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In dulci jubilo – Brass Quintet


In dulci jubilo is a traditional Christmas carol from the Middle Ages, first appearing in a manuscript dating from c.1400. It has been arranged by many composers, including Michael Praetorius in the 1600s, Buxtehude, Franz Liszt and Norman Dello Joio, to name just a few. An English translation from the original text that alternated Medieval German and Latin by J. M. Neale became known as Good Christian Men, Rejoice.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a choral version (BWV 368), and a double canon (BWV 608) and chorale prelude (BWV 729) for organ. There is also a chorale prelude for organ based on a naive cradle-song version that was once used in the mystery plays held in churches at Christmas time. Although attributed to Bach, the cradle-song version (BWV 751) has never been authenticated.

This arrangement includes two versions, playable as one piece or separately, and begins with the cradle-song style. The simplicity as well as the imitation in the tuba pedal is quite charming and rather unexpected when compared to Bach’s usual complexity. The second version is based on the chorale prelude for organ and is a traditional postlude for Christmas services.

In the Complete Organ Works of Johann Sebastian Bach, edited by Edouard Nies-Berger and Dr. Albert Schweitzer, they state that the harmonizations of chorales were not usually written out as the figured bass was enough. These editors also assumed that Bach had a reason and suggest that he wrote them for his own satisfaction or, more likely, for use with his pupils in the course of instruction in thorough-bass playing.

Composer: Anne McGinty
Instrumentation: 2 BbTrumpets, F Horn, Trombone & Tuba
Duration/# of Pages: ca. 3:20 / 22 pages, 8.5″ x 11″
Key: F

Score & Parts $25.00