Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Text, melody and figured bass of the hymn, Georg Neumark 1657

"Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten" (He who allows dear God to rule him) is a 1641 hymn by Georg Neumark, who also composed the melody for it. It has seven verses and deals with the Christian putting their trust in God. Its author referred to it as a "Trostlied" or song of consolation and it first appeared in his Fortgepflantzer musikalisch-poetischer Lustwald (published in Jena in 1657). It also appeared in Johann Crüger's 1672 Praxis pietatis melica and in the first part of Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen's 1704 Geistreiches Gesangbuch.[1] It has inspired musical settings, and is part of current German hymnals, both Protestant and Catholic.


Twenty other melodies have since been written for the text, though none have reached the same popularity as the original, Zahn No. 2778.[2] The original melody has a wide usage in Protestant hymnody, including several other texts. Neumark's original is in the dorian mode, although later settings, such as by Bach, render this into G harmonic minor.

Melody in 3/2 time by Georg Neumark 1657

{ \key f \major \time 3/2 
\set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
\tempo 2=100
\set Staff.midiInstrument = "english horn"
\override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##t 
 \repeat volta 2 {d'2 g' a' bes'1 a'2 g'1 a'2 fis'2 d' r f' f' e' d'1 g'2 g'1 fis'2 g'1.
 \override Score.BarNumber  #'transparent = ##t}
 {bes'2 bes' c''  d''1 d''2 c''1 bes'2 bes'1. bes'2 a' g' fis'1 g'2 g'1 fis'2 g'1. \bar "|."}

Version of melody in 4/4 time used by J. S. Bach

{ \key bes \major \time 4/4 
\set Staff.midiInstrument = "english horn"
 \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##t 
  \set Score.timing = ##t   
\repeat volta 2 { \small \partial 4 d'4 g'4 a'4 bes'4 a'4 g'4 a'8 g'8 fis'4 d'4 
\override Score.BarNumber  #'transparent = ##t 
r4 f'4 f'4 es'4 \bar "|" \break d'4 g'4 g'4 fis'4 g'2 r4 }  
{ a'4 bes'4 c''4 d''4 d''4 \bar "|" \break c''4. bes'8 bes'4 d''4 
  c''4 bes'4 a'4 g'8 a'8 bes'4 a'4 g'4 \bar "|." }
{ \small \set stanza = #"1. " 
{ Wer nur den lie -- ben Gott läßt _ wal -- ten und hof -- fet auf ihn al -- le -- zeit, } 
\new Lyrics { \small den wird er wun -- der -- bar er _ -- hal -- ten in al -- ler Not und Trau -- rig -- keit. }  
Wer Gott dem Al -- ler -- höch -- sten traut, der hat auf kei -- nen __ _ Sand ge -- baut.


Below is Neumark's original German text with the English translation of Catherine Winkworth.[3]

Wer nur den lieben Gott läst walten
Und hoffet auf Ihn allezeit
Der wird Ihn wunderlich erhalten
In aller Noht und Traurigkeit.
Wer Gott dem Allerhöchsten traut
Der hat auf keinen Sand gebaut.
Was helfen uns die schweren Sorgen?
Was hilft uns unser Weh und Ach?
Was hilft es daß wir alle Morgen
Beseuftzen unser Ungemach?
Wir machen unser Kreutz und Leid
Nur größer durch die Traurigkeit.
Man halte nur ein wenig stille
Und sey doch in sich selbst vergnügt
Wie unsres Gottes Gnadenwille
Wie sein’ Allwissenheit es fügt
Gott der uns Ihm hat auserwehlt
Der weis auch sehr wohl was uns fehlt.
Er kennt die rechte Freudenstunden
Er weis wohl wenn es nützlich sey
Wenn Er uns nur hat treu erfunden
Und merket keine Heucheley.
So kömmt Gott eh wir uns versehn
Und lesset uns viel Guts geschehn.
Denk nicht in deiner Drangsalshitze
Daß du von Gott verlassen seyst
Und daß Gott der im Schoße sitze
Der sich mit stetem Glükke speist.
Die Folgezeit verändert viel
Und setzet Jeglichem sein Ziel.
Es sind ja Gott sehr schlechte Sachen
Und ist dem Höchsten alles gleich
Den Reichen klein und arm zu machen
Den Armen aber groß und reich.
Gott ist der rechte Wundermann
Der bald erhöhn bald stürtzen kan.
Sing bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen
Verricht das Deine nur getreu
Und trau des Himmels reichem Segen
So wird Er bey dir werden neu.
Denn Welcher seine Zuversicht
Auf Gott setzt den verläst Er nicht.
If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength, whate'er betide thee.
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God's unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.
What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help, if thou bewail thee,
O'er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.
Only be still and wait His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate'er thy Father's pleasure
And all-deserving love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him Who chose us for His own.
He knows the time for joy, and truly
Will send it when He sees it meet.
When He hath tried and purged thee throughly
And finds thee free from all deceit;
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.
Nor think amid the heat of trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That He whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred;
Time passes and much change doth bring,
And sets a bound to everything.
All are alike before the Highest.
'Tis easy to our God, we know.
To raise thee up, though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low;
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to nought.
Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving.
So do thine own part faithfully.
And trust His word ; though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee —
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

