The Te Deum, Part II

Herr Gott, dich loben wir

Today we'll take a moment to see how Bach uses Luther's of this hymn in one of his cantatas.

The Te Deum Laudaumus is a solid exposition of God's grace, mercy, and power, placing our faith, hope, and trust, for salvation in the hands of the Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:

The Father of an infinite majesty; Thine adorable true and only Son;
also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

Because of its strength, the text has been set by various composers over the centuries. In our liturgy, when we sing the Te Deum we join Christians for the past ~2000 years as well as the heavenly choir in praising our God. The hymn is also confessional and educational--reminding us of God's majesty, our sin and despair, and Christ's redemptive work.

In Bach's catalog, it appears in several places (cantatas BWV 16, 119, 120, 19/190a).

In BWV 16 (composed for the celebration of Christ's circumcision), the first four lines of the hymn (the cantus firmus -- Luther's melody) are presented in augmentation (rhymically elongated) in the Soprano, while the other three voices enter imitatively/contrapuntally.

Herr Gott, dich loben wir,
Herr Gott, wir danken dir.
Dich, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit,
Ehret die Welt weit und breit.

(We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting.)

See the complete text (Latin, German, English) at:

Time to Listen!

Please take a moment and enjoy this brief movement--and the entire cantata!

Youtube video: