Partita on Lenten Chorale 'A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth' - Joel Martinson
Text by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)
Based on Tune 'An Wasserflussen Babylon'
Published by Paraclete Press
This recording includes verses 1 & 2 of the five-verse partita, which are particularly well-suited for Lenten themes.
This work with these verses has for many years been custom of mine for Ash Wednesday services, with reprise on Maundy (Holy) Thursday. The beautiful text is set to poignant music that is plaintive in the first verse, symbolic of the willing sacrifice, and restful in the second with the promise of salvation, but with evident tension and sorrow of the coming Passion.
The first verse is on the manuals only and is simple plaintive setting. The second verse features the long melody lines entirely in the pedal, with an undulating accompaniment on the manuals. Both verses are printed without a meter, but is typically 6/8 with interspersed 3/8,4/8 or 5/8 according to the flow of the melody and/or accompaniment.
The work overall is quiet and sentimental, but I've always felt is very exceptionally poignant against the beautiful text:
"A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth" by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676
1. A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
The guilt of all men bearing;
And laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing!
Goes patient on, grow weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer;
Bears shame and stripes, and wounds and death,
Anguish and mockery, and saith,
"Willing all this I suffer."
2. This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great Friend,
The Lamb of God, our Savior;
Him God the Father chose to send
To gain for us His favor.
"Go forth, My Son," the Father saith,
"And free men from the fear of death,
From guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
But by Thy Passion men shall share
The fruit of Thy salvation."