For many choral singers Jesu, meine Freude is not just a motet by Bach, but the motet par excellence. Bach’s motets as a whole have to be described as exceptional works, but even amongst these this is an exceptional work which is out of the ordinary not only in terms of its length. The formal conception, with its alternating chorale and Bible verses in 11 sections in a symmetrical structure, is also unique. The motet was very probably composed for a funeral, but no further details about this are known. By comparison, there are clear indications that the motet, as we now know it, was probably not composed in one go, but was composed over a long period of time.