Advent: Bach Cantata No. 140

Advent Cantata: Celebrating the generosity of Mary Crichton
“Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” BWV 140
Chancel Choir & Michigan Sinfonietta Orchestra
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. worship

On Sunday, December 15, during the 9:30 Worship Service, our Chancel Choir, soloists and instrumentalists will present one of Bach’s most popular sacred compositions, Advent Cantata No. 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”  (Sleepers, wake! Hear the voices). This cantata is based on Matt. 25:1-13 (Parable of the wise and foolish virgins) and II Cor 5:1-10 (Assurance of salvation). It is a short multi-movement work comprising choral, duet, and narrative recitative portions. The choral portions are musically generated from a single chorale or hymn (in this case the hymn “Now Let All the Heavens Adore Thee”), and creatively elaborate and adorn this original hymn tune with vivid and colorful instrumental writing as well as ingenious vocal counterpoint. Solo portions of the work comprise two brief recitatives, each introducing beautiful duets for soprano and bass. These duets textually and musically portray “spiritual love duets” representative of the dialogue between Christ and the Soul. The final movement, as typifies most of Bach’s cantatas, is a hymn intended for congregation participation. We hope that you will join us in praising God and singing this final hymn in a special musical offering of this inspired work soon!

This musical offering is dedicated to the memory of Mary Crichton, a beloved Professor of German at UM and long time member of the Chancel Choir who loved classical music. Twelve years ago, Mary coached the choir in learning the German pronunciation for this work.  A long time benevolent member of FUMC, Mary honored her church with great generosity. We lovingly present this Advent offering in her memory and thank both the Leadership Committee and Music Ministries for their sponsorship of this event.