Lob sei dem Allmächtigen Gott (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 602
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 0:57]  [Download the MP3]

J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
The greatest of them all

"Who's your favorite composer?" is as tired a question as "Whomever I'm listening to at the moment" is an answer. If pressed, however, and with apologies to Ludwig, Wolfgang, Pyotr, and all the other greats, I would give the nod to Bach. His supreme blending of beauty, logic, and inventiveness has never been surpassed, and much of my avocational music-making is devoted to listening, learning, and making synthesized realizations of his music.

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Text - Michael Weisse, 1542
Tune - Conditor alme siderum, 7th cent. plainsong
The Hymnal 1982 - #60

Praise to Almighty God,

He has had mercy upon us.

He has sent to us his beloved Son,

born of him on the highest throne.

Bach makes a number of changes to the cantus firmus shown above, in keeping with a number of unexpected harmonic shifts throughout this very brief chorale. (For example, the first C above is a B natural here.)

You'll also hear another distinct motive in the pedal, a descending figure:

In this last of the Orgelbüchlein's Advent chorales, therefore, Bach returns to the descending figurations that feature prominently in BWV 599, symbolizing Christ's descent from heaven to earth.

BWV 601 < Index > BWV 603

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