Wir Christenleut (from the Orgelbüchlein), BWV 612
by Johann Sebastian Bach [playing time 2:10]  [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 - Kaspar Füger; Tune - ca. 1590; The Hymnal 1982 - N/A

We Christians may rejoice today

When Christ was born to comfort and save us

He has released us; whosoever believes in Him

Will not be lost.

This Christmas chorale features a prominent "joy" motive in the alto and tenor.

This figure gives the chorale a propulsive feel, and this is accentuated by the confident tread of the bass. (Bach uses this same rhythmic idea in the "9/8" C major prelude, BWV 547, with similarly upbeat effect.)

You'll hear the chorale stated here in the soprano with a brass patch reflecting its triumphant character. Strings and organ underpin it, with a little extra punch in the bass, striding happily along the straight and narrow path.

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