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Hymn tune SALZBURG


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Does anyone know why the hymn tune SALZBURG bears this name? In this country we use Bach’s harmonisation of it for several hymn texts, including “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” and “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”, but in Germany it is the tune of “Alle Menschen Müssen Sterben”. Apparently it was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702). I can’t find any explanation for the name or any connection to the city of Salzburg.

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I can't find any reference to Salzburg or any indication that Hintze worked there or had associations there. He seems to have spent his time around Berlin, towns in the North of Germany, around the Baltic and in Denmark.  However I did find a source that cast doubts as to his authorship of the tune.


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The naming of hymn tunes seems to be an English practice, rather than a German one. It looks as though the compilers of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) may have given the tune this name when they matched it to the hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”. Since then the chorale harmonisation has been attributed to J.S. Bach (BWV 262), but it now appears that it was in fact by Pachelbel, who placed it at the beginning of his chorale partita “Alle Menschen müssen Sterben” which was included in his “Musicalische Sterbens-Gedancken” (1683). None of this explains why the compilers of Hymns Ancient and Modern gave the tune the name Salzburg, if, indeed, it was they who did so.

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The 1928 dated A&M index has as follows:-

First line                                                    Number             Name of tune                                            Composer or source of tune

At the Lamb's high feast we sing     127                   Alla Menschen mussen sterben             J. Hintze, 1622-1702


Incidently my father was given this by the choir at Godmersham 'In  affectionate remembrance of many happy hours' when he moved as vicar elsewhere.

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After many hours researching this question, here’s where I’ve got to so far:


  1. The attribution of the harmonisation of the hymn tune Salzburg to J.S. Bach in all hymn books I have examined, must be wrong. It was extant before Bach was born, being published by Pachelbel in 1683 at the beginning of his choral partita Alle Menschen müssen sterben in Musikalische Sterbensgedanken. It should be noted that the metre of this chorale is 8787.


  1. This chorale harmonisation of Alle Menschen müssen sterben, later given the BWV number 262, was included in the collection of 371 Bach chorales published by C.P.E Bach, but there is no extant work of Bach’s in which it features, so it may be assumed his son found it amongst his manuscripts and included it, perhaps thinking the harmonisation was his father’s work. 


  1. The collection of 371 chorales, republished several times during the 19th century, may have been the source of the choral harmonisation used by the compilers of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861, the musical editor of which was William Henry Monk.


  1. As far as the melody is concerned, the website hymnary.org states:”The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702).”


  1. The first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern 1861 sets the tune it calls Salzburg to the hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”. This hymn is a translation of the Latin hymn “Ad regias Agni dapes” by the Scottish lawyer Robert Campbell. He published it in his collection of hymns known as The St. Andrews Hymnal in 1850, two years before he became a Roman Catholic. It should be noted that the metre of “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” is 77 77 D, so the German chorale has to be adapted slightly. Not having access to “The St Andrews Hymnal” it is impossible to know if Robert Campbell set it to the German chorale melody, but it seems unlikely.


  1. Zahn, the 19th century cataloguer of German choral tunes, lists Hintze’s tune (Zahn 6778) as having the metre 87878877.


  1. There is another hymn tune called Salzburg. It is a tune by Michael Haydn who lived for many years in Salzburg. The metre is 7676 however.


  1. To complicate matters even further, the following entry can be found in “Hymn Tune Names: Their Sources and Significance” by Robert McCutchan (Abingdon 1957): “Tantum Ergo [878787 (4:drmf/ s f m r) ; from Samuel Webbe's Antiphons, 1792]. Tantum ergo are the first words of Part II, the last two stanzas, of the Latin hymn beginning, "Pange lingua gloriosi." It is a part of the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament of the Roman Church. Also called Alleluia Dulce Carmen, Benediction, Corinth, Dulce Carmen, Gloria Patri, Lebanon, St. Werbergh's, Salzburg, Walpole. Alleluia Dulce Carmen and Dulce Carmen: because used with the eleventh-century Latin hymn beginning, "Alleluia, dulce carmen." In Havergal's Psalmody (1871) it is called Salzburg because Havergal attributed it to John Michael Haydn, who lived in Salzburg for the last forty-four years of his life. In a footnote Havergal states the tune is "wrongly called Benediction or St. Werbergh." [878787 (4: d d d d).


  1. Interestingly, Samuel Webbe was organist of the Sardinian Embassy Chapel, a position which he held until 1795. He was also organist and choirmaster of chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the only place in London where the Catholic liturgy could be publicly celebrated.


  1. Hymns Ancient and Modern was published in 1861 by Novello. Vincent Novello, the founder, was a Roman Catholic. As a boy, Novello was a chorister at the Sardinian Embassy Chapel where he learnt the organ from Samuel Webbe; and from 1796 to 1822 he became in succession organist of the Sardinian, Spanish and Portuguese (in South Street, Grosvenor Square) chapels, and from 1840-43 of St. Mary Moorfields. Novello, a huge admirer of Mozart, and his wife visited Salzburg in 1829 to see Mozart’s widow Constanze and deliver a gift of money.


  1. So we have a group of very high churchmen, compiling a high church hymnbook, published by a Roman Catholic publishing firm, looking for a hymn tune for an English translation of a Latin hymn translated by a Roman Catholic. They were looking for a tune with 7777 metre, but knew that 8787 might work with a little adaptation. They had tunes, metres and texts swirling around in their heads, and countless hymnbooks and tunes in front of them, including probably Samuel Webbe’s with its tune for Dulce Carmen composed by Michael Haydn from Salzburg, which also fits Tantum Ergo, and thus Pange Lingua, the tune of which is included in Hymns Ancient and Modern adapted to 8787, although set to the hymn Now my Soul Thy Voice Upraising (including Neale’s translation of Pange Lingua - Of the Glorious Body Telling - itself would have been a step too far, because of its Catholic theology - Neale had already been accused of being a Vatican agent in the Church of England and had even been beaten up by a Protestant mob in Sussex.) The problem is that they need a tune for an 8 line stanza. They have J.S. Bach’s chorales in front of them and realise that the tune of Alle Menschen müssen sterben can be made to fit with a slight adjustment. 


  1. But what to call it? Giving a Roman Catholic hymn translated from Latin by a Scottish Roman Catholic a German Protestant town name would seem ridiculous. But Salzburg? Perfect!


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