Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

BWV 140 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

  • Intro
  • 1. Wachet auf (Chorus)
  • 2. Er kommt (Recitative)
  • 3. Wenn kömmst du (Duet)
  • 4. Zion hört (Chorale)
  • 5. So geh herein (Recitative)
  • 6. Mein Freund (Duet)
  • 7. Gloria sei dir gesungen (Chorale)

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Texts
Texts
Credits
Credits

Full of symbolism

The crux is in the middle.

In Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, everything revolves around the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. They wait throughout the night with burning lamps for the arrival of the bridegroom. Five of them have brought along extra oil to keep their lamp burning. The others run out of oil and go off to buy some more. The bridegroom arrives while they are away. In Bach’s annotated bible, this story from the Gospel of Matthew is explained as an allegory. The wise virgins symbolise burning faith and vigilance. The arrival of the bridegroom stands for the return of Christ. This moment comes at the precise middle of the cantata, in the famous chorale sung by the tenors, which Bach later transcribed for organ.

In the notes on this parable, Bach’s bible also refers to the Songs of Songs, the wedding book of the Old Testament, and to Hebrew comments and wedding practices. In Jewish tradition, too, the bridegroom and bride were defined as the soul and God of Israel and God. If a Jewish inhabitant of Leipzig had been sitting in the Nicolaikirche on the 25th of November 1731, he would have recognised much of the symbolism. The opening chorus where the chorale melody is doubled by a horn may even have reminded him of the shofar, the traditional ram’s horn, which would have sounded at the Jewish New Year at the beginning of October to symbolically shake everyone awake.

Although a nice idea, it is rather improbable, as Jews were not very welcome in the Leipzig of Bach’s day. A couple of weeks before the first performance of BWV 140, merchants from Leipzig had complained fiercely about Jews in the city. Actually, the shared Jewish-Christian symbolism of this cantata is better suited to Naarden, where there was a lively Jewish community and a new synagogue had come into use precisely in 1730. So the Grote Kerk in Naarden is an inspiring setting for this special cantata.

BWV
140
Title
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Genre
cantatas
Year
1731
City
Leipzig
Lyricist
unknown, probably Picander, 1st, 2nd and 3rd strophe of chorale of the same name by Philipp Nicolai (1599), supplemented by the Song of Songs
Occasion
twenty-seventh Sunday after Trinity
First performance
25 November 1731
Special notes
The fourth movement, the tenor aria, was transcribed by Bach for organ in the Schübler-Choräle, BWV 645

Extra videos

Jos van Veldhoven

“The chorale is the foundation of this composition.”

Vocal texs

Original

1. Choral
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,
der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
wach auf, du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heisst diese Stunde,
sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde,
wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohlauf, der Bräutgam kömmt,
steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Alleluja! Macht euch bereit
zu der Hochzeit, ihr müsset ihm
entgegen gehn!

2. Rezitativ (Tenor)
Er kommt, er kommt,
der Bräut’gam kommt!
Ihr Töchter Zions, kommt heraus,
sein Ausgang eilet aus der Höhe
in euer Mutter Haus.
Der Bräutgam kommt, der einen Rehe
und jungen Hirsche gleich
auf denen Hügeln springt
und euch das Mahl der Hochzeit
bringt. Wacht auf, ermuntert euch!
den Bräutgam zu empfangen!
Dort, sehet, kommt er hergegangen.

3. Duett (Sopran - ziel, Bass - Jesus)
Seele
Wenn kömmst du, mein Heil?
Jesus
Ich komme, dein Teil.
Seele
Ich warte mit brennenden Öle.
Eröffne den Saal.
Jesus
Ich öffne den Saal
Seele, Jesus
zum himmlischen Mahl.
Seele
Komm, Jesu!
Jesus
Ich komme, komm, liebliche Seele!

4. Choral (Tenor)
Zion hört die Wächter singen,
das Herz tut ihr vor Freuden springen,
sie wachet und steht eilend auf.
Ihr Freund kommt von Himmel prächtig,
von Gnaden stark,
von Wahrheit mächtig,
ihr Licht wird hell,
ihr Stern geht auf.
Nun komm, du werte Kron,
Herr Jesu, Gottes Sohn!
Hosianna!
Wir folgen all
zum Freudensaal
und halten mit das Abendmahl.

5. Rezitativ (Bass)
So geh herein zu mir,
du mir erwählte Braut!
Ich habe mich mit dir
von Ewigkeit vertraut.
Dich will ich auf mein Herz,
auf meinen Arm gleich wie
ein Sigel setzen,
und dein betrübtes Aug’ ergötzen.
Vergiss, o Seele, nun
die Angst, den Schmerz,
den du erdulden müssen;
auf meiner Linken sollst du ruhn,
und meine Rechte soll dich küssen.

