No.33 Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist

Johann Sebastian Bach

No.33 Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist


About this work

This is the only chorale prelude in the Whitsuntide section of Bach's masterful Das Orgelbüchlein (The Little Organ Book), which contains 46 in its two parts and eight sections. This work is somewhat unusual since the Lutheran chorale melody upon which it is based derives from the Gregorian theme in Veni Creator Spiritus, whose roots date back to the eighth century. Bach also employs unusual rhythmic features here, in particular in the repetitious use of the (pedal) bass chord on each bar's third beat. While musicologists can spend much time analyzing such innovative or atypical features, this chorale prelude, "Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist" (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest), must be assessed as a fine piece of music, too, despite its modest scope and one-minute length. The work opens with the chorale prelude given a joyous and bright treatment, Bach's jaunty counterpoint and seemingly off-beat bass chords adding to the colorful atmosphere. The theme is repeated in slightly different guises four times throughout the piece, on each appearance the music seeming to be on a descending trajectory. Still, the emotional tenor of the work remains on the upswing throughout and the mood is cheerful and festive.