#51 – Sleepers Awaken! (Wachtet Auf, Rult Uns Die Stimme)


Artist – Douglas Major & Empire Brass (Composed Originally by J.S. Bach)
Album – A Bach Festival
Year – 1990 (Composed early 1700’s)
Genre – Classical

I don’t claim to be a classical music scholar, or even an aficionado at that, but I do know what sounds beautiful to me. Sleepers Awaken by Johann Sebastian Bach is one of my favorite classical pieces. It’s a cantata, or a church piece, written about the parable of the seven virgins that Jesus tells the Disciples. It involves waiting for the coming of the Lord and being ready for his arrival always. It’s an absolutely gorgeous piece that transcends all history. The version that I prefer listening to is actually a small piece of the entire cantata performed by Empire Brass. Let’s get into this wonderful piece.

The first thing I love about this particular version is the combination of the horns and the basso continuo of the organ. It creates one of the richest textures in classical music, and fills the room with warmth and a sense of peace and majesty. The piece itself has a repeating melody motif that is one of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. The notes descend and fall like water, only to rise back up in glory. The trumpet is crystal clear and cuts through the air like a knife, and the french horn (one of my favorite instruments) is rich and bombastic. The organ (Bach’s instrument of choice) always sounds beautiful to me, and provides a wonderful backing texture.

The whole ensemble group works together so well and paints such a lovely portrait of sound. I firmly believe there is no better classical composer than Bach, as he was impeccable at writing melodies that stand the test of time and even remain pleasing to modern ears. He is still one of my favorite composers of all time.

If there were any piece that should exist to praise God and paint a picture of majesty and glory, it would be this piece. The instruments sound as if they were played by the angels themselves, and the melody sounds as if it were passed to Bach through God himself. The intervals are perfect, and the performance is wonderful. I know this is a short review since there are no lyrics, but I truly think if you should have any classical piece on your ipod, even if you’re not a classical music fan, it should be this piece. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and a true treasure of the baroque period and of music.

Let me know what you thought of the song and review below in the comments!


One thought on “#51 – Sleepers Awaken! (Wachtet Auf, Rult Uns Die Stimme)

  1. Bach had an intense personality to put it mildly. He was a force that was not to be taken lightly. It is reported that when one of his students asked him a question about a piece of music he was working on. It quickly escalated into a shouting match with Bach pulling out his dagger and throwing it at his student. It ended with both combatants bloodied from a fist fight. I guess the moral of the story is never question the vision of a genius. Keep writing these beautiful reviews, Paul

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