Sheet music

Musical contribution - January 2012

Wie schön leucht’t uns der Morgenstern
J.C.H. Rinck (1770-1846)

First and foremost, I would like to wish you all a happy, musical and, above all, a very blessed New Year.  We certainly hope to see you here, on Johannus Orgelbouw’s website, on a monthly basis.  If the months of November and December were all about Advent and Christmas, then January will be bringing us the Epiphany season.  A time to celebrate the three wise men/kings.

The text is by the vicar Nicolai.  This Lutheran preacher wrote this song after a terrible illness swept across the town where he worked.  There were weeks when he had to suffer more than 20 funerals per day.  He passionately speaks about the Heavenly Groom, infused by Psalm 45 and part of the “Revelation” bible book.

He was also responsible for writing the melody.  It’s now more than 400 years old, yet still young and dynamic.  Why is it that some melodies only steal the limelight for a very brief period and others are still being sung many centuries later?

The German composer Johann Christian Heinrich Rinck wrote a number of variations of this song.  He was taught to love the “Choralvorspiel” as an indirect J.S. Bach student (he was taught by Kittel, who had been one of Bach’s students).  As a contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven, he linked the baroque counterpoint with the new world of the Viennese classics.  He managed to write his variations in a less severe manner and with a gallant style.

This time I won’t be providing you with any registration instructions.  I myself have opted for playing the opening chorale with a principal 8’.  This makes this 4-part setting sound even more tranquil. Variation 1 is given a little more movement as a result of the beautifully running lines.  In order to ensure these lines aren’t interrupted, I have decided not to make use of the prescribed fermata on the final note of the sentence. I feel variation 2 has a forte tone. You can particularly enjoy the long parallel running lines in the accompanying voices.

And if you really can’t get enough of it all, then I can also advise you that Rinck has written many of this type of adaptations.

Enjoy!

André van Vliet