Now Thank We All Our God
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"Now thank we all our God" is a popular Christian hymn translated from the German "Nun danket alle Gott", written c. 1636 by Protestant minister Martin Rinkart. The melody is attributed to Johann Crüger, who wrote it c. 1647.
Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran minister who came to Eilenburg, Saxony at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. The walled city of Eilenburg became the refuge for political and military fugitives, but the result was overcrowding, and deadly pestilence and famine. Armies overran it three times. The Rinkart home was a refuge for the victims, even though he was often hard-pressed to provide for his own family. During the height of a severe plague in 1637, Rinkart was the only surviving pastor in Eilenburg, conducting as many as 50 funerals in a day. He performed more than 4000 funerals in that year, including that of his wife.
Rinkart was a prolific hymn writer. In Rinkart's "Jesu Hertz-Buchlein" (Leipzig, Germany: 1636), the hymn appears under the title "Tisch-Gebetlein", or a short prayer before meals. The exact date of "Nun danket alle Gott" is debated, but it is known that it was widely sung by the time the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648. Johann Crüger published it in the 1647 edition of his Praxis pietatis melica.
Below is the text in a modern version, and a 19th-century translation by Catherine Winkworth
Nun danket alle Gott
Now thank we all our God,
It is claimed that after the Battle of Leuthen in 1757, an unknown Prussian soldier standing near Frederick the Great began singing it spontaneously, and the hymn was taken up by the entire assembled Prussian army. This narrative is however questioned by historians and musicologist, who identifies the story as a later invention of Prussian propaganda. Because of this story the melody is known in German, and sometimes in English, as the Leuthen Chorale.
It is used in J.S. Bach's cantatas, such as BWV 79, 192 (music lost), harmonized for four voices in BWV 252  and 386, and set in a choral prelude in BWV 657. The now-standard harmonisation was devised by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840 when he adopted the hymn, sung in the now-standard key of F major and with its original German lyrics, as the chorale to his Lobgesang or Hymn of Praise (also known as his Symphony No. 2).
Max Reger composed a chorale prelude as No. 27 of his 52 Chorale Preludes, Op. 67 in 1902. The late-Romantic German composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert used it in his Marche Triomphale. John Rutter composed Now thank we all our God for choir and brass in 1974.
It is often used in Christian weddings and other joyous religious ceremonies, and in Germany it is sung on occasions of national thanksgiving.
Hermann Chr. Bühler made an elaborate setting of Johann Crüger's version.
In 1977 Czech-American composer Václav Nelhýbel arranged a contemporary setting entitled Now Thank We All Our God: "Concertato for 2 trumpets, 2 trombones & Organ with Tuba and Timpani" which incorporated Nun Danket Alle Gott for congregational singing.
- Danish: Nu takker alle Gud
- Dutch: Dankt, dankt nu allen God
- Finnish: Nyt Herraa kiittäkäät
- Indonesia: Sekarang Bersyukur
- Norwegian: Nå takker alle Gud
- Polish: "Dziękujmy Bogu Wraz"
- Swedish: Nu tacka Gud, allt folk
- Yoruba: A f'Ope f'Olorun
- "Liederdatenbank: Nun danket alle Gott". www.liederdatenbank.de. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- Siegmar Keil (2005)
- Michael Fischer (2007).
- Hofer, Achim. "Joseph Goldes (1802–1886) Fest-Reveille (1858) über den Choral 'Nun danket alle Gott' für Militärmusik" in Peter Moormann, Albrecht Riethmüller & Rebecca Wolf eds., Paradestück Militärmusik: Beiträge zum Wandel staatlicher Repräsentation durch Musik, Transcript Verlag (2012), pp. 217–38, ISBN 978-3-8376-1655-2.
- Kroener, Bernhard R. "'Nun danket alle Gott.' der Choral von Leuthen und Friedrich der Große als protestantischer Held; die Produktion politischer Mythen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert" in Hartmut Lehmann & Gerd Krumeich eds. "Gott mit uns": Religion, Nation und Gewalt im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (2000), pp. 105–34, ISBN 9783525354780.
- BWV 79.3 bach-chorales.com
- BWV 252 bach-chorales.com
- BWV 386 bach-chorales.com
- "Chorale: Non danket alle Gott – Text & Translation". www.bach-cantatas.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- Gesangbuch, Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage, 1977
- "Now Thank We All Our God". books.google.com. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Vaclav Nelhybel: Now Thank We All Our God". books.google.com. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Vaclav Nelhybel: Nun Danket Alle Gott". books.google.com. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
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