Johann Balthasar Kehl (1724 – 1778) was a German organist, cellist and composer. He began his education at the Ratschule in Coburg in 1734 and in 1742 he moved to Bayreuth, where he studied under Johann Pfeiffer. In 1740 he became cellist in in the court musical ensemble. In Bayreuth he wrote his first compositions, mainly ballets and solo concerto’s for various instruments. Except for one concerto for harpsichor and orchestra in C major all these works are now lost. After Markgräfin Wilhelmine died in 1758 he decided on a career in church music. He became organist at the Neustädter Kirche in Erlangen in 1760. There his students included Johann Paul Schulthesius and Johann Wilhelm Stadler. Kehl’s claim to fame are the chorale preludes he published during his time in Erlangen, in four different volumes (Erste bis Vierte Sammlung einiger variierender Choräle, 1764). In 1774 he returned to Bayreuth as Stadtkantor, a post he kept untill his death in 1778. His music has been little studied, although Johann Adam Hiller considered his oratorios to be the epitome of good, large-scale choral compositions.
The second of the four volumes of chorale preludes is freely available online: http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb10525213_00004.html
The present prelude based on the chorale “Nun komm der heiden Heiland” is taken from this volume.