Not even musicians around the world are undoubtedly familiar with one of the most famous works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Jesu, Joy or Man’s Desiring. Usually this song is slowly, almost reverently performed at weddings, in church and at services. However, many music fans do not suspect that this recognizable melody was actually intended for a more joyful game.
The song was originally written to accompany the vocals, as well as to traditional orchestral instruments, especially woodwinds, strings and brass brass. Today, however, it is more often played on the piano and organ. It’s hard to tell if Bach will roll into the grave if a slower version of “Jezu,” “Joy” or “The Desire of Man” decorates someone’s wedding ceremony. However, this work has won the love of both enthusiasts and non-musicians. In fact, of all Bach’s writings, this is his most recognizable.
De in Duitsland geboren composer schreef zijn compositie oorspronkelijk in de vroege jaren 1700. Het werd voor het eerst in het openbaar uitgevoerd op 2 juli 1723 als onderdeel van Bachs cantata: “Hertz und Mund Tat in the life of und Leben”). The least known about this favorite composition is that the main choral melody was actually composed by violinist Johan Shop.
Shop was a pioneer in the music world in the early 1700s. Considered a virtuoso, his technical skills were unparalleled among his contemporaries and certainly had no equal among his predecessors. Despite his immense talent, Shop has since been sidelined. Today Bach himself is most credited with Jesuit, the joy of human desires.
The piano arrangement by Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring, better known to 21st century listeners, was actually transcribed by British pianist Myra Hess more than 100 years after its writing. It is this adaptation that has stood the test of time when it comes to universal recognition, and this is how the song is most often performed in public today. Accompanied by English-language voices, she sings into words translated from original German to English by the outstanding 18th century English poet Robert Bridges. However, the English version is slightly different from the original German version. Bridges has clearly done what poets are good at: he created a poem that still reflects the feelings of the original work, but contains a smooth, easy-to-sing rhyme in translated English.
Since its first public appearance almost three centuries ago, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” has been arranged and performed by hundreds of other musicians and artists. Even contemporary artists such as Josh Groban continue to turn this song into one of the most famous and beloved tunes in classical music.
Although Bach does not consider this work his favorite or best work, it is probably the most widely known of all his works. Due to its popularity, this song will no doubt appear at weddings and other public concerts for hundreds of years.