BWV 681

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Fughetta super: Wir glauben all an einen Gott

BWV 681 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

Leo van Doeselaar on the French overture style in Bach’s keyboard music.

A French creed

A sublime sample of Bach’s knowledge of style

Bach may not have been a great traveller, but he was very well acquainted with the international music world. This is demonstrated in the compact ‘French’ fughetta to Wir glauben all an einen Gott, a pendant to the Italian-inspired transcription for great organ BWV 680. Actually, we need look no further than creativity and mastery for an explanation of the characteristic rhythms. Bach’s exuberant use of an exotic style may even detract a little from the pious aim of his third Clavier-Übung, which is namely instrumental music to accompany the Lutheran Mass and the six parts of the catechism. In the collection, the accompanying chorales each have two preludes, one with pedal and one without. Walter’s chorale melody for the ‘Credo’ can just be made out among all the leaps, especially in the second answer. 

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.


Fughetta super: Wir glauben all an einen Gott

organ work

Clavier-Übung III



Cast & Crew

release date 6 February 2015
recording date 23 June 2013
LOCATION Walloon Church, Amsterdam
ORGANIST Leo van Doeselaar
Organ Christian Müller, 1734
PRODUCER Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Jan Van den Bossche
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Sal Kroonenberg, Ruben van den Broeke
Grip Antoine Petiet
FILM EDITOR Dylan Glyn Jones
COLORIST Jef Grosfeld
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Marco Meijdam, Zoë de Wilde
interview Onno van Ameijde

Vocal Texts




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