Today's Beautiful Gem: `Chorale Fantasia' by Philipp Nicollai, set to
music by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), English text written by an
anonymous author.

"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,
der Wa:chter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
wach auf, du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heisst diese Stunde;
sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohl auf, der Brau:t'gam kommt,
steht auf, die Lampen nehmt! Alleluja!
Macht euch bereit zu dder Hochzeit,
ihr mu:sset ihm entgegen gehn."
"Awake, a voice is calling--
The watchman high on the tower,
Awake, city of Jerusalem!
This is the hour of midnight;
They call us with bright voices:
Where are you, wise Virgins?
Cheer up, the Bridegroom cometh.
Arise, take your lamps, Alleluia!
Make yourselves ready for the wedding,
You must go forth to greet him."

Note: During the Christmas season, it is very unlikely that one will miss choral rendition of cantatas by Bach. Bach's birth tri-centenary was celebrated in 1985. To the Indian audience, it may be mentioned that Bach's place in Western music is somewhat akin to that of Purandaradasa in Carnatic music. "We see him today not only as a consummate artist who brought new meanings to Western music, but as one of the gigantic figures of Western culture." Everyone knows who Johann Sebastian Bach is. Let me tell you what is Bach? Bach is creativity; Bach is artistry; Bach is musical mastery; Bach is harmony; Bach is simplicity; Bach is humility; Bach is perseverance; Bach is scientific spirit; Bach is invention; Bach is ancient tradition; Bach is modernity; Bach is joy; Bach is sorrow; Bach is serenity; Bach is culture; Bach is civilisation; Bach is beauty; in short, Bach is life-- life in its noblest form. As it is said of him, "Bach is Bach just as God is God!"

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao