About this work
This chorale prelude, Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag (The Joyful Day to Us Appears), is one of 45 works comprising Bach's Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), which in its first half presents groups of compositions associated with Lutheran feast days. This one is the third of four dealing with Easter. Bach wrote the collection in accordance with his duties as Court organist in the Weimar Court of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. Written for church service, it was also designed as an educational tool for organ students, but Baroque music mavens and other interested listeners are assured that the works can be enjoyed for their considerable artistic merit as well. Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag uses the same chorale theme as heard in the three other Easter preludes. Its variant of the theme has a stately manner about its moderate pacing. Like many pieces in the Orgelbüchlein, there is far less contrapuntal activity here than one associates with Bach's music, the accompaniment largely coming in sustained chords. The music, of course, is a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ and the resultant offer of salvation to mankind. The other three Easter chorale preludes are livelier, the first being the longest and most grandiose. This one lasts slightly over a minute in performance.