Fughetta super: Wir glauben all an einen Gott

Fughetta super: Wir glauben all an einen Gott

BWV 681 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

A French creed

A sublime sample of Bach's knowledge of style

Bach may not have been a great traveller, but he was very well acquainted with the international music world. This is demonstrated in the compact ‘French’ fughetta to Wir glauben all an einen Gott, a pendant to the Italian-inspired transcription for great organ BWV 680. Actually, we need look no further than creativity and mastery for an explanation of the characteristic rhythms. Bach’s exuberant use of an exotic style may even detract a little from the pious aim of his third Clavier-Übung, which is namely instrumental music to accompany the Lutheran Mass and the six parts of the catechism. In the collection, the accompanying chorales each have two preludes, one with pedal and one without. Walter’s chorale melody for the ‘Credo’ can just be made out among all the leaps, especially in the second answer. 

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.

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

Extra videos

Organist Leo van Doeselaar

“Leo van Doeselaar on the French overture style in Bach’s keyboard music.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    6 February 2015
  • Recording date
    24 June 2013
  • Location
    Walloon Church, Amsterdam
  • Organist
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ
    Christian Müller, 1734
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Directors of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg, Ruben van den Broeke
  • Grip
    Antoine Petiet
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Holger Schlegel
  • Film editor
    Dylan Glyn Jones
  • Colorist
    Jef Grosfeld
  • Production assistants
    Marco Meijdam, Zoë de Wilde
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde

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