About this work
Another of Buxtehude's chorale preludes with the ornamented chorale tune in the soprano. The chorale was a Christmas tune. The first verse reads: "The day is full of the joy of all creatures, for God's son from heaven is born of a virgin beyond nature, Maria you were chosen to become the mother. What an amazing thing happened? God's son from heaven has had a human birth." Verses 2 and 3 deal with the Christ child, and the fourth with the shepherds and Herod.
Buxtehude plays a few interesting word painting games in this chorale setting. The setting of the first line is relatively plain until the notes of the chorale on the words "so freudenreich" which are ornamented with a bright sixteenth-note flourish and trill. In the third line where the word "Heaven" appears in the chorale, the soprano line jumps up an octave, then arches back into its original range. On the last note of the chorale Buxtehude makes a large flourish over two measures starting an octave higher than the original melody and ending an octave lower than the original, perhaps depicting Jesus' departure from Heaven to a lowly human birth.