Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): Geistliches Lied, Op 30

The Op 30 Geistliches Lied  (Sacred Song) is Brahms’ earliest accompanied choral work he composed it in 1856 – the same year in which he composed his Missa Canonica, he was all of twenty-three years old . It’s an accomplished piece of writing that combines a mastery of counterpoint with a sense of delicacy  to remarkable effect. It consists of an organ accompaniment to four-part double canon in which the tenor follows the soprano, and the bass follows the alto. The first and third sections of the lied have been likened to the columns of a musical arch in that Brahms uses the same music to illustrate different verses of Paul Fleming‘s poem. For the ‘Amen’ which ends the piece Brahms reverses the canon with alto following the bass and the tenor follows the soprano. It’s sung below by the Choir of Westminster Cathedral conducted by Martin Baker. Enjoy :-).


Text & Translation: Geistliches Lied, Op 30

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Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren
Mit trauren;
Sei stille,
Wie Gott es fügt,
So sei vergnügt
Mein Wille.
Do not let yourself be depressed
By sadness;
Be calm,
However God may dispose,
Be content with it,
My will.
Was willst du heute sorgen
Auf morgen?
Der Eine
Steht allem für;
Der gibt auch dir
Das Deine.
Why worry today
About tomorrow?
There is One
Who controls everything;
He will give you
Your share too.
Sei nur in allem Handel
Ohn’ Wandel,
Steh feste;
Was Gott beschleusst,
Das ist und heisst
Das Beste. Amen.

Paul Fleming (1609-1640)

Be constant in everything
You undertake,
Stand firm;
What God ordains
Is and is known to be
Best. Amen.

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