Advent is upon us. I dare say there’s a popular misconception that the season of Advent doesn’t begin until December. After all, 1st December is the date when heathen children all over the Western world start raiding their Advent calendars for that daily chocolate fix, and churchgoing children do the same and have to make do with a picture of a virgin receiving a visit from a magical flying boy. I can still remember the sensation of resentment that despite turning up for church every Sunday – unlike most of my friends – I wasn’t getting the perks out of religion that they did. I didn’t even get Ruud Gullit sitting on a shed. One year I stumped up for my own chocolate one, but by then I would have been in my teens and the magic was gone.
But no, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which this year falls today. Not that I have anything of any interest to say about Advent. All this is merely a pretext for putting up a recording of me playing some appropriately Adventy music, namely Busoni’s piano transcription of Bach’s beautiful chorale prelude on ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’, BWV659. It’s not as good as Bach’s original, of course, but I’m handicapped by my incompetence, i.e. I haven’t practised the organ sufficiently to have got the hang of pedalling. The Lutheran chorale that is its basis, a source of dubious reliability informs us, ‘was used as the prominent hymn for the first Sunday of Advent for centuries.’
There’s a nice score here that shows how the tune of the chorale fits into Bach’s ornamented melody.
So have a lovely Advent, everyone.