The Sanctuary Choir of The Congregational Church, under the direction of Kristin Ramseyer presents Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, by Johann Sebastian Bach during worship on Sunday, December 9.
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, is a sacred chorale cantata in the dramatic dialogue style written by J.S. Bach during his time as Kantor in Leipzig. The work is one of Bach’s most popular and widely performed sacred cantatas. It was composed for the 27th Sunday after Trinity and first performed on November 25, 1731. The cantata is based on the hymn in three stanzas “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (1599) by Philipp Nicolai which paraphrases Jesus’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. The movements which are not based on Nicolai’s hymn incorporate paraphrases of Solomon’s Song of Songs including the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, which encourages the wise and faithful to awake and prepare themselves for the coming of the bridegroom, and Solomon’s courtship and marriage to the Shulamite maiden, which reinforces the idea of holy marriage between God and his chosen people, Christ and his church.