Front Page Titles (by Subject) Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr'. - Bach's Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works
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Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr’. - Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 3 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works 
Bach’s Chorals. Part III: The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works, by Charles Sanford Terry (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
Part of: Bach’s Chorals, 3 vols.
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Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr’.
The melody, “Allein Gott in der Hoh’ sei Ehr’,” was adapted by Nikolaus Decius for his translation of the “Gloria in excelsis,” and was published with it in 15392 . The melody is a shortened version of the plainsong Easter “Gloria in excelsis” (the first eleven lines or phrases of which are printed supra), being made up of phrases 3-4, 7-8, 11. Bach uses the melody in the Organ movements infra; Cantatas 85, 104, 112, 128 (c. 1725-35); Choralgesange, No. 12. His text is practically invariable, and closely conforms to Witt’s (No. 188).
Among the Organ works there are ten movements upon the melody; three in the Clavierübung; three among the Eighteen Chorals; and four miscellaneous Preludes. There exists also a set of seventeen Variations (B.G. xl. 195), whose genuineness is doubtful. Almost invariably Bach uses the melody to express the adoration of the Angelic hosts, and in scale passages pictures the throng of them ascending and descending between earth and heaven.
  
N. xvi. 39, 40*, 41. The three movements are in the Clavierübung, and offer separate acts of homage to each Person of the Trinity. There is further symbolic significance in the fact that every movement is in the form of a Trio.
B.G. xl. 208 (P. vi. 96) prints from the Schelble-Gleichauf mss. a movement that apparently is the original of No. 8, than which it is shorter and more concentrated. It is a Trio, the cantus being given to the Treble. In No. 9 the final ascending cadence represents the withdrawal of the heavenly host.
  
N. xvii. 56, 60, 66. The three movements are among the Eighteen Chorals. The first (No. 10) Schweitzer regards as a youthful work1 . The last thirty-one bars of No. 12 (Adagio) seem to be inspired by the first stanza of the hymn:
The ascending cadence again represents the departing host of angels.
An older text of No. 11 is in B.G. xxv. (2) 180 (P. vi. 100). Two copies of it are among the Krebs mss. Of No. 12 an older version exists (B.G. xxv. (2) 183; P. vi. 97) in Bach’s Autograph.
N. xviii. 4. The composition reveals Bach’s method of accompanying hymns and probably was written for the instruction or use of a pupil. Indeed, the ms. is in Kellner’s Collection. It is inscribed “di Johann Seb. Bach.”
N. xviii. 5. The movement, of which copies are in the Schicht and Schelble mss., differs from the others on the melody in that it omits to picture the thronging angels Spitta2 doubts whether the movement is by Bach, and observes that his nephew Bernhard Bach wrote somewhat in this style. Parry3 finds “a quaint waywardness in the accompaniment which is fascinating.” He makes the suggestion that, as in the case of No. 5 of the Schubler Chorals, the movement originally was designed for a voice with Violoncello piccolo accompaniment1 .
N. xviii. 7 (Fuga). The movement comes to us through three mss. in the Royal Library, Berlin, one of them by Oley. It is in the Pachelbel form, a Fugue in three parts upon the first two lines of the melody, which is introduced at the close as a cantus firmus on the pedal. A similar scheme occurs in the setting of the Magnificat (N. xviii. 75).
In No. 15 the ascending cadence paints the Angelic host’s withdrawal to heaven.
N. xviii. 11. The attribution of the movement to Bach rests upon a Krebs ms. in the Berlin Library marked “J.S.B.”: a “ganz correcte Handschrift,” Naumann calls it. The movement is in three parts, as, significantly, are six of the ten movements on the melody.
[1 ] Ed. 1877, No. 199. The original hymn has four stanzas.
[2 ] It is printed in Bach’s Chorals, Part II. 305. Phrases 3-4 (supra) are repeated.
[1 ] Vol. i. 292.
[2 ] Vol. i. 656.
[3 ]Op. cit. 504.
[1 ] See p. 85 supra.