Serene Sunday: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

My friend Elsa arrived to belatedly celebrate her birthday which she shares with a certain person.  When asked for her serene choice, she suggested Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.  Let’s see what Wiki has to say:

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring is the most common English title of the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. A transcription by the English pianist Myra Hess (1890–1965) was published in 1926 for piano solo and in 1934 for piano duet.   The British organist Peter Hurford made his organ transcription for the chorale movement as well. Today, it is often performed at wedding ceremonies slowly and reverently, in defiance of the effect suggested by Bach in his original scoring, for voices with trumpet, oboes, strings, and continuo. Written during his first year in Leipzig, Germany, this chorale movement is one of Bach’s most enduring works.”


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4 thoughts on “Serene Sunday: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

  1. A beautiful Sunday musical post. The Celtic Women ensemble is a favourite. There is an otherworldly timbre to the voices of female Irish and Scottish singers.

  2. I would add that the almost two against three “feel” of the piece — counterpoint in triplets, against the very stately progression of the melody — is mesmerizing to listen to no matter what tempo it’s performed at. It is more broadly popular as a wedding tune o/s of Germany than inside. This whole question of how fast to perform Bach has gained a lot of traction in the last decades, with Gardiner promoting an almost dancelike performance for the St Matthew passion, but audiences still preferring their relatively slow, sedate, at times mournful Bach. I like them both.

  3. This piece has long long been a favorite of mine.  A dear friend of mine performs an instrumental version on the banjo that is phenomenal.  I have a version, too, that is acoustic guitar only, that is beautiful.

    Celtic Woman is a favorite, too.  fitzg, you hit it spot on … their voices do sound otherworldly.  Beautifully so.

    Thanks, Judi.  A lovely gift for an otherwise hectic Sunday. 🙂


  4. For the next year  August 22  we should reach mastery….so,when we begin to trying,RAgirls?.;)

    PS:This is amazing, the real music ,thanks Judiang!.  I love the “Air”-the 3rd suite.

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