About this work
This is one of the chorale preludes in the Passion segment of Bach's
Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), a collection of 45 chorale preludes divided into eight sections that date to the composer's years in Weimar (1708-1717), where he served as the court organist under the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. "Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (We Thank Thee, Lord Jesus Christ) is the sixth piece (of nine) in the Passion section and one of the briefer efforts in the set. It presents the stately chorale theme in the upper ranges amid Bach's typically well-crafted contrapuntal activity. The music has a glorious yet serene manner in its moderate pacing, and while it has a repetitive manner in some of its writing -- a key three-note pattern in the theme is heard throughout -- the work is too brief (slightly over a minute) for this characteristic to wear thin. This chorale prelude may not rank with the grandiose "O Mensch, bewein' dein Sünde gross" that precedes it in the set, but it is still a quite worthwhile effort on its own modest terms.