Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater, BuxWV 82

The text of O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater (Oh gracious, oh gentle, oh heavenly Father), is a free poetry meditation based on the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15 and verses from Psalms it’s a bit unusual for one of Buxtehude’s cantatas because Buxtehude added the direction Motetta sub communione which means that he intended it to be performed during the Lutheran Liturgy and not during the Abendmusiken – the concerts which he gave in Lübeck on Sunday afternoons during the weeks of Advent. I’m not quite sure in which year he composed it but Snyder (Snyder 2007) says that it was copied for the Düben Collection in 1675 so it must date from some few years prior to that. It’s a warm, intimate, piece, that consists of two free-form arias bracketing the central recitative very madrigalian in style. It’s scored for one or two soloists and a string ensemble made up of instruments of the viola da gamba family. The free-form nature chosen by Buxtehude reflects the text as does the way in which he breaks up musical phrases and forces breaks in the melodic line with repeated supplications and exclamations. It’s a moving piece of music to this day and must have had an electrifying effect on the the congregation in Lübeck when they first heard it. Enjoy :-).

mfi

Video & Commentary Source: Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater, BuxWV 82 – YouTube Published on 9 Feb 2015 by markfromireland.

Text & Translation: O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater, BuxWV 82

O clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater,
peccavi in te et in coelum ipsum,
non sum dignus qui filius tuus dicar,
o clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater.

Oh gracious, oh gentle, oh heavenly Father,
I have sinned against you and against heaven itself,
I am not worthy to be called your son,
oh gracious, oh gentle, oh heavenly Father.

Paterna enim tua bonitate et leni imperio
ad meam perditionem turpiter abiisus sum.
Fac me, Pater, sicut unum ex mercenariis tuis,
o clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater.

For from your fatherly kindness and from your gentle dominion
I have shamefully strayed, to my own undoing.
Make me like one of your hired servants,

oh gracious, oh gentle, oh heavenly Father.

Pasce et recrea me, coelestis,
tua gratia, ut sic confortatus
tibi in tua domo
cum puritate et iustitia
per omnes vitae meae dies
inservire et ministrare possim,
o clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater.

Comfort and enliven me again,
oh heavenly one, through your mercy, so that I, thus strengthened,
in your house can be,
in purity and justness,
all the days of my life
at your service,
oh gracious, oh gentle, oh heavenly Father.

Series Navigation<< Andreas Hammerschmidt (1612-1675): Sonata super: Nun lob, mein Seel, den HerrenEpiphany Cantata: Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) – O Jesu, du mein Leben >>

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