Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

Johann Sebastian Bach

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

BWV730

About this work

Bach fashioned six chorale preludes using the chorale theme from "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" (Dearest Jesus, we are here). This BWV 730 version is outstripped in popularity by its close sibling and near-twin, BWV 731, and probably by the two in the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 633 and 634). All of these works are gentle and subdued, and often ethereal or celestial in mood. This BWV 730 chorale prelude may be somewhat less colorful than 731, but it is nevertheless a fine and perfectly appropriate adaptation of the chorale tune. Bach captures the gentle spirit of the chorale's text here right from the soothing opening, where the theme is presented in relatively uncomplicated harmonies. Contrapuntal activity subtly blends in the background and the whole seems to float amid the clouds. There is a somber, almost melancholy side to this slowly paced music, a sense not so much of loss but of comfort or reassurance. The BWV 731 is brighter in its more plentiful upper-register sonorities and livelier contrapuntal writing, even though the theme and pacing are treated quite similarly. Both works have a duration of just under two minutes.

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