Dietrich Buxtehude is probably most familiar to modern
classical music audiences as the man who inspired the
young Johann Sebastian Bach to make a lengthy
pilgrimage to Lubeck, Buxtehude's place of employment
and residence for most of his life, just to hear
Buxtehude play the organ. But Buxtehude was a major
figure among German Baroque composers in his own right.
Though we do not have copies of much of the work that
most impressed his contemporaries, Buxtehude
nonetheless left behind a body of vocal and
instrumental music which is distinguished by its
contrapuntal skill, devotional atmosphere, and raw
intensity. He helped develop the form of the church
cantata, later perfected by Bach, and he was just as
famous a virtuoso on the organ.
This chorale deals with the subject of faith, trust,
and forgiveness. The first line of the chorale reads,
"I thank you through your son, Oh God for your
goodness, that you protected me so mercifully in this
Although the chorale is quite short consisting of only
four phrases, Buxtehude's setting is somewhat long at
just over 150 measures. For each phrase of the chorale
Buxtehude makes a fugue using the music from the
chorale as the subject for imitation. This type of
composition is often known a chorale ricercar. The
ricercar was an imitative genre related to the fugue.
Ricercari were often multisectional with each section
using a different subject for imitation. "Ich dank dir
schon durch deinen Sohn" behaves exactly like a
I created this Interpretation of the Chorale prelude in
F Major (BuxWV 150) for Woodwind Quintet (Flute, Oboe,
Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon).