Tag Archives: Johann Pachelbel

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost – 15 Sep 13

Lorenzo Perosi

Lorenzo Perosi

Opening Voluntary: Chorale Prelude on Herr Gott, dic loben alle wir (OLD HUNDREDTH) – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706

Motet at the Gospel: Laudate Dominum – Lorenzo Perosi (1872-1956)

Today’s opening voluntary is based on the tune of our final hymn (#377 “All people that on earth do dwell ”), OLD HUNDREDTH. Although one of the most famous traditional hymn tunes, the author, often given as Louis Bourgeois (1510-1560), is actually unknown.  The tune first appears in Théodore Beza’s Pseumes octante trois de David, published in Geneva in 1551. In that hymnal, it was paired with a metrical version of psalm 134, but it was later, in English psalters, combined with Psalm 100 which gave it its hymn tune name. It is difficult now, given the extreme familiarity of the tune, to understand aesthetically how it came to be so popular for English, Scottish and later American churchgoers, but this tune somehow combined qualities that embedded it deeply in the hearts of our ancestors in the faith.  The popularity of the tune saw it translated also into the German chorale tradition in the form of an entirely different hymn, Herr Gott, dic loben alle wir  (Lord God, we all praise you), which by the content of the first line might seem similar to the English text but is, in actuality, a hymn of praise for the holy angels that has often been used for the feast of Michaelmas.  The version at the opening voluntary today is the composition of south German Baroque organ master, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706). Compositionally, it is a work in three voices.  In the upper voices, the opening phrase of the tune is taken as a fugal subject, beginning in the lower of the two lines.  It is followed by the same subject taken at a superior interval of a fifth and continues alternating themes in an ornamental fashion on the further subjects of the tune.  The plain cantus firmus (or melody) in ½ tempo is assigned to the pedal base line.

Following the reading of today’s Gospel lesson, the Schola Cantorum choir sings Lorenzo Perosi’s (1872-1956) motet, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. An accompanied work in two equal voices, this work presents the Latin text of Psalm 117 with a concluding Gloria Patri.  As a Latin psalm, it derives from the Vulgate tradition of using as a base text the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament and thus differs somewhat from our prayerbook and biblical psalters which are translations of the Hebrew originals. Perosi was an Italian composer of sacred music and personal friend of Cardinal Guiseppe Sarto who secured his appointment as director of the Sistine Choir.  Five years later, Sarto was elected Pope Pius X and continued his patronage of Perosi. Shortly after his coronation, Pius X published a Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini of which Perosi was a co-writer. This 1903 document directed the immediate re-instatement of Gregorian chant in Roman Catholic churches worldwide.  Although his actual directorship was interrupted at times for health reasons, Perosi continued his position as Perpetual Director of the Sistine choir until his death, over 50 years later.

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Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost – 19 May 2013

Opening Voluntary:  Prelude on Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott – Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707)

At the Offertory: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Closing Voluntary: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

The Opening Voluntary  for today is based on the German Chorale Tune, Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.  Both the tune for this chorale as well as the text for the first Stanza are by unknown persons.  This hymn, known in English translation as “Come Holy Ghost, God and Lord,” first appeared in 1524 in the Erfurt Gesangbuch, one of the first hymnals of the German reformation and which consisted, in major part, of hymns previously printed as “single sheet” publications known usually in English as “broadsheets.”  The first verse of the chorale is a versification of the antiphon Veni Sancte Spiritus, while the 2d and 3d are compositions of Martin Luther. Of the 26 hymn texts in the publication, 18 were the creation of Martin Luther, either in whole or in part.  This particular chorale was a popular subject for arrangement by German composers.  Today’s version is a chorale prelude in which the melody appears in the highest/treble line in an ornamented form, accompanied by lower imitative voices in manuals and pedals.  It is typical of many other compositions of this type by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707).   In translation, the first stanza of the hymn reads:

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, with all your graces now outpoured on each believer’s mind and heart; Your fervent love to them impart. Lord, by the brightness of your light, in holy faith your Church unite; from every land and every tongue, this to your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung: Alleluia! Alleluia!

