Hyperion Records

Herzliebster Jesu
Robert Bridges was trained as a doctor but left that profession to devote himself to literature and music. In 1913 he was appointed Poet Laureate. It was as choirmaster of the village church of Yattendon that he became impatient with the low quality of the words and music of the hymns then in use. This led to the publication in 1899 of The Yattendon Hymnal, a lavishly produced volume with many superb versions of German hymns. These are rarely exact translations, but move from the original to become Bridges’ reworking of the theme, as in this case. Here he is working on an original from the period of the Thirty Years War, a time of intense personal suffering for Johann Heermann.

Versions of the tune were current in the seventeenth century, including the one by Crüger, which J S Bach took and used in several versions in both the St John and St Matthew Passions. Heermann’s hymn begins ‘Herzliebster Jesu’ (‘Heart-beloved Jesus’).

from notes by Alan Luff 2002

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