Listen to the beginner piano arrangement of O Sacred Head Now Wounded.
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded is a Christian Passion hymn based on a long medieval Latin poem with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ’s body hanging on the Cross. The last part of the poem, from which the hymn is taken, is addressed to Christ’s head. The poem is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but is now attributed to the Medieval poet Arnulf of Leuven (died 1250).
The music for the German and English versions of the hymn is by Hans Leo Hassler, written around 1600 for a secular love song. The tune was appropriated by Bach—for both his St. Matthew Passion and his Christmas Oratorio—Franz Liszt, the Danish composer Rued Langgaard and the English composer Edmund Rubbra.
* This hymn arrangement is also available in our books: