Alle Menschen müssen sterben (BWV 643)

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from Das Orgelbüchlein by Johann Sebastian Bach

Background[edit]

The text of the first verse of this chorale is translated as follows:

All people must die,
all flesh passes away like grass.
Whatever lives must perish
if it is to become new.
This body must decay
if it is to be restored
to the great glory
which is prepared for the faithful.
(Goerg Albinus)[1]

The original chorale has seven verses. Max Reger composed a famous "Phantasie" on the same chorale. Bach had originally planned two settings of this chorale for the the Orgelbüchlein, but ended up only composing the one. This setting has the words "alio modo" under the title, which means "in another way," indicating that this is the second of the two planned settings.

Registration and Organs[edit]

This setting works well with an 8' flute with 16' and 8' flutes in the pedals. Clark and Peterson suggest a registration of principal tone for the manual and pedals.[2] Another possibility is to solo out the melody. (There is no indication that it should be played on two manuals, but it is possible. Some editions even print the chorale melody in one staff with the other two manual voices together on a second staff in order to facilitate a two-manual approach.)

Fingering and Pedaling[edit]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

The following motive pervades this piece:

Alle Menschen motive.jpg

It alternates between the pedal and the inner voices, thus producing continuous 16th-note motion. Clark and Peterson suggest the following articulation to clarify this dialogue:[3]

Alle Menschen articulation.jpg

Ornamentation[edit]

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Tempo and Meter[edit]

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Scores and Editions[edit]

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Recordings[edit]

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Free Online[edit]

James Kibbie, 1717 Trost organ, St. Walpurgis, Großengottern, Germany, using _____.

Pay to Listen[edit]

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Other Resources[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbuchlein. Ed. Robert Clark and John David Peterson. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1984.
  2. Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbuchlein. Ed. Robert Clark and John David Peterson. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1984.
  3. Johann Sebastian Bach: Orgelbuchlein. Ed. Robert Clark and John David Peterson. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1984.

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