Hyperion Records

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV645
Sometimes the contrapuntal motif of a chorale prelude is as familiar to us as the chorale tune—‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ is one example. The famous chorale prelude ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ is another, the assured tread of its opening announcing the news the watchman brings: ‘Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem! … Your bridegroom is coming … Alleluia! make yourselves ready for the wedding, you must go forward to meet Him’. Between 1724 and 1731 half-a-dozen chorale preludes from various cantatas were arranged by Bach for the publisher Johann Georg Schübler; Friedman calls this one ‘Morning Song’. The only somewhat disturbing note in his otherwise grand and reverential transcription is the unnecessary anticipation of the pedal line. The simple opening quaver of Bach’s original lifts us eloquently enough into the movement of the prelude.

from notes by Piers Lane © 2003

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