Vater unser im Himmelreich

Johann Sebastian Bach

Vater unser im Himmelreich


About this work

A good many works, possibly authored by Johann Sebastian Bach, are regularly performed and recorded despite their status as "doubtful" or "spurious." This one, "Vater unser im Himmelreich" (Our Father who art in heaven), is in the latter category, and if it is a fake, it is a fairly worthwhile one as it has achieved a decent level of currency in at least the recording venue. Moreover, Zoltán Kodály must have at least been convinced of its artistic worth since he fashioned a quite effective and now fairly well-known arrangement of it for cello and piano. The original Chorale Prelude is a quite beautiful work, written in a style that may have come from Bach's early years, perhaps around 1700. The work shows the influence of Buxtehude and uses a cantus firmus, with accompaniment derived from the theme and mostly imitating and anticipating parts of it. The music gently and modestly begins in single notes and then grows fuller. After the brief introductory episode, where the chorale theme is anticipated, the accompaniment becomes more animated and colorful. While the music throughout is slightly somber, it is also quite graceful and lovely and should appeal to a wide audience. The piece typically has a duration of two-and-a-half minutes.