About this work
Musician Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721 -- 1783) had become enamored of Bach's music before he reached adulthood and later on founded a library housing many of Bach's manuscripts. It became known as the Kirnberger Collection and this chorale prelude, "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (All Mankind Fell in Adam's Fall), is among the works whose original manuscripts were collected there. It is not to be confused with the other chorale preludes of the same name, the better known of which serves as the fifth of the Glaubenslieder pieces in the second part of Bach's
Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), and the other being one of the later-discovered Neumeister items. Little is known of this earlier chorale prelude, about which there is also still some question of authorship. Despite its paucity of recordings and performances, it is a worthwhile composition. It opens in the lower ranges and presents the chorale theme in subdued and somber tones.
The later version in the Orgelbüchlein also exhibits a darker character, but here the writing produces somewhat more barren sonorities in their less plentiful and convincing contrapuntal writing and in the end, a less-colorful darkness, if such an oxymoron can be used. It must be concluded that this approximately three-minute piece is a minor, but still worthy, effort.