No.18 Mit Fried und Freund ich fahr dahin

Johann Sebastian Bach

No.18 Mit Fried und Freund ich fahr dahin


About this work

Bach's Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) consists of 45 chorale preludes divided into eight sections. This one, Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (With peace and joy I enter therein), is the first of two works comprising the section called Song of Simeon. Both of the Simeon chorale preludes deal with the same subject matter: their source is the Bible (Luke 2; 29), which tells of Simeon, who is given great peace from seeing the young Jesus upon his presentation in the Temple. The other Simeon chorale prelude is Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf (Lord God, Heaven's Gate Unlock) and it is a bit livelier but still similar, not least because it too uses the same chorale theme. Mit Fried, like its sibling, has a stately character and features Bach's usually brilliant contrapuntal writing, which of course even extends to the pedal. The theme itself manages to express both a sense of peace and passion, of calmness and animation. It seems to rise and fall by turns in the main line and often simultaneously, when all voices are taken into account. This is one of the more attractive efforts in the Orgelbüchlein and should appeal to a wide audience. This chorale prelude lasts about two minutes in a typical performance.