Completing Bach's plan
Patrons: Paul McCreesh, Andrew Prior, The Revd Donald Reeves MBE, Dame Gillian Weir
Academic Advisor: John Scott Whiteley

The Orgelbüchlein Community

Compositions posted here are have been submitted by members of the Orgelbüchlein Community. The challenge is to write a chorale paraphrase on one of the missing (‘ghost’) chorales from Orgelbüchlein. The tune must be present in some form, the scale must be the same as that of Bach’s originals, the piece must be for organ solo, while style is entirely open-ended. The best examples are chorale paraphrase rather than chorale fantasia, mirroring the techniques of Orgelbüchlein.

One composition per person per chorale is permitted. The ‘Sources’ tab of this website is in development, but gives links to tunes for many of the ‘ghost’ chorales.

Two chorales have been ring-fenced, numbers 115 and 134, for possible inclusion in the final collection, and will not be commissioned officially. It is hoped that submissions on these two chorales from the Orgelbüchlein Community will be taken up into the Peters Complete Orgelbüchlein. Please submit by 1st June 2017 for consideration.

Copyright belongs to the composer of each piece but anyone may download and play the compositions free of charge. However, we ask that, if you programme and perform any of the pieces, you submit your performance for listing (only if a public performance) and credit the composer in any publicity and printed programme material. Click on the composer’s name to access a PDF copy of the composition.

You are also free to post comments at the end of this page. Comments are moderated and any deemed unsuitable, at the sole discretion of the Orgelbüchlein Project, will not be published.

BIOGRAPHIES of some of the composers of the Orgelbüchlein Community:

ABBING, Mathis: Youngest composer to have contributed so far! (b 2005). Son of noted improviser and teacher, Jörg Abbing.

BERNET, Atie:  Atie Bernet-Blom, Dutch, living in Sweden since 2008. Worked in Holland as piano-teacher, now working in Sweden as cantor in Swedish churches.

von BLOHN, Christian:  Biog here –

CARPINETTI, Miriam:  Miriam Carpinetti is a brazilian organist, choir director and composer.

DANIEL, Philip:  Third year law student in the United States, with a passion for musical composition (particularly counterpoint).

MORROW, Ryan: Organist and Director of Music at the Schöneck Moravian Church, Nazareth PA, USA.

RITCHIE, Paul: A freelance organist and composer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Choral and organ music by Paul Ritchie can be found by visiting

SCHÖNBACH, Patrick: Born 1971 with severe cerebral palsy which never permitted him to play any instrument practically. Despite this challenge, he began composing when he was 12 years old, starting as an autodidact, later on studying musicology and music theory. He writes music for a great variety of instrumentations. Organ music plays an important role in his oeuvre. Besides composing, Patrick Schönbach works as a software engineer and as a professional audio engineer in his own studio on a part time basis.

SIMON, Gregor: studied church music (A) in Saarbrücken and Munich. He works as a freelance organist, choir director and composer. He looks after the historic Holzhey organ in Obermarchtal and leads the Concert Choir Oberschwaben, the oratorio choir Liederkranz Ravensburg and the church choir in Obermarchtal. He is the recipient of numerous composition prizes.

STOKES, Peter St John: Born in Yorkshire, he learnt the organ with Francis Jackson at York before going to Trinity College of Music. A broad musical education included learning composition with Arnold Cooke, a former pupil of Hindemith. He also has an MMus in Historical Musicology from Kings College, London. After 27 years teaching (21 as Head of Music at Loreto College, St Albans) he retired early to take up freelance music making. His organist appointments include St Giles-in-the-Fields, London and Dunstable Priory. For twenty years he was at St Silas and Holy Trinity churches in Kentish Town. He has also studied improvisation with Naji Hakim in Paris. In addition to his musical qualifications, he has a first degree and a PhD in French. Having mostly retired from playing and conducting, he now concentrates on composition.

TILL, David:  Retired academic (computer science), but amateur music making has always been a large part of my life. I sing in contemporary music choirs, I play string quartets, I occasionally play organ for church services and conduct a local community choir.

de WIT, Jaap: Born 1969. Dutch musician.

