BWV 281

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Original source: Chorale, Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 281
Chorale Text: Christus, der ist mein Leben*, Geneva 1609
Tune: Christus, der ist mein Leben, by Melchior Vulpius (1609) (Zahn 132)
First Performance: Unknown
Appearance in Early Collections (Key): Riemenschneider 6; Breitkopf 7; Birnstiel 8; AmB 46II p.165; Levy–Mendelssohn 33; Fasch p.27
Other Harmonizations: BWV 282


This chorale survives without text. The text that appears here is the one provided by editors of the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA).

BWV 281 is one of several Bach chorales that are based on simple hymn settings from the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB), edited by Gottfried Vopelius. Bach’s embellished version of the hymn is shown below alongside the NLGB setting. Phrases 1, 2, and 4 of BWV 281 closely resemble the NLGB setting in structure, while phrase 3 is reworked to include a tonicization of C major. For more on Bach’s use of the NLGB as a basis for his chorales, see Emil Platen’s 1975 article "Zur Echtheit einiger Choralsätze Bachs" in Volume 61 of the Bach–Jahrbuch.

bach– by Luke Dahn. Copyright 2018.