“Nun danket alle Gott,” from Cantata No. 79, BWV 79
BACH (arr. Fox)
The hymn “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now thank we all our God) by protestant minister Martin Rinckart (1586-1649) served well as material for one of the more introspective and fugal organ chorale preludes by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). When given the task of writing a cantata for Reformation Day (October 31, which was last Thursday), Cantata 79, Bach chose to set that tune with louder, more joyous instrumental forces. Flamboyant American organist Virgil Fox (1912-1980) probably reflected upon those contrasting settings, preferring the one in the Cantata to fit his style of playing the organ. Although not a type of chorale prelude representing any purist forms or models that Bach might have been concerned with, Fox’s transcription produces a rousing seasonal hymn.