ZÜNDORF, Carsten: Organist and Church Music Director at St. Marien, Osnabrück (Germany). He is recording a series of CDs “Mit Bach durchs Jahr”. Three of six CDs are already available.  See

6 Lob sei Gott in des Himmels Thron

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts (who notes, “I was thinking of the Angels blasting out the message on their trumpets, but not necessarily musically, due to their exuberance”)

28 O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt (“a passionate invocation of the pierced hands and feet”)

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts

29 O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid

W.Peter Roberts

Christian Scheel

Carsten Zündorf

Pierre Farago

Roger Wibberley

30 Allein nach dir, Herr Jesu Christ, verlanget mich

Gaik Aboian

31 O wir armen Sünder

Gaik Aboian   W. Peter Roberts

32 Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen

Peter Clark    W. Peter Roberts  Martin Böttger

33 Nun gibt mein Jesus gute Nacht

W. Peter Roberts [NOTES: This is the melody used by Christoph Graupner in his cantata of the same name, GWV1127. According to a German church organist, nowadays, this melody is used with the chorale OB#133.]

40 Gen Himmel aufgefahren ist

Gaik Aboian

41 Nun freut euch, Gottes Kinder, all

Robert Fielding    Gaik Aboian   Martin Böttger

42 Komm, Heiliger Geist, erfüll die Herzen deiner Gläubigen

W. Peter Roberts (Perhaps influenced by Buxtehude?)

43 Komm Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

Gaik Aboian

45 Nun bitten wir den Heilgen Geist

Gaik Aboian 

46 Spiritus Sancti gratia or Des Heilgen Geistes reiche Gnad

Christian von Blohn (I chose the form of Trio, because there’s only one Trio (“Ich ruf zu dir”) in the original “Orgelbuechlein”. The style is a mixture of baroque with Johannes Brahms “11 Choralvorspiele” op. 122.)

Philip Daniel (audio here: If you wish to perform or record, please contact:

47 O Heilger Geist, du Göttlichs Feur

W. Peter Roberts

48 O Heiliger Geist, o heiliger Gott

W. Peter Roberts

52 Gott der Vater wohn uns bei

Jaap de Wit

53 Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Gaik Aboian

54 Der du bist drei in Einigkeit

Gaik Aboian

St John the Baptist
55 Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel

W. Peter Roberts

Visitation of the BVM
56 Meine Seel’ erhebt den Herren

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts  Philip Daniel (here is a link to the audio: )

St Michael the Archangel
57 Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir

Gaik Aboyan   W. Peter Roberts (suggested registration: Man.I: Schalmei 8′, Man.II: Spitzflöte 8′, Pedal: Montre 8′ + Prestant 8′)

58 Es steh’n vor Gottes Throne

Feasts of the Apostles
59 Herr Gott, dich loben wir

Gaik Aboyan

60 O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort

Gaik Aboian

Miriam Carpinetti (Composer note: an ametrical version of the melody. Starts with an augmentation of the melody (5th below) and continues with parallel voicings in a crescendo. At the end some chords of the acooustic scale finishing with chords of Messiaen’s 3rd mode of limited transposition.)

Philip Daniel (Audio here: Please contact at if you wish to perform or record this work.)

The Ten Commandments
62 Mensch, willst du leben seliglich

Gaik Aboian

63 Herr Gott, erhalt’ uns für und für

Jaap de Wit

The Creed
64 Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott

Philip Daniel (Please contact if you wish to perform. Audio: )

Holy Baptism
66 Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam

Gaik Aboian

Penitence and amendment
67 Aus tiefer Not

W. Peter Roberts  Gaik Aboian  Martin Böttger

Pat Ross-Ross (Note: Formally, this is closer to BWV 686 than it is to the Orgelbüchlein preludes, with a fugal Vorspiel on the incipit of the first verset followed by imitation on points derived from subsequent versets, albeit in 5 rather than 6 voices. The chorale melody is in the pedals; the version used is from the Erfurt Enchiridion of 1524. As a note to those who choose to print the score, it has been laid out for A3 format in landscape orientation.)

68 Erbarm’ dich mein, O Herre Gott

Gaik Aboian  Roger Wibberley LISTEN HERE   Philip Daniel LISTEN HERE  Richard Brasier   Miriam Carpinetti (This setting employs a second voice which, together with the melody, results in 4th harmonic intervals in direct motion. The low voice composed of parallel fifths moves slowly at first and fastest from bar 5. This duplicated bass line punctuates the work to bring an enlarged tonal character. The 4ths and 5ths provoke a sense of depth. There is also a counterpoint in quavers and irrational divisions of triplets. The three layers are complementary, following loosely Messiaen’s 3rd mode of limited transposition, with a balanced use of the sound space. Harmony is increasingly dense and coloured throughout the work.)

