Cantor Johann Lindemann wrote this text to fit the tune IN DIR IST FREUDE. Catherine Winkworth prepared the English translation for the second series of her Lyra Germanica (1858).
The text confesses with joy the Christian's security of walking intimately with God through the ups and downs of daily life. The two long stanzas consist of various short biblical phrases and allusions woven into an integrated pattern of praise and petition, confession and rejoicing. All are punctuated by periodic "alleluias." The words of the text suggest Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism.
IN DIR IST FREUDE is one of many balletti (dance-like songs) written by Giovanni G. Gastoldi, a priest and composer from Mantua, Italy. It was originally published in his Balleti a cinque voce (1591), where it was set to "Alieta vita, Amor ciinuita", which like so many balletti had a "fa-la-la" refrain.
The melody consists of short phrases formed into two sections, each repeated. The well-known organ prelude on this tune by Johann S. Bach is cast into complex counterpoint (found in his Orgelbuchlein). But congregational singing and accompaniment should reflect the original character of lighthearted dance music. Sing in a swinging lively manner and strive for long musical phrases. Part singing is appropriate throughout, or try changing from unison to part singing (or vice versa) at the repeats of the A and B musical phrases. Maintain one pulse per measure.
Johann Lindemann (b. Gotha, Thuringia, Germany, 1549; d. Gotha, 1631) attended the gymnasium (high school) in Gotha and then studied at the University of Jena. He returned to Gotha, where he served on the council and became a cantor in several churches (1580-1631). One of the signers of the Lutheran Formula of Concord (1577), Lindemann published Amarum Filii Dei Decades Duae (1598), which included his "In You Is Gladness."
Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used in many modern hymnals. Her work was published in two series of Lyra Germanica (1855, 1858) and in The Chorale Book for England (1863), which included the appropriate German tune with each text as provided by Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt. Winkworth also translated biographies of German Christians who promoted ministries to the poor and sick and compiled a handbook of biographies of German hymn authors, Christian Singers of Germany (1869).
Giovanni G. Gastoldi (b. 1582; d. 1609) served as a deacon and singer in the chapel of the Gonzaga family in Mantua. Succeeding Giaches de Wert, he directed music in the Church of Santa Barbaras in Mantua from 1592 to 1608. Little is known about the rest of his life. Gastoldi composed a considerable body of court music, such as madrigals, and some church music, but he is best known for his Balletti, which influenced composers such as Monteverdi, Hassler, and Morley.