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Today is the Second Sunday of Advent

Again this blog has several new followers this week. Welcome!

If you joined after December 2019, you might like to read my post about the Second Sunday of Advent here. Also, today, December 6, Nikolaus Harnoncourt would have turned 91. His recordings, his cello playing, and his conducting were a great source of inspiration to my mother. Read more about that here.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, I have two beautiful new recordings for you today. They are not by Bach, because Bach wrote only one cantata for this Sunday. But they do give an idea of the chorales that would have been sung in the Leipzig churches during the sober, cantata-free time between the First Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day. (Though they wouldn’t have been accompanied by the pretty instruments featured in the videos I’m sharing here.)

The German ensemble La Festa Musicale has created four videos, one for each Sunday in Advent, each featuring an Advent chorale by Johann Crüger (1598-1662). They have been releasing one video per week. Start with Wie soll ich dich empfangen (O Lord, how shall I meet Thee), in a fabulous and very moving performance by Alex Potter. Then listen to Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come, Savior of the Gentiles). There are only two singers in this second one (soprano Magdalene Harer and countertenor Alex Potter), but in the final movement it sounds as if an entire choir is singing, thanks to instruments doubling the voice parts and excellent acoustics.

This was exactly the kind of music I needed this week. For me, this week, La Festa Musicale wins the Internet.

Wieneke Gorter, December 6, 2020

I didn’t create an Advent calendar this year, but the J.S. Bach Foundation has a nice one. You can find it here.