69 Jesu, der du meine Seele

Gaik Aboian

70 Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Gaik Aboian

71 Ach Gott und Herr

W. Peter Roberts  Gaik Aboian James Lloyd Thomas

72 Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Roger Wibberley [NOTES: Written in the style of Bach’s simple Orgelbüchlien settings, with the melody at the top and flowing imitative lower voices, this setting would have fit into the empty space beneath the appropriate title on the original p85 of Bach’s manuscript.]

73 Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder

Gaik Aboian  W.Peter Roberts  Christian von Blohn (This composition is Herzlich tut mich verlangen, the same melody as Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, in hommage to Brahms) Philip Daniel (Audio: Please contact at if you wish to perform the piece)

74 Wo soll ich fliehen hin

Gaik Aboian

75 Wir haben schwerlich

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts

Holy Communion
78 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, Der von uns

Gaik Aboian

79 Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet

W. Peter Roberts

80 Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt

W. Peter Roberts

81 Jetzt komm ich als ein armer Gast

Jaap de Wit

82 O Jesu, du edle Gabe

W. Peter Roberts  Gaik Aboian

83 Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, dass du dass Lämmlein

W. Peter Roberts

84 Ich weiss ein Blumlein hubsch und fein

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts

85 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen, g’mein

W. Peter Roberts   Gaik Aboian

86 Nun lob’, mein’ Seel’, den Herren

The Common Weal
87 Wohl dem, der in Gottes Furcht steht

Gaik Aboian

88 Wo Gott zum Haus nicht giebt sein’ Gunst

Gaik Aboian   W. Peter Roberts

Christian Life and Experience
89 Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh’ allzeit

Gaik Aboian

90 Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn

Gaik Aboian   W. Peter Roberts

92 Weltlich Ehr’ und zeitlich Gut

Gaik Aboian

93 Von Gott will ich nicht lassen

Gaik Aboian  Andreas Fischer  Atie Bernet

94 Wer Gott vertraut

Gaik Aboian

95 Wie’s Gott gefallt, so gefällt mir’s auch

W. Peter Roberts  Gaik Aboian

96 O Gott du frommer Gott

Gaik Aboian

In time of trouble
97 In dich hab’ ich gehoffet, Herr

Roger Wibberley [NOTES: The ‘Alio modo’ version survives on p113, so the missing version on p112 would probably have been an elaborate ‘cantus coloratus’ rendition of the melody in the RH. This composition, written in the style of such items, would have been easily accommodated on the blank page.]  Martin Böttger

99 Mag ich Ungluck nicht widerstahn

Gaik Aboian

101 An Wasserflüssen Babylon

W. Peter Roberts  Philip Daniel (audio here: If you wish to perform or record, please contact:  Gaik Aboian

102 Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz

Gaik Aboian

103 Frisch auf, mein’ Seel’, verzage nicht
104 Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Gaik Aboian

105 Ach Gott, erhör’ mein Seufzen und Wehklagen

Paul Ritchie

106 So wünsch’ ich nun ein’ gute Nacht

Robert Fielding  – a recording may be found here. Please see programme note on score.  Gaik Aboian

107 Ach lieben Christen, seid getrost

Gaik Aboian

108 Wenn dich Unglück thut greifen an

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts

109 Keinen hat Gott verlassen

Gaik Aboian

110 Gott ist mein Heil, mein’ Hulf’ und Trost

111 Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgetan, Kein einig

Gaik Aboian

W. Peter Roberts [Notes: Part of the chorale melody of OB#112 is also to be found within.]

112 Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan, Es bleibt gerecht

Atie Bernet  Philip Daniel (audio here:

a) The Church Militant
114 Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

Gaik Aboian

115 Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl – ringfenced for possible inclusion in the Gesamtorgelbüchlein. Stephen Barber was the winner of the RCO composition competition on this chorale.

 116 Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott

Jaap de Wit      Miriam Carpinetti (This setting uses irregular metric and modal harmonies – superimposition of figurations in Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition over the famous tonal melody).

