Dismayed by the attempt at German pronunciation on our practice tracks, I have prepared some phonetic notes (now revised in the light of comments) to help people with pronouncing the German text. They include not only general advice but also an IPA transcription of the lyrics we have to sing.
Der Gnade Heil ist dem Büßer beschieden,
er geht einst ein in der Seligen Frieden;
vor Höll’ und Tod ist ihm nicht bang’,
drum preis’ ich Gott mein Leben lang!
deːr ɡnaːdə haɪl ɪst deːm byːsɐ bəʃiːdən
eːr ɡeːt aɪnst aɪn ɪn deːr zeːlɪɡən friːdən
drʊm praɪs ɪç ɡɔt maɪn leːbən laŋ
One thing I am not certain about is the possible differences between everyday pronunciation and what is appropriate in classical singing.
According to what I have read, in singing it is sort of customary to pronounce a tongue-tip r rather than a uvular ʁ, and to use ər rather than the ɐ of ordinary speech. Here’s the rather confused message offered on the subject by the Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (p. 118).
r-Laute: meist Bildung von Zungenspitzen-R ([r]), oft auch in Positionen, in denen beim Sprechen vokalisierte Formen oder reduziertes Reibe-R ([ʶ]) gebildet werden; daneben aber besteht die Tendenz zu Vokalisierung wie beim Sprechen; Reibe-R ([ʁ]) und Zäpfchen-R ([ʀ]) sind selten. r sounds: more often than not the use of tongue-tip R ([r]), including in positions in which vocalized forms or reduced fricative r ([ʶ]) are used in speech; but alongside this there exists, as in speaking, the tendency to vocalization; fricative r ([ʁ]) and uvular r ([ʀ]) are rare.
So ought I to prescribe deːr for der, or deːɐ̯? (Either would be better than dɜː.) Should Büßer be ˈbyːsər or ˈbyːsɐ?
Fortunately we have a native speaker of German in the choir, who has recorded the words for us. He pronounces them as in everyday speech.
Any comments from those who know more about German phonetics than I do will be very welcome.