klein,
dich und ihn kennen allein,
und das ewig Leben han:
nimm uns im Geliebten an.

6. Christe, du ewiges Wort,
des Vaters Bild, Gott von Art,
Seine ewige Weisheit,
geboren von Ewigkeit.

7. Ungeborn ist die Gottheit,
im Wesen kein Unterscheid:
sondern nach deiner Person
bistu sein ewiger Sohn.

8. Wir danken dir, Jesu Christ,
der du ein Mensch worden bist,
hast erlöst Menschlich Natur:
Hilf uns, deiner Kreatur.

9. Heiliger Geist, höchster Trost,
von beiden dein Ausgang hast,
gleicher Herrlichkeit und Güt,
verneu unser alt Gemüt.

10. Erweck in uns Gottesfurcht,
daß dass Herz deim Wort gehorcht,
und salb uns mit deiner Kraft,
sei mit uns, dein Gemeinschaft.

11. Heilig und richt uns auch an,
daß wir gehn auf rechter Bahn,
in Christi Gerechtigkeit
erlangen die Seligkeit.

12. Gott in Person dreifaltig,
aber im Wesen einig,
unzerteilter, wahrer Gott,
Dir sei Lob, Ehr früh und spat.

13. Erhör dies unser Gebet,
O Göttliche Majestät,
Welchs wir thun in deim Namen;
sprich drauf gnädiglich, Amen.

30 October 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #2: "By Adam's Fall Man's Frame Entire"

Continuing my series on Walther's Hymnal and excerpts of important hymns not translated by myself (mostly), here is an excerpt of my correction and alteration of J.C. Jacobi's (1725) full translation of KELG #236, "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (L. Spengler, 1524), a hymn famous among Lutherans as quoted in their Confessions (Ep I 8) as being sung by the church, and yet not being sung by them in the church—well, almost, since a paraphrase of the first part of the hymn is found in Lutheran Service Book as "All Mankind Fell in Adam's Fall." There is also a very good full translation of a modern style by Mark DeGarmeaux in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary which has enjoyed usage in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod for several years already.

The text is especially appropriate for Quinquagesima / Esto mihi (the Sunday before Lent in the Historic Lectionary), as well as for Sexagesima, Good Friday, and the Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

The author, Lazarus Spengler (1479–1534), was city clerk of the important Reformation city Nürnberg, and is known, among other things, for designing Luther's seal after his specifications in a letter.

 Its fine melody took its sacred form in Wittenberg, 1529, when it appeared it Joseph Klug's Geistliche Lieder. Our earliest extant example is from 1533. Below is the slightly simplified form which was used in the Missouri Synod during

BY ADAM’S fall man’s frame entire
And nature was infected;
The source, whence came the poison dire,
Was not to be corrected.
The lust accursed, / Indulged at first,
Brought death as its production;
But God’s free grace / Hath saved our race
From mis’ry and destruction.

2. Since Eve by Satan was enticed
And, yielding to temptation,
God’s Word rejected and despised,
And ruined was creation:
Naught could be done, / But God His Son
Must send in our own nature
That through His death, / We all by faith
Might be a newborn creature!

3. By one man’s guilt all men, enslaved,
Were subjects of the devil;
But by another’s grace is saved
Mankind from every evil:
And as we all / By Adam’s fall
Were sentenced to damnation,
So too hath God / By Christ’s own blood
Regained our lost salvation.

 . . . (stanzas 4–6 are included in the published version)

7. But who makes God his hope and trust
Shall never be confounded:
No house built on this Rock is lost,
Though everywhere surrounded
By daring foes / And trying woes;
His faith yet stands unshaken.
Who loves the Lord / Shall by no sword
Nor woe be overtaken.

. . . (stanza 8 is included in the published version)

9. Thy Word’s a lamp unto my feet,
A lantern burning brightly;
My surest guide and path to meet
The Way to heaven rightly.
This Star, where’er / It doth appear,
Reveals those heav’nly graces,
Which are laid up / For all that hope
To taste the Lord’s embraces.

19 October 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #1: "Come Hither Saith the Son of God"

This is the first post in a small series I am doing of excerpts from the upcoming Walther's Hymnal (Concordia Publishing House, 2012). Here it is on CPH's website. This is an excerpt of a Composite translation prepared especially for this hymnal from the hymn “Kommt her zu mir,” by G. Grünwald, which is found as #276, in the section entitled “Christian Life.” In the upcoming Walther's Hymnal, all 16 stanzas are provided in full.

The earliest publication of the German was a two-hymn broadside dated 1530, where it is entitled “A fine new Christian hymn.” The attribution of the hymn to the Anabaptist Georg Grünwald is made by Wackernagel based on second-hand accounts. At times in its history, being in accord with the Lutheran teaching on sanctification, appearing at such an early date, and so widely sung by Lutherans, the hymn was even erroneously attributed to Dr. Luther himself (e.g., in Eler's Cantica, Hamburg, 1588). Other contenders for authorship were Hans Witzstadt von Wertheim and Jörg Berkenmeyer von Ulm.  

Remarkable for its length as for the earnestness of its admonition to repentance, it is perhaps most notable for its familiar tune, “Kommt her zu mir,” which was first paired with it. Those familiar with The Lutheran Hymnal and Lutheran Service Book will recognize the tune as that appointed for “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe” [TLH 263, LSB 666].

Note: The following text, as with all in this Walther's Hymnal series, is an excerpt of a CPH publication and does not fall under the Creative Commons License.

“COME HITHER,” saith the Son of God,
“All ye who loathe sin’s heavy load
And would no longer bear it;
Come hither, young and old, to Me,
For well I know your injury
And gladly would repair it.”

2. “My yoke is mild, My burden light,
And all who bear its easy weight,
Release from hell are given.
I’ll give them strength when theirs would fail,
And by My strength they shall prevail
And so inherit heaven.

3. “All I have done and suffered here
From womb to cross, do ye revere,
And emulate in measure.
What you may think or say or do
Is neither safe nor good nor true,
But as it seeks My pleasure.”

4. The world may wish the bliss to gain
Without the cross, reproach, and pain,
Of which they hear the warning:
It cannot be! The cross is there,
And they must choose its shame to bear,
Or endless shame and mourning.

 . . .

 9. The worldly are afraid of death,
And only when they gasp for breath
Are mindful of devotion.
One toiled for this and one for that,
But each his own poor soul forgot,
In all of earth’s commotion.

