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Sleepers, wake! A voice astounds us

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/06/14)
Composer: Sachs, Hans
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Kampen, Bovenkerk Hinsz/F.C. Schnitger
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Hymn
Here is the 7th in the Advent-Hymn-of-the-Day project. This one was not planned...

No group of Advent hymns could be considered complete without some setting or version of "Sleeper, wake!" The tune that led to BWV 645 is a solid part of Advent.

I had planned to do the "regular" setting of it, perhaps in a "cathedral style", when I recalled that the "Hymnal 1982" had a setting of the "original" version of the melody. One that is more "rhythmic" and perhaps even more "primitive" in its structure.

I'd always rejected it flat out, but I thought I would try it. As soon as I did - BOOM! An idea hit me, and that is the version that you'll hear!

The performance is conceived like a sort of "brass march," using primitive instruments. It is also played very rhythmically, with a bit of "push and relax" in each phrase. The glorious acoustic works its magic to be sure! I played it in the "traditional" key of D.

The first verse is played essentially on the reeds of the Hoofdwerk, with the mixture added later. The second verse is on the plenum of the Rugwerk, and the the third goes back to the Hoofdwek, with the Rugwerk coupled in, as well as all the things like the Sesquialtera, and finally the high-pitched Scherp.

I think you'll like the result. It may even electrify you! It did me, as I was playing it!

The original words are by Philiip Nicolai (1556-1608). While I'm not generally a fan of "modern" translations, the words by Carl F. Daw, Jr. (b. 1944) worked very well with this setting.

The original tune is by Hans Sachs (1490-1576), and it was Nicolai who adapted it. The cool harmonization is by Jakob Praetorious (1586-1651).

MANY more surprises are on the way... ;-)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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