If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee

“If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee” (“Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten”) is the most well-known of the texts and tunes by the German poet and hymn-writer Georg Neumark (1621-1681).

Neumark referred to the hymn as a “Trostlied,” or song of consolation, and its seven verses encourage trust in God’s unfailing love and care in all circumstances of one’s life. The first verse, in the English translation by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), declares:

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.   

The tune, one of the most venerable in Protestant hymnody, was used by J.S. Bach in several works, most notably in the cantata “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten” (BWV 93). Felix Mendelssohn also adapted the text and melody as a cantata, and Johannes Brahms used it as a theme at various points in his Ein Deutsches Requiem (German Requiem).

In this arrangement, an outline of the tune is presented in 4/4 time as an introduction, followed by three verses in differing orchestrations and harmonizations in the tune’s typical 3/4 meter, and concluding in a fashion similar to the introduction.

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99