Martin Rinckhart (1586–1649) studied theology at Leipzig University and after his ordination became Minister of the Lutheran Church in his home town of Eilenburg in Saxony. Rinckhart was a prolific writer and composer but much of his work was either lost of destroyed. Opinion is divided as to the date of composition of the hymn Nun danket
; what is clear is that it was used at the Thanksgiving Services in 1648 following the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, which marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The hymn became immensely popular in Germany and was sung at many ceremonial occasions including the completion of Cologne Cathedral (before World War II) and at the laying of the foundation stone of the new Reichstag Building in Berlin by Emperor William in 1884. Catherine Winkworth (1827–1878) translated the hymn and included it in her Chorale Book for England
The German composer and theorist Johannes Cruger (1598–1662) published several theoretical works and collections of Lutheran hymns with music. Many of his settings are still in use including Jesu, meine Freude and Nun danket alle Gott. The melody of the tune Nun danket used on this recording is taken from Cruger’s collection Praxis Pietatis Melica (1644); the harmony is chiefly from the chorale ‘Let all men praise the Lord’ in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (‘Song of Praise’, 1840).
from notes by Sarah Langdon © 1999