Bach’s Cantata 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers Awake) is one of his most popular cantatas. Dating from his tenure in Leipzig, Bach gave one performance of it there in 1731.
Bach scored this cantata for three vocal soloists (soprano, tenor and bass), 4-part choir and an orchestra consisting of two oboes, taille (a tenor oboe), horn, violino piccolo, strings and continuo (including bassoon). It consists of seven movements, three of which are closely based on the Lutheran hymn, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. An unknown author provided the poetry for movements 2, 3, 5 and 6.
The sixth movement, Mein Freund ist mein! (My Friend is mine!), is a duet for soprano and bass with obbligato oboe. Though the text refers to a love duet between the soprano Soul and the bass Jesus, the musical style is akin to an operatic love duet!
Here is a rough translation of the text:
“My Friend is mine,
and I am yours,
love will never part us.
I will with You,
you will with Me,
graze among heaven’s roses,
where complete pleasure and delight will be.”
Enjoy this joyful recording with Lisa Larsson, soprano, Klaus Mertens, bass, Marcel Ponseele, oboe and Ton Koopman conducting the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.