Hymn No 7 (Second Tune) from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, aka “Wake, Awake!”, arranged for Soprano and Bass Clarinets.

Philipp Nicolai, 1556-1608
Adapted and harm. by J.S. Bach, 1685-1750

Yes, THAT J.S. Bach! He actually liked this hymn’s skeleton enough that he hung a whole Cantata on it (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140)!

“Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, calls the voice to us), BWV 140, also known as Sleepers Wake, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, regarded as one of his most mature and popular sacred cantatas. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the 27th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 25 November 1731.”

Here’s the pdf of my arrangement: 007b.ServiceBookAndHymnal

My wife was reading the lyrics I had posted with the previous version of the hymn, (007.ServiceBookAndHymnal) and said, “This sounds scary! What is it about?”

I have to say, I hadn’t given it much thought, as I am pretty shallow. To me it was more about the idea that during different parts of our lives we are often “asleep” and it takes some thought, or an event, to “wake” us out of the slumber of everyday events.

Philipp Nicolai lived in Germany during the Plague years. He had seen friends and colleagues fall victim to it. It was a pretty terrible time to be alive. It probably seemed to him like the end of the world wasn’t too far off.

The Hymn references several things, first what is called, “The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins“, which comes from the New Testament of the Christian Bible, (Matthew 25:1–13,) which is usually interpreted to be about being prepared for Christ’s return to earth. It also references some scary bits from the book of Revelation. My favorite line, (“eye hath not seen, nor ear heard”,) comes from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:9), which, ostensibly is about the amazing stuff that the true believer will see in Heaven, but to me is more about how art, including music, can transcend our ordinary lives.

For this one, with all of J.S. Bach’s eighth notes and syncopation, I kept the overdubbing down to 2 soprano and 2 bass clarinets. It’s actually a pretty challenging piece, by hymn standards.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal


Hymn No 6 from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, aka “Hark, The Glad Sound”, arranged for Soprano and Bass Clarinets.

In moderate time
Sigmund Gottlieb Staden, 1605-55
Philip Doddridge, 1702-51


Here’s the pdf of the arrangement: 006.ServiceBookAndHymnal

Overdubbed 4 clarinets for each part, again playing soprano clarinet on the soprano and alto parts and bass clarinet on the tenor and bass parts, for a total of 16. I then applied the Audacity “Large Room” Reverb effect. There’s a “Church” and “Cathedral” effect, but they end up kind of quiet and very echo-ey. I finally remembered to mute the metronome track.

“Let every heart prepare a throne, And every voice a song.” is a fine sentiment, whether you are religious or not.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal


Hymn No 5 from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, aka “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”, arranged for Soprano and Bass Clarinets.

8 7 8 7. D.
With Dignity
Origin Uncertain
Charles Wesley, 1707-88

Here’s the pdf of the arrangment: 005.ServiceBookAndHymnal

Starting to get the hang of the recording software, Audacity, not to mention the arranging software, MuseScore.

I’m trying to get it to sound more like a Clarinet Choir, so this time I recorded 4 versions of each part and then mixed those down to a single track. The Bass Bass Clarinet part is on the far left, Tenor Bass Clarinet part in the middle left, Alto Soprano Clarinet part middle right, and Soprano Soprano clarinet part on the far right. After doing that for all 4 parts, a 16 clarinet choir, I added a final Soprano clarinet part of the Soprano part down the middle, ending up with a total of 17 clarinet tracks.

I did accidentally mix the click track into the Bass clarinet part while I was trying to figure out the whole “mix down” thing. Next time I’ll leave that out.

Finally, I used Audacity to a little Reverb, using the “Large Room” preset.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal


Hymn No 4 from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, aka “On Jordan’s Banks”, arranged for Soprano and Bass Clarinets.

I think this is my favorite so far!

In moderate time
Christopher Edwin Willing, 1830-1904
Charles Coffin, 1676-1749
Tr. John Chandler, 1806-76 a.

Here’s the pdf arrangement: 004.ServiceBookAndHymnal

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal


Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal Hymn 002b, aka “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Second Tune
Unison, in free rhythm
88, 88, 88
Plainsong Melody, Mode I
Medieval Antiphons
Latin Hymn, 1710
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66

So this arrangement is a bit more “sensible”, though I have to say, I think I prefer the First Tune.

Here’s the arrangement: 002b.ServiceBookAndHymnal

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal