Musical contribution - April 2019

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden - Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

For the last 200 years, Telemann’s works have been somewhat overshadowed by those of Johann Sebastian Bach, though at the time, Telemann was regarded as the greatest German composer. There was no rivalry between the two, however. Bach is said to have asked Telemann to be godfather to one of his children, Carl Philipp Emanuel. It’s sometimes said of the gentlemen that Telemann gladly received the applause and Bach the wonder.

With hundreds of titles to his name, Telemann was an enormously prolific composer. We know of 48 Choral Preludes, 20 Fugues and some separate works for the organ.

This month’s contribution includes a choral that was originally published under the name “Ach Herr mich armen Sünder”. Because this is the melody from “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden”, and because it exudes the atmosphere of the Passiontide, we’ve explicitly chosen to publish this arrangement this month.

The arrangement features a dialog between alto and tenor with the melody in the bass. The principal 8’ gives it a serene, tranquil mood, so it’s advisable to have a reed as leading stop. Using just a flute 8’ on the manual and opening a principal 8’ in the pedal gives exactly the desired effect.

Telemann originally wrote this arrangement in C minor, but we’ve come across some editions in A minor. We’ve chosen to offer both keys here. The higher version is more suitable for an organ solo, but as prelude for congregational singing, the lower version is better.

Warm regards,

André van Vliet

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