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No Pentecost Sunday is complete without listening to Johann Sebastian Bach's "O Ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe." Oh everlasting fire, oh wellspring of love."

I am guessing at the "Ursprung" exact translation but you can sense it, you know? Ur = original, as in urtext. And "sprung."

Anyway, this cantata, I have loved it since I was a teenager. I got into Bach cantatas as a result of my love for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and this cantata jumped out at me immediately. Seriously, I remember how I put the needle on the record and then I just stood back! It is a great chorus, with its fanfares and unexpected blasts and then the chorus' melody rising and dipping and swirling like a roller coaster.

Then the aria that follows is beautiful too. It is almost like a beautiful folk song in parts.

It is funny, I was reflecting at Mass today, most Catholics say "Holy Spirit" and I guess that is the best translation you can have for "Spiritus Sanctus." However when I was growing up the old people said "Holy Ghost." Which I love because it is close to the German "Heiliger Geist."

Whether you prefer "Holy Spirit" or "Holy Ghost," you owe it to yourself to make time in your day for Bach.

O Ewiges Feuer!

O Ursprung der Liebe!

6 years ago | Read Full Story
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