Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ELH 421 For Classical Guitar.

The tune for ELH 421 is called Komm, O Komm, Du Geist Des Lebens and is transcribed and altered for the ELH from the 1693 Neu-vermehries ... Gesangbuch, 3rd Ed. , Meiningen. Meter 87 87 77

The Preliminary Classical Guitar transcription is here. I didn't have time today to transcribe the chords above the notation. Come back at a later date and I may have them done. The transcription has two variations: 1st a simple two note chord transcription, 2nd a full transcription .

Here is a midi:

According to Cyberhymnal this tune was written by  Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) the first cou­sin of Jo­hann Se­bast­i­an Bach's father, Jo­hann Am­bro­si­us Bach. JC Bach was ap­point­ed or­gan­ist at the Arn­stadt court cha­pel in 1663, and at the Ge­org­en­kirche in Eis­en­ach in 1665. In 1700, he be­came the Duke of Eis­en­ach’s court mu­si­cian.

The author of the lyrics for ELH 421 "We Are Called By One Vocation" is Karl Johann Philipp Spitta (1801-59). His lyrics are also used for hymn 531 "O Blessed Son Whose Splendor."

We are called by one vocation

Members of one family,
Heirs through Christ of one salvation,
Let us live in harmony;
Nor by strife embiter life,
Journeying to eternity.

In a land where all are strangers,
And our sojourning so short,
In the midst of common dangers
Concord is our best support;
Heart with heart divides the smart,
Lightens grief of every sort.

Let us shun all vain contention
Touching words and outward things,
Whence, alas! so much dissention
And such bitter rancor springs;
Troubles cease, where Christ brings peace
And sweet healing on His wings.

Judge not hastily of others,
But thine own salvation mind;
Nor be mindful of thy brother's, 
To thine own offenses blind;
God alone discerns thine own,
And the hearts of all mankind.

Let it be our chief endeavor
That we may the Lord obey,
Then shall envy cease forever
And all hate be done away;
Free from strife shall be his life
Who serves God both night and day.

Karl Johann Philip Spitta was born August 1, 1801, in Hannover, where his father, Lebrecht Wilhelm Gottfried Spitta, worked as a bookkeeper and a teacher of French. He descended from a French family of Huguenots, which had settled in Brunswick. As the boy grew up he early exhibited a mild and pious spirit. He was only four years old when his father died. The mother, who was a Christian Jewess, now had to shoulder the responsibility of giving the boy an education. She was an intelligent woman and a good mother. She desired above all that her son Carl should enter the university. But he was very sickly from his eleventh until his fourteenth year. Hence, she gave up the plan of having him study and secured for him a position as an apprentice watchmaker. This work did not satisfy the aspirations of the ambitious and pious youth, but he did not let his feelings in the matter be known to his mother, so as not to grieve her. He sought comfort and encouragement in reading the Bible and other good books, and by writing poetry. 

