New Music week 48: JESU, MEINE FREUDE

52 in 52This is one of my favorite hymns/tunes of all time—JESU, MEINE FREUDE, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure.” In the tradition of J.S. Bach, my setting is a free harmonization (in SATB-texture) that could be used to accompany a verse of the hymn. The text, written by Johann Franck in 1653, and translated by Catherine Winkworth in 1863, is so beautiful in its Pietist imagery:

Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
truest Friend to me:
ah, how long in anguish
shall my spirit languish,
yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
naught I ask beside thee.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
though the storms may gather,
still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.

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