About this work
One of the miscellaneous chorales of Bach which were transmitted by his students, Wer nur den leiben Gott lässt walten (He who allows dear God to rule him) is difficult to date, but it was likely composed sometime before Bach moved to Weimar in 1708. Transmitted by Bach's student, J.P. Kirnberger, this short piece for manuals alone appeared in both the Klavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach and the Klavierbüchlein für W.F. Bach. It is strikingly different from another setting of the same tune, BWV 690.
The chorale melody sounds in the soprano above a simple, two-part accompaniment. The cantabile style of the melody and its rich ornamentation suggest the influence of the French Classic composers, and they embody the delightfulness of faith mentioned in the text. Although Bach had contact with French musicians during his days at Lüneberg (1700-1703), this piece has a maturity which points to a later date for composition.