10. At last, when he must surely die,
He lifts to God an anxious cry,
And makes a forced surrender:—
I sadly fear, God’s slighted grace,
Which long with scorn he did efface,
Will scarce a pardon tender.
11. Dear children, ye your God who own
And piety in heart have shown,
Let not your souls be troubled!
Confide in Jesus’ holy Word,
The greatest Refuge ever heard,
So shall your joys be doubled.

  . . .

14. But seems your cross too much to bear?
Then think of hell—its dark despair—
To which the world is hasting:
Its flame eternally supplies
Each man with torment, groans, and sighs—
Its fuèl never wasting.

15. But ye, beyond this world’s annoy,
In Christ shall find your endless joy—
Which ye do well to ponder;
No mortal tongue can realize
What pleasures and eternal prize
Shall swell you with their wonder.

16. For, what the God of changeless truth
Confirms by Spirit and by oath,
Must come, and ye shall see it.
Whoso will trust His proffered grace
Shall in His kingdom find a place
Through Jesus Christ. So be it!

10 October 2012

Kyrie Stelliferi Conditor orbis

Here is my translation of the trope for the Kyrie “Stelliferi Conditor orbis” (i.e. Kyrie XIII). Thanks to Christopher MacAvoy and Ben Stockermans who provided the music from the tropes published by Gregor & Taube. It is well to note that, while there is apparently no evidence that this trope was sung in the Reformation, similar tropes were maintained in the Lutheran use probably into the 18th century, and certainly received renewed attention in the 19th century by musicians such as Fr. Layriz. Well known among these usually rhymed translations is Kyrie fons bonitatis (now Kyrie II), or Kyrie Gott Vater, that is, Kyrie, God, Father in heaven above; also, the German trope for Kyrie magnae Deus potentiae (O Vater der Barmherzigkeit), which in some cantionales and chorale-books was appointed for Christmastide. On occasion the troped Kyrie paschalis (Kyrie Gott Schöpfer) is also found, appointed for Eastertide. It is with this tradition in mind that I am pleased to submit the trope of Kyrie Stelliferi Conditor, which is in my estimation one of the most interesting of the simpler Kyries in the Gregorian tradition. Set in the XI mode, it is not as jubilant as Lux et origo or as hopeful like Magnae Deus potentiae, but has a solemn character, which no doubt recommended it for feasts of the third class (i.e., Memorials), to which category it was eventually relegated. Yet due to its simplicity and haunting beauty, it is a good candidate for congregations interested in expanding their mass repertoire.

The text, or at very least, the title, appears to be inspired by a passage from Boethius beginning with the same words, of which an interesting translation by Geoffrey Chaucer is available. Here the mighty Maker of the wheel that beareth the stars is invoked by his suppliant creatures, that, He whose power is so manifest in the staggering vault of space with its countless stars and constellations, might have mercy on his lowly people. In view of this apparent majesty, He is rightly appealed to; in view of His visible, omnipotent creative power, He is rightly sought for provision. In Christ, Himself God, who ascended far above even these glorious external creatures, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, the supplications of the faithful are found to have a tangible object and sensible ear. Was He not incarnate, and did He not take flesh like ours, and did He not shed His blood and thereby atone for all mankind? And will He not therefore also be ready and willing to hear our prayer when we pray Have mercy? This is the culmination of the third set of tropes, in the place normally understood as relating to the Holy Spirit. Here, appropriately, is not some kind of description of the Spirit Himself, but an encapsulation of the work of the Spirit, the message that the Spirit speaks, viz., the Gospel of Christ. Here finally are comprehended the Word by which the Spirit calls, and the gifts of Christ, the Sacraments, by which the Spirit gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the Church on earth and keeps her in the one true faith—the faith by which the faithful implore the Father for mercy on behalf of Christ, and are sure to be heard, for mercy in this life and in the one to come.

The music below has been slightly altered to normalize the syllables in each line. The arrangement provides for each troped verse to be followed by a Kyrie eleison or Christe eleison, so that there are nine troped verses and nine untroped verses. The final three troped Kyries utilize a more extended melody, whereas of the untroped Kyrie, only the final one the fuller or doubled melody, as would be the case also if sung without the troped verses.

a. Maker of the star-bearing heavens, /
Grant us Thy mercy, eleison. Kyrie…
b. Thee we worship, and quiet never /
Mouth, heart, and spirit, eleison. Kyrie…
c. All that was, is, and ever shall be /
Thou comprehendest, eleison. Kyrie…

a. Receive with favor Thy people’s prayèrs; /
This we beseech Thee, eleison. Christe…
b. Thou at the Father’s right hand art seated, /
Our whole life ruling, eleison. Christe…
c. Wherefore, beholding Thy mighty powèr, /
Christ, we beseech Thee, eleison. Christe…

a. Grace-bestowing Offspring of the Virgin, /
Deign to hear the pray’rs which we, Thy suppliants, /
Unceasing send Thee  / eleison. Kyrie…
b. Thou who by Thy holy blood restorest /
Man which perished by the fair temptation /
Of fruit forbidden, eleison. Kyrie…
c. Thou who feed’st the flock with heavn’ly wonders, /
Quick’ning all in Thee that seek refreshment /
Forgive Thy faithful, eleison. Kyrie…

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

a. Stelliferi
conditor orbis,
digneris nostri
eleison: Kyrie eleison.
b. Profitemur
te ore, corde
eleison; Kyrie eleison.
c. Praeteritum,
quodvis futurum
esse qui cernis,
eleison; Kyrie eleison.

a. Servorum preces
exaudi clemens;
quaesumus, nostri
eleison; Christe eleison.
b. Patris ad dextram
residens, cuncta
gubernans, nostri
eleison; Christe eleison.
c. Qui ratione
potenti semper,
rogamus, Christe,
eleison; Christe eleison.

a. Almificae virginis edite,
supplicantum precibus intende
jugibus tibi, eleison.
b. Qui instauras hominem vetiti
pereuntem dulcedine pomi
cruore sacro, eleison.
c. Qui cuncta refovendo donis
propriis gregem pascentia vescis,
plebis devotae eleison.

04 October 2012

Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein

I interrupt my series on the hymns of David Spaiser to bring you my translation of the anonymous choral piece, which became a 1-stanza hymn of sorts: “Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein,” first found in Balthasar Musculus, Viertzig schönen geistliche Gesenglein . . . (1597). It is a brief and heartfelt consolation in the face of adversity. The German is quoted, i.a., in Valerius Herberger, Magnalia Dei, Part 8, medit. XI.

