Monday music spot: Bach's variations on "Wake, O Wake"

An old favourite: This cantata is Johann Sebastian Bach's variations on the theme of the hymn tune "Wachet Auf" which is German for "Wake, O wake." 

The best known variation, which occurs about two thirds of the way through, is the one which was used by Lloyds Bank for their "black horse" series of TV advert.

My personal favourite one is the first one.

Both these two variations are often played on their own. The first one is known in my family as "Not the black horse because, when asking my wife to that piece on a CD player, (for example when we were on a journey somewhere and it was best to keep my own eyes and hands on the road and the wheel respectively,) I would ask her to put on the "Not the black horse" piece to distinguish the first variation from the one Lloyds Bank used in their advertising.

Obviously this performance of the full set includes both the "Not the black horse" variation, and later the "black horse" one.


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