Yet even though I suffer the world’s unpleasantness, And though the days grow rougher, And bring me great distress, That day of bliss divine forever shall be mine. The HYMN OF THE DAY, “From God Can Nothing Move Me” (713) is based on Psalm 73.23: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”
Ludwig Helmbold (1532-1598) wrote this hymn in 1563 at the outbreak of a plague in Erfurt, Germany. Many residents fled the city, and Helmbold penned this hymn for a friend, as their families were anxious at their parting and, concerned for their future, considered they might never see each other again.
Worthy of note among Helmbold’s writings are his complete metrical version of the Augsburg Confession. He also wrote “Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain” (865), a summary of the six chief parts of the Christian faith.
The PRELUDE is a setting of this hymn by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) from his 1723 collection 18 Chorale Preludes. This fantasia super features the melody in the pedal.
The introduction to the hymn is by Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), whose father was J.S. Bach’s cousin. J.C. Bach served as organist in Erfurt. He wrote a collection of 44 chorale preludes, from which today’s introduction is taken. He and his wife, Maria, had seven sons, four of whom also became musicians.
Oh, may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us. The HYMN TO DEPART, “Now Thank We All Our God” (895) by Martin Rinckart (1586-1649) was sung to celebrate the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. It is based on Sirach 50.22-24.
How Beautiful and Lovely! Today’s CHORAL VOLUNTARY is a setting of Psalm 84 by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). The text is from a collection known as the Becker Psalter, a collection of metrical settings of the Psalms. They are metrical because each stanza is in a meter (pattern of same number of syllables per stanza) and they rhyme, like a hymn. The author, Cornelius Becker (1561-1604), was pastor in Leipzig.
Heinrich Schütz was a German composer whose work represents Italian styles of music being brought to Germany at the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque era. Schütz is associated with the Becker Psalter because, although other composers are represented in the collection, he wrote most of the settings for Becker’s metrical psalm texts.
The texts were published in 1602. The four-part musical settings were first published in 1628 and expanded in 1661.