John Harbison (1938 - )

Sleepers Wake is a three-minute six-voice motet designed as a prelude to Bach’s Cantata 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, the Voice Calls Us).

It is an honor to offer a pendant to the best-known and most unshakably sovereign of Bach’s cantatas. Compression of the text and the use of English were needed for concision and comprehension.

Two median tonalities suspend between wakefulness and sleep until resolving to the cantata’s home key.

Sleepers Wake is dedicated to the Emmanuel Choir and its Music Director Ryan Turner, frequent eloquent performers of my work, on the occasion of their participation in Bachfest Leipzig, June 2020.

©John Harbison (April 2020)

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