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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come now, Saviour of the Gentiles)

Cantata 62

  • First Sunday in Advent
  • Epistle: Romans xiii. 11-14 (Our salvation is nearer than we believe)
  • Gospel: Matt.xxi. 1-9 (Christ's entry into Jerusalem)
  • Rating: 2+

Cantata BWV 62 may be overshadowed by its more illustrious counterpart (see BWV 61) but still there is some good music here! The cantata opens with an attractive orchestral introduction leading into a choral movement built around the chorale melody, with instrumental ritornelli. The first solo aria falls into the capable hands of the tenor who should acquit himself with honour in this fine movement. After a recitative, the bass has a battle aria (Strive and conquer, Hero bold! May thine arm grow ever stronger) that uses a very curious effect: The upper strings play with the continuo (sempre col continuo) throughout emphasising the jagged line that the bass has to sing. A surprise follows: Expecting a recitative, one really gets an arioso duet. It's most attractive and effective. The cantata ends with a simple chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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