The pieces At the Offertory and The Closing Voluntary are both based on another German chorale, Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heliger Geist, sung today as our Offertory Hymn (#501, The Hymnal 1982). Both the tune and the text of this metrical version derive from the 9th Century Latin plainsong hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, found in The Hymnal, 1982 as #504, attributed to the 9th century Benedictine monk and later Archbishop of Mainz, Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856).  In the Latin rite, this hymn has traditionally been appointed for the offices of Terce and Vespers on the feast of Pentecost.  In the post-reformation Anglican liturgy, it appears in the Ordering of Priests and the Consecration of Bishops in the Prayerbook of 1662.  Luther’s metrical version, which we sing today, dates again to 1524 and also was first published in the Erfurt Gesangbuch.  The organ  settings performed today were written as chorale preludes by Johann Pachelbel  (1653-1706) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  Although based on the very same hymn, they are vastly different treatments of this chorale melody.  The version by Pachelbel sets a mood of quite contemplation, while the version by Bach is one of jubilant celebration.


Wednesday in Holy Week – 27 Mar 13

St. Mary's Crucifix

At the Benediction: Chorale Prelude on O Lamm Gottes unschuldig – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Closing Voluntary: Chorale – O Lamm Gottes unschuldig – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

The incidental music for tonight’s liturgy of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is based on the German Chorale O Lamm Gottes unschuldig.  Both text and tune are the work of Nikolaus Decius (1485-1541).  Decius was born in Upper Franconia Bavaria and  studied at the University of Leipzig and obtained a master’s degree at Wittenberg University. He became a monk and, by 1519, Probst of the cloister at Steterburg near Wolfenbüttel. Influenced by the ideas of Martin Luther (1483-1546), he left the cloister in 1522 and went to Brunswick where he was appointed a master in the St. Katherine and Egidien school. In 1523 he was invited to Stettin by the burgesses there to become an evangelical preacher.  He was recognized as the pastor of St. Nicholas church in 1535 and died there suddenly in 1541 of suspected poisoning. Shortly before his death, he wrote the hymn O Lamm Gottes unschuldig, a hymn expanding and paraphrasing the Angus Dei of the Latin mass and adapting an earlier tune from the 13th century. It was first published in the Christliche Kirchen-Ordnung in 1542.

O Lamb of God most holy!

Who on the cross did suffer,

And patient, still and lowly,

Yourself to scorn did offer;

Our sins by You were taken,

Or hope had us forsaken.

Your peace be with us, Jesus. 

The organ setting played this evening is the work of south German organist, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706).  Pachelbel was born in Nuremburg into a middle class family as the son of a wine dealer. He began his music studies at an early age and by 1673 was living in Vienna where he was deputy organist there at the famous Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. After spending one year in Eisenach in 1677, he moved to Erfurt where he remained for 12 years.  It was during this time that he began composing many of the Chorale Preludes for organ that were to be his most notable contributions to south German music and which comprised fully half of his works for organ.  After brief employ in Stuttgart and Gotha, Pachelbel returned to his native Nuremburg where his fame was such that he was hired without audition and without the position being offered out to other possible candidates.  He died there in 1706 at the age of only 52 years.


2d Sunday in Advent – 9 Dec 12

adventcandles2

Opening Voluntary: Prelude on Freu dich sehr – Alfred Fedak (1953-)

At Communion: Bereden väg för Herran – G. Winston Cassler (1906-1990)

Closing Voluntary: Freu dich sehr – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