In the meantime a younger brother died while occupied with studies preparing for the ministry. Carl confided his desires to a friend, who came to comfort him on the occasion of his brother’s death. It was with great joy that he accepted the offer of taking his brother’s place in the gymnasium in Hannover. In the fall of 1818 he took up his studies, and with such zeal and enthusiasm that he completed the course at the gymnasium by Easter, 1821, and was ready to enter the university of Göttingen. His teachers at the university were decidedly rationalistic in their views. He completed his theological studies in 1824. Until 1828 he served as teacher in Lüne, near Lüneburg. In 1828 he was ordained to the ministry and became assistant pastor of Sudwalde. He was appointed assistant garrison and penitentiary pastor of Hameln on the Weser, in 1830. In 1837 he received the permanent appointment to this office. But the military authorities, who had learned that Spitta was a pietist, refused to confirm the appointment. During the same year, therefore, he accepted a call sent to him from Wechold. On his birthday, August 1, 1847, he was installed as superintendent of Wittingen, Hannover; this was extended to include Peine in 1853; Burgdorf in 1859. On September 28, 1859, while working at his writing desk, he was stricken with heart failure and died in the course of about fifteen minutes.
Spitta began to write verses at the age of eight. During his stay at the university he wrote a great number of songs and poems and published a collection of folksongs for the laboring people. Among his companions at the university was Heinrich Heine, with whom he developed an intimate friendship. But when Heine, during a later visit in Lüne, where Spitta was engaged as teacher, began to scoff at the holy things in the presence of Spitta’s pupils, this friendship came to a sudden close. During the latter part of his university career a decided turn had come over his spiritual life. His work of writing hymns began in earnest in 1824. At that time he expressed himself as follows: “I will sing no more as I have sung. I dedicate my life, my song, my love, to the service of my Lord. His love shall be the theme of all my songs. He gave me the gift of song and of melody; I will give it all back to Him. It is the duty of every Christian singer to sing praises worthily to God for His grace unto us.” His most productive period as a hymn writer was during his stay in Lüne. During the still hours of the evening he would write his hymns and sing them to his harp or the piano. Later he drew his inspiration for many of his hymns from the glorious nature scenes in the beautiful valley of the Weser. He was also inspired by his companionship with intimate friends in Hameln. During his later years, his ministerial duties took up all his time. He wrote very few hymns after the year 1847. 

In 1833 Pirna was published, the first edition of Psalter und Harfe. This work had the subtitle, Eine Sammlung Christlicher Lieder zur Haüslichen Erbauung. The second and enlarged edition, which appeared in Leipzig the following year, gained a unique recognition and distribution among all classes of people. Year after year new editions appeared. The 55th edition was issued in Bremen in 1889. This matchless success led to the publication of a new collection: Psalter und Harfe, zweite Sammlung, etc., Leipzig, 1843. The second edition of this collection was printed before the year was over, and its 42nd edition appeared in 1887. A third edition of older and later songs (hitherto unpublished) appeared after Spitta’s death. This was given the title: Spitta’s nachgelassene geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1861. These hymns have a more subjective and individualistic character. The fifth edition of these appeared in Bremen in 1883. In 1890 a new edition of Psalter und Harfe was printed in Gotha. This included both parts, both the old and later hymns, and a biography of Spitta. It is chiefly through his Psalter und Harfe that Spitta won the favor and love of the people. His hymns are noted for their noble and unaffected expression of thought. They are characterized by a childlike piety, deep Christian earnestness, and a fervent love for the Savior. They are clear, simple, and of suitable length. Spitta’s hymns have contributed in great measure towards awakening, renewing, enriching, and establishing the spiritual life of Germany and other countries, and have justly gained an extraordinary distribution among all classes of people.

In 1855 Spitta was created doctor of divinity by the university of Göttingen. He had a loving wife and seven children. Their home is pictured as a home of peace and song. During the evenings he would gather his family and their friends and sing his hymns and other songs, while the neighbors gathered near to enjoy the singing.

His son, Friedrich Spitta, born January 10, 1852, in Wittingen, Hannover, became a theologian and has since 1887 been professor of New Testament exegesis and practical theology at the university of Strassburg. He is especially known through his work on liturgics. He is the author of several treatises, among which may be mentioned, Luther and the Evangelical Service and Reform of the Evangelical Worship. [Dahle, Library of Christian Hymns]

The original words with this tune were by Hein­rich Held (Komm, o Komm, du Geist des Le­bens), in Prax­is Pie­ta­tis Mel­i­ca, by Jo­hann Crü­ger (Stet­tin: cir­ca 1664); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Charles W. Schaeff­er, 1866, in the Penn­syl­van­ia Lu­ther­an Ch. Book, 1868, alt.

Held's German Text:

1. Komm, o komm, du Geist des Lebens,
Wahrer Gott von Ewigkeit!
Deine Kraft sei nicht vergebens,
Sie erfüll' uns jederzeit;
So wird Geist und Licht und Schein
In dem dunkeln Herzen sein.

