Now Thank We All Our God

“Now Thank We All Our God” is Catherine Winkworth’s (1827-1878) translation of the German “Nun Danket Alle Gott,” written by Lutheran clergyman and hymn-writer Martin Rinckart (1586-1649). Rinckart’s text, based on a passage from Ecclesiasticus, was set to a chorale tune by Johann Cruger (1598-1662) in his 1647 collection, Praxis pietatis melica (The Practice of Piety in Song), a hymnal for use in public worship and private devotions.

The tune was used by J.S. Bach in his cantatas no. 79 and 192, and by Felix Mendelssohn in the “Lobgesang” movement of his Symphony No.2 (1840). The harmonization of the tune found in most hymnals is based on Mendelssohn’s setting.

According to legend, Frederick the Great’s Prussian troops spontaneously began singing “Nun Danket Alle Gott” following a momentous victory over Austrian forces at the Battle of Leuthen (1757) during the Seven Years War. For that reason, the hymn is also sometimes referred to as the “Leuthen Chorale.”

In this arrangement, an original organ tune is presented first, which then becomes the accompaniment to the trumpet’s presentation of the “Nun Danket” tune. When the organ then takes up the chorale, the trumpet joins with a descant reminiscent of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

Organ score, Bb trumpet solo — $5.99