O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

On the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the Death of Johannes Brahms

Bad Ischl in northern Austria was where Brahms spent his last Summer in 1896.

In the past few years, Brahms had lost a great many of his closest friends; among them was the cruelest one, the death of Clara Schumann from a stroke in May 1896.

The grueling 40-hour journey to attend Clara Schumann’s funeral undoubtedly deteriorated Brahms’s health. When he was ill with invasive liver cancer and was the one that took his life from this world during that time, Brahms spent most of his time managing his affairs.

The Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op.122, is the last Chorale Preludes for Organ that Brahms composed in Bad Ischl. They were found on Brahms’s desk after his death in 1897, but they were publically published in 1902, which was not his intention according to his letter written that ‘This work is not intended for publication.’

For The Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op.122, “He followed the conventions of the form, the most important of which was to paraphrase and elaborate upon the lines of pre-existing Lutheran chorale melodies. Brahms’s use of counterpoint and harmony show a mixture of baroque techniques with romantic sensibility.”

The Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op.122

1. Mein Jesu, der du mich (‘My Jesus, you who have chosen me for eternal delight’)

2. Herzliebster Jesu (‘Beloved Jesus, how have you offended’)

3. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (‘O world, I must leave you’) (first setting)

4. Herzlich tut mich erfreuen (‘I am deeply gladdened by the lovely summertime’)

5. Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (‘Bedeck yourself, O dear soul’)

6. O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen (‘Oh, how blessed you are, you godly ones’)

7. O Gott, du frommer Gott (‘O God, you benevolent God’)

8. Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (‘A rose has arisen from a tender root’)

9. Herzlich tut mich verlangen (‘ I deeply long for a blissful end’) (first setting)

10. Herzlich tut mich verlangen (second setting)

11. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (second setting)

On this occasion, klang.kunst would like to introduce the recording of “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen” performed by renowned German Conductor and Organist, Karl Richter.

“A few weeks before his death, Brahms told a friend — knowing for some time that his liver cancer had reached the terminal stage — “I will soon make a long, long journey of which you will hear.” We did hear of it, and we know from his music that he started this journey long before his death.”

  • Otto Deutsch, German Lutheran Minister and musicologist. Th. D. and D. Min. Founder of Der GospelChor Saarbrücken, Germany


Listening guide to the works of Johannes Brahms, Kelly Dean Hansen, Ph.D., http://www.kellydeanhansen.com/index.html

Otto Deutsch, German Lutheran Minister and musicologist. Th. D. and D. Min. Founder of Der GospelChor Saarbrücken,Germany

© Sankrit Kulmanochawong

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