In dir ist Freude
BWV 615 performed by Theo Jellema
Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
Behind the music
Bach creates a New Years mood with irrepressibly cheerful festoons.
Short-short-short-long is the rhythm of the ultra short melodic fragment around which this chorale prelude is constructed. They are the four opening notes of an extremely cheerful New Year’s carol, which in turn is based on a sixteenth-century balletto by Gastoldi in triple time. This explains both the dance-like character of the piece and its tempo. The rhythmical motif keeps recurring on other notes in the hymn, which is why the words, too, keep almost completely to the rather breathless structure. But Bach sticks teasingly to these four opening notes, of which two are even the same note. It is only by degrees that we get to hear the whole melody, but even then the little motif keeps popping up. It is a joke that is well suited to the irrepressibly cheerful festoons that decorate the notes. It is supported in the bass by an ostinato with features reminiscent of a carillon. This, too, endorses the jubilant words – a hymn of praise to the coming of Christ.
Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644
During his time as court organist at Weimar (1708-1714), Bach already started compiling his first collection of chorale arrangements and chorale preludes (compositions based on Lutheran hymns). They were intended to be used in church services, and the preludes were an introduction to congregational singing. According to the list of contents in Bach’s manuscript, it was supposed to have been a collection of 164 compositions, but in the end it did not exceed 46 (BWV 599-644). The order, combined with the limited length of the pieces, indicates that Bach was planning to compile a complete cycle of chorale arrangements. Later, in his period at Köthen, he gave the collection a title page, which reads: ‘Orgel-Büchlein, Worinne einem anfahenden Organisten Anleitung gegeben wird, auff allerhand Arth einen Choral durchzuführen…’ (‘Little organ book, in which a beginner organist is taught to arrange a chorale in all sorts of ways...’). So at the time, he intended the collection just as a teaching manual, maybe to present on his application in 1722 for the post of cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig, which was an important teaching position. The pupils must have had a hard time of it, as the preludes contain the complete range of baroque keyboard techniques in a nutshell.
- In dir ist Freude
- organ works
- ca. 1708-1717
- Special notes
- Included in a manuscript with 45 other chorale preludes. It was only in 1722, in Köthen, that the manuscript was given a title page stating Orgelbüchlein.
- Release date
- 22 January 2016
- Recording date
- 26 August 2015
- Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
- Theo Jellema
- Christoph Treutmann, 1731
- Film director and editor
- Onno van Ameijde
- Maarten van Rossem, Onno van Ameijde
- Music production, editing and mix
- Holger Schlegel
- Onno van Ameijde
- Jessie Verbrugh
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