Zion Hort Die Wachter Singen (2020)
(Approximate Duration | 4'41’’)
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme ('Awake, calls the voice to us'), BWV 140, also known as Sleepers Wake, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, regarded as one of his most mature and popular sacred cantatas. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the 27th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on November 25th, 1731. The fourth movement, which this transcription is constructed from, "Zion hort die Wachter singen" (Zion hears the watchmen singing), is based on the second verse of the chorale. It is written in the style of a chorale prelude, with the phrases of the chorale, sung as a cantus firmus by the tenors (or by the tenor soloist), entering intermittently against a famously lyrical melody played in unison by the violins (without the violino piccolo) and the viola, accompanied by the basso continuo. Bach later transcribed this movement for organ (BWV 645), and it was subsequently published along with five other transcriptions Bach made of his cantata movements as the Schubler Chorales.