When JS Bach was at the height of his powers, he created a monumental musical work for the Christmas season.
Although he called it an oratorio, it was in six parts – one cantata for each of the first six days of Christmas. His listeners would have heard these in church services, with prayers, a sermon and congregational singing. But the genius of the Christmas Oratorio is that the music works brilliantly on a larger scale – tracing the Christmas narrative in satisfying style.
In this concert we’ll perform the first three cantatas, beginning with thundering drums, trumpets and the thrilling sound of exultant voices lifted in praise: “Shout for joy!” The sweet pastoral sounds of flutes and oboes colour part two and its tender scenes in the lowly stable. Festive colours return as the shepherds arrive to witness the Lord of Heaven. In Bach’s hands the mystery of the Nativity finds perfect expression in glorious music.
Conducted by Brett Weymark, the finely tuned voices of our Chamber Singers and the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra find an impeccable balance between baroque expression and epic musical effect in this uplifting Christmas event.