As fellow Catholic Portalite Katrina recently cataloged, there is an extraordinary amount of Christmas music (both heavenly and horrendous.) Yet despite the seemingly-endless proliferation/commercialization of melodic good cheer for the Big Event itself, there is shockingly little Adventine music.
My favorite exception to this depressingly-accurate rule? BWV 62 – “”Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (“Come now, Savior of the Gentiles)” — a cantata from J.S. Bach written for the First Sunday of Advent. Checking economically in at just under twenty minutes, the cantata is a pair arias and recitatives sandwiched between two chorals, and is based is based on Martin Luther’s eight stanza chorale of the same name.
My recommendation? Listen to the below performance from Philippe Herreweghe and the Collegium Vocale while reading Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections marking the beginning of this new liturgical year. It’ll be good for what ails you (or any of us, really). I promise. (Additional Pope reflections available upon request.)
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life . . . Be vigilant at all times and pray.” So: simplicity and prayer.