The 1784 Choralbuch by Christian Gregor is a landmark in Moravian music and history. Along with the Gesangbuch (hymnal) of 1778, the Choralbuch has shaped Moravian hymn-singing for more than two hundred years. The tunes in this facsimile edition are those compiled, edited, and newly-composed by Gregor (1723-1801) for use in Moravian worship, completing the codifying work begun thirty years earlier by Johann Daniel Grimm. Since many Moravian anthems include allusions to, or literal transcriptions of, hymn tunes, this is an invaluable resource for scholars of Moravian vocal music.
This facsimile publication was first printed in 1984, two hundred years after its initial publication. It includes an extended introduction by Martha Asti, with a summary of Moravian history and church music, Gregor’s life, and a brief history of Moravian hymnody. Also included are Gregor’s original introduction, which was written as advice primarily for organists accompanying congregational song, in a clear and accurate translation by Karl Kroeger; and a study of sources for the Moravian tunes in the Choralbuch prepared by James Boeringer. This 2016 reprint includes a newly-prepared index of common tune names for many tunes included in the book, prepared by Barbara Strauss. (For instance, someone looking for SLEEPERS WAKE will find it referenced as tune 230 in the Choralbuch.)
The tunes in the Choralbuch are notated with soprano and bass parts along with figured bass, with the soprano part in soprano clef (not the modern treble clef).