O the Blessedness Is Great
O die Seligkeit ist gross
Johann Christian Bechler (1784-1836)
Henriette Louise von Hayn (1724-1782)
Edited by Nola R. Knouse
SSAB choir w organ/piano
String parts (opt.) available.
Organ part in a lower key, available.
Sponsor: Hope Moravian Church, Hope, Indiana, in honor of Mary Louise Hamilton
Johann Christian Bechler (1784-1857) was born on the Baltic island of Oesel (modern Saaremaa), where his father was a Moravian minister. He was educated at Moravian schools in Niesky and Barby, Germany. Music was his favorite subject, and he says that he “devoted every moment of time left by other duties, to the acquisition of the various branches of this charming art with the greatest delight, learning to sing, to play various stringed instruments, but more particularly the piano and the organ.” At the completion of his studies he taught organ at Barby and in 1806 accepted a call to America, where he became one of the first professors at Moravian Theological Seminary. His interest in music continued, and he composed many choral and liturgical pieces. He served as minister to the Moravian congregations of Philadelphia, Staten Island, Lititz, Pennsylvania, and Salem, North Carolina. In 1836, shortly after his consecration as bishop, he went to serve the congregation in Sarepta, Russia. In 1849 he retired to Herrnhut, the center of the Moravian Church in Germany, and died there on April 18, 1857.
O the Blessedness Is Great was edited from manuscript copies from the music collections from Salem, NC, and Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz, PA. The work is originally scored for strings and organ. Full score and parts are available from the Moravian Music Foundation.