commentary to op 18a

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Dem König der Herrlichkeit (To the King of Glory) for 6-8 part mixed choir a capella, op. 18a (1957)

First performance : January 19, 1958, Freiburg i. Brsg., St. Konrad
Geistlicher Chor der Pädagogischen Akademie / Alfons Hug

Duration: 4 Minutes

Publisher: Edition Walhall, Magdeburg
score EW 674, choir score EW 690



Christus, den Herrn, der zum Himmel fuhr, kommt lasset uns anbeten.
Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who ascended to heaven.

Da im Glanz so wunderbaren Sieges Christus aufgefahren nach dem herrlichen Beschluss,
wagt das Herz nicht zu bedenken, wieviel Jubellieder schenken ihrem Gott die Kirche muss,
wieviel Jubellieder singen ihrem Gott die Kirche muss.
Since Christ, after ending all things gloriously, has ascended in the brightness of such a wonderful victory, the heart does not dare to ponder over how many songs of jubilation the Church must offer to her God,
how many songs of jubilation she must sing to her God.

Dem Besieger, ihrem Meister
singt der Chor der obern Geister
himmlischen Triumpfgesang.
Lasst auch uns die Stimme heben
und in unsrer Stimme beben
unsres Herzens Feierdrang.
To the victor, their master,
the choir of the higher spirits sings
a heavenly song of triumph.
Let us also raise our voice
so that in our voice may resonate
our heart's urge to celebrate.

Christus, Grund für alles Preisen,
schenk' uns solche Jubelweisen
und lass' deine gütige Huld,
deine Milde und Geduld,
unser Fühlen, unser Handeln,
unser Streben einzig wandeln
zu der höchsten Freude Preis,
die von keinem Ende weiß.
(Christ, ground of all praise,
grant us such melodies of jubilation
and may your kind graciousness
your mildness and patience
purely transform our feeling, our deeds,
our striving into
praise of the highest joy,
which knows no end.

König der Herrlichkeit, Herr der Heerscharen, du sitzest zur Rechten des Vaters, erbarme dich unser.
Denn du allein bist der Heilige, Du allein der Herr, erbarme dich unser.
König der Herrlichkeit, Herr der Heerscharen, Du allein der Höchste, Jesus Christus erbarme dich unser.
König der Herrlichkeit, Herr der Heerscharen mit dem Heiligen Geiste in der Herrlichkeit Gottes des Vaters, erbarme dich unser.
(King of Glory, Lord of Hosts, who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the holy one, you alone the Lord, have mercy on us.
King of Glory, Lord of Hosts, you alone are the highest, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
King of Glory, Lord of Hosts with the Holy Spirit in the Glory of God the Father, have mercy on us.


This motet by the young Freiburg composer for the Feast of Christ's Ascension is in its concept totally focused on this celebration. The sections of the work are divided by the frequent recurrences of the Easter "alleluia". The full six-voice sound is exploited most of the time, often in two juxtaposed groups of three pairs of voices producing different gradations of sound in brilliant colours. At the same time, the individual lines in this composition are thoroughly chromatic. The second section of the motet has clear melismatic characteristics. The third section, a Passacaglia, turns out to be the climax.

(Introduction to the first broadcast, 8th May, 1958 on radio Südwestfunk Baden-Baden)



Badische Zeitung, 29th January, 1958

The central artistic moment of this elevating hour was without doubt the large-scale three-section, six-voice motet "The King of Glory" by the young Freiburg composer Bertold Hummel. In this composition, other features of our musical language were used than we had heard in the morning. The joyful energy of leaping rhythms and a range of harmonic colouring from brilliant to dark, set in natural contrast to simple diatonic melodic lines. Here one can recognise the clear difference between religious music for purely liturgical purposes and general religious music.


Weiler Zeitung, 31st January, 1958

Afterwards, the magnificent six-voice motet in three sections, "The King of Glory" by the young Freiburg composer Bertold Hummel, was heard; it had had its première eight days before with the church choir of the St. Konradskirche, Freiburg and left a lasting impression. The distinguished interpretation of this composition with its colour and its virtuoso choral inventiveness resulted in a profound experience in Weil as well. All the rhythmical gestures, drawn from the text by a fine ear, all the sweeping melismas and the changing tonal mixtures are in the final analysis focused on the proclamation of the Word.

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