About this work
This chorale prelude likely dates to the period 1708 -- 1717, the years Bach spent in Weimar in the service of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. It was apparently not part of a larger set and should not be confused with the work of the same title in Das Orgelbüchlein, where it is the third piece in the Christmas section. There are also two other chorale preludes bearing the same title by Bach, BWV 722 and BWV 723, the latter being of spurious provenance. This BWV 697 chorale prelude, with a duration of only about a minute, is probably the shortest keyboard work Bach wrote based on the "Gelobet" chorale theme. "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" (We praise you, Jesus Christ) offers the spirited theme milked for all its joy and sunshine, Bach's writing lively in its jaunty character and rife with deft contrapuntal activity. Because of this work's diminutive size and fugal aspects, it is often called a fughetta. It divulges relatively little thematic development, though, but it must be remembered that Bach typically wrote chorale preludes as a means to prepare the congregation during a church service for the singing of the chorale upon which the organ piece is based.