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Who Knows When Death May Overtake Me

By Hannah Engwall

“Who Knows When Death May Overtake Me” (Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende) by Aemilie Juliane (1686). Tune by Christian Möck (1818). Setting by Hannah Engwall (2022). Polyphonic, SATB.
Recording of stanzas 1, 9, 11, and 12. Soprano: Hannah Engwall, Alto: Anna Hahn, Tenor: Andrew Richard, Bass: Nathanael Hahn. May 2023.

“Who Knows When Death May Overtake Me” is a hymn on dying a Christian death written by Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1637-1706). The eleven stanzas tell of the peace found in Christ despite the daily possibility of dying, each ending with the refrain, “My God, for Jesus’ sake I pray, Thy peace may bless my dying day.” The author herself was not unfamiliar with the pain of death—she was born in 1637 as her parents were fleeing persecution during The Thirty Years’ War, lost both of her parents by the age of five, and knew through the upheaval and loss of her childhood that consolation is only found in Christ in His Word and Sacraments. This setting of the hymn was inspired by elements of Johann Walter’s (1496-1570) compositions, especially the placement of the melody in the tenor voice.

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Practice Tracks

Full practice track
Soprano practice track
Alto practice track
Tenor practice track
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  • Hannah Engwall

    Hannah Engwall is a teacher at Mount Hope Lutheran School in Casper, WY, and holds a Parish Music degree from Concordia University Wisconsin. She enjoys directing choirs, teaching high school music theory, and teaching organ lessons. Her favorite hymn is TLH 292, “Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide.”

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