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Track(s) taken from CDA67071/2

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit', BWV668

1708/17; revised into Leipzig Chorales collection, the '18' circa 1744/7
author of text

Christopher Herrick (organ)
Recording details: April 1995
Jesuitenkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: April 1996
Total duration: 4 minutes 44 seconds

Other recordings available for download

His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts
The Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)


'Not only has Herrick found a simply ravishing Swiss organ which he uses with impeccable good taste, but the Hyperion team have come up with a top-notch recording. Once again they've given us a disc which combines consummate musical insight and technical mastery with sheer unalloyed listening pleasure' (Gramophone)

'Herrick has once again shown that his command of the Bach idiom is as total as any other contemporary organist's … An impressive addition to a milestone collection' (Classic CD)

'An indispensable collection and one I should not be happy to be without' (Organists' Review)

'Bach at his most tuneful and diverting and Herrick's style is particularly suited to them' (Soundscapes, Australia)
This apparently simple prelude with the chorale stated plainly over gently strolling counterpoint carries a complex burden of myth and speculation. In the volume containing the Leipzig preludes and other organ works, there was a little space left after the Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch. Into this space a copyist has started to write Vor deinen Thron, breaking off in the 26th bar. But the prelude is virtually identical to another setting which C P E Bach added—as compensation—to the incomplete ‘Art of Fugue’, whose preface states that the prelude was ‘dictated extempore by the deceased man in his blindness to a friend’, thus suggesting pictures of Bach on his deathbed. With this tale in mind, numerologists have delved into the prelude and extrapolated references to the name BACH, to the Trinity, and to the mystical number 7. The words—‘Before thy throne I now appear’—are singularly appropriate to a deathbed scene, as is the text of another chorale which Bach set to this tune—‘When in the hour of greatest need our only comfort is to call on you, O Lord’.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1996

Dieses scheinbar einfache Präludium, in dem der Choral gleichmäßig durch sanft fortschreitende Kontrapunkte geführt wird, trägt eine komplexe Last des Märchenhaften und Ungewissen. In der Ausgabe, in der die Leipziger Präludien und andere Werke für Orgel enthalten, war nach den Kanonischen Variationen über Vom Himmel hoch nur noch wenig Raum vorhanden. Ein Kopierer begann in diesen Raum Vor deinen Thron zu schreiben, brach das Stück aber im 26. Takt ab. Das Präludium ist jedoch mit einer anderen Vertonung praktisch identisch, die C P E Bach—als Kompensation—dem unvollendeten Werk ‘Kunst der Fuge’ hinzufügte. Dessen Vorwort beschreibt das Präludium als ‘ex tempore von einem verstorbenen Mann in seiner Blindheit einem Freund gewidmet’ und malt somit das gedankliche Bild von Bach, auf seinem Todesbett liegend. Mit dieser Geschichte im Kopf haben sich Numerologen in das Präludium vertieft und Referenzen auf den Namen BACH, Trinitatis und die mystische Zahl 7 extrapoliert. Diese Begriffe sind für eine Todesbett-Szene außerordentlich passend, wie auch der Text von einem anderen Choral, den Bach mit dieser Melodie vertonte—‘Zur Stunde größter Not, ist unser einziger Trost dich anzurufen, O Gott’.

aus dem Begleittext von Ian Carson © 1996
Deutsch: Ute Mansfeldt

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A Bach Album
Bach: Cantatas Nos 47, 96, 114, 116, 148 & 169
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Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
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