Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist (II), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 674 (BC K6) (Clavier-Übung III/6)

    Description by Rovi Staff

    As organist at Weimar, Johann Sebastian Bach was charged with providing a harmonic underpinning for the singing of Lutheran chorale tunes chosen for each day. Bach wrote out many of these harmonizations, in part as instruction for younger composers (they are still used for this purpose). A derivation of this practice, Bach's conception of the organ chorale, as manifested in the chorale preludes, dates from 1713 -1714, about the time he became familiar with Vivaldi's concertos.

    Bach's Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) contains chorale preludes for the church year written during the composer's service at Weimar (1708 - 1717). In about 1713, Bach began assembling the Orgel-Büchlein, and his earliest entries seem to be Her Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn, BWV 601, In dulci jubilo, BWV 608, Christ ist erstanden, BWV 627, and Heut' triumphieret Gottes Sohn, BWV 630. These were very original compositions, highly expressive miniatures based on a chorale melody, supported with refined counterpoint, and featuring highly condensed motivic writing.

    Bach's Orgelbüchlein was essentially complete by 1716. Only the fragment O Traurigkeit and the chorale prelude, Helft mir Gottes Güte preisen, BWV 613, were added later. "Complete" is used with some reservation here, because Bach originally projected 164 pieces but completed fewer than 50. In Bach's manuscript, pages with finished pieces alternate with blank ones intended for other chorale preludes. The later pieces differ from Bach's earlier chorale elaborations, in that they contain only one statement of the melody and are intended to demonstrate how to accompany a chorale with contrapuntally proper figurations that support the meaning of the text.

    In the early 1740s Bach assembled a number of chorale preludes, possibly with the intention of publishing them as a set. These Achtzehn Choräle (Eighteen Chorales) BWV 651 - 668 were almost certainly written before 1723 and revised later. The Fantasia super Komm, heiliger Geist, BWV 651 is an especially impressive, extended elaboration of the chorale melody, which is in the pedal. The tune is treated in a less ornate fashion in the next prelude of the set (BWV 652). The highly convoluted Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BWV 658 also contains the chorale melody in the pedal.

    The six Schübler chorales (BWV 645 - 650) are derived from Bach's cantatas and contain one of his most popular chorale preludes, on the melody Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645.

    The third part of Bach's Clavier-Übung, published in Leipzig in 1739, contains 21 chorale preludes (not all appear in every publication), many of which are for manuals only. Nine of these are meant for use during the Mass, while the others are for the catechism. Among the most impressive is Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist, BWV 671, which is in five voices with the chorale melody in the pedal. More complex is the first of two preludes on Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 686, which is in six parts, including two pedal parts.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Hänssler Classic
    HC 18090
    2018
    Decca
    2018
    Oehms Classics
    OC 020
    2017
    J.S. Bach-Stiftung
    B 535CD
    2015
    Vivat
    VVTCD 108
    2015
    Syrius
    SYR 141463
    2014
    Ramée
    1305
    2014
    Hungaroton
    HCD 3274546
    2014
    Brilliant Classics
    94792
    2011
    Philips
    2011
    Brilliant Classics
    94201
    2011
    NCA
    60230
    2011
    Dynamic
    CDS 68714
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94050
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4778628
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    477 862-8
    2009
    Ricercar
    289
    2009
    Gramola
    9885455
    2008
    Proprius-AudioSource
    2039
    2008
    Regent
    276
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4694202
    2007
    Musical Concepts
    191
    2007
    BIS
    1527/28
    2007
    Analekta
    24022-43
    2007
    Erato
    4699028
    2007
    Rondeau
    4017
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    93102
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99697
    2006
    Raven
    875
    2005
    Zig Zag Territoires
    050901
    2005
    Gothic Records
    49242
    2005
    L'empreinte digitale
    13136
    2004
    Archiv Produktion
    000185602
    2004
    Priory Records
    753
    2003
    Guild
    7262/63
    2003
    Art & Music
    1539/58
    2002
    Hyperion
    44121/36
    2001
    BIS
    1091/2
    2001
    CPO
    999757
    2000
    Querstand
    9919
    2000
    Stradivarius
    33561
    2000
    Archiv Produktion
    463712
    2000
    EMI Music Distribution
    73878
    1999
    Teldec
    25705
    1999
    Teldec
    25704
    1999
    Haenssler
    92101
    1999
    Berlin Classics
    0093682
    1999
    Harmonia Mundi
    290772
    1999
    Various Artists
    Teldec
    3984-25713-2
    1999
    Valois
    4425
    1999
    Hyperion
    67213
    1999
    Meridian Records
    84377
    1999
    Archiv Produktion
    419904
    1999
    Capriccio Records
    492344
    1998
    Raven
    400
    1998
    Nimbus
    5561/2
    1996
    Naxos
    550929
    1996
    Philips
    454648
    1995
    London
    444410
    1994
    BIS
    443/44
    1994
    Centaur Records
    2667
    1994
    Erato
    96358
    1994
    Erato
    96723
    1993
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
    77276
    1993
    Kontrapunkt
    32055/56
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93102-VOL6
    Brilliant
    99706
    Brilliant
    99706/15
    Brilliant
    93102/153
    Fleur de Lis
    501/502
    Berlin Classics
    0010612
    Disques Pierre Verany
    790052
    Classico
    155/6
    Arkay Records
    6161
    Analekta
    4033
    Hyperion
    44133
    Ligia
    104081
    EMI Music Distribution
    Ligia
    104077/80
    Archiv Produktion
    463720