No.15 Vater unser im Himmelreich

Johann Sebastian Bach

No.15 Vater unser im Himmelreich


About this work

Bach was appointed Kapellmeister in the Dresden Court of Frederick Augustus II in 1736. It was during his service in this post that he produced one of his more important organ collections, the Deutsche Orgelmesse (German Mass for Organ). This Chorale prelude "Vater unser im Himmelreich" (Our Father Who Art in Heaven) serves as the so-termed petite version of the Our Father. The various parts of the Lutheran mass are given grande and petite renditions in the Deutsche Orgelmesse, and while the grande renditions are often bigger and more grandiose, the petites are generally quite worthy counterparts. That said, Bach's Our Father presents the David and Goliath of this set, for here the grande utterly dwarfs the petite in size and scope, with its seven-minute-plus length to the modest minute or so of its little sibling. With its gentle upper-register sonorities, the little Our Father has a childlike innocence about it and might help foster the false notion that the petite versions were intended for children. But Bach invests this modest rendition with his usual masterful writing, the jaunty contrapuntal elements accompanying the chorale theme imparting an almost playful character to the piece. It is a quite delightful work that will appeal to a wide audience.