2. Gib in unser Herz und Sinnen
Weisheit, Rat, Verstand und Zucht,
Daß wir andres nichts beginnen,
Denn was nur dein Wille sucht!
Dein' Erkenntnis werde groß
Und mach uns von Irrtum los!

3. Zeige, Herr, die Wohlfahrtsstege!
Das, was wider dich getan,
Räume ferner aus dem Wege;
Schlecht und recht sei um und an!
Wirke Reu' an Sünden Statt,
Wenn der Fuß gestrauchelt hat!

4. Laß uns stets dein Zeugnis fühlen,
Daß wir Gottes Kinder sind,
Die auf ihn alleine zielen,
Wenn sich Not und Drangsal find't;
Denn des Vaters liebe Rut'
Ist uns allewege gut.

5. Reiz uns, daß wir zu ihm treten
Frei mit aller Freudigkeit;
Seufz' auch in uns, wenn wir beten,
Und vertritt uns allezeit!
So wird unsre Bitt' erhört
Und die Zuversicht gemehrt.

6. Wir auch uns nach Troste bange,
Daß das Herz oft rufen muß:
Ach, mein Gott, mein Gott, wie lange?
Ei, so mache den Beschluß;
Sprich der Seele tröstlich zu
Und gib Mut, Geduld und Ruh'!

7. O du Geist der Kraft und Stärke,
Du gewißer, neuer Geist,
Fördre in uns deine Werke,
Wenn der Satan Macht beweist;
Schenk uns Waffen in dem Krieg
Und erhalt in uns den Sieg!

8. Herr, bewahr auch unsern Glauben,
Daß kein Teufel, Tod noch Spott
Uns denselben möge rauben!
Du bist unser Schutz und Gott.
Sagt das Fleisch gleich immer nein,
Laß dein Wort gewißer sein.

9. Wenn wir endlich sollen sterben,
So versichre uns je mehr,
Als des Himmelreiches Erben,
Jener Herrlichkeit und Ehr',
Die uns unser Gott erkiest
Und nicht auszusprechen ist.


1. Come, O come, Thou quickening Spirit,
God from all eternity!
May Thy power never fail us;
Dwell within us constantly.
Then shall truth and life and light
Banish all the gloom of night.

2. Grant our hearts in fullest measure
Wisdom, counsel, purity,
That we ever may be seeking
Only that which pleaseth Thee.
Let Thy knowledge spread and grow,
Working error’s overthrow.

3. Show us, Lord, the path of blessing;
When we trespass on our way,
Cast, O Lord, our sins behind Thee,
And be with us day by day.
Should we stray, O Lord, recall;
Work repentance when we fall.

4. With our spirit bear Thou witness
That we are the sons of God
Who rely upon Him solely
When we pass beneath the rod;
For we know, as children should,
That the cross is for our good.

5. Prompt us, Lord, to come before Him
With a childlike heart to pray;
Sigh in us, O Holy Spirit,
When we know not what to say.
Then our prayer is not in vain,
And our faith new strength shall gain.

6. If our soul can find no comfort,
If despondency grows strong,
And the heart cries out in anguish,
“Oh my God, how long, how long?”
Comfort then our aching breast,
Grant it courage, patience, rest.

7. Holy Spirit, strong and mighty,
Thou Who makest all things new,
Make Thy work within us perfect
And the evil foe subdue.
Grant us weapons for the strife
And with victory crown our life.

8. Guard, O God, our faith forever;
Let not Satan, death or shame
Ever part us from our Savior;
Lord our refuge is Thy Name.
Though our flesh cry ever: Nay!
Be Thy Word to us still Yea!

9. And when life’s frail thread is breaking,
Then assure us more and more,
As the heirs of life unending,
Of the glory there in store,
Glory never yet expressed,
Glory of the saints at rest.

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