The composer of the original tune is not known, the connection between Bach and the figured bass is somewhat tenuous, and the author of the German lyric may be one of two or more people, nobody today knows for sure. This is still an incredible piece of music.
The form of this piece most familiar today is probably the Stokowski transcription for string orchestra. While it is a wonderful piece, the original German hymn is so steeped with wonderful meaning for passion week it is sad that more people are not familiar with it.
For this version, the arranger went back to the original figured bass and "re-figured" it, changing the harmony slightly in a few places. It is also presented here with a new English lyric by the arranger based loosely on several stanzas of the German.
It is intended this piece be performed slowly in a conemplative mood, possibly during distribution of communion during a tenebrae service on Good Friday, or a Maundy Thursday service.
My Jesus! Deep grief and bitter pain
Falls on You in dark Gethsemane.
Mine alone was the transgression.
Oh, Savior! My debt on You is lain.
To You is given this burden of grief.
Willingly You bear my condemnation.
My Lord! You weep!
You tremble in Your anguish,
All alone You languish,
Praying to the Father on high.
For our wretched race You are sent to die.
My Jesus! You sweat great drops of blood!
Human frailty overwhelming,
Your heart breaks from heavy sorrow.
Oh, Savior! You face the waiting cross of wood,
The crowd with curses railing,
The thorns You'll wear tomorrow.
Your arms outstretched,
In Your bitter pain
Hanging in the rain,
You will pay the awful debt.
Such great love Your people can not forget.
MY JESUS - BWV 487, attributed to J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for unaccompanied SATB choir, comes in a pdf file of 392K, with an eight-page score and a license page, nine pages in all. Performance time should be just under five minutes.
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Last update: 19 April 2017