BWV 677

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Fughetta super: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

BWV 677 performed by Reitze Smits
St Jacob's Church, Leeuwarden

For this performance, Reitze Smits chose a special register, the cymbal, that "fits perfectly with the opening of this little fughetta.”

A cheerful double fugue

Bach demonstrates the beneficial effect of the Holy Trinity

In this chorale arrangement of the Lutheran gloria 'Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr', Bach used only a small section of the hymn. This is different to the arrangements based on the same chorale – BWV 675 and 676 – which do use the complete melody. For BWV 677, Bach chose a fugal approach, whereby he makes use of just the first two lines (‘Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr / und Dank für seine Gnade’), which serve as the basis for his two themes. The twenty-bar double fugue thus created, which lasts barely a minute, is nothing but cheerful, jubilant singing. A charming contrast is discernible between the tersely executed first theme and the woolly embellishment of semiquavers that conceals the melody. The second theme subtly joins in this pattern of semiquavers, making it much more difficult to recognise. But when it all comes together in the final five bars, Bach draws on these three tunes so artfully that there can be no doubt whatsoever about the beneficial effect of the Holy Trinity – which is what this hymn is all about.

Clavier-Übung
In Leipzig, between 1731 and 1741, Bach published four parts of Clavier-Übung, a title used previously by Johann Kuhnau, his predecessor as cantor at the Thomasschule, for similar collections of works for organ and harpsichord. The compositions are very varied in nature and, although the title suggests otherwise, were difficult to play. Bach addresses all the styles, genres and techniques for harpsichord and organ that were prevalent at the time, but then in the superior form to which only he had the patent. Clavier-Übung I (1731) contains the six partitas, BWV 825-830; Clavier-Übung II (1735) the Concerto nach italienischem Gusto, BWV 971 and the Ouverture nach französischer Art, BWV 831; and Clavier-Übung IV (1741) the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988. The largest part, Clavier-Übung III (1739), is the only one devoted to organ, containing mostly chorale arrangements, or organ preludes based on Lutheran hymns. Bach made two versions of each chorale: one for great organ and one for a smaller type of organ.


BWV
677

Title
Fughetta sopra Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

genre
organ work (chorale arrangement)

Series
Clavier-Übung III

year
1739

city
Leipzig

Cast & Crew

release date 17 July 2015
recording date 16 September 2014
LOCATION St Jacob's Church, Leeuwarden
ORGAN Christian Müller, 1727
ORGANIST Reitze Smits
ORGAN REGISTRATION Mayuko Banno
PRODUCER Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Jan Van den Bossche
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Diderik Evers, Ruben van den Broeke
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Holger Schlegel
FILM EDITOR Dylan Glyn Jones
COLORIST Jef Grosfeld
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Hanna Schreuders
interview Onno van Ameijde
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Rob Tigchelaar

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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