MY HELP and stay is God alone, 
  From Him I’ll wander never. 
As His true servant I’ll be known 
  In life and death forever. 
And though the world with all its host 
Oppose me to the uttermost 
  Yet naught will move me from my God 
  While yet my tongue can speak a word. 
    World, what of thee?
    God shieldeth me,
  On Him my trust is founded.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein,
  ich hab mich ihm ergeben.
Ich bin und bleib der Diener sein
  im Tod und auch im Leben.
Und wenn mir gleich zuwider wär
die ganze Welt mit ihrem Heer,
  von Gott ich doch will lassen nicht,
  dieweili mein Zung ein Wörtlein spricht.
    Welt, wie du willt,
    Gott ist mein Schild:
  Auf ihn steht mein Vertrauen.

17 September 2012

O Gott, ich tu dirs klagen

Here is my translation of the repentance & confession hymn “O Gott, ich tu dirs klagen” (David Spaiser, 1609), originally titled “A dialogue of the poor Sinner with God.” It is to be distinguished from the similarly titled “Ach Gott, ich muß dirs klagen” or “Ach Gott, wem soll ichs klagen” by Franciscus Rhodius. The appointed melody, a contrafact on a secular melody, made its first appearance for sacred use in Spaiser’s Vier und Zwainzig Geistliche Lieder (1609) in conjunction with this text; the tune is more widely known as “Ist Gott für mich, so trete,” though this is an anachronism, since that text was not published until much later. Therefore the proper name of the tune should be “O Gott, ich tu dirs klagen.”

(Sinner:) O GOD, my plaint I bring Thee,
My heart is full of pain.
(Father:) Then let not doubting sting thee,
But tell thy sorrow plain.
(Sinner:) My conscience is offended,
It pricks me grievously!
(Father:) Thy breach may yet be mended,
Take heart, nor timid be.

2. (Sinner:) Alas, the dread conviction
Of all my sins I see!
(Father:) Speak forth, though much affliction
And pain it causes thee.
(Sinner:) Dear Lord, what grief I’ve brought Thee,
My heart’s remorse but view!
(Father:) Then keep what I have taught Thee;
My grace each day is new.

3. (Sinner:) Ah! Lord, in grace behold me,
Have mercy now on me!
(Father:) Come let My arms enfold thee;
My dear child thou shalt be.
(Sinner:) My heartfelt thanks I give Thee,
My Strength, my Rock in need!
(Father:) ’Tis well, then cease to grieve Me,
And to My Word give heed.

4. This lead thy way and guide it,
Until thy life shall close,
Flee all things else beside it
Which do its truth oppose;
And with thy mouth confess it,
Let nothing frighten thee;
With all My heart I’ll bless it,
So well it pleases Me.

5. (Sinner:) Therefore I pray Thee, Father,
Through Jesus Christ my Lord,
My Help above all other;
Give me thy Spirit good,
That I may do this ever
Until my dying day.
Grant nothing us to sever!
Amen, I duly say!

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

1. O Gott, ich tu dirs klagen,
mein Herz steckt voller Pein.
Darum wollst nicht verzagen,
Sag an, was mag es sein?
Mein Gwissen tut aufwachen,
das macht mir großen Schmerz.
Es ist wohl rath der Sachen,
hab nur ein gutes Herz.

2. Sünder.
Ja, wenn ich hinterdenke
der großen Sünden mein--
Sag an, ob dich die kränke
und herzlich leid laßt sein.
Ja freilich, lieber Herre,
hab ich herzliche Reu.
So folge meiner Lehre,
mein Gnad ist all Tag neu.

3. Sünder.
Ach Herr, tu dich erbarmen
wohl über mich gar fein.
Komm her an meine Armen,
mein liebs Kind sollt du sein.
Deß dank ich dir von Herzen,
mein Stärk und auch mein Hort.
Doch mach mir nicht mehr Schmerzen,
Sonder merk auf mein Wort.

4. Dasselbig laß dich leiten
die Zeit des Lebens dein,
fleuch alle Nebenseiten,
die dem zuwider sein;
bekenns auch mit dem Munde,
laß dich nicht schrecken ab:
aus meines Herzen Grunde
ich gfallen an dir hab.

5. Sünder.
So bitt ich dich, mein Vater,
durch Christum allermeist,
der du bist mein Wohltater:
Gib mir dein guten Geist,
damit ichs mög vollenden
bis an das Ende mein,
laß mich nichts von dir wenden;
Amen, sprich ich gar fein.

13 September 2012

O lieber Gott in höchsten Thron

Here is my translation of “O lieber Gott in höchsten Thron” (David Spaiser, ca. 1608),  hymn of thanksgiving for deliverance during the epidemic of 1607. Not much is known about Spaiser himself, and he is generally only known for the first stanza of Ach lieben Christen, seid getrost, which Johann Heune (Gigas) later adapted for his own hymn. We know that Spaiser lived in Augsburg, was a "bader" ("bather", or therapeutic physician) by trade, and was an important member of the Meistersinger guild. While we don't have his birth or death year, we know that he had possession of the Augsburg "Rappenbad" (Rappen baths) from 1581 to 1627, and we also have two of his publications: Vier und zwainzig Geystliche Lieder [24 Spiritual Songs]… (1609), and Vierzig schöne geystliche Lieder… (1621).

DEAR GOD upon Thy highest the highest throne,
True praise to Thee be given,
Through Jesus, Thy beloved Son,
The Lord of earth and heaven,
That Thou, with love and mercy mild,
Hast guarded me, my wife, and child
And all my house from danger.

2. From sickness Thou didst rescue us,
When plagues o’er us impended;
Yet would this judgment have been just
For we have Thee offended
By sin and gross iniquity,
And wicked lives opposed to Thee,
So that Thy rod we merit.

3. In no small peril then I lay
Within my rank and station,
But through the year God was my stay
In working and vocation;
So many men can well attest:
The hand of God hath held me fast,
And sent His blessed angel.

4. I thank Him for His gracious will,
The mercy which He gave me,
Beseeching Him to keep me still
And in all things to save me
And guard me, and my wife, and child,
And all my house with mercy mild,
Through Jesus Christ my Savior.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

1. O lieber Gott im höchsten Thron,
herzlich tu ich dich loben
durch deinen allerliebsten Sohn
im Himmel hoch dort oben,
daß du mich samt meim Weib und Kind
wie auch mein ganzes Hausgesind
so väterlich behütet.

