Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 606
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 0:32]  [Download the MP3]

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

"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, 1535
Tune - 1539

From heaven above I come here,

I bring you good, new tidings.

I bring glad tidings of great joy,

I want to sing and speak of them.

This very brief treatment of Vom Himmel hoch conveys a sense of urgency through the continuous motion of sixteenths throughout the chorale. Most of the time the motion is carried into the inner voices, but occasionally it spills up into the soprano.

BWV 605 < Index > BWV 607

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