O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf, Op. 74, No. 2 (Johannes Brahms)

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  • CPDL #13325:   
Editor: Diana Thompson (submitted 2007-01-01).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 122 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Includes piano reduction for rehearsal
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. Error summary: Measure 12, Alto: "and" should be replaced by "und".
  • CPDL #02810:       
Editor: Pablo Rosario (submitted 2001-06-14).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 328 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf, Op. 74, No. 2
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Lyricist: Friedrich Spee (1591–1635), after Rorate caeli

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: German
Instruments: A cappella

Published:

Description: Brahms wrote three sets of Motets (Opus 29, 74 and 110). O Heiland reiß die Himmel auf, (Opus 74, No. 2) reflects Brahms’ high art of contrapuntal writing, very much influenced by his familiarity of music by Bach. All movements are based on a chorale, which is sung as "cantus firmus" alternately by the sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. The fourth section (or verse), Hie Leiden wir die größte Not, is especially expressive and represents a harmonic beauty typical of Brahms’ works. (http://www.csbsju.edu/internationalchoir/2005/program.htm)

Metric translations include Willis Wager's "O Saviour throw the heavens" (Copyright 1940) and Martin L. Seltz's "O Saviour rend the heavens wide" (copyright 1969, in Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary & Lutheran Service Book)

External websites:

Original text and translations

German.png German text

by Friedrich von Spee

O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf,
Herab, herauf vom Himmel lauf,
Reiß ab vom Himmel Tor und Tür,
Reiß ab, was Schloss und Riegel für.

O Gott, ein’ Tau vom Himmel gieß,
Im Tau herab o Heiland fließ,
Ihr Wolken, brecht und regnet aus,
Den König über Jakobs Haus.

O Erd, schlag aus, schlag aus o Erd.
Daß Berg und Tal grün alles werd,
O Erd, herfür dies Blümlein bring,
O Heiland, aus der Erden spring.

Hie leiden wir die größte Not,
Vor Augen steht der bittre Tod,
Ach komm, führ uns mit starker Hand
Von Elend zu dem Vaterland.

Da wollen wir all danken dir,
Unserm Erlöser für und für,
Da wollen wir all loben dich,
Je allzeit immer und ewiglich.

Amen.
 

English.png English translation

O Saviour, tear open the heavens,
flow down to us from heaven above;
tear off heaven’s gate and door,
tear off every lock and bar.

O God, a dew from heaven pour;
in the dew, O Saviour, downward flow.
Break, you clouds, and rain down
the king of Jacob’s house.

O earth, burst forth, burst forth, O earth,
so that mountain and valley all become green;
O earth, bring forth this little flower;
O Saviour, spring forth out of the earth.

Here we suffer the greatest distress;
before our eyes stands bitter death.
Ah, come lead us with your powerful hand
from this misery to our Father’s land.

Therefore we all want to thank you,
our Redeemer, for ever and ever.
Therefore we also want to praise you
at all times, always, and forever.

Amen.