Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

Johann Sebastian Bach

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier


About this work

The date of composition of this work probably falls in the Weimar period (1708-1717), though it may originate in the several years immediately before, as far back as 1703. Bach wrote five other chorale preludes for organ based on the theme in the chorale "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" (Dearest Jesus, We Are Here), two of which are in the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 633 and 634), and three not part of any set (BWV 730, 731, and 754). Like most of Bach's other chorale preludes, all of these efforts are short, and thus, the minute-and-a-half or two-minute length of this BWV 706 effort is not unusual. Bach tended to treat this chorale theme in an ethereal or celestial sort of manner in his adaptations of it for organ. The two in the Orgelbüchlein, for instance, are almost identical twins and are fine examples of this approach. Here, in BWV 706, the tone is subdued and while the mood could be described as ethereal, it might more aptly be called solemn and reverential in its gentleness. Not that the music is stiff sounding, but Bach presents the lovely theme in a straightforward manner, with slow pacing and contrapuntal writing that blends rather than italicizes.