Neumark's 1657 hymnbook[edit]

In his 1657 hymnbook, Fortgepflantzter musikalisch-poetischer Lustwald, Neumark devoted five pages to the text, a prelude, melody and accompaniment of the hymn "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten".[1]

Use in musical compositions[edit]


Johann Sebastian Bach repeatedly used the hymn tune in his compositions, most notably in BWV 93, his cantata of the same name, for the fifth Sunday after Trinity, composed for 9 July 1724. Its text is based on Neumark's original, which is retained verbatim in the first and last verses and rewritten elsewhere. The same melody was set to different words in other hymns, notably "Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende" ("Who knows how near is my end?"). Cantatas BWV 21, BWV 27, BWV 84, BWV 88, BWV 166, BWV 179 and BWV 197 use the original melody, with words taken from one or other of the texts.[4] Cantata 21 links two stanzas with a three-part fugue (Sei nun wieder zufrieden, meine Seele); the tenor and soprano sing the cantus firmus. BWV 434 setting of this chorale is one of Bach's most remarkable of SATB harmonizations.

BWV 642 in the Orgelbüchlein is a chorale prelude for organ, with the hymn tune as its cantus firmus; whilst BWV 647 in the Schübler Chorales is an organ transcription of the fourth movement of the cantata BWV 93.[5] In addition, two organ adaptations of the hymn are included in the Kirnberger Collection - BWV 690 (with a following figured basso-chorale) and BWV 691 (with an interesting variant and additional interludes). Another variant, the chorale prelude BWV 691a, can be found in the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.[6]

Other composers[edit]

"Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten", Op.67, No.45
"Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten", Op. 67, No. 45, by Max Reger

Felix Mendelssohn adapted the text and melody as a cantata.[7] Johannes Brahms also used it as a theme at various points in his German Requiem. Emilie Mayer (1812–1883) used the chorale for two strophes in the third movement (Adagio con molto espressione) of her String Quartet in G minor, Op.14. Max Reger composed two chorale preludes as Nos.45 and 46 of his 52 Chorale Preludes, Op. 67 in 1902.[8]

Ralf Grössler included a meditation on the hymn's original melody in his 1988 Missa Dei Parvulorum. David Maslanka used the hymn tune as the core melody/theme for his wind ensemble work, In Memoriam (1989). In 2002 a new three-part a capella setting of the hymn was produced for the German movie Vaya con Dios.

Hymn tune[edit]

The tune of "Wer nur den lieben Gott" is sometimes set to other hymns. It is used for "Abide with Us, the Day is Waning,"[9] an English translation of the Danish hymn "Bliv hos os, Menster Dagen heider!" by Caspar Johannes Boye. The tune is also used for "I Leave All Things to God's Direction," an English translation of "Ich halte Gott in allem stille" by Salomon Franck.[10]

Current hymnals[edit]

The hymn is No. 369 (EG 369) in the Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch, and No. 367 in the hymnbook of the Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche in Germany, though in the latter verse 5 is omitted. In the German hymnbook of the Neuapostolische Kirche, stanzas 1–5 and 7 appear as number 154.

The hymn became part of the 1938 Kirchenlied.[1] Three stanzas were included in the first edition of the Catholic hymnal Gotteslob as GL 295.[1] The sam stanzas (1, 2 and 7) are number 451 in the Swiss Katholisches Gesangbuch der deutschsprachigen Schweiz [de]. In the Gotteslob of 2013, stanzas 1–3, 6 and 7 appear as GL 424.

In popular culture[edit]

The hymn is sung in Danish in the film Babette's Feast, at the end of the dinner scene.[11] In the German comedy "Vayos con Dios" the Gloria is sung at the Jesuits' conventual Sunday Mass. They sing a three-part setting of Neumark's hymn, arranged for the film by the organist Tobias Gravenhorst, who plays himself in the film.


  1. ^ a b c d Fischer 2007.
  2. ^ Zahn 1890.
  3. ^ Terry 1921
  4. ^ Williams 2003, pp. 311–313
  5. ^ Williams 2003
  6. ^ Williams 2003
  7. ^ "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (Felix Mendelssohn)".
  8. ^ Becker, Alexander; Grafschmidt, Christopher; König, Stefan; Steiner-Grage, Stefanie, eds. (2014). "Reger: 52 easy preludes for the most common Lutheran chorales op. 67, Volumes 1–3". Carus Verlag. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  9. ^ Abide with Us, the Day is Waning (text), with five verse of organ-only accompaniment for Abide with Us, the Day is Waning (mp3)
  10. ^ I Leave All Things to God's Direction (text), with five verse of organ-only accompaniment for I Leave All Things to God's Direction (mp3)
  11. ^ "IMDb, Babette's Feast soundtrack".

Cited sources[edit]

External links[edit]