117 Es woll’ uns Gott genadig sein

Gaik Aboyan

118 War’ Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit

W. Peter Roberts  David Till

119 Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt

Gaik Aboian

120 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern

Atie Bernet  Gaik Aboian

b) God’s Holy Word
121 Wie nach einem Wasserquelle

Gaik Aboian  W. Peter Roberts  Philip Daniel (Audio: Please contact at if you wish to perform this piece)

122 Erhalt’ uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Gaik Aboian

123 Lass’ mich dein sein und bleiben

W. Peter Roberts

In time of War
124 Gieb Fried’, O frommer, treuer Gott

Gaik Aboyan

125 Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ.

Mathis Abbing

126 O grosser Gott von Macht

Gaik Aboyan  W. Peter Roberts

Death and the Grave
127 Wenn mein Stundlein vorhanden ist

Bertie Baigent – please contact the composer if you would like to perform this piece:

Richard Gowers – please contact the composer if you would like to perform this piece:

128 Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott.

Jaap de Wit

129 Mitten wir im Leben sind

W. Peter Roberts

130 Alle Menschen müßen sterben

W. Peter Roberts

Roger Wibberley [NOTES: Written in the style of other short Bach chorales from the Orgelbüchlein, this would fit the blank titled p148 and be an alternative style to the surviving ‘Alio modo’ version that appears on p149.]

132 Valet will ich dir geben

W. Peter Roberts

133 Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben

Ryan Morrow

134 Christus, der ist mein Leben

Robert Fielding A recording can be heard here:   

Jonathan Gregory Written in memory of David McElderry, organ builder for the Wells Kennedy Partnership in Lisburn, N Ireland, who died 14.2.21. Jonathan Gregory was Organist at Leicester Cathedral and prior to that at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast and St George’s Belfast.  He has played and taught in the UK and also in Japan. Jonathan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

135 Herzlich lieb hab’ ich dich, O Herr

Alan Swanson

136 Auf meinen lieben Gott

Gaik Aboian  Philip Lawton

137 Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiss gar wohl

W. Peter Roberts

138 Mach’s mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt’

Gaik Aboian

139 Herr [O] Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht

Atie Bernet  Gaik Aboian

140 Mein’ Wallfahrt ich vollendet hab’

Gaik Aboian

141 Gott hat das Evangelium
142 Ach Gott, thu’ dich erbarmen

W. Peter Roberts  Gaik Aboian

Morning hymns
143 Gott des Himmels und der Erden

W. Peter Roberts  Philip Daniel (Audio here:  Please contact at if you wish to perform this piece)

144 Ich dank’ dir, lieber Herre

Gaik Aboian

145 Aus meines Herzens Grunde
146 Ich dank’ dir schon durch deinen Sohn
147 Das walt’ mein Gott

Evening hymns
148 Christ, der du bist der helle Tag

David Till   Note: Based loosely on a tone row where the 12 notes are divided into two six note sequences, initially set out as a two part motif.

149 Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht

Gaik Aboian  Gavin Barrett (Recording here:

150 Werde munter, mein Gemüte

W. Peter Roberts

151 Nun ruhen alle Wälder

Patrick Schönbach   Guido Donati

(Donati’s piece is based, firstly, on a melodic jazz-paraphrase of the choral melody with a quartal harmonisation. Then the choral notes are developed with the melodic chords, one for each choral note.

Guido Donati (b. 1949 in Mozzo, Italy), lives in Turin, Italy. He is a graduate in Organ, Piano, Choral Music and Composition. He taught Organ at Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi” in Turin between 1978 and 2014. Currently, he is active as organist, composer and improviser.)

Grace at meals
152 Danket dem Herrn, denn er ist sehr freundlich

Jaap de Wit

153 Nun lasst uns Gott, dem Herien

Gaik Aboian

154 Lobet den Herrn, denn er ist sehr freundlich

Gaik Aboian

155 Singen wir aus Herzensgrund

David Till (NB Each line of the chorale is accompanied by a voice that uses only the notes not used in that line.)

