Two of my favourite pieces of organ music for the season of Advent…
First, Johann Sebastian Bach’s prelude on the chorale, “Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland” (BWV 659). Listen for how Bach captures the sense of longing and amazement expressed in the first verse of the chorale:
Now come, Saviour of the gentiles,
recognised as the child of the Virgin,
so that all the world is amazed
God ordained such a birth for him.
Here it is, played by Ton Koopman on the 1714 Silbermann organ of Freiberg Cathedral, Saxony, Germany:
Second, the first movement of Marcel Dupré’s Symphonie-Passion. In this movement, entitled “Le Monde dans l’attente du Sauveur” (“The World awaiting the Saviour”), Dupré shows us a world full of agitation, into which the plainsong melody “Jesu, Redemptor omnium” (“Jesus, Redeemer of all”) enters, first quietly, building gradually, then triumphing gloriously over the chaos and strife of the world.