Title Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ
Description Organ chorale for "New Orgelbüchlein"
Year 2017
Instrumentation Organ
Duration 3 min
Commissioned by William Whitehead, "New Orgelbüchlein" project
Premiere Sept 16, 2017

wir danken dir p1


The chorale is presented as two canonic voices, appearing in changing keys and at slightly fluctuating speeds. A series of short notes is presented in four layers, connected by the rhythmic ratios of 2:3:4:5. The harmony is composed of pitches taken from the actual phrase of the chorale, modulating independently from the melody.

All in all the idea is to pay a tribute to Bach’s contrapuntal techniques, but within a more floating framework, maybe creating an impression of distance to this chorale which is not known in our church, and which even Bach did not publish any setting of.


The melody of this chorale is composed by Bartholomäus Gesius (Frankfurt an der Oder 1605) and not used by Bach anywhere else.

Text known to Bach (Weimar 1713):
Wir dancken dir/ O Jesu Christ
dass du das Lämmlein worden bist
und trägt all unser Sünd und Schuld
hilf das wir rühmen deine Huld.

Text: Nicolaus Selnecker (1628-92)