Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 605
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 1:42]  [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 - unknown, 15th cent.
Tune - author unknown, 14th cent.

This day that is so joyful for all creatures,

God's Son from heaven is come, born of a virgin.

Mary, you were chosen to be the mother.

What is this wondrous thing that has happened?

God's Son from heaven is come, born man.

As in the contemplative BWV 604, the inner voices work closely in tandem here, but instead of a quiet reflection they become a joyful bubbling of sixteenths and thirty-seconds. This piece is usually played on two manuals on the organ, and in this realization I have used a solo clarinet for the cantus firmus, against organ flute stops and a quartet of guitars in the inner voices.

BWV 604 < Index > BWV 606

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