Christ lag in Todes Banden
"Christ lag in Todes Banden" ("Christ lay in the bonds of death") is a chorale by Martin Luther. It was published in 1524 in the Erfurt Enchiridion. In 1533, it was published with a traditional Eastertide melody. The title and first line are sometimes rendered Christ lag in Todesbanden.
The seven verses of Luther's chorale celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, with particular reference to a struggle between Life and Death. The third verse quotes from 1 Corinthians 15, saying that Christ's Atonement for sin has removed the "sting" of Death. The fifth verse compares the sacrifice with that celebrated by Jews in the Pascal Lamb at Passover. The tradition of baking and eating Easter Bread is referred to in the final verse. The text has been modernised in recent editions of the German Luther Hymnal.
Christ lag in Todes Banden
Christ lay in death's bonds
The melody as set by Luther seems to have strong correlations with parts of the Eucharistic sequence for Easter, Victimae paschali laudes, believed to have been written by Wipo of Burgundy in the 11th century. This was transformed, gradually into a "Leise", a devotional German pre-Reformation song with a number of stanzas, but maintaining strong characteristics of plainsong. A new version was published in the Erfurt Enchiridion of 1524 and adapted by Johann Walter in his Wittembergisch Geistlisch Gesangbuch (1524). This was subjected to many minor alterations in later hymnbooks, but the melodic shape remained the same in later additions, which include the addition of passing notes and modification of rhythmic patterns to conform the chorale to emerging styles, and to fit the chorale into a regular time signature.
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, an early chorale cantata by J. S. Bach opens with a sinfonia, followed by seven movements, using each of the original seven verses by Luther, and with the melody as a cantus firmus.
- Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158, by J. S. Bach uses the fifth verse of Martin Luther's chorale in a four-part chorale in the fourth and final movement.
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 277, BWV 278 and BWV 279 are three different four part chorale settings published separately.
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 625, by J. S. Bach is a chorale prelude for organ from the Orgelbüchlein, with the chorale melody in the soprano part of the right hand, accompanied by a continuous semiquaver movement in the other parts. This piece lasts roughly 90 seconds
- Fantasia super "Christ lag in Todes Banden", BWV 695, by J. S. Bach is a chorale prelude for organ from the Kirnberger chorale preludes (BWV 690–713). it consists of a two-part fughetta above the chorale melody in the bass 
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 718, by J. S. Bach is chorale prelude for organ, which uses the chorale as a cantus firmus through a range of textures, alternating between triplet and semiquaver movement.
- ""Christ lag in Todesbanden", text and translation". bach-cantatas.com. 2005. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- ""Christ ist erstanden", comparison of Easter sequence and chorale melodies". bach-cantatas.com. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Free score of BWV 625 at imslp.org" (PDF). imslp.org. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Free Audio file at imslp.org". imslp.org. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Free score of BWV 695 at imlsp.org" (PDF). imslp.org. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Free score of BWV 718 at imslp.org" (PDF). imslp.org. Retrieved 13 September 2010.