Ach, was ist doch unser Leben

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ach, was ist doch unser Leben


About this work

This piece is clustered in the Bach catalog with other items that are youthful, incomplete, or thought not to be by Bach at all, although this item has not yet been definitely attributed to anyone else. If it is by Bach, it's his only known keyboard treatment of this hymn tune. It begins with a somber introduction, a falling motif that sets the mood for the primary melody, and a static and contemplative theme that, toward the end, indulges in a moment of highly ornamented fancy. The next section offers the simpler parts of the melody in chords, with the more complex material seeming to grow even more twisted than before. The third section scales back to an imitative two-voice treatment of the theme, and ends with an unexpected little splurt of a flourish.