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Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659
Chorale Preludes may be seen as another form of transcription, since the themes on which they are based appear finally as part of a more elaborate and complex composition.

Bach set ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’ several times: it opens Cantatas 61 and 62 and appears as a duet in Cantata 36. There are five settings as a chorale prelude, and Friedman chooses the slowest and most expressive of them, heading it ‘Largo, maestoso e molto serioso’. His transcription follows the text quite faithfully, except for an odd little alteration of the inner voices in the last bar, and the words (a Lutherian translation of the Latin text) are beautifully mirrored ‘come, redeemer of mankind, whose birth … came from God to be the wonder of all the world’. The transcription inhabits very much the same world as Busoni’s.

from notes by Piers Lane © 2003

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