Jesus, all my gladness #701

# 701  Jesus, all my gladness

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Text:      Johann Franck, translated by Catherine Winkworth

Tune:     Jesu, meine freude

Composer: Johann Cruger

 It does my Lutheran heart good to share these comments about one of my favorite hymns.  Surely there are few hymns as moving, as personal as this.

From The Hymnal 1982 Companion:

This famous text and tune, first matched in 1656, unite a profound and deeply personal expression of the yearning for spiritual union between the worshiper and Jesus Christ.  The text, originally 6 stanzas, was modeled on a German love song,” Flora meine Freude.”  The first translation of this text into English was by Catherine Winkworth for the Chorale Book for England, 1863.  The text as it appears in the 1982 Hymnal is a translation of stanzas 1,4, and 6 of the original and is a slightly altered version of the translation by Arthur Wellesley Wotherspoon  for the Scottish Mission Hymnbook, and then made its way into the 1940 Hymnal.     

Just for comparison, here is the translation of stanza 1 from The Lutheran Hymnal and the translation from our 1982 Hymnal.  You tell me which one you like best …

Lutheran:

Jesus, priceless Treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.

Episcopalian:

Jesus, all my gladness,
my repose in sadness,
Jesus, heaven to me;
ah, my heart long plaineth,
ah, my spirit straineth,
longeth after thee!
Thine I am, O holy Lamb;
only where thou art is pleasure,
thee alone I treasure.

Cruger wrote the tune in 1653.  Bach later based his great five-part motet on this text and tune and also utilized the tune in several cantatas and organ works.  It is considered one of the finest of post-Reformation tunes and texts.

Here is the hymn with the Bach harmonization [not in our Hymnal.]   I think the simple piano setting is very moving.  YOUTUBE BACH HARMONY  And here is the Bach motet using the tune. It’s 20 minutes long but well worth it.  YOUTUBE BACH MOTET