Advent Calendar Day 9: Wachet! Betet! (J.S. Bach)

A few months ago, when I was preparing for my exam, I sent the Bach alto aria I was learning to my German theologian friend, Anna, to check that my translation wasn’t too wildly wrong.  She sent back the translation with her comments, and also mentioned that in Bach, the alto soloist is usually the voice of the believing soul.  I thought that sounded gorgeous, and set out today to find some advent-suitable soulfulness to share with you.

And I found some.  But this isn’t it, because what I also found in my travels was that Bach, being the excellent church musician that he was, had actually written a cantata for the second Sunday in Advent – which is today.  I am not an excellent church musician, but I am a conscientious one, and having found beautiful music that was actually written for this precise day in the church year, I am incapable of choosing something else.

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