BWV 710

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Wir Christenleut

BWV 710 performed by Theo Jellema
Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof

"This piece is totally happy and festive."

Two worlds

The dejected chorale melody takes the edge off the joy.

“Less jolly than the text might lead one to expect”, is how Peter Williams, author of the unsurpassed book The Organ Music of J.S. Bach, described this arrangement of a Christmas carol. And it is only too true. But what is it that bothers him exactly? To start with, the old chorale melody to which the Saxon court preacher Kaspar Füger wrote his joyful words at the end of the sixteenth century is in a minor key. And neither is it a very adventurous melody, as the somewhat dejected tune spans no more than five consecutive notes. In this arrangement, the tune is in the pedal. The happiness is restricted to the two richly ornamented upper parts, although their lively babble does lend them the advantage for a while in the intermittent silences of the pedal. But that is only for a moment each time, and the two worlds do not get any closer to one another. And Bach is not a champion of repetition of moves. After two minutes, he has said what he had to say.

Kirnbergerschen Sammlung, BWV 690-713

Bach cherished a great many of his compositions, ensuring that they were collected or recycled, and – if at all possible – published. But there are also pieces that missed the boat, such as the twenty-four early organ compositions now known as the Kirnbergerschen Sammlung. We owe the survival of these works to Bach’s pupil Johann Kirnberger, who collected twenty-four organ compositions, among other pieces, following the death of his master. The most striking thing about this collection is its lack of cohesion. The only similarity between the works is that they probably all date from the period before 1710.


Wir Christenleut

organ work (chorale arrangement)

Kirnbergerschen Sammlung

before 1710

Mühlhausen or Weimar

Cast & Crew

release date 24 December 2016
recording date 24 August 2015
LOCATION Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
ORGANIST Theo Jellema
organ Christoph Treutmann, 1731
DIRECTion, film edit and interview Onno van Ameijde
MUSIC recording, EDIT AND MIX Holger Schlegel
Camera Maarten van Rossem, Onno van Ameijde
Producer Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts




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