About this work
There is some dispute concerning the date of this and many other organ compositions by Bach. From its stylistic features, "Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend" (Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now) would seem to come from his Arnstadt period (1703 - 1707), though some musicologists date it to the years at Weimar (1708 - 1717). In any event, it is early Bach, but still masterfully crafted. The work is played on two keyboards, with pedal. Its music has a serene and confident manner in the slow pacing, as if to convey that religious supplication can involve a sense of security via faith. While that description may stray a bit from Bach's intentions here, it cannot be far afield. The chorale theme is accompanied by much deftly imagined contrapuntal detail, even in the gentle, rich sounds of the pedal. The blend of upper and lower sonorities here, as well as the imaginative repetition of key parts of the thematic material, and Bach's clever harmonic twists combine to make this at least a minor gem in the composer's vast organ output. This chorale prelude lasts about three minutes in a typical performance.