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Bach Rummel "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen" (2/2) Jonathan Plowright

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Published on Feb 15, 2009

This is the second part of Walter Rummel's beautiful transcription of the aria "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen", played by British virtuoso Jonathan Plowright. It was recorded live at the Wigmore Hall, London on Saturday 15th November 2008. Because the piece is 12 minutes long, I have needed to split it into 2 parts for presentation on YouTube. The first part is also available on this site. If you would like to hear an uninterrupted version, please listen to Jonathan's award-winning recording of the full set of Rummel / Bach transcriptions, made for Hyperion in 2006.

Ed Keohane writes: "Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote a vast number of cantatas - choral works with orchestral accompaniment - of which 209 have survived. The cantata "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott" (Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man) comes from his second cycle, which he composed during 1724 and 1725. It is written for Quinquagesima, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, regarded as a time of preparation for Lent. The central soprano aria, "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen" (The soul rests in Jesus' hands), is scored for two violins, viola, oboe, two flutes and continuo.

Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen,
Wenn Erde diesen Leib bedeckt.
Ach ruft mich bald, ihr Sterbeglocken,
Ich bin zum Sterben unerschrocken,
Weil mich mein Jesus wieder weckt.

My soul shall rest in Jesus's hands,
When earth covers my body.
Ah, call me soon, O death knell,
I am not afraid of death,
For my Jesus shall awake again.

"This transcription is one of around 25 arrangements by Walter Rummel (1887-1953), known nowadays for his early championing of Debussys piano works. Debussy described him as the prince of virtuosos. Rummel was born in Berlin in 1887 with an incredible artistic pedigree. His father was the pianist Franz Rummel, son and grandson of professional pianists, and his mother, Leila, an excellent amateur pianist, was the daughter of Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph and a talented artist and sculptor.

"Rummel had studied piano with Godowsky in Berlin in 1904, but his transcription techniques are far removed from his teachers elaborate arrangements, with their extra lines of counterpoint and contemporary harmonies. Here the emphasis is on faithfulness to the score".

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