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Eleven Choral Preludes, Op 122
composer

Recordings
'Organ Dreams, Vol. 3' (CDA67317)
Organ Dreams, Vol. 3
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Details
No 01: Mein Jesu, der du mich zum Lustspiel ewiglich
Track 13 on CDA67317 [4'09] Archive Service
No 02: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen?
Track 14 on CDA67317 [3'03] Archive Service
No 03: O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (first setting)
Track 15 on CDA67317 [2'46] Archive Service
No 04: Herzlich tut mich erfreuen
Track 16 on CDA67317 [1'49] Archive Service
No 05: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
Track 17 on CDA67317 [3'03] Archive Service
No 06: O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen
Track 18 on CDA67317 [1'23] Archive Service
No 07: O Gott, du frommer Gott
Track 19 on CDA67317 [4'51] Archive Service
No 08: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
Track 20 on CDA67317 [2'24] Archive Service
No 09: Herzlich tut mich verlangen (first setting)
Track 21 on CDA67317 [2'11] Archive Service
No 10: Herzlich tut mich verlangen (second setting)
Track 22 on CDA67317 [3'50] Archive Service
No 11: O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (second setting)
Track 23 on CDA67317 [3'29] Archive Service

Eleven Choral Preludes, Op 122
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Brahms spent the summer of 1896, his last, at Ischl in Upper Austria. In the previous few years he had lost a great many of his closest friends, including the pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow and the scholar Philip Spitta, but perhaps the cruellest loss was that of Clara Schumann, who had succumbed to a stroke in May. The gruelling forty-hour journey which he undertook to attend her funeral undoubtedly took its toll on his own health; the liver cancer that would end his life in April of the following year was already far advanced, and he spent much of his time putting his affairs in order. It was at Ischl that he composed his last music, the Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op 122. It is intensely private music, and while certain of the chorales he chose treat of death, the collection is not exclusively to do with endings. In fact, the best-known item, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen, is concerned with a most important beginning – the birth of the Saviour. Even in the pieces about death, particularly the final setting of O Welt ich muss dich lassen the emphasis is on the bliss and transcendence which will come beyond mortal life. Although in a letter he did refer to them as being not for publication, he did not destroy the manuscript as he had done much other material, and he did have a fair copy made of the first seven preludes; his friend and editor Mandyczewski took this as an indication that he may have been planning to add further pieces. They were finally published in 1902.

(1) Mein Jesu, der du mich (‘My Jesus, you who have chosen me for eternal delight’): Cantus firmus in the pedal with imitative interludes in the manuals, in motet style.

(2) Herzliebster Jesu (‘Beloved Jesus, how have you offended’): Lightly decorated chorale melody in upper part with expressive motivic working underneath, in a style reminiscent of the Orgelbüchlein.

(3) O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (‘O world, I must leave you’) (first setting): Again cantus firmus in upper part, but this time with brief interludes. A richly chromatic sighing motif in accompaniment.

(4) Herzlich tut mich erfreuen (‘I am deeply gladdened by the lovely summertime’): Melody in top part with more extended interludes. The figuration is somewhat pianistic with typically Brahmsian cross-rhythms.

(5) Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (‘Bedeck yourself, O dear soul’): Unadorned chorale melody in upper part with two free-flowing contrapuntal lines underneath.

(6) O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen (‘Oh, how blessed you are, you godly ones’): Similar to previous number but the accompanying texture is fuller and more harmonically based.

(7) O Gott, du frommer Gott (‘O God, you benevolent God’): Another movement in motet style in which the chorale migrates between the different voices.

(8) Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (‘A rose has arisen from a tender root’): Unlike all the other preludes in the set there is no obvious Bach model for this setting. It is a harmonic meditation on the chorale in a consistent four-part texture (until the last bar) – the chorale is rendered virtually undetectable by the constant use of expressive appoggiaturas.

(9) Herzlich tut mich verlangen (‘ I deeply long for a blissful end’) (first setting): Decorated melody in upper voice with motivic working underneath.

(10) Herzlich tut mich verlangen (second setting): Cantus firmus in pedal with flowing semiquaver accompaniment.

(11) O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (second setting): A relatively straightforward harmonisation of the lines of the chorale, broken up by answering phrases which echo the final notes of each line.

from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2002

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67317 track 21
Herzlich tut mich verlangen (first setting)
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-02-31721
Duration
2'11
Recording date
26 October 2001
Recording venue
Truro Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Organ Dreams, Vol. 3 (CDA67317)
    Disc 1 Track 21
    Release date: June 2002
    Deletion date: January 2013
    Archive Service
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