|Composer:||J. A. P. Schulz (1800)|
|Meter:||188.8.131.52 D with refrain|
|Incipit:||51155 31543 21556|
WIR PFLÜGEN (named after the incipit of Schulz’s original third stanza) was published anonymously in the Hanover collection Lieder für Volksschulen (1800). But it was credited to Johann A. P. Schulz in Lindner’s Berlin songbook Jungenfreund (1812). The harmonization by John B. Dykes (PHH 147) was first published in the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern.
The tune is noted for its opening phrase, which encompasses a very wide range, but that doesn’t appear to discourage most congregations from singing it. Sing the stanzas in unison (note that lines 1 and 4 are unison) and the refrain in harmony. Change the organ registration before stanza 3 to highlight the change of focus in the text: as we sing stanzas 1 and 2, we address each other, but in stanza 3 we address God.
Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (b. Lunebirg, Germany, 1747; d. Schwedt and der Oder, Germany, 1800) had a distinguished career in music, though his father wanted him to become a pastor. At the age of fifteen Schulz traveled to Berlin by himself to seek out a good music teacher. He persevered in his musical training under the composer and theorist Johann Philipp Kirnberger. Appointed accompanist and music teacher to the Polish princess Sophia Woiwodin in 1768, Schulz traveled all through Europe and was exposed to many different kinds of music. After1775 he had a number of prestigious positions, including director of the Royal French Theater in Berlin (1776-1780), director of music for Prince Henry of Prussia (1780-1787), and the director of the Royal Danish Theater (1787-1795). Schulz composed operas, instrumental works, church music, and song settings in a folk-music style, often setting the poems of great literary figures to music.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988