All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society
Vater unser im Himmelreich
Subdued and timeless
The stop used by Bart Jacobs emphasises the vocal character.
Vater unser im Himmelreich is Luther’s interpretation of Our Father: the only prayer that came directly from Jesus himself and which has thus always had a special place in Christianity. In Bach’s day, besides being used as a hymn during Communion, Vater unser im Himmelreich was also linked to Rogation Sunday, the fifth Sunday after Easter, which is therefore also the Sunday before Ascension Day, when there were traditional processions through the fields.
Of the various organ arrangements Bach made of this chorale, this is the most subdued and timeless. The piece is written in stile antico – the ‘ancient’, vocal, polyphonic composition style of the sixteenth century.
Here, Bart Jacobs emphasises this archaic character with the cornet stop. Its name and timbre refer to the cornetto, a sixteenth-century wind instrument. The stop makes the organ sound like a brass ensemble from the Renaissance.
And that suits this piece really well, as Bach may have used the ‘ancient style’ here to emphasise the fact that Vater unser im Himmelreich is a prayer. And a prayer implies words and thoughts, either spoken or sung. In fact, this arrangement is a four-part motet in the ancient style and you could easily perform the whole piece in song. Occasionally, there is a slightly more daring harmony, which is all that betrays the fact that this piece is not really a motet from Luther’s day.
- Vater unser im Himmelreich
- organ work (chorale arrangement)
Cast & Crew
|publication date||24 March 2017|
|recording date||22 September 2016|
|Location||St Bavo's Church, Haarlem|
|Organ||Christian Müller, 1738|
|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|