About this work
This chorale fughetta is generally considered to rank among Bach's lesser organ works. But even in this category, there are to be found several masterful -- if minor -- creations, and this effort is perhaps among them. "Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn" (Lord Christ, God's only Son) is a modest work of only about a minute's length. Its chorale tune is used in the Lutheran hymn known as "The Only Son From Heaven." Bach, as usual, invests the work with a healthy measure of finely imagined contrapuntal writing, fashioning a piece meant to serve as a sort of prelude to the congregation's singing of the chorale during the church service. The fughetta features the brightly lit, noble chorale theme in a sort of light treatment. The melody springs from three notes and a rising series of notes that impart a generally optimistic air to the music. The writing sprouts many brief ideas in its contrapuntal activity, but remains relatively simple throughout. Still, it leaves the impression that the composer could have gone on to much else with his material here, but needed only to conform to prelude-like dimensions for the piece.