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Oh, How Great Is Your Compassion (BWV 259)

Setting by Johann Sebastian Bach

“Oh, How Great Is Your Compassion” (Ach, wie groß ist deine Gnade), text by Johann Olearius (1671). Chorale setting by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 259), originally for text Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen. Homophonic, SATB.
Recording of stanzas 1 and 2. Mount Hope Lutheran School Kammerchor, February 2023.

Bach originally composed this setting for the hymn Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen, which Catherine Winkworth translated into English as “What Shall I, a Sinner, Do?”, though it hasn’t appeared in an English hymnal since 1863. We opted to pair Bach’s setting with the more familiar text “Oh, How Great Is Your Compassion,” which you can find in TLH 384, ELH 460, and LSB 559.

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