Today’s audience owe the opportunity to listen to Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri to a fortunate coincidence and to a devoted admirer of his talent in the person of the Swedish kapellmeister Gustaf Düben. The two men probably never met, although they corresponded vividly with each other.

Buxtehude, who lived in Lübeck, sent copies of his compositions or materials for copying them to Stockholm. It is possible that some of these were composed on Düben’s special order, such as the Membra Jesu nostri dedicated to the kapellmeister. It is only through his efforts that much of Buxtehude’s oeuvre has survived. Almost nothing was left in Lübeck, while the Swedish copies have survived. Membra Jesu nostri is a cycle of seven short cantatas with Latin texts, composed in 1680. The successive links are unified by the theme of the successive contemplation of the parts of the body of the crucified Christ: feet, knees, hands, sides, breast, heart and face, which makes it sometimes being regarded as the prototype of the Lutheran oratory. Another artist who laid the foundations for the emergence of this form was Heinrich Schütz. In Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund (1645), he musicalized the seven last words of Jesus on the cross. Here, in contrast to his ascetic passions maintained in an archaic a cappella convention, he combined the modern recitative, borrowed from the Italian opera, with the Lutheran chorale; in other words, he created a scheme on which Johann Sebastian Bach would base his immortal cantatas, oratorios and passions a century later.



Lucile Richardot 

Ensemble Correspondances

Sébastien Daucé – conductor, harpsichord, artistic director



Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707)

Membra Jesu nostri (cantatas I–IV)

I. Ad pedes

II. Ad genua

III. Ad manus

IV. Ad latus


Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)

Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund

I. Introitus

II. Symphonia

III. Die sieben Worte Jesu

IV. Symphonia

V. Conclusio


Dietrich Buxtehude

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin


Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707)

Membra Jesu nostri (cantatas V–VII)

V. Ad pectus

VI. Ad cor

VII. Ad faciem