Music for 21st Sunday After Pentecost — October 22, 2023

Nun danket alle Gott (BWV 79) – J. S. Bach (1685-1750) / arr. Virgil Fox (1912-1980)

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The hymn Nun danket alle Gott (Now thank we all our God) by Lutheran pastor Martin Rinckart (1586-1649) served well as material for one of the more introspective and fugal organ chorale preludes by Johann Sebastian Bach. When given the task of writing a cantata for Reformation Day (October 31), Cantata 79, Bach chose to set that tune with louder, more joyous instrumental forces. Flamboyant American organist Virgil Fox probably reflected upon those contrasting settings, preferring the one in the cantata to fit his style of playing the organ. Although not a type of chorale prelude representing any purist forms or models that Bach might have been concerned with, Fox’s transcription produces a rousing seasonal hymn, serving as the organ postlude in church this Sunday.

Gerald Harder