About this work
As most Bach enthusiasts are aware, the composer wrote many works based on the chorale "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr," including a number of chorale preludes, such as the three from the German Organ Mass (BWV 675, 676, and 677), as well as those many early efforts, including BWV 711 and 715, to cite just two. This one is perhaps his most colorful version, one that actually exhibits a certain flamboyance in its keyboard writing. The work opens with the chorale theme gloriously rendered in big, stately chords. Bach punctuates the end of each phrase here with a scampering, rather florid run. The effect provides contrast, to be sure, as well as color, though some may hear it as a prescient Bach auguring the more virtuosic side of Liszt. In the end, though, this cannot be judged as flashy music, but rather as deftly imagined writing whose juxtaposing of seemingly opposite elements amid the composer's usual brilliant contrapuntal activity yields a quite worthwhile, if minor masterwork. This piece typically has a duration of just under three minutes.