BWV 662

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

BWV 662 performed by Reitze Smits
Lutheran church, The Hague

"You'd like to play it with two hands, but you must use only one..." - why does Bach make things so difficult for the performer?

Balm for the soul

In this song of praise, Bach focuses on the comfort that faith provides.

It was not often that Bach gave an indication of tempo in his chorale arrangements, but he wrote ‘adagio’ above this version of ‘Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’. He apparently wanted no misunderstandings about the atmosphere he had in mind for this composition. He could have also lent a festive air to these words of praise, especially in view of his choice of two keyboards and pedal. But what we hear is balm for the soul. It is not far-fetched to link these flowing, calm lines to a significant phrase in the first verse of the text: ‘…darum dass nun und nimmermehr uns rühren kan kein Schade’ (…so that no harm can ever come to us any more). The comfort exuded by these reassuring words fits perfectly with the tone of this solemn, expressive piece. The chorale melody is heard clearly in the upper voice, while being richly ornamented. The two lower voices function merely as accompaniment, and discharge their duty with great dedication and unanimity. Nothing disrupts the divine promise. 

18 Choräle/Leipziger Choräle, BWV 651-668
In the last ten years of his life, Bach gathered together and completed a series of eighteen chorale arrangements, presumably planning to have them published, just like the third part of the Clavier-Übung in 1739. It concerns a selection of his compositions from much earlier years, when he was working as an organist in Weimar, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. The collection became known as the 18 Choräle or Leipziger Choräle.


BWV
662

title
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

genre
organ work (chorale arrangement)

Series
18 Choräle/Leipziger Choräle

year
1708-1717/1739-1742

City
Weimar/Leipzig

Special notes
There is an early, more sober version of this composition from Bach’s time in Weimar: BWV 662a.

Cast & Crew

release date 11 July 2014
recording date 29 November 2013
Location Lutheran Church, The Hague
organ Johann Heinrich Hartmann Bätz, 1762
ORGANIST Reitze Smits
ORGAN REGISTRATION Arjan de Vos
PRODUCER Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Jan Van den Bossche
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jorrit Garretsen, Sal Kroonenberg
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Holger Schlegel
FILM EDITOR Dylan Glyn Jones
colorist Jef Grosfeld
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Imke Deters, Zoë de Wilde

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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