Vom himmel kam der Engel Schar (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 607
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 1:08]  [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
Tune - ?
The Hymnal 1982 - #77, #131

From Heaven came the angel host, appearing to the shepherds.

They said to them

"A sweet little child lies in a manger

In Bethlehem, the City of David, as Micah prophesied.

It is our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord."

The musical symbolism here is unmistakeable; swarms of angels flit through the alto and tenor voices, while the heavenly annoucement soars above it in the soprano. In an inspired bit of composition, the bass voice tracks the angels in augmentation in (quarter notes against the angels' sixteenths).

The voicing here includes strings and choir in the soprano, organ flute stops in the inner voices, and organ pedal with acoustic bass stepping along in the bass.

BWV 606 < Back to Orgelbüchlein index

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