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Two Altenburg Chorales

- Michael Altenburg, ed. William Tortolano Sr. & William T. Tortolano

Use: Advent, General
Required Resources: unison choir, 2 C-instruments, organ
Optional Resources: cello
Language: English (German)

Michael Altenburg (1584-1640) was a musical predecessor of J.S. Bach not only chronologically, but geographically as well. He served as Kantor (organist/choir director) in many of the areas of Germany associated with Bach: Erfurt and Thuringia. He was likened to the Italian master, Orlando di Lasso, and wrote a great deal of church music that became popular during his lifetime. He served as a deacon and later a Protestant minister at Saint Andrew Church.

This octavo contains two settings of German chorales, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland and Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt. The original Altenburg scoring is for soloist and string quintet (violin 1, 2, 3, viola, cello). This practical setting uses unison choir (or soloist), two treble C-instruments, and organ, which plays the lowest three accompanimental voices.

The first chorale, derived as it is from the chant Veni Redemptor gentium, is often sung with the text, "Savior of the Nations, Come." The arranger has chosen to use the English text, "Let the earth now praise the Lord," for the chorale melody given out in half notes, amid the eighth note counterpoint in the accompanying voices (instruments and organ).

The second chorale uses the text, "Were God the Lord not on our side," with similar texture in the cantus firmus and accompaniment. Each movement in this edition is preceded by the chorale as harmonized by J.S. Bach, with the original German text.

Dr. William Tortolano, Sr, is a distinguished Catholic church musician who has made considerable contributions in the field of Gregorian chant. His studies and research at the Abbey of Saint Peter (Solesmes, France) have led to his translation of Dom Eugène Cardine's book, Basic Studies in Gregorian Chant. He currently directs the Gregorian Chant Workshop at the Saint Michael Institute of Sacred Art on Enders Island in Connecticut. His son, William T. Tortolano, collaborated on this edition of the Altenburg chorales.


Order #: 7093
Price: $8.50
(includes reproducible pages for choir and instrumentalists)


- Treasury Series
- Advent
- Ordinary Time
- Unison Choir
- Instrumental

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