Okay, I’m going out on a limb here—I am including two sing-along pieces at my Bach Clavierübung concert, this Sunday night, October 30th at 7:00 pm at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
What? You mean I have to sing at this concert? And in German?!
Let me explain. I am presenting this wonderful collection of Bach’s chorale settings as a series of introductions, which will be followed by a choir singing the hymn tune. In every single case, the original melody will be printed in the program so that you can follow the tune. In two of the pieces, I’m inviting the audience to actually stand and sing along with the choir, two pieces which are well-known to German churchgoers, “Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr” (the Gloria in excelsis), and “Wir glauben all an einen gott” (the Creed).
Just in case you want to practice and take a sneak peek at the music, here is the Gloria.
Yikes! all those German words! Well, you’re in luck, because I found a YouTube video of this tune, from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, Germany. You can hear the congregation singing the melody about 40 seconds into the video.
Here is the music for the Creed—you’ll only have to sing one verse.
I found a video from the same church, singing this hymn in unison and “a cappella” (unaccompanied), which I hope will happen on Sunday night! You’ll have to ignore the priest’s intonation at the beginning—I don’t think he was in the same tonality as everyone else.
In case you’re curious about the building, I found out that the original church built in the 1890s was bombed in 1943. Wikipedia states “on the night of 23 November 1943, the church was extensively damaged in an air raid. The church was badly damaged, but by no means beyond repair. Part of the spire and much of the entrance hall survived intact, as was the altar and the baptistry. The destruction of the church came after WWII when it was given to an architect—Egon Eiermann—to do with it as he wished. He had most of the remaining structure mercilessly pulled down, including the valuable historic decoration in order to build a modern colored glass pillbox and tower… Because of the distinctive appearance of the new buildings, it is sometimes nicknamed “Lippenstift und Puderdose” (the lipstick and the powder box) by Berliners.”
Some day I’ll have to return to Berlin to find this church!
Hey, don’t worry about singing a solo at the concert—the choir will be there to help you! You can always just lip-sync!