Friday, May 30, 2014

More on Liebster Jesu … variant in 1819 Swedish psalmbook


Mystery solved! (I think …)

The song referred to in the pioneer reminiscence I referenced in a post on Sept. 7 is Hit O Jesu …" and not the baptismal hymn we sing to the melody LEIBSTER JESU

The reminiscence, in The Augustana Synod: a brief review of its history, 1860-1910 (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1910): 25-27:

The people were beside themselves with joy (i. e. over the visit of a minister). Services were announced for the following day (a Saturday) in the school-house, and all who could crawl or walk assembled. Many of them had lived there five and six years and during all that time had never heard a sermon. When they began the service by singing psalm 328 : 'Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word we are gathered all to hear Thee' (Hit, o Jcsu, samloms vi att ditt helga ord fa bora) [26] the singing was smothered by sobs and only after some minutes were they able to continue.

Cite and context, including another congregation where "the service was carried out by one of the members. When they were through and on the way home, he called out: 'Hold on, boys; I forgot to read the benediction,' to which they shouted back : 'Save it till next time!'" on Hogfiddle Sept. 7, 2013

In September I didn't make the distinction between two similar chorales, and wasn't able to get them straightened out in my mind till now. They are:

Both hymns, the first words of which are practically identical, most commonly use Ahle's tune LIEBSTER JESU. But Clausnitzer's gathering hymn was also set to a minor-key variant by Carl Wolfgang Briegel (1687) and got into the 1819 psalmbook with that tune.

I am not going to try to straighten out the Sept. 7 post -- the information I got from the sources I consulted at that time was correct as far as it went -- but I will repost this disclaimer there in order to (hopefully) minimize confusion.

Clausnitzer's gathering hymn is printed in my reprint of Johan Henrik Thomander's Svenska Psalm-Boken Af År 1819 with Carl Wolfgang Briegel's melody in E minor, No. 328. This is the hymn the pioneers were so glad to hear when a pastor came through.

I wasn't able to find Schmolck's baptismal hymn. But apparently the 1819 psalmbook used a baptismal text by Franzén, Du som var den minstes vän (No. 341), translates roughly, "You who are the friend of the least [of these]" … sung to melody of No. 126, which is variant of LIEBSTER JESU in in G major.

The 1901 Augustana hymnal and service book has "Blessed Jesus at Thy word" [Catherine Winkworth's translation] to the melodies by Carl Wolfgang Breigel , 1687 (first tune, identified as Liebser Jesu, in D minor), and Johann Rudolph Ahle, 1664 (second tune, identified as Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, in G major), at No. 151.

The 1925 hymnal offers more choices:

  • No. 225. Blessed Jesus, here we stand. Schmolk's baptismal hymn. Ahle's melody.
  • No. 302. Blessed Jesus at Thy word. Clauswitzer's gathering hymn. Briegels' 1687 melody in D minor.
  • No. 357. Now our worship sweet is over. Text (see below) by Hartmann Schenk. Ahle

* * *

From Swedish Wikipedia pages:

Du som var den minstes vän är en doppsalm med fem verser av Frans Michael Franzén, som bygger på texter i Nya Testamentet, framför allt evangeliet om Jesus och barnen. Diktad 1814. | Den sjungs till en koral komponerad av Johann Rudolf Ahle 1664. Samma melodi används till Benjamin Schmolcks psalmtext Jesu, du, som i din famn.

  • 1819 års psalmbok som nr 341 under rubriken "Kristligt sinne och förhållande. För föräldrar." [But in the Koralbok, No. 341 refers to No. 126 for the melodi.]än

* * *

LBW has No. 187 as baptismal hymn, with Schmolk's words, and 248 as gathering hymn w/ Clausnitzer's.

Bkurbs on all three in the 1925 hymnal from (w/ help from a Lutheran website for the third, which is pretty obscure).

"Blessed Jesus, at Thy word." Text: Tobias Clausnitzer; trans. Catherine Winkworth. A gathering hymn. lists in 119 hymnals.

Blessed Jesus, at Thy word
Author: Tobias Clausnitzer; Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Published in 119 hymnals

1 Blessed Jesus, at your word
we are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred
now to seek and love and fear you.
By your gospel pure and holy,
teach us, Lord, to love you solely.

"Blessed Jesus, here we stand." Baptismal hymn by Benjamin Schmolck, trans. Winkworth. 50 hymnals.

Blessed Jesus, here we stand.
Translator: Catherine Winkworth; Author: Benjamin Schmolck (1704)
Published in 50 hymnals

Dearest Jesus, we are here,
gladly your command obeying.
With this child we now draw near
in response to your own saying
that to you it shall be given
as a child and heir of heaven.

Now our worship sweet is over. Apparently a sending hymn, 17th-century German --

"Now our worship sweet is over."
Author: M. Hartmann Schenk
Published in 11 hymnals: American Lutheran Hymnal #d354 -- Evangelical Lutheran Hymn Book with Tunes #d297 -- Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal #9 Image -- Evangelical Lutheran Hymnbook (Lutheran Conference of Missouri and Other States) #d227 -- Evangelical Lutheran Hymnbook (Lutheran Conference of Missouri and Other States) #d247 -- Hymnal: for churches and Sunday-schools of the Augustana Synod #164 Image Songs of Praise #d208 -- Songs of Praise for Sunday Schools, Church Societies and the Home #d213 -- The Hymnal and Order of Service #d358 -- The Hymnal and Order of Service #d359 -- The Lutheran Hymnary Junior ... of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America #d187

The Free Lutheran Chorale-Book at has the words:

1. Now our worship sweet is o’er—
Singing, praying, teaching, hearing;
Let us gladly God adore
For His gracious strength and cheering.
Praise our God, who now would save us,
For the rich repast He gave us.

Hartmann Schenk, 1634-1681, was a 17th-century German hymn writer and pastor. Biography, in German, at,_Hartmann.

This quote from, copied and pasted from my Sept. 7 post, spells out the relationship:

LlEBSTER JESU is a rather serene German chorale that is ideally sung in three long lines and in parts with light organ accompaniment. In rounded bar form (AABA') LIEBSTER JESU (also called DESSAU and NURENBERG) was originally one of Johann R. Able's “sacred arias,” first published with Franz J. Burmeister's Advent hymn text “Ja, er ist's, das Heil der Welt" in the Mühlhausen, Germany, Neue geistliche auf die Sonntage . . . Andachten (1664). The tune was later modified and published in the Darmstadt, Germany, Das grosse Cantional (1687) as a setting for a baptism hymn by Benjamin Schmolck that had the same first line as Clausnitzer's text: "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier." Because several sources say that LIEBSTER JESU was first associated with Clausnitzer's hymn in the 1671 Altdoifer Gesangbuch, it seems probable that the tune name derives from that hymn text.

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