Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 604
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 1:29]  [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 - Martin Luther, 1524
Tune - author unknown, 14th cent.

Praise be to you, Jesus Christ,

that you were made man of a virgin,

For this the angel host rejoices.


The meditative nature of this chorale suggests a reserved, reflective performance, and I have set it here primarily for strings, with the tune given a prominent solo, soft choirs mixed in with the inner voices, and basses and a light organ flue stop in the pedal.

The alto and tenor voices wind past one another here in a single beautiful strand. Interestingly, Bach employs the same technique in the immediately following chorale, BWV 605. The Affekt of these two chorales could not be more different, however...a demonstration that hardly seems unintentional.

BWV 603 < Index > BWV 605

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