About this work
This is the first of two adaptations Bach did of this chorale theme, the other appearing in his Orgelbüchlein (BWV 609) (1713 -- 1715) as the eighth chorale prelude in the Christmas section. This earlier version of "Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich" (Praise God, you Christians everywhere), while short at a minute-and-a-half or so, is a bit longer than its cousin in the Orgelbüchlein, which has a duration of a mere minute or less. Both are fine works, this earlier version being the more colorful and brilliant, the later one a marginally better-crafted piece exhibiting in its terseness Bach's routine mastery at arranging chorale themes. The BWV 732 chorale prelude opens with swirling figures that announce a series of big chords proclaiming the glorious main theme. Several rather virtuosic runs appear between further statements of the melody, creating a colorful sense of contrast and imparting a majestic -- if slightly glittering -- character to the music. This is not to say that Bach cheapens his writing here, but the music does have an undeniably showy side. Still, this piece is effective and captures the energetic spirit of the chorale's text.