Epiphany Cantata: Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) – O Jesu, du mein Leben

Mantegna adoration

Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) was one of the outstanding German composers of his time he wrote both secular and religious music particularly church cantatas, of which he wrote over 2000 nearly all of which alas are now lost. He wound up as the music master at the court at Weissenfels which under his direction rapidly became known as a centre of excellence of German music. He started his musical career as a child studying under first under Johann Drechsel and then Gabriel Schütz. Aged 14 he went to Copenhagen studying organ and composition under Johannes Schröder who at the time was royal Danish organist he also studied composition under Kaspar Förster. He was offered a post at Christiania (Oslo) but turned it down preferring instead to take up a post at Nuremburg. He was poached from there by the Margrave Christian Ernst and worked at Bayreuth until the Margrave left in 1673 to join the war against France. As there is little call for organists on battlefields Krieger travelled to Italy and studied there for two years on full pay. On his return to Austria he played for the Emperor Leopold I in Vienna who was so impressed that he ennobled him and all his siblings. Krieger then travelled to the court at Halle to take up a post as Kapellmeister a position he held for the rest of his life. He was a prolific composer both of secular and religious music and, as mentioned above, composed over 2000 cantatas. Only 76 of these survive which is a pity because it was Krieger who had the idea of writing cantatas in the Italian style using recitatives and arias, to which biblical verses and chorale stanzas were later added. In short Krieger was the father of the "New Cantata". Buxtehude and Pachelbel both owe him a considerable musical debt and through Buxtehude so does Bach. O Jesu, du mein Leben which was written for Epiphany is very typical of Krieger’s cantatas with its clear melodic structure and simple harmonies and rhythms it’s also very Germanic in its use of violin and bass viol instrumental passages to divide the composition into several parts. Enjoy :-)


Video & Commentary Source: Epiphany Cantata: Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) – O Jesu, du mein Leben – YouTube Uploaded on 27 Dec 2014 by markfromireland

Text & Translation: O Jesu, du mein Leben

O Jesu, du mein Leben,
Dir hab ich mich ergeben,
Denn deine Güt ist mir bewußt,
O Jesu, meines Herzens Lust.

O Jesus, thou my life,
I have surrendered myself to you,
Since I am conscious of your goodness.
O Jesus, joy of my heart.

Wie dich das Heiden-Volk
Gefunden in der Ferne,
So folg ich deinem Wort
Als meinem Morgensterne.

As the pagans
Found you far away,
So I am following your word
As my morning star.

Du bist meine Wonne
Und meines Lebens Sonne,
Du bist mein auserwähltes Teil,
Der Seelen Trost und ewigs Heil.

You are my bliss
And the sun of my life,
You are my chosen part,
The consolation of souls and eternal salvation.

Drum, wenn ich dich nur habe,
So hab ich eine Gabe,
Die besser ist als Gold und Geld,
Ja köstlicher als alle Welt.

If I have you,
I have a better gift
Than gold or money,
More exquisite than the whole world.

Ich bin und bleibe deine,
Du bist und bleibest meine,
Dir schenk ich Weihrauch, Myrrhen, Gold;
Gott, Mensch und König, sei mir hold!

I am and remain yours,
You are and remain mine,
I give you incense, myrrh and gold;
May God, mankind and the King be dear to me.

Series Navigation<< Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater, BuxWV 82Balduin Hoyou (±1547–1594): Aus Tiefer Not >>

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