Franz Tunder (1614-1667): An Wasserflüssen Babylon

Tunder’s setting of  An Wasserflüssen Babylon (By the waters of Babylon) is one of only seventeen vocal works of his that survived.  It’s a straightforward setting that uses the chorale melody in the vocal part and surrounds it with a delicate web of instrumental counterpoint that expresses the sense of loss and exile. It’s a lovely piece of music, mournful without becoming maudlin, with some very fine chromatic writing at  "wir weinten" (we wept). Tunder’s music was written to appeal to an audience whose taste in entertainment ran to religious music, it clearly succeeded brilliantly as the success of the Musikabend tradition which he founded and Buxtehude continued shows. Given the quality of his surviving works I think it’s easy to see why his contemporaries held him and his music in such esteem.  Enjoy :-).



I wrote about Tunder earlier in this series see: Franz Tunder (1614-1667): Salve mi Jesu | Saturday Chorale .

Text & Translation:  An Wasserflüssen Babylon

An Wasserflüssen Babylon,
Da sassen wir mit Schmerzen,
Als wir gedachten an Zion,
Da weinten wir von Herzen.
Wir hingen auf mit schwerem Muth
Die Orgeln und die Harfen gut
An ihre Bäum der Weiden,
Die drinnen sind in ihrem Land;
Da mussten wir viel Schmach und Schand’
Täglich von ihnen leiden.

Psalm 137

By the waters of Babylon
There we sat in grief;
As we thought of Zion,
There we wept from the depths of our hearts.
We hung up, with heavy emotions,
Our organs and good harps
On the trees of their pastures,
That are within their lands;
There we must endure much shame and humiliation
At their hands daily

Series Navigation<< Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707): Wenn ich, Herr Jesu, habe dich (BuxWV 102)Franz Tunder (1614-1667): Ach Herr, laß deine lieben Engelein >>

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