Johann Sebastian Bach
(Born March 21 [March 31, New Style], 1685, Eisenach, Thuringia,
Ernestine-Saxon Duchies [Germany]; died July28, 1750, Leipzig)

A Bach Birthday Album
Three Cantata Movements, an Aria, and a Cadenza
transcribed and/or arranged for Organ

I.  Nun danket alle Gott 
(S. 79) 
II.  Schafe koennen sicher weiden 
(S. 208)
  III.  Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her 
(S. 248)
IV.  Aria from Das Clavier-Buechlein fur Anna Magdalena Bach 
(S. 508)
V.  A Cadenza for Passacaglia & Fugue in
C Minor  (S. 582)

for Organ Solo

A Complimentary PDF booklet — available in April 2022



        The full choral and orchestral ensemble assembled for the chorus, Nun danket alle Gott, from Bach’s Cantata S. 79 highlights a familiar chorale melody (i.e. hymn tune) attributed to Johann Kruger. In this arrangement for organ, the successive phrases of the four-part chorale as scored for choir voices are assigned a distinctive three-voice manual registration (for left hand), combined with heraldic fanfare interpolations between phrases (for right hand), and a supportive pedal and bass line throughout.

da capo aria, Schafe konnen sicher weiden, is another familiar cantata  movement, drawn from Bach's so called ‘Hunt’ or ‘Birthday’ Cantata and written to celebrate the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels. In this transcription, the soprano solo line is renotated in the tenor register in order to accommodate a delicate recorder duet sounded as accompaniment in the treble range; to compensate, the vocal solo line can easily be registered an octave higher at 4' pitch.

        The chorale melody associated with the text,
"Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her", can be found in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Das Weinachts Oratorium consists of a collection of six parts, or cantatas; the ninth movement of the first part presents a familiar Christmas hymn tune, but used for a musical setting of the text, “Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein!” Once again, the chorale is sounded in four voices and contrasted by accompanimental fanfares.

       Bist du bei mir, an aria from Bach’s Clavier-Buchlein fur Anna Magdalena Bach, is presented in trio with an additional contrapuntal line in the soprano register, sounding in duet with the melody of the aria. It can be performed as an organ trio (with the bass line in the pedal), or by an ensemble that includes a soprano soloist and a treble instrument (flute, violin, or oboe, for example), with the bass line rendered on organ or in ensemble with a gamba or cello.

       A cadenza has been included in this collection to be used as an embellishment in Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. It is 14 measures in length and intended for  insertion at measure 117 of the fugue.

N.B.  All five of these editions combine elements of numerous source publications of the same titles. Each one is a synthesis drawn from multiple preexisting versions, i.e., from full scores and transcriptions for piano and/or organ. They have been meticulously notated with minimal alterations to voicings and textures whenever possible, and will provide legible and convenient scores. The aria is offered as an homage, and the cadenza as an editorial codetta.

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