The Bach Book for Harriet Cohen
, arranged alphabetically by composer, opens with Sir Granville Bantock’s version of the chorale prelude Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
BWV645 (originally based on a chorus from Cantata No 140). The wide left-hand leaps in which Bantock indulges on the first appearance of the chorale tune, where the bottom note is sounded as a grace-note before the rest of the harmony, were a feature which especially excited Ronald Stevenson’s derision, and several of the other contributors are guilty of this rather makeshift stratagem. Stevenson compared the Bantock, to its detriment, with Busoni’s famous treatment of the same piece. Later appearances are in octaves, however, while a brief episode in pastoral sixths and a sensitive underpinning of the figuration in thirds are among the felicities of the setting. Bantock made a version of this arrangement for small orchestra in 1945.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010