This is one of the only two Swedish texted works by Buxtehude to have survived (I wrote about the other one at the start of September, see Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): Att du Jesu vill mig höra | Saturday Chorale – mfi). The text of Herren, vår Gud (The Lord Our God) is a poetic paraphrasis of Psalm 20 and the melody can be found in Den Svenska psalmboken Koralbok, published in 1697. I don’t know who it was composed for but I think it most likely that it was composed for Düben who was the organist at the German Church in Stockholm for use both at court and at the church. Nor do I know where the melody actually comes from however it could have been a pre-existing melody or it could be of Buxtehude’s own devising because while the Swedish psalter was published in 1697 Buxtehude’s composition predates it by at least ten years.
Musically it’s a very typically Buxtehudian piece that starts with a tremolo of repeated eight notes to denote sorrow and with a body consisting of a concertato chorale in which he combines the instrumental elements of the concerto with the four-part harmonisations of the Swedish Lutheran hymnbook. He ends with a cheerfully bouncy Amen signifying the congregation’s confidence that their prayer has been heard. Enjoy :-).
Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): Herren, vår Gud (BuxWV 40).
Herren, vår Gud, vare dig blid
The Lord our God be kind to you
Dig vare pris, Gud Fader kär,
Praise be to you, dear God and Father,
Performers: Theatre of Voices conducted by Paul Hillier