To Us a Child Is Born

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Instrumental Only?

Advent (or Christmas) Cantata. SATB Choir, Soloists, 2 Violins and Organ. (opt. cello)

This little gem was formerly attributed to J.S. Bach and cataloged as BWV 142 (Uns ist ein Kind geboren). It is now thought to be by Johann Kuhnau, Bach's predecessor at Leipzig, but remains in the BWV because the attribution is insecure. Well, as insecure as the attribution is, this little cantata is still a marvelous example of the Baroque church cantata, probably dating from 1720. Originally written for Christmas, (and available in a terrible English translation) we've added a new text to make it perfect for any ADVENT service - and scored it for two violins and organ with optional cello. 17 minutes long. (Note: You will notice that the tenor and alto arias contain exactly the same music, transposed up a 4th. This is what happened when you had to write a new cantata every week...)

The EXTRAS (ZIP) file contains the string parts




to us a child is born, to us a child is given.
(Is. 9:6)

Aria (Bass)

And the government of nations,
on his shoulder now will be,
And his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God,
Everlasting Prince of Peace.
And the increase of his reign;
Peace and joy will have no ending.
From upon the throne of David,
justice rules his kingdom o'er
from this time forever more.
(Is. 9:6-7)


With joyful songs,
I'll priase the name of the Lord forever.
And I will exalt him,
forever adored.
(Ps. 145)

Aria (Tenor)

Those who walk in deepest darkness,
Have seen a glorious light.
Those who in the shadows dwelling,
In the land of death's fortelling,
Upon them the light hath shined.
(Is. 9:2)

Recitative (Alto)

Behold, the Lord himself gives you a sign,
and a promise now is truly given.
A virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and call his name Emmanuel;
"God with us."
(Is. 7:14)

Aria (Alto)

The voice that cries in the wilderness,
Prepare the way of the Lord.
Every valley be exalted,
every mountain be made low.
And the glory of the Lord
in this time shall be revealed.
(Is. 40:3)


For unto us a child is born,