BWV 615

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

In dir ist Freude

BWV 615 performed by Theo Jellema
Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof

"This piece is totally happy and festive."

Recurring joke

Bach creates a New Year’s mood with irrepressibly cheerful festoons.

Short-short-short-long is the rhythm of the ultra short melodic fragment around which this chorale prelude is constructed. They are the four opening notes of an extremely cheerful New Year’s carol, which in turn is based on a sixteenth-century balletto by Gastoldi in triple time. This explains both the dance-like character of the piece and its tempo. The rhythmical motif keeps recurring on other notes in the hymn, which is why the words, too, keep almost completely to the rather breathless structure. But Bach sticks teasingly to these four opening notes, of which two are even the same note. It is only by degrees that we get to hear the whole melody, but even then the little motif keeps popping up. It is a joke that is well suited to the irrepressibly cheerful festoons that decorate the notes. It is supported in the bass by an ostinato with features reminiscent of a carillon. This, too, endorses the jubilant words – a hymn of praise to the coming of Christ.

Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644
During his time as court organist at Weimar (1708-1714), Bach already started compiling his first collection of chorale arrangements of Lutheran hymns. According to the list of contents, it was supposed to have been a collection of 164 compositions, but in the end it did not exceed 46. The order, combined with the limited length of the pieces, indicates that Bach was planning to compile a complete cycle of chorale preludes for the church. Later, in his period at Köthen, he gave the collection a title page, which reads: Orgel-Büchlein, Worinne einem anfahenden Organisten Anleitung gegeben wird, auff allerhand Arth einen Choral durchzuführen… (Little organ book, in which a beginner organist is taught to arrange a chorale in all sorts of ways...). So at the time, he intended the collection just as a teaching manual, maybe to present on his application in 1722 for the post of cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig, which was an important teaching position. The pupils must have had a hard time of it, as the preludes contain the complete range of Baroque keyboard techniques in a nutshell.   


BWV
615

Title
In dir ist Freude

genre
organ work (chorale arrangement)

Series
Orgelbüchlein

year
ca. 1708-1717

City
Weimar

Special notes
Included in a manuscript with 45 other chorale preludes. It was only in 1722, in Köthen, that the manuscript was given a title page stating Orgelbüchlein.

Cast & Crew

release date 22 January 2016
recording date 26 August 2015
LOCATION Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
organ Christoph Treutmann, 1731
ORGANIST Theo Jellema
FILM DIRECTOR and editor Onno van Ameijde
Camera Maarten van Rossem, Onno van Ameijde
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Holger Schlegel
interview Onno van Ameijde
Producer Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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