BWV 702

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Fughetta: Daß Jesulein soll doch mein Trost

BWV 702 performed by Bart Jacobs
St.-Bavokerk, Haarlem

"We will follow the Christ child in good and bad times."

The master’s hand?

Little fugue, little Jesus, big questions.

The term ‘fughetta’ may be charming, but it is rather vague. Do we mean a short fugue, a simple fugue, or maybe even a quasi-fugue? In Bach’s case, it could be all of the above! In this Fughetta we hear an ultra-compact arrangement of the first two chorale verses of the hymn Daß Jesulein soll doch mein Trost. The first, descending line is the subject or main theme, and the second line is the answering counter-theme. Bach gradually adds quick runs to the fairly lively rhythm of the stately New Year chorale, as figuration. Towards the end, the little work becomes broader, as it were, to the extent that the last line can only be played on an organ with pedal, as the lowest notes are simply missing on manuals.

But then… intrigue! Because the so-called Kirnberger Collection– and particularly this piece – was in the bad books for a long time. Albert Schweitzer thought the setting was ‘unbeholfen und geistlos’, and if it was a Bach work at all, then it was one from his youth at best. This held true until 2000, when Pieter Dirksen not only confirmed the Fughetta as a real Bach, but also dated it in his latter period and even identified it as part of a major cycle for the Christmas period. In this interpretation, BWV 702 forms a magnificent ending to a series of eight fughettas, which explains the extra ‘breadth’ of the closing phrase. (For those interested in the numbers: the order according to Dirksen is 704, 703, 698, 699, 701, 696, 697, all without pedal, and then 702).
So why the earlier, somewhat harsh rejection of this piece? Was it down to the nineteenth and early twentieth-century publishers and their sometimes rather too radical ‘corrections’? Did the specialists not yet have access to all the sources? Without a manuscript by Johann Sebastian himself, it remains a question of interpretation. However, organist Bart Jacobs is in no doubt whatsoever. He believes this piece was simply written by Bach.


Fughetta: Daß Jesulein soll doch mein Trost

Kirnbergerschen Sammlung

fugue (chorale prelude?)

before 1710, or after Clavier-Übung III (1739) depending on the interpretation

Cast & Crew

Release date 28 December 2018
Recording date 22 September 2016
Location St Bavo's Church, Haarlem
Organist Bart Jacobs
Organ Christian Müller, 1738
Director Bas Wielenga
Music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
Music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera Bas Wielenga, Jeroen Simons
Lights Gregoor van de Kamp
Interview Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
Producer Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts




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