Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721 – 1783) was a musician, composer and music theorist. Possibly, though not verified, he was a pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach, visiting Leipzig in 1741. From 1741 to 1751, Johann Philipp Kirnberger lived in Poland and worked for various noblemen of that country. He returned to Germany, was engaged by the Prussian royal chapel, voluntarily took a higher position in a lower establishment (that of Prince Heinrich of Prussia), and in 1758 obtained the major position of his life, music director for Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia. He kept this job for life.

Johann Philipp Kirnberger regarded J.S. Bach as the greatest of all composers, a common view today but not then when the Leipzig master, if he was remembered at all, was regarded as an old-fashioned composer. Kirnberger is known today primarily for his theoretical work “Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik” (The Art of Strict Composition in Music, 1774, 1779). The well-tempered tuning systems known as “Kirnberger II” and “Kirnberger III” are associated with his name.

Several works for organ of Kirnberger’s hand survice in print and manuscript. The chorale prelude “Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend” is from an old edition by Johann Christoph Kuhnau.

[update, 12-03-2016] Manuscript Am B 396, owned by the Staatbibliothek in Berlin, contains a version of this prelude, that differs in details from the one in de Kuhnau edition. The main difference is that the first two stanza’s of the chorale melody are repeated. But there are some difference in the tenor and bass voice as well. This version is downloadable as a seperate score below.

The recording was done on the sample set of the Van Dam organ (1832) in Tholen by Voxus Organs for Hauptwerk.

pdf_iconKirnberger, Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

pdf_iconKirnberger, Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend (Am B 396)


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