Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein
BWV 641 performed by Daniel Seeger
Freiberger Dom Sankt Marien, Freiberg, Germany
Behind the music
Balanced and inventive
Bach soothes us.
Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV 641, comes from the Orgelbüchlein, a collection of chorale preludes compiled by Bach between 1712 and 1717. A chorale prelude – a short introduction by the organist – ensured that the congregation knew which hymn they had to sing.
At the time BWV 641 was created, Bach was working in Weimar, as an organist and chamber musician at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst. In the preceding years, Bach had gained plenty of improvisation experience in the position of organist. In his first chorale preludes, he was still searching for his own style, and his urge to experiment was rather too obvious, but here we hear the Bach we all admire so much. Balanced and infinitely inventive, with an ear for both tradition and the latest fashion, and always focused on the character of the text. It was the first time that Bach had compiled such a systematic collection of chorale arrangements. Apparently, he was aware of the standard he had reached in them.
The soothing music accompanies the chorale Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein. If we find ourselves in dire straits, we know that in any case we can call on the Lord together. Originally, it was a Calvinist hymn (Lève le coeur), with a melody by the renowned hymn writer Louis Bourgeois. The Lutherans seem to have liked this melody, as it is also used for the chorale Vor deinem Thron tret' ich hiermit. Bach wrote the chorale prelude of this name at the end of his life – and the story goes that he dictated it from his deathbed.
- Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein
- organ works
With support from
- Release date
- 30 March 2023
- Recording date
- 16 September 2020
- Freiberger Dom Sankt Marien, Freiberg, Germany
- Daniel Seeger
- Gottfried Silbermann, 1711-1714
- Director and editor
- Robin van Erven Dorens
- Music recording
- Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
- Music edit and mix
- Guido Tichelman
- Robin van Erven Dorens, Onno van der Wal
- Ernst-Jan Thieme
- Assistant music recording
- Marloes Biermans
- Jessie Verbrugh
- With support from
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