6. Duett (Sopran - ziel, Bass - Jesus)
Seele
Mein Freund ist mein,
Jesus
und ich bin sein,
Seele, Jesus
die Liebe soll nichts scheiden.
Seele

Ich will mit dir
Jesus
du sollst mit mir
Seele, Jesus
im Himmels Rosen weiden,
da Freude die Fülle, da Wonne wird sein.


7. Choral
Gloria sei dir gesungen,
mit Menschen- und englischen Zungen,
mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schon.
Von zwölf Perlen sind die Pforten,
an deiner Stadt sind wir Konsorten
der Engel hoch um deine Thron.
Kein Aug’ hat je gespürt,
kein Ohr hat je gehört
solche Freude!
Des sind wir froh,
io, io!
ewig in dulci jubilo.




Translation

1. Chorus
Wake up, cries the watchmen’s voice
high up on the battlements;
wake up, city of Jerusalem!
This is the midnight hour;
they call to us with ringing voices:
where are you, wise virgins?
Make haste, the Bridegroom comes;
rise up, and take your lamps!
Alleluia! Prepare yourselves
for the wedding,
you must set out to meet Him!

2. Recitative
He comes, He comes,
the Bridegroom comes!
Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion,
the dayspring hastens from on high
into your mother’s house.
The Bridegroom comes, like a roe
or a young hart,
skipping upon the hills
and bringing you the wedding feast.
Awaken, be of good cheer,
to welcome the Bridegroom here!
There, see, behold Him coming!

3. Duet
Soul
When wilt thou come, my Salvation?
Jesus
I am coming, a part of you.
Soul
I wait, my lamp lit with burning oil.
Open the hall
Jesus
I open the hall
Soul, Jesus
for the heavenly feast!
Soul
Come, Jesus!
Jesus
I come; come, beloved soul!

4. Chorale
Zion hears the watchmen singing,
her heart throbs with joy,
she wakens and rises with haste.
Her friend descends from heaven in splendour, strong in mercy,
mighty in truth,
her light grows bright,
her star ascends.
Come, now, Thou worthy crown,
Lord Jesus, the Son of God!
Hosanna!
We shall all follow
to the hall of rejoicing
and join the Lord’s Supper.

5. Recitative
So, enter in to me,
you, my chosen bride!
I have wedded myself to you
for all eternity!
I would set you on my heart
and on my arm
as a seal
and gladden once more your troubled eye.
Forget now, O soul,
the fear and grief
you have had to bear;
on my left hand shall you rest,
and my right hand shall embrace you.

6. Duet
Soul
My friend is mine,
Jesus
and I am his!
Soul, Jesus
Nothing shall divide this love.
Soul
I shall with You
Jesus

you shall with Me
Soul, Jesus
You shall partake with me of Heaven’s rosy pastures, where there will be joy in abundance, and bliss!

7. Chorale
Glory now be sung to Thee
with tongues of angels and mankind,
with harps and with cymbals.
The portals are made of twelve pearls,
in Thy city we are consorts
of the angels high about Thy throne.
No eye has ever seen,
no ear has ever heard
such joy!
Therefore we are glad,
io, io,
eternally in dulci jubilo.




Credits

  • Release date
    8 March 2019
  • Recording date
    11 February 2018
  • Location
    Walloon Church, Amsterdam
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Soprano
    Maria Keohane
  • Alto
    Tim Mead
  • Tenor
    Daniel Johannsen
  • Bass
    Matthew Brook
  • Ripieno soprano
    Hilde Van Ruymbeke, Marjon Strijk
  • Ripieno alto
    Barnabás Hegyi, Marleene Goldstein
  • Ripieno tenor
    Kevin Skelton, Guy Cutting
  • Ripieno bas
    Drew Santini, Matthew Baker
  • Violin 1
    Shunske Sato, Anneke van Haaften, Pieter Affourtit
  • Violin 2
    Sayuri Yamagata, Lidewij van der Voort, Paulien Kostense
  • Viola
    Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
  • Double bass
    Robert Franenberg
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
  • Oboe da caccia
    Yongcheon Shin
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Tromba da tirarsi
    Robert Vanryne
  • Organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Director and editor
    Bas Wielenga
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Merijn Vrieling, Ivo Palmen, Martin Struijf, Bjorn Tiebout
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot, Henry Rodgers, Patrick Galvin
  • Assistant director
    Ferenc Soeteman
  • Video engineer
    Vincent Nugteren
  • Set technique
    Dennis van Hoek
  • Data handling
    Jesper Blok
  • Project manager nep
    Peter Ribbens
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
  • Producer concert
    Imke Deters
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh
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