The opening and closing voluntaries today are based on the tune of our offertory hymn, “Comfort, comfort ye my people” (#67, The Hymnal 1982). The text was written by Johannes Olearius (1611-1684) and is a meditation on Isaiah 40:1-8.  Olearius was a German Protestant theologian and hymn writer. He began his university studies in theology at Wittenberg University in 1629 and became part of the theology faculty in 1638. Olearius wrote a commentary on the entire bible and was the editor of the Geistliche Singe-Kunst (Leipzig, 1671) one of the largest and most important German hymn books of the 17th century. Comprised of over a thousand hymns, more than three hundred were Olearius’ own works. The tune with which the hymn is paired, known as PSALM 42 or Freu dich sehr, was likely composed by Louis Bourgeois (1510-1560) and first appeared in the Calvinist hymnal, Pseaumes Octantetrois de David first published in Geneva in 1551. In German Lutheran tradition, the melody came to be associated with the text “Freu dich sehr, O meine Seele,” and is, thus, often known by that name. The settings played for the Opening Voluntary are selections from a Partita (a collection of variations on a tune) by American composer and organist, Alfred Victor Fedak (b. 1953). Fedak is a graduate of Hope College and holds a master’s degree in organ performance from Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He is presently the organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Capitol Hill, in Albany, NY.  The concluding voluntary on the same tune is a setting by south German, Baroque organist and composer, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706).

 The short composition at the communion is based on our final hymn for today, “Prepare the way, O Zion” (#65, The Hymnal 1982).  One of the great Advent hymns of the Church of Sweden, this hymn has been in continuous use for more than 200 years in that country. Written by Frans Mikael Franzén (1772-1847), it was first published in a trial collection of hymns in 1812 before its inclusion in the Church of Sweden’s Den Svenska Psalmboken of 1819. Like “Comfort, comfort ye my people,” the hymn is based on the biblical text of Isaiah 40 as well as Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21. The hymn came to the United States in the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal of 1958 and made its first appearance in The Episcopal Church in The Hymnal 1982. The tune, Beredem väg för Herran, is by an unknown composer and first appeared in print in the 1697 version of Den Svenska Psalmboken.  The setting at the communion was composed by American organist G. Winston Cassler (1906-1990).  Cassler studied at Oberlin College and was a pupil in England of Sir Ernest Bullock. Cassler was professor of music at St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, Minnesota until his retirement.


Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost – 27 May 12

Opening Voluntary:  Prelude on Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott – Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707)

At the Communion: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Closing Voluntary: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

The Opening Voluntary  for today is based on the German Chorale Tune, Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.  Both the tune for this chorale as well as the text for the first Stanza are by unknown persons.  This hymn, known in English translation as “Come Holy Ghost, God and Lord,” first appeared in 1524 in the Erfurt Gesangbuch, one of the first hymnals of the German reformation and which consisted, in major part, of hymns previously printed as “single sheet” publications known usually in English as “broadsheets.”  The first verse of the chorale is a versification of the antiphon Veni Sancte Spiritus, whilst the 2d and 3d are compositions of Martin Luther. Of the 26 hymn texts in the publication, 18 were the creation of Martin Luther, either in whole or in part.  This particular chorale was a popular subject for arrangement by German composers.  Today’s version is chorale prelude in which the melody appears in the highest/treble line in an ornamented form, accompanied by lower imitative voices in manuals and pedals.  It is typical of many other compositions of this type by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707).   In translation, the first stanza of the hymn reads:

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, with all your graces now outpoured on each believer’s mind and heart; Your fervent love to them impart. Lord, by the brightness of your light, in holy faith your Church unite; from every land and every tongue, this to your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung: Alleluia! Alleluia!

The pieces At the Communion and The Closing Voluntary are both based on another German chorale, Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heliger Geist, sung today as our Offertory Hymn (#501, The Hymnal 1982). Both the tune and the text of this metrical version derive from the 9th Century Latin plainsong hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, found in The Hymnal, 1982 as #504, attributed to the 9th century Benedictine monk and later Archbishop of Mainz, Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856).  In the Latin rite, this hymn has traditionally been appointed for the offices of Terce and Vespers on the feast of Pentecost.  In the post-reformation Anglican liturgy, it appears in the Ordering of Priests and the Consecration of Bishops in the Prayerbook of 1662.  Luther’s metrical version, which we sing today, dates again to 1524 and also was first published in the Erfurt Gesangbuch.  The organ  settings performed today were written as chorale preludes by Johann Pachelbel  (1653-1706) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  Although based on the very same hymn, they are vastly different treatments of this chorale melody.  The version by Pachelbel sets a mood of quite contemplation, whilst the version by Bach is one of jubilant celebration.


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