2. Vor der Seuchen der Pestilenz,
so über uns tat schweben
durch deinen gerechten Sentenz,
so du verhenkt gar eben
wegn  unser Sünd und Missetat,
so jeder wider dich tan hat
mit unserm bösen Leben.

3. Dann ich war nit in gringer Gfahr
in meinem Amt und Wandel
in dem nächsten verschienen Jahr [1607]
mit meinem Tun und Handel,
wie männiglichen ist bekannt,
daß ob mir ghalten Gottes Hand
mit sienem lieben Engel.

4. Ich dank seiner Barmherzigkeit
für diese große Güten;
der wölle mich in Lieb und Leid
hinfüro auch behüten
samt meinem lieben Weib und Kind,
wie auch mein ganzes Hausgesind
durch Jesum Christem. Amen.

10 September 2012

O Gott, mein Herre, mein Glauben mehre

Here is my translation of the supplication hymn for faith, “O Gott, mein Herre, mein Glauben mehre” (David Spaiser, 1509), set to Gastoldi’s (†1609) tune, “A lièta vita,” which in 1594 had been published in conjunction with the text “In dir ist Freude.” The tune has obvious attractions to such a Meistersinger as David Speiser with its bright romantic tone and joyful lilt (there is evidence the tune is based on a German dance form). With only eight lines of text per stanza, It seems that the first three lines of each stanza are meant to be repeated in accordance with the oriignal tune, though since the publication of “In Dir ist Freude,” texts set to this tune normally provide new lines for both sections being repeated. I have followed Spaiser’s construction here, though three extra lines per stanza would probably give the English more room to breathe, so to speak. I have assumed that the second section is not repeated musically. Unlike Spaiser, I rhyme the third line with the final line in each stanza; Spaiser himself rhymes the final accented syllable of the first two lines with the final syllable of the third, and likewise, the final accented syllables of the sixth and seventh lines with the final syllable of the eighth.

LORD GOD, I bid Thee,
Of doubting rid me,
Thy pure Word increase my faith. (x2)
When death must take me,
Do not forsake me;
Grant, I beseech Thee,
That I may reach Thee,
Through Thy beloved Son passing from death.

2. If I have solely
Thy Word so holy,
Hope and comfort my heart fill. (x2)
What higher glory,
God, is before Thee?
Thou, God, art in me,
And I am in Thee;
What can be better than Thine to be still?

3. What of possessions,
Rich acquisitions?
They but for this age remain. (x2)
Thy words of wonder
Shall here and yonder
Stand firm forever
Though men endeavor
Their course to hinder with scorn and disdain.

4. Death, hell, and devil,
All worldly evil,
By Thee, God, confounded be. (x2)
Thy grace I cherish,
And I’ll not perish,
To everlasting
Life I’ll be hasting,
Ever to sing praise and glory to Thee.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

1. O Gott, mein Herre,
Mein Glauben mehre
durch dein reine güte Lehr.
Wann ich muß scheiden,
wollest mit Leiden
abkürzen schone
in deinem Throne
durch deinen allerliebesten Sohn.

2. Wann ich nur habe
dein Wort vorabe,
gibts meim Herzen Trost und Kraft.
Was will ich mehre,
mein Gott, der Ehre,
weil du bist meine
und ich bin deine?
Wie kann und mag mir doch baß gesein?

3. Güt und auch Gelte
dein Stich nicht hälte,
sonder bleibt alles in der Welt,
aber dein Worte
bleibt hie und dorte
in Ewigkeit,
wer es auch leide
allen, die es verhassen aus Neid.

4. Teufel und Todte
werden zu Spotte
bei meim lieben treuen Gott.
Drum wenn ich sterbe,
Ich nicht verderbe,
das ewig Leben
tust du mir geben:
Sing ich dir allzeit zu Lob und Ehr.

06 September 2012

"Ach lieben Christen, seid getrost" (Spaiser)

Here is my translation of the supplication hymn, “Ach lieben Christen, seid getrost (warum wollt ihr verzagen” (David Spaiser, 1521). The first stanza was later adopted by Johann Heune (Gigas) in 1561 and five new stanzas added to it along the same theme. That hymn can be found in Walther’s Hymnal (KELG) #353. The appointed tune is "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält."

DEAR CHRISTIANS, put away your fears!
Why would ye be despairing
That now God’s hand so harsh appears?
Our hearts should be declaring
That we these scourges merited,
The guilt hangs over every head,
And none may claim exception.

2. But as Saint Paul doth us implore,
Let us mark well and ponder
That all this world’s afflictions sore,
As long as here we wander,
Must pale before that glory fair
Which Christ already doth prepare
For us in life eternal.

3. Therefore I pray Thee now, O Lord,
In these last times escort us,
And keep us steadfast in Thy Word,
In warfare good support us!
Against the devil, world, and sin
We e’er must take up arms again
And so we pray Thee, hear us.

4. Thou say’st Thyself, Come unto Me,
Ye weary, heavy-laden!
For I will always be with thee,
To ward each peril sudden,
Lest e’er the foe thy soul offend.
All graciously I will thee tend,
I am Thy Lord and Maker.

5. Why should we then be fearful now,
Though death have us surrounded,
Since God our Lord will not allow
That we should be confounded?
Ah! then come soon, Lord Christ, we pray,
And usher in Thy glorious Day;
For Thou art our Deliv’rer.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011–2012.

1. Ach liebe Christen, seid getrost,
warum wollt ihr verzagen,
weil uns der Herr heimsuchen thut?
Laßt uns von Herzen sagen:
Die Straf wir wohl verdienet han,
das muß bekennen jedermann,
niemand darf sich ausschliessen.

2. Dann wie uns S. Paulus vermeidt,
das wollet merken eben,
daß alles Leiden in der Welt
in unserm ganzen Leben
Nit werth sei der schön Herrlichkeit,
die uns Christus hat schon bereit’t
in dem ewigen Leben.

3. Darum so bitt ich dich, O Herr,
zu diesen letzten Zeiten,
erhalt uns nur bei deiner Lehr,
hilf uns ritterlich streiten;
wider Sünd, Teufel und die Welt
müssen wir stetigs sein im Feld,
darum wöllst uns erhören.

