All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society
Vater unser im Himmelreich
Frivolous pleasure in Our Father
Bach applied the latest novelties from abroad in illustrating Luther’s serious message.
This chorale arrangement requires a large organ with two manuals (keyboards) and pedal. The two melodic voices and bass part actually create the form of a trio sonata. The original song melody is embellished to such an extent that it is practically unrecognisable. But these decorations borrowed from French Baroque music do not provide cheerfulness. Against a ground of persistent bass notes, the two upper voices grip one another in a heaving canonic stranglehold, which suggests that this prayer is no sinecure. Luther’s text, consisting of nine six-line couplets (the main points of which are only briefly summarised in the prayer ‘Our Father’), holds forth on the concepts of suffering, guilt, patience and obedience. The succession of laboriously hiccupping figures and chromatic motifs ensured that eighteenth-century congregations did not lose sight of this underlying meaning. However, the fact that Bach also made an incredibly difficult composition of it, using all the latest novelties from abroad, would have given music-lovers frivolous pleasure at the same time.
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.
- Vater unser im Himmelreich
- organ work (chorale prelude)
- Clavier-Übung III
Cast & Crew
|release date||16 May 2014|
|recording date||29 November 2013|
|Location||Lutheran church, The Hague|
|ORGAN REGISTRATION||Arjan de Vos|
|organ||Johann Heinrich Hartmann Bätz, 1762|
|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|
|PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS||Imke Deters, Zoë de Wilde|