Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!) *** An excerpt from the beginning of the PREFATORY NOTE: NO other country can vie with Germany in wealth of hymnody. Much of it was pre-Reformation in origin. Most of it was fruit of the spiritual exaltation of the Reformation and the Thirty Years War. In its development the year 1524 is the starting-point—the “crucial year for German Church-music,” Schweitzer calls it. It witnessed the publication of the first German Hymn-Book, Etlich Christlich lider Lobgesang, und Psalm (Wittenberg, 1524), which contained eight hymns, set to four melodies. Another, Eyn Enchiridion oder Handbuchlein...geystlicher gesenge und Psalmen, Rechtschaffen und kunstlich verteutscht, was issued at Erfurt, and contained twenty-five hymns, set to sixteen melodies. In the same momentous year Johann Walther published at Wittenberg, under Luther’s direction, his Geystlichegesangk Buchleyn, which contained thirty-two hymns, and forty-three, mostly five-part, musical settings. Twenty-one years later (1545) Valentin Babst published at Leipzig his Geystliche Lieder, the last Hymn-Book that received Luther’s revision. It contained one hundred and twenty-nine numbers and ninety-seven hymn melodies Ninety-five years later Johann Cruger’s Newes vollkomliches Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession (Berlin, 1640), contained two hundred and forty-eight hymns and one hundred and thirty-five melodies. Paul Wagner’s collection (1697) — Bach was twelve years old then—entitled Andachtiger Seelen geistliches Brand- und Gantz-Opfer. Das ist vollstandiges Gesangbuch in acht unterschiedlichen Theilen, contained more than five thousand hymns, but no melodies. It is a work closely associated with Bach, who possessed the eight volumes and drew his hymns from them. Nearly one hundred years later (1786) an incomplete hymnological index of first lines revealed actually 72,733 German hymns! The Dictionary of Hymnology (1908) estimates that about 10,000 of them have become popular, of which “nearly one thousand are classical and immortal.” Bach drew lavishly upon this wealth of material, and for his choral works alone used 208 of the old melodies, of which he wrote actually 389 harmonisations, introducing the majority of them (204) into the “Passions,” Oratorios, Cantatas, and Motetts. The remaining 185 were collected by Bach’s son Karl Philipp Emmanuel (Leipzig,4 Parts, 1784-87) and belonged, presumably, to works of his father which no longer are extant. The Chorals annotated in the following pages occur in Bach’s “Passions” and Oratorios, i.e. the “St Matthew Passion,” the “St John Passion,” the “Christmas Oratorio,” and the “Ascension Oratorio,” or Cantata, “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen.” The Easter Oratorio, or Cantata, “Kommt, eilet und laufet,” contains no Chorals, and Bach was precluded from introducing them into the Masses and Magnificat. These pages therefore exhaust the Choral material used by Bach outside the Cantatas, Motetts, Organ Preludes and Fantasias. Throughout the four works Bach makes use altogether of forty old hymns or hymn-tunes: twelve for words and melody, eighteen for words only, ten for melody only. In three instances (“Christmas Oratorio,” Nos. 38, 40, 42) he uses a melody of his own.