Bach Christmas Oratorio

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Here’s a performance on YouTube in December 1999 at the Herderkirche in Weimar, which dates to 1498, has been Lutheran since 1525, and has an altarpiece by Cranach the Elder 1552 (he died 1553) and completed by Cranach the Younger in 1555. Performances of such ethereal musical works are best heard and viewed in an old church.

The performance is conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, who is famous for his work in Baroque music, and he uses a small chorus of only 23; the soloists are Claron McFadden, soprano; Bernarda Fink, alto; Christoph Genz, tenor; and Dietrich Henschel, bass -– all excellent.

The Christmas Oratorio is a rousing delightful work, not in the same league of magnificence as the B minor Mass or St. Matthew Passion, but more in the spirit of the cantatas; nevertheless the soprano aria “Schlafe, mein Liebster,” would be hard to rival anywhere for sweetness and pathos.

Thomas Lemann

 

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One Response to “Bach Christmas Oratorio”

  1. I agree with Mr. Lemann. This performance, and its setting, are exemplary. I first found it on YouTube while recovering from a total knee replacement operation and found it to be an exhilarating distraction.

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