BWV 687

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

BWV 687 performed by Reitze Smits
St Jacob's Church, Leeuwarden

Calm and well-balanced, as if to represent the ‘mercy’ of God after confession. This is how organist Reitze Smits describes this chorale arrangement.

Oppressive and charming

In this chorale arrangement, Bach sides with insignificant mankind.

There is a world of difference between the grandeur of Bach’s six-part arrangement of this chorale (BWV 686) and the humility of this small-scale version. The chorale ‘Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir’ (Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord) is one of the psalms from the Office for the Dead. The words of the psalm have often been set to the most beautiful music. In this arrangement of the chorale, it seems as if Bach is siding with vulnerable mankind, creeping closer, as it were, to God’s throne, daring only to hope and expecting nothing. The only thing to hold onto is the melody line, which runs from start to finish in long note values. It results in a composition that is equally oppressive and charming. Organist Reitze Smits associates the calm and well-balanced atmosphere with God’s mercy after confession.

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
687

Title
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

genre
organ work (chorale arrangement)

Series
Clavier-Übung III

year
1739

city
Leipzig

Cast & Crew

release date 28 August 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

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Translation

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