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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Preludi ai Corali
By Quartetto Italiani di Viola Da Gamba



Preludi ai Corali


Chorale Prelude Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731 [3:10]
Chorale Prelude Nun komm', der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 [1:04]
Chorale Prelude In dulci jubilo, 608 [1:05]
Chorale In dulci jubilo, BWV 368 [2:39]
Chorale Prelude Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her, BWV 606 [0:50]
Chorale Prelude Gott, durch deine Güte, BWV 600 [0:55]
Chorale Prelude Puer natus in Bethlehem, BWV 603 [0:56]
Chorale Puer natus in Bethlehem, BWV 65 [1:03]
Chorale Prelude Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605 [1:27]
Chorale Prelude Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV 637 [1:04]
Chorale Prelude O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross, BWV 622 [4:46]
Chorale Prelude Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, Schöpfer, BWV 681 [1:08]
Chorale Prelude Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727 [1:28]
Chorale Prelude Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672 [1:07]
Chorale Prelude Christe, aller Welt Trost, BWV 673 [1:12]
Chorale Prelude Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 665 [3:55]
Chorale Prelude Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 [2:14]
Chorale Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 288 [1:55]
Chorale Prelude In dir ist Freude, BWV 615 2:20]
Chorale Prelude Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV 641[1:44]
Chorale Prelude Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 625 [1:21]
Chorale Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 158, 277, 278 [3:28]
Chorale Prelude Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 662 [7:20]
Chorale Prelude Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf, BWV 617 [1:34]
Chorale Prelude Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 [2:06\
Chorals Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 64, 227, 358 [3:25]
Chorale Prelude Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 610 [3:44]

Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba
Solo voices of Tölzer Knabenchor.

Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba [Chorale Preludes]:
Paolo Biordi (Viola da gamba soprano in re) [Ruedolf Höß, Munich 1690]
Rodney Prada (Viola da gamba tenore in sol) [Giovanni Grancino, Milan 1690]
Vittorio Ghielmi (Viola da gamba basso) [Michel Colichon, Paris 1688]
Cristiano Contadin (Viola da gamba basso) [Carlo Chiesa, Milan 1998]
Solo voices of Tölzer Knabenchor [Chorales]:
Tim Fricke, Markus Gnadl, Ludwig Mittelhammer, Thomas Timmer; Lorenzo Ghielmi (Organ)

Winter & Winter 910053-2

Nov 25-28, 1999
May 13, 2000

CD / TT: 59:51
MP3 / TT: 59:37

Recorded at Villa Medici-Giulini, Briosco, Italy, Nov. 25-28, 1999 and at the house of Tölzer Knabenchor, Munich, Bavaria, Germany, May 13, 2000.
Review: Preludi ai Corali - Quartetto Italiani di Viola da gamba
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Preludi Ai Corali

Francis H. R. Franca wrote (October 18, 2001):
The late discussion on "Morimur" reminded me of a CD that I found some months ago, but I am not sure if it has been discussed in this list. The title of the album is "Preludi Ai Corali" (Winter & Winter, 910 053-2), and consists of a number of Bach's organ chorale preludes played by a quartet of violas da gamba (soprano, tenor, bass, bass). The preludes are interspersed with a few chorales sang by (also four) soloists of the Tolzer Knabenchor, accompanied by the viola da gamba quartet. The album itself is beautifully designed, although the liner notes (which are reproduced below) provide neither comments on the individual preludes nor the texts of the chorales.

Although I prefer to listen to the chorale preludes played on the organ, I found the acquisition of this album quite worthwhile, since it presents some familiar pieces in such unusual way. More important than that, I am quite fond of that genre of music written for consort of viols, as some English composers did so masterfully in the16th and 17th century. So, it was seductive to listen Bach in a similar fashion.

Anyone has heard this album? Sorry if it has been covered before.

Preludi Ai Corali - Liner Notes by Corinna Schroder, translated by Melanie Rumpelmayr

"In Bach's time the words and melodies of most of these chorales were already rooted in a long tradition. Today, however, they are directly associated with his name. Combining words and music, Bach created works of art with properties which also made them suitable to be used as liturgical music. For example, it is partly because of their compact structure that the Chorale Preludes from the 'Orgelbuchlein' (which most pieces of this selection stem from), could establish themselves as a tradition within the rites of the reformed Church.