4. Du sprichst ja selbst: Kommt her zu mir,
die ihr mühselig bladen,
dann ich ja stetigs bin bei dir,
will wenden euren schaden,
daß euch der Feind nit schaden soll:
Ich bin allein der Gnaden voll,
darzu dein Gott und Herr.

5. Was wölln wir uns dann fürchten sehr
dn Tod auf dieser Erden,
Dieweil uns dann will Gott der Herr
nit lassen zu Schanden werden?
Darum komm bald, Herr Jesu Christ,
der du unser Erlöser bist,
mit deinem Jüngsten Tage.

24 August 2012

Wer Christi Diener hie will werdn

Here is my translation of a portion of the children’s verses (in 147 stanzas) by Joachim Reubold (in Selnecker's Christliche Psalmen… Leipzig, 1597), including those stanzas for the feast of St. Bartholomew (August 24) and the concluding collect. The original title reads: “Brief rhymes for all Sunday and Festival Gospels for children to learn by heart, as a summary of each Gospel, and to be sung profitably and happily to the tune: “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.”

On St. Bartholomew’s Day
Luke 22:24–30

HE WHO would be Christ’s servant meek,
Let him no earthly glory seek,
Be Christ’s companion, as is due,
Plant in His gardens virtues true.


HE WHO himself Christ’s man would call,
Though he be big, thinks himself small,
Looks down on none, joins not the proud,
Yet learns much, and keeps from the crowd.

To God be glory evermore,
May He all ill to good restore,
And spare us any hurtful thing;
It will your welfare surely bring.

O Holy blessed Trinity,
Grant that Thy Church united be,
That every people far and wide
Confess Your name and Yours abide.

Translation: © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Auf alle Sonntags und Feste Evangelien kurze Reimen, den Kindern auswendig zu lernen, als ein Summan eines jeden Evangelii, und im Thon, Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort, nützlich und mit Lust zu singen.

An Sankt Bartholomäus Tag
Lucä am 22.

Wer Christi Diener hie will werdn
achte sich keins Gewalts auf Erdn,
Geb Christo stets einen Gefährtn
pflanz Tugend in all seinen Gärtn.

Wer ein Diener Christi will sein,
ist er fast groß, er acht sich klein,
veracht niemand, macht sich nicht gmein,
versteht doch viel, ist gern allein.
Gott die Ehr in alle Dingen,
das Bös zum Guten thu zwingen,
Schaf ab was Schaden will bringen,
so wird es dir nicht mißlingen.

O Heilige Dreifaltigkeit,
laß einig sein dein Christenheit,
aufdaß die fremden Völker weit
dich erkennen in Ewigkeit.

23 August 2012

Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn

Here is my translation of “Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn” (C. Becker), a paraphrase of the Der CXLVI. Psalm, along with a sort of epigram or summary in verse, perhaps intended as the Verse. The original title was “Fürsten seind Menschen,” i.e., Princes are Men. The melody is “Hats Gott versehn, wer will es wehrn” by Balthasar Musculus.

WHO HOPE doth place
In princes’ grace
To enter heaven’s portal
WIll find at last
In vain that trust,
For all mankind is mortal.

But he who hath
His hope by faith
In God, and doth not waver
Finds help and speed
In every need;
He shall behold God’s favor.


O PRAISE the Lord thy God, my soul,
With all my heart I’ll God extol
To God I’ll sing, Him glorify
While yet I live, until I die.

2. Put not your trust in princes, nay,
Nor hope in them to be your stay;
For they are nothing more than men,
In whom no help there is to gain.

3. The breath of man must needs go forth,
His body turns again to earth;
That very day his plans must fall,
His thoughts must perish one and all.

4. But happy is the man always
Whose Help the God of Jacob is.
Whose hope in every need and strife
Is in the Lord, the God of Life.

5. He made the heavens, earth, and sea
And all that therein e’er shall be;
In Him set all thy hope and store,
Who keepeth truth forevermore.

6. He renders justice and with haste
Defends the cause of the oppressed;
To hungry people food He gives,
The pris’ner looses, that he lives.

7. The Lord makes blind men see again,
His mighty hand doth e’er sustain
And raise up those who are downcast.
He loves the righteous to the last.

8. The strangers and the fatherless
He keeps, and shows them faithfulness;
He gives the widow comfort true,
The wicked counsel doth undo.

9. Our hopes in Him alone remain;
The Lord forevermore shall reign;
Thy God, O Zion, we will praise,
And endless Alleluias raise.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Wer sich verläßt
auf Herren Gunst
dadurch Heil zu erwerben,
der find zu letzt
das alle umsonst,
weil Menschen müßen sterben.

Wer früh und spat
allein auf Gott
setzt alle sein Vertrauen,
der findet Rath
in aller Noth,
Gotts Güte wird er schauen.


1. Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn,
ich lob Ihn ja von Herzen gern,
ich will lobsingen meinem Gott
so lang ich leb, bis in den Tod.

2. Verläßt euch doch auf Fürsten nicht,
setzt nicht auf sie eur Zuversicht,
denn sie nichts mehr als Menschen sind
bei denen man kein Hülfe findt.

3. Des Menschen Geist muß doch darvon,
er wird zur Erde wiederum,
als denn sein Anschläg sind verlorn
und alles was er ihm erkorn.

4. Selig ist der zu jeder Frist
des Hülfe der Gott Jacob ist,
der sein Vertrauen in der Noth
allein setzt auf des Lebens Gott.

5. Er hat Himmel, Erd und das Meer
gemacht mit allem ihren Heer;
setzt nur auf Ihm dein Zuversicht,
denn Er hält Glauben ewiglich.

6. Er schaffet recht und hilft sobald
denen die leiden groß Gewalt,
die Hungrigen speist Er mit Brot
und wendet der Gefangnen Noth.

7. Der Herr macht sehend blinde Leut,
er liebt und schützt Gerechtigkeit,
sein starke Hand richt auf Geschwind
alle die niedergeschlagen sind.

8. Waisen und Fremdling Er behüt,
erweiset seine Treu und Güt
an armen Wittwen hochbeschewrt,
gottloses Thun zurück Er kehrt.

9. Darauf steht unser Zuversicht:
der Herr ist König ewiglich,
dein Gott, o Zion, allezeit,
Halleluja singn wir mit Freud.

