From Heavenly Harmony
Not Just a One-Hit Wonder
by Ken Myers
If the name of the composer Hans Leo Hassler is recognized at all, it is probably in connection with a melody frequently sung and heard during Holy Week. In hymnals, the tune is often identified as the Passion Chorale, and it is the melody to which we sing the Passiontide hymn, “O sacred Head, now wounded.” The tune first appeared in print in 1601, in a collection of secular songs by Hassler. The text that originally accompanied that tune was a wistful five-stanza song of unrequited love, Mein G’muth ist mir verwirret. The opening lines of that sad ballad lamented: “My mind’s confused within me, made thus by a tender maiden. . . .
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Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
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