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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Front photograph of Angela Hewitt by Steve J Sherman
Track(s) taken from CDA67309
Recording details: April 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: August 2001
Total duration: 5 minutes 43 seconds

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659
1708/17; revised into Leipzig Chorales collection, the '18' circa 1744/7

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659 is marked ‘Adagio’ by Kempff and preceded by the text of the Advent hymn of Martin Luther (1524) which was taken from the Latin of St Ambrose:

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,
Der Jungfrauen Kind erkannt,
Des sich wunder alle Welt,
Gott solch Geburt ihm bestellt.
Come now, Saviour of the heathen,
He who is known as the Child of the Virgin!
All the world wonders that
God should ordain such a birth.

The slow unfolding of the highly expressive cantus firmus is accompanied by beautiful counterpoint, frequently using two-note sighing figures. It is included in the ‘Leipzig Chorales’ (or the ‘Eighteen’ as it is more generally known) – a collection of chorales which Bach put together in his last years, most of which probably existed in earlier versions dating from his Weimar period. There are three chorale preludes with this title in the same collection – all very different from each other. Kempff’s transcription beautifully retains the sense of longing and mystery of the original.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2001

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