commentary to opus 57b

Back to work register

Hymn of Thanks (english/german) for 4 to 8-part mixed choir a cappella, op. 57b (1975)
Text: Didache IX, 2,3,4; X,2,5

First performance: June 22, 1975, Würzburg, Kiliansdom
Würzburger Domsingknaben / Siegfried Koesler

First performance of english version: October 6, 2007, Usedom, Lutheran Church
Sølvguttene (Oslo) / Frederick Otterstad

Duration: 6 Minutes

Publisher: Schott Music C 52530 / ISMN: M-001-14794-1


Hymn of Thanks
Text: Didache IX, 2, 3, 4; X, 2, 5

We thank Thee, oh Lord, our Father,
for the holy vine of David Thy servant,
which You mad'st known to us through Jesus Thy Son;
to Thee be glory for ever.

We thank Thee, oh Lord, our Father,
for the life and knowledge
which You mad'st known to us through Jesus Thy Son;
To Thee be glory for ever.

As this broken bread was scattered upon the hills,
and now has been gathered together and has became one
so let Thy Church be gathered together
from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom;
for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

We thank Thee, oh Lord, our Father, for Thy holy Name
which thou didst make to live in our hearts,
and for the knowledge, the faith and immortality,
which Thou mad'st known to us through Jesus Thy Son;
to Thee be glory for ever.

Remember, oh Lord, Thy Church,
to deliver her from all evil
and make her perfect in Thy love
and gather her from the four winds
to Thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for her.
For Thine is the power through Jesus Christ for ever.


Foreword (Schott Music)

When I took up my post as Director of Music at the Cathedral of St Kilian in Würzburg in November 2002, I soon realised that the works of Bertold Hummel enjoyed frequent performance in this cathedral. The particular fostering of the works of a composer in his original place of activity is a common practice in Germany - but in the case of contemporary music more an exception to the rule. This fostering surely owes a lot to Hummel's dose ties with the Cathedral of St Kilian in Würzburg through a variety of channels: the friendly association with the former bishop and my predecessor, Hummel's participation in the Würzburg Cathedral Orchestra and his dose ties to the choirs of the cathedral; his children and grandchildren have sung or still sing in the cathedral.
It is therefore quite legitimate to say that Bertold Hummel's Hymn of Thanks, like many of his choral works, is inspired by the architecture and powerful acoustics of the cathedral. It was therefore quite natural that the first performance of this composition should be given by the Würzburger Domsingknaben [cathedral choir] in 1975. The text providing the basis for the Hymn of Thanks is taken from the 9th and 10th chapter of the Didache, a scripture originating in Syria ca. 100-180 AD which can probably be said to be one of the earliest church Orders of Christianity. Hummel sets the emphatic text passages as a Eucharist Hymn of Thanks which will also find its niche in concerts of sacred music. Hummel's characteristic tonal language is coupled with his remarkable intuition for the vocal possibilities of young choirs.
A note on the performance practice: the passages indicated with "etwas freier" [somewhat freer] which are more of a recitative nature are designed to be performed in a fluent manner in the sense of Gregorian chants. The metrical structure of the text is purely intended for orientation purposes.

Würzburg, May 2007
Martin Berger

Translation: Lindsay Chalmers-Gerbracht

Back to previous page

Deutsch - Français