The Neumeister Collection is a compilation of 82
chorale preludes found in a manuscript copy produced by
Johann Gottfried Neumeister (1757–1840). When the
manuscript was rediscovered at the Yale University in
the 1980s it appeared to contain 31 previously unknown
early chorale settings by Johann Sebastian Bach, which
were added to the BWV catalogue as Nos. 1090–1120 and
published in 1985.
This chorale prelude is part of the now-famous
Neumeister Collection, discovered -- or rediscovered --
only in 1985 by organist/musicologist Christoph Wolff.
He was in the midst of doing research at the Yale
Library associated with the 300th anniversary of Bach's
birth when he stumbled across this collection of 82
chorales by various composers. Of them, 38 have more or
less been attributed to Bach, including this one, "Nun
lasset uns den Leib begraben" (Now Let Us Bury the
Dead). It is a mostly somber piece, but its gentle and
consoling manner imparts a brightness to its character
that lifts it above any morbid or gloomy expressive
manner. Bach presents the chorale theme in single notes
at the outset, but gradually gives it fugal properties,
the textures never really fattening though, and the
tone remaining subdued throughout. The melody itself
has a consoling manner, though it is tinged with
mournful aspects. In the second half, it becomes
brighter and more hopeful, even turning somewhat
glorious near the end. As usual, Bach deftly captures
the spirit of the chorale's text here.
Although originally written for Organ, I created this
Arrangement of the Chorale Prelude "Nun lasset uns den
Leib begraben" (Now Let Us Bury the Dead) BWV 1111 for
Double-Reed Quartet (Oboe, English Horn & 2 Bassoons).