Wir glauben all an einen Gott

Wir glauben all an einen Gott

BWV 680 performed by Reitze Smits
Lutheran church, The Hague

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Wir glauben, wir glauben!

In this chorale, Bach needed no more than the first seven notes to compose a jubilant prelude

Bach was inspired by the Italian style in composing this organ prelude based on the Creed. He turned it into a trio sonata for two manuals and pedal, which is both exuberant and triumphal. But Bach ignored the long chorale melody for the larger part. Walter’s melody for Luther’s first line, to which the words ‘Wir glauben all an einen Gott’ are sung, were more than enough for him. He formed it into a jubilant theme, in which a buoyant downward leap generates a festive string of semiquavers. The material forms the basis for a dancy fugue that assures the listener that only one thing matters: faith.

In Leipzig, between 1731 and 1741, Bach published four parts of Clavier-Übung, a title used previously by Johann Kuhnau, his predecessor as cantor at the Thomasschule, for similar collections of works for organ and harpsichord. The compositions are very varied in nature and, although the title suggests otherwise, were difficult to play. Bach addresses all the styles, genres and techniques for harpsichord and organ that were prevalent at the time, but then in the superior form to which only he had the patent.

Clavier-Übung I (1731) contains the six partitas, BWV 825-830; Clavier-Übung II (1735) the Concerto nach italienischen Gusto, BWV 971 and the Ouverture nach französischer Art, BWV 831; and Clavier-Übung IV (1741) the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988. The largest part, Clavier-Übung III (1739), is the only one devoted to organ, containing mostly chorale arrangements, or organ preludes based on Lutheran hymns. Bach made two versions of each chorale: one for great organ and one for a smaller type of organ. Most of the chorales refer to the six parts of the catechism. It is unclear whether Bach also played them during the services, or whether he developed his musical ideas in them for his own use, with no intention of performing them in public.

Wir glauben all an einen Gott
organ works
Clavier-Übung III

Extra videos

Organist Reitze Smits

“Reitze Smits about the Bätz organ in the Lutheran Church in The Hague.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    27 June 2014
  • Recording date
    28 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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