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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


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

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