Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn

Johann Walter
Wittenberg, 1524

Appearing in 1524, the same year as the Achtliederbuch and the Erfurt Enchiridion, which were intended for congregational and home use and provided only texts and melodies, Johann Walter’s Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn furnished choirs with four- and five-part polyphonic settings of the hymns of Luther and his colleagues. Many of the tunes were by either Luther or Walter, and some of the arrangements were quite elaborate. Each voice part was printed in its own volume, the melody generally residing in the tenor (available here, together with the bass volume). A complete score with all five parts, printed in 1878 by Otto Kade, is available here.

Luther’s Preface

That it is good, and pleasing to God, to sing spiritual songs is not, I think, unknown to any Christian, since not only the example of the prophets and kings of the Old Testament (who praised God with singing and music, with poetry and all kinds of stringed instruments), but also the like practice of all Christendom from the beginning, especially in respect to psalms, is known to everyone. Yea, even St. Paul instituted the same in 1 Cor. 14, and to the Colossians he gave the command to sing spiritual songs and psalms from the heart unto the Lord, that thereby God’s Word and Christian doctrine might be in every way furthered and practiced.

For this reason have I too, together with a few others, in order to make a good beginning and to give an incentive to others who can do it better, assembled a few spiritual songs, in order to further and to bring into full play the holy Gospel, which now by God’s grace is risen up again, that we too may boast, as does Moses in his song, Ex. 15, that Christ is our praise and our song, and that we should know nothing to sing or speak other than Jesus Christ our Savior, as Paul saith, 1 Cor. 2.

And furthermore, these songs have also been set in four parts, for no other reason than that I would fain that our youth, who at any rate shall be, and should be, instructed in music and other fine arts, should have something whereby they may rid themselves of amorous and carnal songs, and in their stead learn something wholesome, and so apply themselves to what is good with pleasure, as becometh the young. Also, because I am not of the mind that all arts should be beaten to the ground and made to perish by the Gospel, as some fanatics pretend; but I would fain see all the arts, especially music, in the service of Him who hath given and created them. Therefore I ask that every pious Christian be pleased with this and, according as God hath given him like or greater gifts, help forward my undertaking. As it is, the world is, alas, far too lax and forgetful in training and teaching our poor youth that one should not join in giving his all for the encouragement of the same. God grant us His grace. Amen.

Martin Luther, 1524
Translation based on Robert Massie, Martin Luther’s Spiritual Songs, London, 1854, revised by Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2018


 

Contents
  1. Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist (Tune: Nun bitten wir)
  2. Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott (Tune: Komm, Heiliger Geist)
  3. Mitten wir im Leben sind (Tune: Mitten wir im Leben sind)
  4. Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (Tune: Aus tiefer Not)
  5. Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet (Tune: Gott sei gelobet)
  6. Ein neues Lied wir heben an (Tune: Ein neues Lied)
  7. Dein armer Hauf, Herr, tut klagen (Tune: Dein armer Hauf)
  8. Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein (Tune: Ach Gott vom Himmel b)
  9. Christ lag in Todesbanden (Tune: Christ lag in Todesbanden b)
  10. Christ lag in Todesbanden (Tune: Christ lag in Todesbanden)
  11. Christ lag in Todesbanden (Tune: Christ lag in Todesdbanden)
  12. Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein (Tune: Christ unser Herr)
  13. Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott (Tune: Erbarm dich mein)
  14. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein (Tune: Nun freut euch b)
  15. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein (Tune: Nun freut euch)
  16. Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt (Tune: Durch Adams Fall b)
  17. Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt (Tune: Durch Adams Fall c)
  18. Dies sind die heilgen Zehn Gebot (Tune: Dies sind die heilgen)
  19. Mensch, willt du leben seliglich (Tune: Mensch, willt du leben)
  20. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Tune: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland)
  21. Christum wir sollen loben schon (Tune: Christum wir sollen loben schon)
  22. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (Tune: Gelobet seist du, Jesu)
  23. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns (Tune: Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns)
  24. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns (Tune: Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns)
  25. Fröhlich wollen wir Alleluia singen (Tune: Fröhlich wollen wir Alleluia)
  26. Wohl dem, der in Gottes Furcht steht (Tune: Wohl dem, der in Gottes Furcht)
  27. Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (Tune: Mit Fried und Freud)
  28. Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit (Tune: Wär Gott nicht mit uns)
  29. Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn (Tune: Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn)
  30. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl (Tune: Es spricht der Unweisen)
  31. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod (Tune: Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod)
  32. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod (Tune: Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der den Tod)
  33. Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist (Tune: Komm, Gott Schöpfer)
  34. Gott der Vater wohn uns bei (Tune: Gott der Vater wohn uns bei)
  35. Wir glauben all an einen Gott (Tune: Wir glauben all an einen Gott)
  36. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Tune: Es ist das Heil)
  37. Hilf Gott, wie ist der Menschen Not (Tune: Hilf Gott, wie ist der Menschen Not)
  38. In Gott gelaub ich, daß er hat aus nicht (Tune: In Gott gelaub ich c)
  39. Festum nunc celebre
  40. Deus qui sedes super thronum
  41. Deus misereatur nostri
  42. Cotidie apud vos eram
  43. Vivo ego dicit dominus

     

    Texts Introduced

     

    Tunes Introduced