Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen

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"Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" ("Innsbruck, I Must Leave You") is a German Renaissance song. It was first published as a choral movement by the Franco-Flemish composer Heinrich Isaac (1450–1517); the melody was probably written by him. The lyricist is unknown; an authorship of Emperor Maximilian I, as was previously assumed, seems highly unlikely.


There has been doubt whether the melody was in fact written by Heinrich Isaac or copied from earlier tunes. The melody was later used in a Lutheran chorale, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen".

The song exists in two different four-part settings by Heinrich Isaac: a Diskantlied with the melody in the soprano part, and a Tenorlied [de] with the cantus firmus in the tenor part.

The hymn "In allen meinen Taten" by Paul Fleming (1609–1640) was written for the same melody. Johann Sebastian Bach used it in several cantatas, especially in the chorale cantata In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97 (1734).


The song is famously associated with the city of Innsbruck in Tyrol (in modern-day Austria). The lyrics express sorrow at having to leave a post at court, as the singer is forced to abandon his love and to depart to a foreign country. He promises her faithfulness and commends her to God's protection. Though Heinrich Isaac indeed spent some time in Innsbruck, the text was probably not written by him.

The stanzaic form consists of six iambic trimeters with an unusual A–A–B–C–C–B rhyme scheme.

Original German lyrics[1] Modernised spelling
(post 1996)[2]

ISbruck, ich muß dich lassen
ich far do hin mein strassen
in fremde land do hin
mein freud ist mir genomen
die ich nit weiß bekummen
wo ich jm elend bin.

Groß leid muß ich yetz tragen
das ich allein thu klagen
dem liebsten bůlen mein
ach lieb nun laß mich armen
im hertzen dein erbarmen
das ich muß von dannen sein.

Meyn trost ob allen weyben
dein thu ich ewig pleyben
stet trew der eren frumm
nun muß dich Gott bewaren
in aller thugent sparen
biß das ich wider kumm.

Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen,
ich fahr dahin mein Straßen,
in fremde Land dahin.
Mein Freud ist mir genommen,
die ich nit weiß bekommen,
wo ich im Elend bin.

Groß Leid muss ich jetzt tragen,
das ich allein tu klagen
dem liebsten Buhlen mein.
Ach Lieb, nun lass mich Armen
im Herzen dein erbarmen,
dass ich muss von dannen sein.

Mein Trost ob allen Weibern,
dein tu ich ewig bleiben,
stet, treu, der Ehren fromm.
Nun muss dich Gott bewahren,
in aller Tugend sparen,
bis dass ich wieder komm.

Innsbruck, I must leave you;
I will go my way
to foreign land(s).
My joy has been taken away from me,
that I cannot achieve
while being abroad.[3]

I must now bear great sorrow
that I can only share
with my dearest.
Oh love, hold poor me
(and) in your heart compassion
that I must part from you.

My consolation: above all other women,
I will forever be yours,
always faithful, in true honor.
And now, may God protect you,
keep you in perfect virtue,
until I shall return.

See also[edit]




  • "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works: 'O Welt, ich muß dich lassen / Nun ruhen alle Wälder'". Bach Cantatas Website Retrieved 7 November 2006.
  • "Heinrich Isaac (Composer)". Poets & Composers: Short Biographies. Retrieved 7 November 2006.

External links[edit]