BWV 684

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam

BWV 684 performed by Reitze Smits
Lutheran church, The Hague

Reitze Smits talks about one of Bach's most favourite registers.

Purification by water

After baptism comes a new life, and that is a reason for joy.

This chorale arrangement is brimming with cheerfulness. Luther’s hymn ‘Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam’ is one with a very special promise: that of a new life. Christ was baptised in the Jordan by St John, and he baptises us to cleanse us of our sins. But the baptismal water is no ordinary water, as it is coloured with the blood of Christ. Through the water of death, the person baptised is reborn in Christ. While the chorale melody sounds in long notes in the pedal, the river water ripples gaily in fast notes over two keyboards, without being turned anywhere along the banks. In the four-voiced arrangement, there are many question and answer games between the three highest parts, which emphasise once again the carefree unity of those being purified.

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
684

Title
Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam

Genre
organ work (chorale prelude)

Series
Clavier-Übung III

Year
1739

City
Leipzig

Cast & Crew

release date 25 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 DIRECTORS Jan Van den Bossche
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jorrit Garretsen, Sal Kroonenberg
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Holger Schlegel
FILM EDITOR Dylan Glyn Jones
colorist Martijn de Haas
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Imke Deters, Zoë de Wilde

Vocal Texts

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Translation

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