The sacred motet of Dieterich Buxtehude, Herr wenn Ich nur Dich Hab’ (BuxWV 38), performed by the internationally acclaimed Early Music ensemble Voices of Music. Live, high-definition video from the “Bach, Biber & Buxtehude” concert in St. Mark’s Lutheran, San Francisco, 9 March 2013. Featuring Laura Heimes, soprano; Elizabeth Blumenstock & Carla Moore, baroque violins; William Skeen, five-string baroque cello; Farley Pearce, violone; Hanneke van Proosdij, organ; David Tayler, archlute.
Buxtehude’s motet is a model of elegant simplicity: the composer carefully alternates the declamation of the text with instrumental meditations in the violins, all woven together over a repeating ground bass played by the continuo group. The beauty and simplicity of the text, drawn from Psalm 73, is mirrored perfectly by the elegant and simple musical setting–a perfect composition. The motet, composed c1668, was transcribed from the source in the manuscript collection of the Royal Swedish Court in Uppsala, Sweden which contains Queen Christina’s (Kristina Augusta, 1626-1689) musical library; you can view this beautifully penned manuscript as part of the online collection here http://goo.gl/fgw73
The Düben Collection was primarily the work of the composer and music collector Gustaf Düben; Düben was in many cases able to preserve the autograph copies of manuscripts, and Buxtehude’s copy of the Latin cantata Membra Jesu Nostri includes a dedication to Düben.
Text and translation:
Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab,
so frag ich nichts nach Himmel und Erden,
wenn mir gleich Leib und Seele verschmacht.
So bist du doch Gott allezeit
meines Herzens Trost und mein Heil.
Lord, if I have only you,
I ask nothing from heaven and earth
If my body and soul are dying,
You, God, are always my heart and salvation.
Alleluia. (Psalm 73:25-6)
The Musicians and their Instruments
Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin by Andrea Guarneri, Cremona, 1660
Carla Moore, baroque violin by Johann Georg Thir, Vienna, Austria, 1754
Farley Pearce, violone by George Steppani, Manchester, 1985, after Amati, 1560
William Skeen, five string baroque cello, Anonymous, Italy, c1680
David Tayler, archlute by Andreas von Holst, Munich, 2012,
after Magno Tieffenbrucker, Venice, c1610
Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ by Winold van der Putten, Finsterwolde,
Netherlands, 2004, after early 18th-century northern German instruments
Visit us on the web at www.voicesofmusic.org