Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote several works on Luther's Christmas carol “Vom Himmel hoch”.
Source of the first chorale prelude in my audio file is the "Orgelbüchlein": At the front page of his compilation with short chorale preludes wrotes Bach later: „Dem höchsten Gott allein zu Ehren / Dem N[a]echsten draus sich zu belehren“. Out of 164 planned works he realized only 45; each one impresses us with a concentrated individual musical interpretation of the choral text. BWV 606 has falling and rising semiquavers, as they occur again and again by Bach, when the choral text tells about angels. The melody is placed in the soprano, the pedal-bass progresses in leaps. The inspired work ends after a final run down in unison octaves.
The following two settings are part of a transcription volume with works by Bach of his pupil Johann Philipp Kirnberger: The following second setting could have been part of a intended manual fughettes collection, which Bach never published: BWV 701 is a lively three-part fughetta that interweaves single choral elements in a imaginative and contrapuntal virtuos way, while Bach's early five-part fugue BWV 700 with its rather hymnic character and the straight meter reminds on works of Pachelbel or Böhm. The manual parts introduce each chorale line, before the pedal, reinforced by magnificant reeds, raise up the melody part. After 1740, Bach revised this work in Leipzig to the current version.