Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein

Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein

BWV 734 performed by Erwin Wiersinga
Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Credits
Credits

Cheerful leaps

The irrepressibly whirling joys of Advent.

Many of Bach’s chorale arrangements are short, but there are few that are over as quickly as this one. The right hand races through a long string of semiquavers, above a quite unique left hand that is very jumpy for a basso continuo line. In between – in the tenor played by the pedal – is the chorale melody, which was borrowed in the sixteenth century from another of Luther’s hymns and appears elsewhere in Bach’s oeuvre, for example in the Christmas Oratorio and cantata BWV 6. Although the perpetuum mobile in the upper part appears impetuous, Bach constructed it with great care. It seems to have started with a little motif described by Samuel Scheidt in 1624 as imitatio violistica; a way of linking four quick notes on the keyboard under a slur, like a stringed instrument would do. Bach treats the chorale melody in the same way, repeating it line by line, but then in very fast, short fragments in ever-changing combinations. The result is simply astonishing. No wonder the Italian composer and Bach fan Ferruccio Busoni arranged this cheerful piece for his favourite instrument at the beginning of the twentieth century, creating the ideal encore for pianists who like to impress their audience. 

BWV
734
Title
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein
Instrument
Organ
Genre
organ works
Year
ca. 1708-1717
City
Weimar?
Special notes
An alternative version of this work, entitled 'Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit', is described as an earlier version or a less successful arrangement, especially where the melody differs from Bach’s version, in view of the different text.

Extra videos

Organist Erwin Wiersinga

“The right hand has a very lively 'perpetuum mobile' that keeps going to the very end.”

Vocal texs

Original

Translation

Credits

  • Release date
    5 February 2016
  • Recording date
    26 August 2015
  • Location
    Stiftskirche St. Georg, Goslar-Grauhof
  • Organist
    Erwin Wiersinga
  • Organ
    Christoph Treutmann, 1731
  • Film director and editor
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Camera
    Maarten van Rossem, Onno van Ameijde
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Holger Schlegel
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
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