Wir Christenleut

Johann Sebastian Bach

Wir Christenleut


About this work

Bach wrote only two other settings of the chorale theme in Wir Christenleut (We Christian People), the earliest (BWV 1090) turning up in 1985 in the Neumeister Collection and the later one (BWV 612) appearing as the last of the 11 works in the Christmas section of his masterful Das Orgelbüchlein (1713-1715). This BWV 710 effort almost certainly dates to his years in Weimar (1708-1717), and thus may have been written at around the same time as its Orgelbüchlein sibling. Though it is a bit longer than that work, it is itself quite brief, with a duration of just over two minutes. Bach gives the chorale theme an appropriately light treatment here, with lively pacing and busy contrapuntal lines. He also adds more ornamentation than is usual for his chorale preludes and keeps virtually all of the thematic activity in the upper registers. The theme -- and counterthemes -- have a jaunty, somewhat playful character here, the music coming across as joyful and happy. Yet the mood also divulges a rapturous sense, too, as if the notes are busily carrying out some higher purpose. This delightful piece will strongly appeal to organ music and Baroque enthusiasts.