About this work
This is the first of the four Easter chorale preludes in the Bach
Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book). Easter is the sixth section of eight in this two-part, 46-piece collection. "Christ ist erstanden" (Christ is risen) is the most substantial of the four works dealing with the Resurrection and among the more compelling works in the set. By the time Bach had written this and the other Orgelbüchlein works, he was nearing the end of his service (1708 -- 1717) in the Weimar Court of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar and was already a seasoned master of keyboard and vocal music. Christ ist erstanden opens with its sublime theme rendered in mellow, mostly subdued tones on the manuals. Soon, the pacing turns more animated and Bach infuses the music with his typically deft contrapuntal activity. In the latter half of the work, the music suddenly turns majestic, as textures thicken amid a sense of triumph and glory. In the end, this chorale prelude must be assessed as a masterful creation that brilliantly captures the religious aspects associated with the Resurrection. Lasting about four minutes, this work is longer than the remaining three Easter works combined.