After a short and lively introduction, the theme is stated in full by various sections of the band in turn. Variation I is a moto perpetuo based on the three repeated notes which open the chorale. These eventually become the accompaniment to a more lyrical theme. Variation II is slower and march-like in character and employs various motifs derived from snippets of the theme. Variations III is the slow movement and is based on a figure taken from the second half of the theme. A sinister bass theme prefaces an explosive central episode out of which the chorale theme eventually emerges, decorated by the opening figure. Variation IV is in the form of a fugue, the theme of which eventually becomes the descant of a more lyrical melody in the middle of the band. The fugue develops along classical lines until it is combined with a full recapitulation of Luther's chorale. A faster coda, based on Variation I, closes the work.