14 August 2012

Herr, wie macht sich dein Christenheit

Here is my translation of “Herr, wie macht sich dein Christenheit” (Joh. Örtel, 1591?), a hymn on the untimely death of faithful ministers and the persecution of the evangelical church. The original title reads “A Hymn of Lamentation and Supplication Because of the Dwindling of Christendom in These Troublous Times.” It seems to have been composed by Örtel for, and sung on, the occasion of the burial of Wittenberg professor, Dr. Johannes Auenarius, and was subsequently published in Leipzig in 1591. The appointed melodies are “Herr, wie lang willt vergessen mein” (Ps. 13) and “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält” (Ps. 124).

O LORD, how scarce Thy Christendom
In these dark times is growing!
Upon us let Thy mercy come!
We trust that Thou, all knowing,
Dost in Thy wisdom take away
Thy faithful servants, that they may
Dwell in Thy heavn’ly kingdom.

2. The wicked world expels them all,
No more can it abide them,
Therefore Thou tak’st them to Thy hall,
Which Thy love hath supplied them,
That they may live within Thy grace
And have their constant dwelling place,
Secure from every danger.

3. Thy Christian Church is as a tree
On all sides roughly shaken;
Scarce fruit she harbors in her lee,
And all too soon they’re taken;
And yet on earth she hath remained.
God, grant that she may be sustained;
From all despair preserve us!

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

1. Herr, wie macht sich dein Christenheit
so dünn zu diesen Zeiten!
Drum denk an dein Barmherzigkeit!
es muß doch was bedeuten
Daß du die treuen Diener dein
so sehr aufrafst, und holst sie heim
zu deinem Himmelreiche:

2. Die schnöde Welt dringt sie fast aus,
ist nicht mist ihn zu frieden,
so nimmstu sie, Herr, in dein Haus,
dahin du sie beschieden,
daß jeder da sein bleibend staht
und sein beständig Wohung hat,
von aller Fahr befreiet.

3. Dein Christlich Kirch ist wie ein Baum,
der gschüt von allen Enden,
daran stehn wenig Beerlein kaum
die sich nicht auch verwenden:
Doch steht der Stamm noch in der Erd,
hilf, Gott, daß der erhalten wird,
so wolln wir nicht verzagen.


27 July 2012

In case you were wondering…

In case you were wondering why half the hymns have disappeared from this site, here is a shameless plug promoting the book where all those translations (largely updated and improved since the last time readers of this blog saw them) will be found bound up in one handy volume:

Sketch of cover design.
I'm pleased to announce (having entered the contract stage) that Concordia Publishing House  has agreed to publish my translations of the missing hymns from KELG, together with the other hymns already translated (such as those in ELHB and TLH), and other material from the Church hymnbook for evangelical Lutheran congregations of the unaltered Augsburg Confession, tentatively to be released later this year—incidentally, the 125th anniversary of the death of the blessed Dr. C. F. W. Walther, the person chiefly responsible for the production of the German original.

Not poised as an official synodical hymnal but primarily as a translation of a historical document with high devotional potential for modern users, it will be published under CPH's Peer Review process, which allows books that would not normally be published (because of, e.g., their relative niche value, the difficulty these days of keeping dedicated in-house editors, etc.) to see the light of day.

Along with a professional and informative historical introduction by Rev. Jon D. Vieker (translator of LSB 596, inter alia), the translation comprises all the hymnody with all the stanzas from the 1847/1892 editions of the hymnal, along with other KELG material, including prayers and collects gathered from Luther, Rabus, and Arndt, KELG's version of the passion harmony, and the history of the destruction of Jerusalem. These materials are augmented by furhter appendices, notably a translation of the old Saxon divine service for Sunday mornings, and 55 supplementary tunes in 4-part notation, for all the tunes needed which do not appear in CPH hymnals from the time of TLH on.

While having all the non-original material itself conveniently collected in one volume will be a unique value in itself, the addition of all the newly translated material will serve as a rich and informative resource for history students and hymn-singers alike. Scholars of Lutheranism in America, as well as anybody who has an passing interest in the Church's hymnody and confessions, should be pleased and edified by this translation of the Church Hymnbook.

Matthew Carver
Ss. Aurelius & Natalia, Martyrs, A.D. 2012.

11 July 2012

Second Revision of KELG Part III: Melodies.

Lehre und Wehre.
Volume 55. Nov. 1909. No. 11.
(pp. 198ff.)

III. The Melody Specifications.

In the feedback to the delegate convention relating to the need for revising our hymnal, there was attention given to blunders in the assignments of melodies for many of the hymns in our hymnal. The committee for assessing the feedback was provided with the necessary documents and notified as well that, in the event that the synod is so inclined to undertake a revision of its hymnal, this part of the task should only be committed to the hands of experts. This was done. The commission on the hymnal instituted by the synod turned to men in our circles who have a vocation in the field of hymnody and musicology with the assignment of examining the hymns of our hymnal with respect to the correctness of the appointment of their melodies.1 It was obvious that, in the process, individual taste was not to serve a yardstick for what should be changed or left alone, so that a predilection toward this or that melody could not be the deciding factor, but that certain principles had to be followed which could not change in the course of time according to taste but were always applicable. After careful consideration of the reports submitted by the members of the subcommission and a detailed examination of the suggestions made by them, the commission on the hymnal can now present the following results, beginning with the guidelines operative for both commissions.

