It’s already more than a year ago I published something from Christian Gotthilf Tag. And there are a few more of his compositions available in manuscript form or in the form of an early edition. So, to make a good start of 2021, here is a newly typeset score of one of Tag’s choral preludes.
The melody is perhaps best known as belonging to the text “O Haupt ful Blut und Wunden”, but it was in fact used for several chorals. “Befiehl du deine Wege” is one of them.
One of the beautiful characteristics of this melody is that it does not firmly belong to one of our modern tonalities, as it was written in one of the old church modes (Phrugian). It is possible to harmonize it as a melody in a major scale, but it is equally possible to harmonize it as a melody in a minor scale. Tag emphasises this by constantly flipping between E flat major and c minor. The introduction and the final coda are written in firm E flat major, however. Almost as if Tag wanted the conouterweigh the tonal duality of the choral melody.
The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Schittger organ in the St. Martini-kerk, Groningen (http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/en/organs/netherlands/groningen-st-martini.html).