Buxtehude Membra Jesu Nostri


Crucifix of Enghausen, Bavaria, 890-900

 

Dietrich Buxtehude

 

Membra Jesu Nostri

 

BuxWV 75

 

Read about Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637 - 1707).

 

Membra Jesu nostri is a cycle of 7 cantatas on the body of the crucified Jesus by Dietrich Buxtehude (BuxWV 75) dedicated to  Gustaf Düben. It is derived from a Latin poem, Salve mundi salvare (also known as Rhythmica oratio) attributed to Arnulf of Leuven, born in Leuven (Flemish Brabant, Belgium) about 1200.  Arnulf was a monk and then abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Villers (Villers-la-ville, Walloon Brabant, Belgium).  He died at Villers in 1250.

 

See the somewhat outdated article, Salve mundi salvare, in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1912).

 

There are numerous recordings and a video disc  of Membra Jesu nostri.  Several are available to borrow from [BNQ], in particular a recent disc by Montreal's Les voix baroques (Alexander Weimann, conductor from the positive organ; Pascal Charbonneau, tenor; Suzie LeBlanc, soprano; Thomas  Meglioranza, bass; Catherine Webster, soprano; Matthew White, countertenor. Review by Charles T. Downey.

Click to listen to Cantata I, II, IV by Les Voix baroques.  And Cantata VII.  

 

All 7 cantatas by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra are available for listening online:  Ton Koopman, conductor; Barbara Schlick, soprano; Monika Frimmer, soprano; Michael Chance, alto; Christophe Pregardien, tenor; Peter Kooy, bass.

Click to listen to Cantata I, Cantata II, Cantata III, Cantata IV, Cantata V, Cantata VI, Cantata VII by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.

 

Click to watch and hear the Schola Cantorum Basilensis: René Jacobs, conductor; Maria Christina Kiehr, soprano; Andreas Scholl, alto; Gerd Türk, tenor; Ulrich Messthaler, bass; perform Cantata I, Cantata II, Cantata III, Cantata IV, Cantata V, Cantata VI, Cantata VII.  Check for availabilty to borrow at [BNQ]. (To see the videos and the text at the same time, first reduce this page to half screen at the top of the screen, then right-click on the desired Cantata, then left-click on "open in a new window, then lower one of the pages to the bottom of the screen.  Scroll down to the desired text.)  

 

 

The Seven Cantatas

I. Ad pedes (To the Feet)

The first cantata of the cycle, Ad pedes (To the Feet), calls for two violins, viola da gamba, five voices (SSATB), and basso continuo.

1. Sonata (instrumental introduction: two violins, viola da gamba, and [basso] continuo)
 
2. Concerto (SSATB)
Ecce super montes
       Behold upon the mountains
pedes evangelizantis
       his feet that proclaim the good news 
et annunciantis pacem
       and announce peace.
3. Aria (SSATB)
Salve mundi salutare,
       Hail, Saviour of the world, 
salve Jesu care!
        Hail, dear Jesus!
Cruci tuae me aptare
        O, to hang with you upon your cross 
vellem vere, tu scis quare,
        In truth, you know why, 
da mihi tui copiam
        give me your strength. 
4. Aria (S)
Clavos pedum, plagas duras,
        The nails in your feet, the cruel blows,
et tam graves impressuras
        and wounds so deep 
circumplector cum affectu,
        I embrace with affection, 
tuo pavens in aspectu,
        anxious at your sight 
tuorum memor vulnerum
        as I ponder your wounds. 
5. Aria (B)
Dulcis Jesu, pie deus,
        Sweet Jesus, holy God, 
Ad te clamo licet reus,
         I call out to you, though guilty,
praebe mihi te benignum,
         Show yourself to me in your goodness 
ne repellas me indignum
         do not reject me as unworthy 
de tuis sanctis pedibus
         from your holy feet. 
6. Concerto (SSATB)
        Ecce super montes
                Behold upon the mountains
        pedes evangelizantis
                his feet that proclaim the good news 
        et annunciantis pacem
                and announce peace.

II. Ad genua (To the Knees)

1. Sonata
2. Concerto (SSATB)
Ad ubera portabimini,
        Upon her bosom you shall suck, 
et super genua blandientur vobis
        and be dandled upon her knees (Is. 66:12) 
3. Aria (T)
Salve Jesu, rex sanctorum,
        Hail Jesus, king of the saints 
spes votiva peccatorum,
       prayerful hope of sinners, 
crucis ligno tanquam reus,
       like one guilty on the wood of the cross, 
pendens homo, verus deus,
       a man hanging, yet true God, 
caducis nutans genibus.
       bending on fallen knees.
         
4. Aria (A)
Quid sum tibi responsurus,
       What shall I answer you, 
actu vilis corde durus?
        with my vile deeds and hardened heart? 
Quid rependam amatori,
        What can I repay the one who loves, 
qui elegit pro me mori,
         who has chosen to die for me,
ne dupla morte morerer.
         that I might not die the second death. 
5. Aria (SSB)
Ut te quaeram mente pura,
       That I might seek you with a pure heart, 
sit haec mea prima cura,
       may that be my first concern.   
non est labor et gravabor,
        It is neither difficult nor weighty, 
sed sanabor et mundabor,
        but I shall be healed and made clean, 
cum te complexus fuero.
        When i shall embrace you. 
6. Concerto (SSATB)
Ad ubera portabimini,
        Upon her bosom you shall suck, 
et super genua blandientur vobis
        and de dandled upon her knees (Is. 66:12) 

III. Ad manus (To the Hands)

1. Sonata
 
2. Concerto (SSATB)
Quid sunt plagae istae
        What are these wounds 
in medio manuum tuarum?
        in the midst of your hands (Zech. 13:6)? 
3. Aria (S)
Salve Jesu, pastor bone,
        Hail, Jesus, good shepherd, 
fatigatus in agone,
        exhausted in agony, 
qui per lignum es distractus
         wearied by the cross, 
et ad lignum es compactus
         nailed to the wood 
expansis sanctis manibus.
         by your holy hands extended. 
4. Aria (S)
Manus sanctae, vos amplector,
        Holy hands, I embrace you, 
et gemendo condelector,
        and weeping I take delight, 
grates ago plagis tantis,
        as I give thanks for such wounds,       
clavis duris guttis sanctis
         hard nails and holy drops, 
dans lacrymas cum oculis.
        in tears with kisses. 
5. Aria (ATB)
In cruore tuo lotum
        Washed by your blood 
me commendo tibi totum,
        I give myself entirely to you; 
tuae sanctae manus istae
        may these your holy hands 
me defendant, Jesu Christe,
        keep me safe, Jesus Christ, 
extremis in periculis.
        in the final danger. 
6. Concerto (SSATB)         
Quid sunt plagae istae
        What are these wounds 
in medio manuum tuarum?
        in the midst of your hands (Zech. 13:6)? 

IV. Ad latus (To the Side)

1. Sonata
 
2. Concerto (SSATB)
Surge, amica mea,
          Arise, my love,
speciosa mea, et veni,
         my beautiful one, and come:
columba mea inforaminibus petrae,
         My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in caverna maceriaei.
          in the hollow places of the wall (Song of Solomen 2:13-14). 
3. Aria (S)
Salve latus salvatoris,
        Hail, side of my saviour, 
in quo latet mel dulcoris,
        in which hides sweet honey, 
in quo patet vis amoris,
        in which appears love's power, 
ex quo scatet fons cruoris,
        out of which flows a fountain of love, 
qui corda lavat sordida.
        which washes clean the sordid heart. 
4. Aria (ATB)
Ecce tibi appropinquo,
        Behold, I draw near to you, 
parce, Jesu, si delinquo,
        forgive me, Jesus, if I sin, 
verecunda quidem fronte,
        with bowed visage,
ad te tamen veni sponte
        I freely come to you 
scrutari tua vulnera.
        to scrutinize your wounds. 
5. Aria (S)
Hora mortis meus flatus
        At the hour of death, may my soul 
intret Jesu, tuum latus,
        enter, Jesus into your side. 
hinc expirans in te vadat,
        Thus in the last moment may it enter you
ne hunc leo trux invadat,
        so that fearsome lion not invade it 
sed apud te permaneat
        but that it remain forever with you. 
6. Concerto (SSATB) 
Surge, amica mea,
          Arise, my love,
speciosa mea, et veni,
         my beautiful one, and come:
columba mea inforaminibus petrae,
         My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in caverna maceriaei
          in the hollow places of the wall (Song of Solomon 2:13-14). 

V. Ad pectus (To the Breast)

1. Sonata
 
2. Concerto a 3 voci (in 3 voices: ATB)
Sicut modo geniti infantes rationabiles,
        Like newborn infants, 
et sine dolo concupiscite,
        long for the pure, spiritual milk
ut in eo crescatis in salutem.
        so that by it you may grow into salvation.
Si tamen gustatis, quoniam dulcis est Dominus.
        — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3).
3. Aria (A)
Salve, salus mea, deus,
        Hail, God, my salvation, 
Jesu dulcis, amor meus,
        Sweet Jesus, my love, 
salve, pectus reverendum,
        hail, breast to be venerated, 
cum tremore contingendum,
        to be touched with trembling hand, 
amoris domicilium.
        abode of love. 
4. Aria (T)
Pectus mihi confer mundum,
        Give to me a pure heart,          
ardens, pium, gemebundum,
        burning, pious, sighing, 
voluntatem abnegatam,
        my own will denied, 
tibi semper conformatam,
        conformed always to you, 
juncta virtutum copia.
        united in copious virtue.
         
5. Aria (B)
Ave, verum templum dei,
        Hail, true temple of God, 
precor miserere mei,
        I pray have mercy upon me 
tu totius arca boni,
        you, the ark of all good, 
fac electis me apponi,
        include me among the elect, 
vas dives deus omnium.
        precious vessel, God of all.
 
6. Concerto a 3 voci (in 3 voices: ATB) 
Sicut modo geniti infantes rationabiles,
        Like newborn infants,
et sine dolo concupiscite,
        long for the pure, spiritual milk
ut in eo crescatis in salutem.
        so that by it you may grow into salvation.
Si tamen gustatis, quoniam dulcis est Dominus
        — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3).

VI. Ad cor  (To the Heart)

1. Sonata
 
2. Concerto a 3 voci (SSB)
Vulnerasti cor meum,
        You have wounded my heart, 
soror mea, sponsa,
        my sister, my bride, 
vulnerasti cor meum.
        you have wounded my heart (Song of Solomon 4:9). 
3. Aria (S)
Summi regis cor, aveto,
        Heart of the most high king, I greet you, 
te saluto corde laeto,
        I salute with a heart full of joy, 
te complecti me delectat
        I rejoice to embrace you 
et hoc meum cor affectat,
        and my heart desires this: 
ut ad te loquar, animes.
        that you move me to speak to you. 
4. Aria (S)
Per medullam cordis mei,
        Into my deepest heart, 
peccatoris atque rei,
        heart of a sinner and one guilty, 
tuus amor transferatur,
        let your love be brought  
quo cor tuum rapiatur
        so that your heart may be ravished, 
languens amoris vulnere.
        languishing in love's wound. 
5. Aria (B)
Viva cordis voce clamo,
        I call out with the living voice of the heart, 
dulce cor, te namque amo,
        sweet heart, for I love you. 
ad cor meum inclinare,
        Incline to my heart, 
ut se possit applicare
        so that it may draw near to you 
devoto tibi pectore.
        with a devout heart. 
6. Concerto a 3 voci (SSB)
     Vulnerasti cor meum,
             You have wounded my heart, 
     soror mea, sponsa,
             my sister, my bride, 
     vulnerasti cor meum.
             you have wounded my heart (Song of Solomon 4:9). 

VII. Ad faciem (To the Face)

1. Sonata
2. Concerto (SSATB))
Illustra faciem tuam super servum tuum,
        Make your face to shine upon your servant: 
salvum me fac in misericordia tua.
        save me for thy mercy's sake (Psalm 31:16). 
3. Aria (ATB)
Salve, caput cruentatum,
        Hail, O bloodied head,  
totum spinis coronatum,
        completely crowned with thorns, 
conquassatum, vulneratum,
        beaten, covered with wounds, 
arundine verberatum
        scourged with a reed,
facie sputis illita.
         face stained with spit.
4. Aria (A)
Dum me mori est necesse,
        When it is required that I die, 
noli mihi tunc deesse,
        do not then be far from me, 
in tremenda mortis hora
        in the awful hour of death 
veni, Jesu, absque mora,
        come, Jesus, without tarrying, 
tuere me et libera.
        protect me and set me free. 
5. Aria (SSATB)
Cum me jubes emigrare,
        When you require that I depart, 
Jesu care, tunc appare,
        Jesus dearest, then appear, 
o amator amplectende,
        O beloved to be embraced, 
temet ipsum tunc ostende
        then show your very self 
in cruce salutifera.
        on the saving cross.
         
6. Concerto (SSATB)
Amen.