About this work
The Kirnberger Collection is named after Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721 -- 1783), a musician who had begun assembling Bach manuscripts shortly after the composer's death in 1750. The score for this chorale prelude, "Wo soll ich fliehen hin" (Where shall I find refuge), was found among those that Kirnberger had amassed. Like most in the collection, it dates to Bach's early career, perhaps to his Arnstadt period (1703 -- 1707). It is light in its treatment of the chorale theme and exhibits Bach's usual mastery at contrapuntal writing, but more importantly at capturing the religious spirit of the text. At three to four minutes, this work cannot be called large, but it is relatively lengthy compared to most other Bach chorale preludes. Here he gives the theme a quite fugal treatment, the upper register providing the main line and the middle ranges the counter line. The character of the music is ethereal, its sonorities soaring in their busy manner. Often, the secondary thematic material briefly steps into the foreground, or it often merely blends, but it generally functions harmonically while managing to etch out its own distinctive line. This is a minor but rewarding work that will appeal to most organ-music and Baroque-period devotees.