"This familiar, traditional context for the chorales is what makes their interpretation today by a viola da gamba quartet so surprising. Even though this choice of instruments was common in Bach's days, the sound of the viola da gamba strikes us today as minimal, reserved, and clear compared with a massive church organ. The 'cantus firmus' is stripped of its supremacy in favour of a polyphony of voices. The chorales are therefore diverted from their liturgical function and a new light is shed on their originality and artfulness which had also impressed Bach's contemporaries in this genre: 'Indeed, there is much art in his chorales', remarked Jacob Adlung in his 'Manual of Musical Erudition' in 1758"


Michael Grover wrote (October 18, 2001):
[To Francis H. R. Franca] This recording sounds delightful. It's going to have to go on my wish list immediately. Can you give some impressions on the quality of the singing by the boys?

For everyone's information, here are further details about this recording. I was not able to find it in US-based sites, but it is available from

Instrumentalists: Quartetto Italiano di viole da gamba
Organ: Lorenzo Ghielmi
Released: September 2000

Francis H. R. Franca wrote (October 18, 2001):
[To Michael Grover] The boys sing very nicely. My impression is that the balance leans more towards the viola da gamba quartet, but all blend well together. The five chorales are: In dulci jubilo, BWV 368; Puer natus in Bethlehem, BWV 65; Das alter Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 288; Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 277, 278, 158; and Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 358, 227, 64.

As for the instruments, there is no organ in the whole recording as indicated in the The members and instruments of the Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba are:

Paolo Biordi, viola da gamba soprano in re (Ruedolf HoB, Munchen 1690)
Rodney Prada, viola da gamba tenore in sol (Giovanni Grancino, Milano 1690)
Vittorio Ghielmi, viola da gamba basso (Michel Colichon, Paris 1688)
Cristiano Contadin, viola da gamba basso (Carlo Chiesa, Milano 1998)

I found this album by chance in the Tower Records store in Wash, DC, in the last Spring, but have never more seen any copy of it since then. People in US who are interested in the CD might try to look in Tower's website.


Preludi ai corali

Toño Kolias wrote (August 2, 2003):
The following review was taken from the magazine GOLDBERG and signed by Antonio Ezquerro. This recording was scored with 5 stars.

BACH : Preludi ai corali / Tölzer
Knabenchor. Quateto Italiano di Viole da Gamba.
Winter &
Winter 910 053-2 1999-2000 --- 59:51

As indicated in the short accompanying notes ( but the overall presentation is deluxe-this is a disc to give as a present), although choral weren't originally conceived for any other purpose than to fulfil a concrete liturgical function, they gave rise to other tradition which were later well consolidated. In this case the performance of these works using purely instrumental forces- a viola da gamba quartet( three of the instrument used dating from the end of the 17th century)- offers performers a new perspective from which to approach this exceptional music. The Quartet´s version, which almost resembles a fantasia, reflects the independence of the instrumental part within the polyphonic framework. Their sound is pure and the longer values marvellously "inflated" (this is only possible, at list on this extend, using instruments). The notes is also the richessness of their phasing, the range of different coulors, variants and details achieved, as well as the addition of voices in some chorales (tracks 4, 8, 18, 22 and 26) by the Tölzer Knabenchor, another tradition that of schola cantorum, wich today, more than ever, needs to be rescue. Splendid voices that transmit the warmth and freshness of innocence even with its natural imperfections, something that Bach always had in mind, despite his frequent complaints about the poor quality of his pupils. I think it is terrific that versions such as this exist, alternative versions, especially when they are perfectly acceptable from a purely historical points of view. A delight to listen to.

Very tempting, is not it?


Chorales BWV 250-438
Recordings | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Chorales in Bach's Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Hidden Chorale Melody Allusions | Passion Chorale
Individual Recordings:
Hilliard - Morimur | Chorales - N. Matt | Chorales - H. Rilling | Preludi ai Corali - Quartetto Italiani di Viola Da Gamba
Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438
Texts & English Translations of Chorales:
Sorted by Title
Chorale Melodies:
Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation
MIDI files of the Chorales:
Cantatas BWV 1-197 | Other Vocal Works BWV 225-248 | Chorales BWV 250-438
The Origin of the Texts of the Chorales [A. Schweitzer] | The Origin of the Melodies of the Chorales [A. Schweitzer] | The Chorale in the Church Service [A. Schweitzer] | Choral / Chorale [C.S. Terry] | The History of the Breitkopf Collection of J. S. Bach’s Four-Part Chorales [T. Braatz] | Chorale Melody Allusions in Bach's Vocal Works [T. Braatz]
Hymnals used by Bach | Abbreviations used for the Chorales | Links to other Sites on the Chorales

Vittorio Ghielmi: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Ghielmi Bach | Preludi ai Corali - Quartetto Italiani di Viola da gamba

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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