Different ERHALT UNS, HERR tunes?
  • mhjell
    Posts: 32
    The Vatican II Hymnal threw us a curve. Jeff O's #243 ERHALT UNS, HERR tune is different from the ERHALT UNS, HERR that we knew for The Glory of These Forty Days from GIA, OCP, & WLP. What's the origin of the two different tunes with the same name?
  • I have not seen the 'Erhalt uns, Herr' in the Vatican II Hymnal, but the one in Worship III is a variant of the tune, ornamented with passing tones & cet, and is better known as 'Spires'. (See The Hymnal 1940, no. 61)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,021
    Bach (and others) in setting hymn/chorale tunes frequently took liberties with the melodies.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I should add: until two weeks ago, there was an error in the organ accompaniment book. The "Alternate Tune" provided was meant to be the one which is more well known. Unfortunately, until the error was caught, many of the accompaniment books have been missing the more well known version.

    The good news is that the "Alternate Tune" was corrected about two weeks ago (both in the website and the accompaniment books for sale).

    CLICK HERE and view Page 243 "Alternate" version of "The Glory Of These Forty Days."

    Again, I apologize for the confusion. I suppose it is normal with a project this large to have a few "glitches." However, I still feel bad. None of the other errors we have found have been as major as this one, thanks be to God!

    Incidentally, if I am allowed to venture an opinion, I would like to suggest that the opening few bars of the "more well known" tune present problems from the viewpoint of compositional excellence. To be quite blunt, it suffers from an acute case of what my composition professors used to call "wander-itis." This is the reason we favored the other variant, although we always included the other version as an alternate.
  • mhjell
    Posts: 32
    Thanks, M, C, & J!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,021
    The "less well-known" version (I suppose JMO means less well-known to Catholics and/or Anglicans) of ERHALT UNS HERR is very well-known to Lutherans and appears in several of their hymnals. The various forms of the tune as used by Bach are all different from this, including the "well-known" familiar version (aka SPIRES in the Hymnal 1940).

    This is not really anything new as regards how various German chorales have come down to us, especially as refined and harmonized by J.S. Bach. For example, the "PASSION CHORALE" (of "O sacred Head..."), is the tune HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN, and all of Bach's harmonizations of this tune from the St. Matthew Passion differ from what (usually termed "rhythmic" as opposed to "isorhythmic") you will find in many Lutheran hymnals. My favorite Bach harmonization of this tune happens to be the final instance of the tune in the St. Matthew Passion, to the text "Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden" - so much more intense and reflective than the other Bach version usually printed in our hymnals.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    My understanding is that even ERHALT UNS is a variant of a Gregorian hymn...
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,021
    Some claim a relationship of ERHALT UNS HERR with the Ambrosian chant "Veni Redemptor gentium", but my understanding is that this chant is related more to NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND (albeit with a metre change from 88.88 to 77.77).
  • CHG's and Gavin's remarks prompted me to consult the ever-useful The Hymnal 1940 Companion (the which many of you probably have, and which those of you who don't have should somehow get). The Companion offers 5 stanzas of the post-10th century Latin hymn at Matins for Lent III-Passion Sunday, Clarum decus ieiunii (by Gregory the Great?), as the inspiration for the hymn, The Glory of these Forty Days. The tune dates to 1543. Early versions in plainchant notation 'suggest an earlier history'. The version called 'Spires' (under discussion here) is taken from Bach's cantata no. 6 for Eastertide. The simpler version of this tune, known as 'Erhalt uns Herr', is known to Lutherans with the hymn 'Lord, keep us steadfast in thy word', which has an interesting history of its own... not touched upon here.
    P.S. - to echo CHG: According to The Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, the tune is derived from the 12th century plainchant tune 'Veni, Redemptor Gentium'.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen