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O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Hassler, Hans Leo

Arr. Maiden Mueller, Spike


  • Ensemble: Horn Quartet
  • Genre: Secular
  • Grade: 4
  • Duration: 6.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: AOS1427

Hans Leo Hassler was a 16th-Century German composer who absorbed the Venetian polychoral style through his friendship with Giovanni Gabrielli and brought it back with him to Germany. Though a Lutheran, Hassler composed for both the Catholic and Lutheran churches.

The tune 'Herzlich tut mich verlangen' or Passion Chorale, after its use by Bach, has been associated with the text of Paul Gerhardt's 'O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden' since its publication in 1656. Gerhardt's text was itself a translation of a medieval Latin poem, 'Salve mundi salutare.' The tune has been more recently employed by the folk group the Weavers for 'Because All Men Are Brothers' and by Paul Simon in his 'American Tune.'

There are six harmonizations of the Hassler chorale here. Although they could theoretically be played in order and the arrangement in its entirety, I intend for the performing group to select the number and specific harmonizations which will fit the needs of their performance best. Each harmonization is based on Bach's harmonization for his Saint Matthew Passion; indeed Number 3 is a note-for-note transcription of the chorale as he harmonized it for Movement 62 of the Passion. I have even included a three-part harmonization which can either be used as relief for the first horn player or for a trio group. A couple of the harmonizations use a more modern harmonic palette than others, so the group can be as adventurous as it wishes, or not, as it prefers.


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