Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

BWV 662 performed by Reitze Smits
Lutheran church, The Hague

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Balm for the soul

In this song of praise, Bach focuses on the comfort that faith provides

It was not often that Bach gave an indication of tempo in his chorale arrangements, but he wrote ‘adagio’ above this version of ‘Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’. He apparently wanted no misunderstandings about the atmosphere he had in mind for this composition. He could have also lent a festive air to these words of praise, especially in view of his choice of two keyboards and pedal. But what we hear is balm for the soul. It is not far-fetched to link these flowing, calm lines to a significant phrase in the first verse of the text: ‘…darum dass nun und nimmermehr uns rühren kan kein Schade’ (…so that no harm can ever come to us any more). The comfort exuded by these reassuring words fits perfectly with the tone of this solemn, expressive piece. The chorale melody is heard clearly in the upper voice, while being richly ornamented. The two lower voices function merely as accompaniment, and discharge their duty with great dedication and unanimity. Nothing disrupts the divine promise. 

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.

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr
organ works
18 Choräle (organ)
Special notes
There is an early, more sober version of this composition from Bach's time in Weimar: BWV 662a.

Extra videos

Organist Reitze Smits

“You'd like to play it with two hands, but you must use only one... - why does Bach make things so difficult for the performer?”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    11 July 2014
  • Recording date
    29 November 2013
  • Location
    Lutheran Church, The Hague
  • Organist
    Reitze Smits
  • Organ registration
    Arjan de Vos
  • Organ
    Johann Heinrich Hartmann Bätz, 1762
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Directors of photography
    Jorrit Garretsen, Sal Kroonenberg
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Holger Schlegel
  • Film editor
    Dylan Glyn Jones
  • Colorist
    Jef Grosfeld
  • Production assistants
    Imke Deters, Zoë de Wilde

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