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Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659

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

BWV659 is one of the jewels of the collection, whether seen in the textures (the walking bass), the harmony (fluid inner parts, effortless sequences, and beautifully crafted suspensions), or the expressively ornamented chorale. Of the three settings, the current performer sees the first as representative specifically of the birth of Christ. The G minor key matches some of the greatest utterances on the organ for Bach—the ‘Sei gegrüsset partita’, the Fantasia and Fugue—and the cantus lines emphasise ascent, even when the chorale phrase doesn’t; perhaps a surprising emphasis given the text, which references the descent of the Saviour in the Incarnation. The inner parts are typically dense in motifs that are traceable both to the chorale and to the ornamented cantus firmus line. There are four phrases, with long episodes in between, giving a meditative focus. Note the beautiful harmonic sequences found throughout this setting, which is a feature of the writing of all three ‘Nun komm’ settings.

from notes by George Parsons © 2017


A Bach Album
Bach Arrangements
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 1 - Ferruccio Busoni
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 3 - Friedman, Grainger & Murdoch
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 4 - Samuel Feinberg
CDA674682CDs for the price of 1
Bach: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 4
Studio Master: SIGCD804Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: Wachet auf!
CDA67071/22CDs Archive Service
Spira, spera - Bach transcriptions
Studio Master: SIGCD665Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
The organ of St Bavo, Haarlem
Studio Master: SIGCD546Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted


Track 10 on CDA66566 [6'41]
Track 16 on CDA67071/2 CD1 [4'20] 2CDs Archive Service
Track 16 on CDA67247 [4'42]
Track 3 on CDA67309 [5'43]
Track 2 on CDA67344 [5'31]
Track 14 on CDA67468 CD1 [4'31] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 3 on SIGCD546 [5'42] Download only
Track 7 on SIGCD665 [5'34] Download only
Track 1 on SIGCD804 CD2 [4'10] Download only
Track 16 on CDS44121/36 CD10 [4'20] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted

Track-specific metadata for CDS44121/36 disc 10 track 16

Recording date
21 April 1995
Recording venue
Jesuitenkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Paul Niederberger
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: Wachet auf! (CDA67071/2)
    Disc 1 Track 16
    Release date: April 1996
    Deletion date: September 2005
    2CDs Archive Service
  2. Bach: The Complete Organ Works (CDS44121/36)
    Disc 10 Track 16
    Release date: October 2002
    Deletion date: March 2009
    16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
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