Let us joyful be?

One of Bach’s most beautiful chorale tunes, Christ lag in Todesbanden, frames the 9:15 and 11:15 services on Sunday, appearing in organ settings at the beginning and end of the services, and as a hymn during communion (186 in The Hymanl 1982). The tune is actually by Martin Luther, but used in many ways by Bach, notably in his Cantata No. 4.  A very beautiful, rather well-known tune…but such sad music for an Easter text.  Its sturdy Germanic demeanor and minor key seem to be at odds with Easter joy.  One choir member never failed to laugh when we came to the words “let us joyful be” at a particularly stern moment in the music.  She found the closing “alleluias” dirge-like, and I can’t completely disagree.

So call me a contrarian, and many have done that, but I find joy in rainy days, and hope in difficult situations.  And I find an Easter message in this somber tune.  It has a quiet, settled strength that might serve to anchor the tidings of Easter joy more firmly in our hearts.  Happy Easter!  Let us joyful be!



This entry was posted in Sonya Subbayya Sutton and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Let us joyful be?

  1. Christian says:

    Having the ability to find joy on a cloudy day is a gift. Thanks for sharing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s