For good weather
156 Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn

Robert Fielding

The life eternal
157 Jesu, meines Herzens Freud’

Gaik Aboian

158 Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen
160 Ach, was ist doch unser Leben

Gaik Aboian

Gregor Simon

161 Allenthalben, wo ich gehe

Gaik Aboian

Gregor Simon

162 Hast du denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht

W. Peter Roberts  Suggested registration: Man 1 (Tpt 8′) Man 2 (Montre 8′, Prestant 4′) Ped (16′)

163 Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gutig

Gaik Aboian

164 Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele

Gaik Aboyan  W. Peter Roberts

19 Responses to The Orgelbüchlein Community

  • Dear William,
    I know that Gerard Brooks won the ring-fenced No. 134 ‘Christus, der ist mein leben’ but did I not have a setting and recording of that chorale listed on here as part of community contributions? I was referring someone who wanted to hear the recording to the site but it has been removed I think. Are these community works removed if someone wins these ring-fenced numbers?

    • William says:

      Dear Robert, So sorry – I’ve only just seen this message. I am supposed to have some help running this website from the trust which supports OBP, but it never seems to materialise. I’ll reinstate the recording and the score, with apologies for the inconvenience. William

  • Tonya Chirgwin says:

    I can’t get any of the recordings on the Recordings page to play. I notice they are quite old. Are the Soundcloud links still valid? Is there, perhaps, a technical problem with the page? I’m looking forward to doing some listening – the project is most interesting!

    • William says:

      Greetings – sorry for the slow reply – they work for me, via Soundcloud. When I click on the play button, away they go! Sounds like an issue at your end? Best, William Whitehead

  • I am a Mexican organist, composer and musicologist, I studied i Holland and made a postdoctorate at Oxford University (Queens College). I am interested in participating with one or more choral preludes in the Orgelbüchlein project. Can you tell me which anthems are still available and the deadline to submit the compositions. Recently a large array of my compositions for organ have been published by the University of México, you can listen to some examples at my you tube channel:
    I will appreciate very much your kind response to my message.
    With best regards,
    Gustavo Delgado

    • William says:

      Greetings! Thank you for your interest in the Project. All chorales are free and available in the Orgelbüchlein Community (you can see who has submitted already on this area of the website). If you wish your piece to be considered by the Peters Edition editorial committee, you need to submit either chorale 115 or 134 before June 1st 2017. These two chorales are ring-fenced for possible inclusion.

    • William says:

      You’re most welcome to submit a composition to the Orgelbüchlein Community. As it happens, someone has also just submitted a setting for this chorale, now displayed on the website. When it comes to publishing the Neues Orgelbüchlein, all submissions will be considered alongside commissioned chorales.

  • I am a British citizen living in Germany (*1968). I grew up in Cambridge and was a member of Kings College Choir under Ledger. I studied Architecture for some years but have now a master degree from the University of Bremen in church music (Kirchenmusik A) and am also a composer, not necessarily in that order. I have been writing organmusic specifically in the Bach style for years, and am currently writing a piece of research on the Orgelbüchlein together with Prof. Harald Vogel (of North German Organ Academy fame). For this work I wrote a completion of the Fragment “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” with explanations of how Bach would have gone about this. The piece became a fully fledged Partita in five parts based on the Hymn Verses (Spee and Rist) Since you are advertising your interesting Project on the Web, it seems logical to offer you something of my work. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Best regards,
    Bruce McCallum Reid

    • William says:

      If you’d like me to post something in the Orgelbüchlein Community, then please do send! Sounds very interesting.

  • Alistair Jones says:

    As a student at London’s RAM in the 1960’s, I studied under a very great organist, C.H.Trevor. He had many insightful remarks to make on individual chorale preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. One in particular I have never forgotten and it concerns the little masterpiece,”Das alte Jahr vergangen ist”. He remarked that many composers strive all their lives to write fine music but never write as much as is in this little chorale prelude. A lament for the passing of the year.

  • William says:

    In reply to Robert Fielding: John Scott Whiteley is working on the melodic sources. In some cases it is very difficult to track down with certainty which chorale melody Bach might have intended to use. The melodic sources tab, now that you have found it, is the best bet, though is incomplete, as you will see.

  • Robert Fielding says:

    I wonder if, like myself, people are finding it difficult to source the correct chorale melodies online? I have been researching two for possible composition and have come across several versions or none at all. Is it possible for someone in ‘the know’ to provide the chorale melody that Bach would have known and would have set had he had time?

  • Atie Bernet says:


    I would like that the organist, who plays my composition, will contact me and let me know if my name is on a concert-list . . .

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