Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend

BWV 655 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Bach with a dash of Vivaldi

The quick-paced bass line and jubilant upper parts lend an Italian touch to this trio

What a concise and airy piece! Unlike his predecessors, Bach did not often arrange chorales as trios. But here he does, and this infectious work for two keyboards and pedal is a nice addition to his six popular organ trios, BWV 525-530. Of course, Bach would not be Bach if he did not bend the rules slightly to suit himself. For instance, he abandons the technique of weaving the song melody throughout the piece in long note values, as was customary up to then. The melody does function as basic material for the two higher parts, even turning up as a salute in the bass at the end of this arrangement. However, this approach gave Bach enough freedom to add a dash of Italian verve. The jubilant upper parts are effectively propelled along by a Vivaldian quick-paced bass line.

Bach made no fewer than five arrangements of this chorale, which indicates the special bond he felt with the text. ‘Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’ is a hymn of praise with no downside – its message is: praise the Lord, as he shows us the way of truth. The climax comes in the third verse, which invites you to sing along with the host of angels and alludes to ‘eternal joy and blissful light’ in the future. So it comes as no surprise that in order to underline that wonderful future, Bach presents us with several rare high Cs.

18 Choräle/Leipziger Choräle, BWV 651-668
In the last ten years of his life, Bach gathered together and completed a series of chorale arrangements, presumably planning to have them published, just like the third part of the Clavier-Übung in 1739. It concerns a selection of his compositions from much earlier years, when he was working as an organist in Weimar, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. The collection became known as the 18 Choräle or Leipziger Choräle. Incidentally, 18 Choräle is a misleading title, as the set originally comprised 17 pieces. The eighteenth, Vor deinen Thron tret ich (BWV 668), was added to Bach’s manuscript later on.

Trio super: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend
organ works
18 Choräle (organ)
Special notes
There is also an earlier, more austere version of this composition from the Weimar period: BWV 655a.

Extra videos

Organist Leo van Doeselaar

“This work is a real highlight within the genre of the chorale trio according to Leo van Doeselaar.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    9 October 2015
  • Recording date
    21 October 2014
  • Location
    St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
  • Organist
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ
    Various builders between the 15th and 19th century. Restoration: Flentrop 2013
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Director of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg
  • Camera assistants
    Andreas Grotevent, Lucas Lütz
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Holger Schlegel
  • Film editor
    Jasper Verkaart
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Vadim Dukart, Andreas Fischer

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