In 1598, as a plague epidemic decimated his small town in western Germany, a beleaguered young Lutheran minister, Philipp Nicolai, wrote one of the greatest of all chorales, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Wake up, the voice is calling us). He wrote it “to leave behind me (if God should call me from this world), or, if God should spare me in health, to comfort other sufferers.”
This evocative text and memorable melody have inspired composers ever since, from the glorious Cantata 140 of J. S. Bach to the amazing 20th Century masterwork, Wachet auf, of Heinz Werner Zimmermann.
Three marvelous settings of this most famous Advent hymn will open our 36th annual Christmas at Assisi concert. Don’t miss it!