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Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, BWV721

1708/17; Weimar

This gentle manualiter chorale is based on the 1524 chorale text of Psalm 51, though its authenticity as originating with Bach has been questioned. The chorale melody, heard at the top of the texture, is set against a backdrop of subdued, pulsating quavers that project a sense of gravitas. The solemn feel is balanced by Bach’s harmonic language, which incorporates certain unexpected turns that suggest hope—the hope of divine forgiveness expressed by the psalmist. The sense of difficulties resolved, or guilt forgiven, is hinted at by the final cadential turn of the piece—an F sharp/E sharp dissonance resolved peacefully through an imperfect cadence onto an F sharp major chord.

from notes by George Parsons © 2016


Bach: The Clavierübung Chorales & other great chorales
CDA67213/42CDs Archive Service
Bach: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 2
Studio Master: SIGCD802Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Hyperion monthly sampler - July 2016
FREE DOWNLOADHYP201607Download-only monthly sampler


Track 17 on CDA67213/4 CD2 [4'19] 2CDs Archive Service
Track 3 on SIGCD802 [5'18] Download only
Track 17 on CDS44121/36 CD13 [4'19] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Track 10 on HYP201607 [5'18] Download-only monthly sampler

Track-specific metadata for CDA67213/4 disc 2 track 17

Recording date
9 May 1998
Recording venue
Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Paul Niederberger
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: The Clavierübung Chorales & other great chorales (CDA67213/4)
    Disc 2 Track 17
    Release date: January 1999
    Deletion date: March 2011
    2CDs Archive Service
  2. Bach: The Complete Organ Works (CDS44121/36)
    Disc 13 Track 17
    Release date: October 2002
    Deletion date: March 2009
    16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
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