Our church possesses a rich treasury of melodies which, when employed extensively and in a intentional way, cannot but serve to give our divine services a greater and greater sense of beauty. For this to occur, every melody must be recognized and valued in its quality and viewed in its beauty and peculiar characteristics. There will be some who ask whether melodies in fact have any character. A hymn tune is a hymn tune. What kind of particular features do these melodies have and how should they be distinguished from other melodies except by key and meter? This is an error, and where this erroneous opinion reigns, any given hymn of like meter will be appointed whatever melody appeals to taste or is easiest to sing. Where there is no sense for the characteristics of the melody, one might think that “Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word” could be sung to the tune for “From Heav’n Above to Earth I Come,” or “From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee” sung to the tune for “All Glory Be to God Alone.” Many a jarring example could be cited to show that this is no exaggeration. We have a hymnal in front of us that was published some years ago in which we find the melody “Vom Himmel Hoch” [From Heav’n Above] sung on Ascension and Pentecost, at harvest, at a committal, and at the consecration of a school building, and “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” [My Heart Is Filled with Longing] sung at Christmas. The most astonishing, however, is the use of the melody “Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende” [Who Knows When Death May Overtake Me] for singing hymns from the sections for Sunday, Morning, Confirmation, and even Dedication of an Organ! Now that is what you call pushing praxis to the extreme. Now, does anything similar happen in our hymnal? Can anyone think of something more wrong than having the deeply stirring Passion hymn, “Der am Kreuz ist meine Liebe” (KELG #71) [Jesus Crucified Possesses], sung to the lightly prancing melody, “Werde munter, mein Gemüte” [Sink Not Yet, My Soul, to Slumber]? Or would anyone seriously suggest that the melody, “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier” [Dearest Jesus, We Are Here] is fitting for the contents of the passion hymn, “Meine Seel’, ermuntre dich” [O My Soul, Take Comfort, See] (KELG #81)? And we find plenty of such cases in our current hymnal. Granted, the committee is aware that the melodies appointed to the hymns are only a help, and that because of the relative unfamiliarity of their proper melodies these hymns can only be sung by a handful of our congregations. But the committee is also convinced that it is just such an unprincipled handling of our melodies that clouds the judgment of the singing congregation and ruins its taste. Here it is apparent how much can be done in our circles to improve the hymnody, namely, that they are not only sung correctly in respect to their rhythms, but also to the right choice of melodies, and that there is attention given to rehearsing them.

Just as hymn lyrics have their own character, so do hymn melodies, and the character of the melody has to fit precisely with the lyric. This is a principle of greatest importance. The more innate and characteristic this connection is, the greater the effect of the hymn when sung. From this is follows that taking one of our melodies originally appointed for only one hymn text and using it for another text requires the greatest precaution so that two things are not linked together that do not belong together. If this happens, the effect of these hymns that lack their own tune suffers, and—what is even more significant—the tune itself suffers. When they are used thoughtlessly for every possible text, the congregation loses its sensitivity for the characteristics of the melody; this creates a meaningless array of tunes whose only value lies in the fact that any text of a certain meter can be sung to them. In this way monotony and colorlessness enter into the hymnody of the divine service. In addition, this comes: When a melody is chosen at will, or if one melody is used for a certain text today and another tomorrow, no firm tradition can be built up in the congregation, and the divine service is impoverished in its characteristic movement and in the means for giving it the desired variety. 

Characteristic variety does not consist of colorfully trading off melodies of the same meter between hymn texts, but of choosing the melody that fits the text and allowing the melody to be heard in the right place and at the right time. Then the golden apples of our hymns are provided with the silver settings of melody. There are hence two things to look for in the proper apportioning of melody and text of like meter: first, to regard the characteristics of the hymn and tune; second, to examine the melody in its appropriateness for festivals and feast days. The first principle is immediately obvious and applies to the majority of hymns in our current hymnal whose character does not direct them for a specific time of the church year; the second principle is in need of closer substantiation.

The study of hymnology teaches us that a large portion of our most magnificent hymn music finds its roots in certain particular times of the church year and feast days. Our most significant melodies belong in origin and character to a festival of the church or a certain particular segment of the Christian life. Mostly, however, the former is the case. We have many marks that give the seasons of the church year their own quality; but aside from the act of salvation to be celebrated, the hymn and its melody form the characteristic mark of the seasons of the church year. The fact that the church seasons have need of such particular quality is essential to their nature. The way the earth looks, its clothing, instantly appears in our mind whenever a season of the natural year is mentioned. New leaves, buds and blossoms signify the spring; the beauty of flowers and ripening grain, the summer; produce, harvest-time; falling leaves, the autumn; and the snowy garments of the frigid earth, the winter. It is the same with the church year. When we hear “Gott sei Dank durch alle Welt” [Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord], to the customary melody “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” [Savior of the Nations, Come], we know that we are in the serious season of Advent. Among the classic melodies of the Christmas season belong “Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ” [We Praise Thee, Jesus, at Thy Birth] and “Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her” [From Heav’n Above to Earth I Come]. When we hear the crown of all passion tunes, “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” with the words “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” [O Sacred Head, Now Wounded] or the singular “O Lamm Gottes unschuldig” [Lamb of God, Pure and Holy] sounded, it must be the season when Christians meditate on the Savior’s the sufferings and death; when the powerful tune “O Traurigkeit” [O Darkest Woe] is intoned, it must be Good Friday, and when the exultant cry, “Christ ist erstanden” [Christ Is Arisen] rings out, and “Auf, auf, mein Herz, mit Freuden” [Awake, My Heart, with Gladness] at its heels, it is the Easter jubilee. We could go on and on, but these examples will suffice.

According to these principles, then, the following melody rubrics have been selected and amended. It is not suggested that the right one was always found in every case according to these principles, since it is obviously far easier to characterize hymn texts than to discern the core essence of melodies. The committee welcomes notification of erroneous indication of melodies. It should be further noted that certain melodies that were burdened too heavily have been unburdened somewhat, and others of like character and fitting the text put in their place. Where the chorale books that we use contain proper melodies for specific hymns, these were indicated in almost every case, so that the wealth of our church’s melodies could always be recalled, and organists and congregations encouraged to think about rehearsing those melodies in cases where they are unfamiliar. However, a more closely fitting melody is always provided by which the hymn may be sung until the proper melody has come into practice. When two melodies are indicated for the same hymn, the first takes precedence. Perhaps in a later article the correction of the melody assignments will be explained in greater detail.

