|« Prev||Sources of the Tunes||Next »|
During the 16th and 17th centuries Hymnology was in its height in Germany, and bore its most precious blossoms; hymn and tune were then justly considered indivisible, and, though the beauty and popularity of a tune would cause fresh hymns to be written for it, the tune still continued to be known by the name of the original hymn with which it was associated.
ixIn accordance with this precedent, the same original connection between hymn and tune has--with few exceptions--been maintained in this book.33In these cases the term Original Tune is used, with the quotation of the first line of the corresponding hymn in German above it; whenever the same tune appears in the book again, it is quoted with the first line of the English translation. In the few exceptional cases alluded to, the German name of the tune has been given, and the Psalms of Gaudimel have been quoted as they stand in his edition.
Many hymns rightly forming part of a German hymn-book, which in a great measure takes the place in Germany of the Book of Common Prayer in England, have for obvious reasons been excluded from this compilation, and the Editors have thus been enabled to limit the number to two hundred, believing at the same time, that none have been omitted which are essential to the purpose in view.
While the "Chorale Book" contains no English tunes, it nevertheless includes some already well known in this country, such as the "Old Hundredth," the "Veni Creator," that called "Luther's Hymn,"44See tunes XC, CI, LXXI. and others. The origin of every tune, as far as it can be traced, as also the names of the authors of the hymns, are given in the various Indexes at the end of the work, to which the reader is referred. It may however be desirable to give here a short sketch of the growth of hymnology on the continent, and more particularly in Germany, since the Reformation.
When Luther took up the cause of the Reformation, and had to remodel the services of the Church, he believed he could not better enhance their beauty than by appealing to his nation's love for song, and fostering the practice of congregational singing (Gemeindegesang). With this view he made translations from the Latin hymns previously in use in the Church, paraphrased several of the Psalms and Canticles of Holy Scripture, himself wrote many new hymns, and requested his friends to contribute others. As to music, he availed himself in many cases of tunes already existing in the Church, which he sparingly modified to suit his new metres; of other tunes the origin is unknown, and of those ascribed to Luther, three only can be traced with any certainty to him as the composer;55C. von Winterfeld "Der evangelische Kirchengesang??" Vol. 1. p. 160. two of which have been received into this work, No. 124, and No. VI. in the Appendix.
The first important German hymn-book, preceded in the same year by x several smaller books, published under the name of "Enchiridion," Erfurt, &c. &c., appeared under the auspices of Luther in the year 1524. It was edited by his friend, Johann Walther,66Choirmaster ("Sängermeister") of the Palatine of Saxony. and was accompanied by a preface from the pen of Luther himself.
Walther's work (printed with the music for five voices, the melody in the Tenor, as usual at that time), with successive additions, went through several editions (1537 and 1551), and was followed in rapid sequence by numerous similar works, of which those published at Wittenberg, Nürnberg, and Strasburg, are the most important.77We find Luther further contributing to hymn-books or supplying them with a preface in that of Kluge, Wittenberg, 1543, and the one printed by Babst, Leipzig, 1545. Every new book brought fresh additions, and by the end of the 16th century the number of hymns introduced into the Church was counted by hundreds. Among the tunes of this century and the early part of the next, the Editors would especially name V, XIII, XXVI, XXXIX, CVI, CXVII.
The first metrical versions of the Psalms were published in France and Switzerland about the same period. Among the best known, though not the earliest in appearance, is that edited (with the music for four voices) by Goudimel (1565). This work was introduced into Germany by Dr Lobwasser--the Psalms metrically translated by him--in 1373, and its contents soon found their way as a whole or in parts into the Lutheran Church.
Several of Goudimel's Psalm tunes are believed to be of secular origin, and the same should be stated with regard to some among the finest tunes of the 16th century appropriated to the Lutheran service. It speaks well for the character of the secular music of that period, that any of its melodies should have taken a place in the Church, and should have retained it undisputed to the present day. (See XI, XL, LXXXV.)
As another source from which the Lutheran Church gladly drew, the Editors must name the rich store of the early Moravian hymn-books; specimens from which, as well as tunes from Goudimel's edition of the Psalms, will be found in this work.
About the same time Lutheran hymn-books were introduced into Scandinavia, where, especially in Sweden, the hymns and tunes of Germany, with numerous additions of home growth, have remained up to the present time the stock of the national hymn-book. Courland, Livonia, and Finland xi also received these sacred strains into their service, and still retain them, and it should be mentioned here that a Lutheran hymn-book was printed and published in the Icelandic language at Skalholt in Iceland, in the year 1594, of which a sixth edition appeared in 1691.88Winterfeld, $$"Bar Geschichte heiliger Zonlunst," Vol. II.
Towards the middle of the following century (the 17th) Music enters into a new phase. Until then its sole purpose was to serve the Church, through the medium of the human voice and the organ. But now instrumental music, though at first subordinate, begins to make its appearance. Secular Cantatas, forerunners of the Opera, are produced on festive occasions at the courts, particularly of Italy; and German musicians, like those of other countries, who had gone to Italy for study or other purposes, on their return spread the influence which they had themselves received.
In Protestant Germany, Church music gradually became less an object of ambition to composers; fewer tunes, and most of them inferior in quality and vigour to those of the first century after the Reformation, sprung up; nor did the nation at large any longer set its seal upon them by adopting or rejecting them, as before. In the hymn-books of the latter part of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century we also find some of the best old tunes omitted, others deprived of the triple time (3/2) peculiar to them, others again without their distinct rhythm, all levelled to a general standard of lifeless uniformity.
Before passing on to the last period which calls for notice in this place, the Editors would direct the attention of readers to the most prominent tune-composer of the 17th century, Johann Crüger (1598-1662), of whose writing many specimens will be found in this work; also to the tunes composed by Schein, H. Albert, and Schop, and lastly to the celebrated hymn and tune of G. Neumark,1010The tune became so popular, that within 100 years after its appearance no less than 400 hymns had been written to be sung to it. $$"Wer nur ben lieben Gott ä??t waften" (No. 134).
In the beginning of the 18th century, Freylinghausen of Halle published a hymn-book which soon became widely circulated. Further reference being made to it in another place, few words respecting it will suffice here. Among the numerous tunes published for the first time in that work, and of which the individual authors are not known, some are very fine, though differing in character from those of an earlier date.xii
With the exception of one or two tunes most probably composed by Bach, one by Kühnau, one by Layriz1111Kühnau and Layriz have both compiled very good Chorale books. of a still more recent date, and some few others, which need not be specified, Freylinghausen's work in its several enlarged editions is the latest source from which materials for the "Chorale Book for England", have been drawn; nor could it be otherwise, as from that time sacred tunes of real worth rarely make their appearance; and with the diminished interest which Religion commanded in Germany towards the close of the 18th century, the distinctive outward feature of its Church, the hymn-book, also decays. The old standard hymns are improved, as it is termed, by recasting them; the tunes disappear from the hymn-books and are collected separately for the use of the organist, and, the control of the congregation having thus ceased, it is with the organist and the precentor alone that the responsibility for their correct performance rests in future.1212One of the immediate consequences was the predominance of the organ in the service at the expense of the singing of the congregation. This led eventually to a practice in every respect to be deprecated, and which we still find all over Germany, that of introducing between every line of the hymn an interlude performed by the organist. If we further remember the many Principalities of which Germany is made up, each with sovereign authority in Church as well as State, and each possessing its own distinct hymn-book, we can hardly wonder at the unsettled and unsatisfactory state into which the congregational singing of Germany fell.
|« Prev||Sources of the Tunes||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version