About this work
This work dates to Bach's years in Köthen (1717 - 1723), a period that was a mixture of tragedy and happiness in the composer's life. In 1720, his wife Maria Barbara suddenly died, leaving behind four young children. Bach married soprano Anna Magdalena Wilcke in December 1721, beginning a happy and rewarding relationship that produced many children, only five of whom would survive childhood. This Chorale prelude "Jesus, meine Zuversicht" (Jesus, My Sure Defense), like most Bach works, reflects the happier side of his life. It is serene and confident, a testament to the sense of religious contentment the composer so often expressed in his works. "Jesus, meine Zuversicht" offers a lovely chorale theme whose slow tempo and less-active contrapuntal features give the work a sense of confidence, but almost of flotation, too, as if its music is hovering in some celestial mist. The thematic trajectory is often on the ascent, further reinforcing the angelic mood of the work. Many will recognize this chorale theme and most listeners will find the music here quite enchanting. This is one of Bach's less technically demanding keyboard works for the performer, though a deft interpretive sense is certainly requisite.