New melody specifications: 
2. Christus, der ist mein Leben. 3. Proper melody, or: Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren. 13. Zeuch ein zu meinen Toren, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 15. Proper melody, or: Vom Himmel hoch. 16. Ach Gott vom Himmelreiche, or: Valet will ich dir geben. 25. Nun danket alle Gott. 26. The repeats should be dropped. 29. Proper melody, or: Vom Himmel hoch. 33. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, or: Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen. 34. Nun danket alle Gott, or: Was frag ich nach der Welt. 37. Proper melody. 42. Proper melody, or: Vom Himmel hoch. 43. Vom Himmel hoch, or: Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott. 44. Proper melody, or:Valet will ich dir geben. 45. O Jesu Christ, dein Kripplein ist, or proper melody. 48. Proper melody, or: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 49. Vom Himmel hoch, or proper melody. 50. Proper melody, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 52. Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen, or: Werde munter, mein Gemüte.2 57. O Welt, ich muß dich lassen. 60. Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein Gunst, or: Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. 61. Vom Himmel hoch, or: Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott. 62. Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 66. Allein aus Gottes Wort, or: Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt. 70. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund (or: In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr.)3 71. Proper melody, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 74. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, or: Herr, wie du willst. 77. Der am Kreuz ist meine Liebe, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 78. Jesu, meines Lebens Leben, or: Jesu, der du meine Seele. 81. Proper melody (or: Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier). 83. Proper melody, or: O Gott, du frommer Gott. 85. Proper melody, or: Nun laßt uns den Leib begraben. 86. The repeats should be dropped. 87. The repeats should be dropped. 89. Proper melody, or: O Welt, ich muß dich lassen. 91. Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele, or: Der am Kreuz ist meine Liebe. 94. Proper melody (or: Herr Christ, der einig Gottssohn). 95. Nun laßt uns den Leib begraben, or: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein. 101. Zeuch ein zu meinen Toren, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 102.4 115. Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, or: Ach, bleib bei uns. Herr Jesu Christ. 118. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her. 121. Zeuch ein zu meinen Toren, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 126. Proper melody, or: Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag. 127. Der Heilge Geist herniederkam, or: Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag. 128. Helft mir Gott Güte preisen, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 131.5 135. Proper melody, or: Gott des Himmels und der Erden. 137. O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte (in 4/4 time), or: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten. 139. Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 141. Proper melody, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 143. Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, or proper melody. 148. Proper melody, or: Aus meines Herzens Grunde. 150. Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam (or: Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein). 153. Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht.)6 155. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, or proper melody. 157. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her. 160. Allein auf Gottes Wort, or: O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort. 162. Proper melody, or: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält (Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein). 163. Proper melody, or: Vater unser im Himmelreich. 166. Proper melody (or: Aus tiefer Not). 167. Proper melody, or: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen. 169. Ich dank dir, lieber Herre, or: Valet will ich dir geben. 170. Proper melody (or: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält). 176. Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, or: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein. 179. Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, or: Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. 181. Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot. 182. Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot. 186. Proper melody (or: Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein). 191. Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam (or: Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein). 194. Herr, wie du willst, or: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut. 197. Proper melody, or: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut. 201. O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben, or: O Welt, ich muß dich lassen. 202. Ich sterbe taglich, or: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (G maj.). 206. Proper melody, or: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 214. Proper melody (or: Herr, wie du willst). 215. Aus tiefer Not, or: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält. 216. Proper melody (or: Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit). 218. Proper melody, or: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten. 221. Proper melody, or: Jesu, meines Lebens Leben. 222. Jesus, meine Zuversicht, or: Meinen Jesum last ich nicht. 228. Aus tiefer Not, or: Herr, wie du willst. 230. Auf meinen lieben Gott. 234. O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte (4/4 time). 238. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, or: Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit. 239. Ich dank dir, lieber Herre, or: Valet will ich dir geben. 240. Proper melody, or: O daß ich tausend Zungen hätte. 245. Proper melody, or: Es ist das Heil uns kommen her. 250. Proper melody (or: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland). 253. Proper melody, or: Gott des Himmels und der Erden. 254. Proper melody, or the melody of hymn no. 255. 263. Proper melody, or: O Gott, du frommer Gott. 264. Proper melody, or: Herr, ich habe mißgehandelt. 266. Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 267. Jesus, meine Zuversicht, or: Meinen Jesum last ich nicht. 272. Das Jesulein soll doch mein Trost, or: Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt. 284. Proper melody, or: O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort. 288. Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein (or: Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit). 293. Geduld, die solln wir haben, or: Ich dank dir, lieber Herre. 299. Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. 304. Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren. 312. Proper melody, or: Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ. (drop repeats) 313. Proper melody, or: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend. 314. Proper melody (or: Herzlichster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen). 317. Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein Gunst. 320. Proper melody, or: Nun danket all und bringet Ehr. 329. Proper melody, or: O Welt, ich muß dich lassen. 333. Proper melody (Kunz-Brauer). 334. Proper melody, or: Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir. 339. Proper melody, or: Nun danket all und bringet Ehr. 342. Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott, or: Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir. 344. Proper melody, or: Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein. 345. Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott, or: Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir. 351. Proper melody, or: Lasset uns mit Jesu ziehen. 352. Proper melody, or: Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. 353. Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält, or: Herr, wie du willst. 358. Was frag ich nach der Welt. 361. Proper melody, or: Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort. 362. Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, or: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein. 367. Proper melody, or: Herzlich tut mich verlangen. 377. Proper melody, or: Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt. 378. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, or: Helft mir Gotts Güte preisen. 379. Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 380. Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 381. Proper melody (or: O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort.) (Drop repeats.) 385. Proper melody, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 386. Proper melody (or: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen). 388. Was mein Gott will, das gscheh allzeit, or: Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt. 395. Aus tiefer Not, or: Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein. 396. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, or: Herr, wie du willst. 402. Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist, or: Herr, wie du willst. 407. Proper melody, or: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein. 410. Proper melody, or: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort. 413. Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen, or: Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele. 414. Proper melody, or: Zeuch ein zu meinen Toren. 418. Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott, or: Nun laßt uns den Leib begraben. 419. Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist, or: Herr, wie du willst. 422. O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben, or: O Welt, ich muß dich lassen. 428. Proper melody, or: Herr, wie du willst. 437. Ach Gott vom Himmelreiche, or: Valet will ich dir geben. 438. Proper melody, or: Es ist das Heil uns kommen her.

The Commission on the Hymnal: A. Crull.
O. Hattstädt.
J. Schlerf.
1On the subcommittee is Prof. E. Homann, the organist J.M. Theiß, H.F. Hölter, H. Ilse, and Prof. F.O. Reuter.
2If the hymn were restored to its original form, it would be sung to “Herr, ich habe mißgehandelt.”
3Only in the circumstance that the first melody for this hymn is very unfamiliar, the committee has considered providing the melody “In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr,” which fits the meter, though not the rhyme, so as to make the hymn more singable. All parenthetical melody appointments are only to be seen as an aid until the first melody is in use.
4In most of the reformation hymnals, the double Hallelujah in the middle of everys stanza is dropped and replaced with a single Hallelujah at the end, so that the hymn can be sung to the Easter melody “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag.” This also applies to #107.
5Only to be sung after the proper melody and not after “Ein feste Burg.” There is recently a sort of unspoken agreement in hymnals to leave the melody “Ein feste Burg” only to its proper text.
6When sung as a repentance and confession hymn, use “Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein.”

Translation: © 2012 Matthew Carver.