About this work
This Chorale fughetta, "Wir glauben all an einen Gott" (We All Believe in One God) is the so-called petite version of its grande sibling, also titled "Wir glauben all an einen Gott." Together they form the Credo section of Bach's Deutsche Orgelmesse (German Mass for Organ). The fughetta is not a compact version of the larger work, but is a different piece, though it shares the same thematic materials. The Orgelmesse is, except for the opening prelude and fugue and closing fugue, made up of 21 chorale preludes that appear in pairs of threes, each grouping having one grande version and one or two petite versions. The thematic source for this fughetta is a Lutheran chorale, but Bach uses only its opening notes as a springboard for both "Wir glauben" pieces. The fughetta begins with a theme whose sustained notes and serious mood combine to impart a stately, almost regal atmosphere. The tempo is slow, but Bach's contrapuntal activity and agitated trills give the piece a sense of animation. This work stands in contrast to its livelier and bigger grand sibling, while retaining the same serious demeanor. The fughetta generally lasts less than two minutes, while the chorale prelude has a duration of slightly over three. For once in the Orgelmesse, the disparity in size between the petite and grande versions is not so striking.