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Christmas Oratorio

Christmas Oratorio

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Encyclopedia
The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, is an oratorio
Oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 intended for performance in church during the Christmas season
Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day . This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which...

. It was written for the Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 season of 1734
1734 in music
-Events:*March 29 – Louis-Gabriel Guillemain becomes first violinist at the Royal Academy in Dijon.*Foundation of the Imperial Ballet School at Saint Petersburg....

 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

s written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin
Berlin Singakademie
The Sing-Akademie zu Berlin is a musical society founded in Berlin in 1791 by Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, harpsichordist to the court of Prussia, on the model of the 18th century London Academy of Ancient Music.-Early history:...

 under Eduard Grell. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music
Parody music
Parody music, or musical parody, involves changing or recycling existing musical ideas or lyrics — or copying the peculiar style of a composer or artist, or even a general style of music. Although the result is often funny, and this is the usual intent — the term "parody" in musical terms also...

. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander
Picander
Picander was the pseudonym of Christian Friedrich Henrici , a German poet and librettist for many of Johann Sebastian Bach's Leipzig cantatas...

).

The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in 1734 and 1735 for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11) and the Easter Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
The Easter Oratorio , BWV 249, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, Kommt, eilet und laufet , first performed in Leipzig in 1725.- History :...

(BWV 249). All parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.

The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, the second (for December 26) the annunciation to the shepherds, the third (for December 27) the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth (for New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi.

Narrative structure


The structure of the story is defined to a large extent by the particular requirements of the church calendar for Christmas 1734/35. Bach abandoned his usual practice when writing church cantatas of basing the content upon the Gospel reading for that day in order to achieve a coherent narrative structure. Were he to have followed the calendar, the story would have unfolded as follows:
  1. Birth and Annunciation to the Shepherds
  2. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  3. Prologue to the Gospel of John
    Gospel of John
    The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

  4. Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Flight into Egypt
    Flight into Egypt
    The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew , in which Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi because they learn that King Herod intends to kill the infants of that area...

  6. The Coming and Adoration of the Magi

This would have resulted in the Holy Family fleeing before the Magi had arrived, which was unsuitable for an oratorio evidently planned as a coherent whole. Bach removed the content for the Third Day of Christmas (December 27), John's Gospel, and split the story of the two groups of visitors—Shepherds and Magi—into two. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story:
  1. The Birth
  2. The Annunciation to the Shepherds
  3. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  4. The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Journey of the Magi
  6. The Adoration of the Magi

The fifth part finishes with the Flight into Egypt.

That Bach saw the six parts as comprising a greater, unified whole is evident both from the surviving printed text and from the structure of the music itself. The edition has not only a title—Weihnachtsoratorium—connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. As John Butt has mentioned, this points, as in the Mass in B minor, to a unity beyond the performance constraints of the church year.

Performance


The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of 1734 and 1735. The original score also contains details of when each part was performed. It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. As can be seen below, the work was only performed in its entirety at the St. Nicholas Church.
First performances:
  • 25 December 1734: Part I – 'early in the morning' at St. Nicholas; 'in the afternoon' at St. Thomas
  • 26 December 1734: Part II – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 27 December 1734: Part III – morning at St. Nicholas
  • 1 January 1735: Part IV – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 2 January 1735: Part V – morning at St Nicholas
  • 6 January 1735: Part VI – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas

Music


Bach expresses the unity of the whole work within the music itself, in part through his use of key signature
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

s. Parts I and III are written in the keys of D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

, part II in its subdominant
Subdominant
In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. It is so called because it is the same distance "below" the tonic as the dominant is above the tonic - in other words, the tonic is the dominant of the subdominant. It is also the note immediately...

 key G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

. Parts I and III are similarly scored for exuberant trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, while the Pastoral Part II (referring to the Shepherds) is, by contrast, scored for woodwind instrument
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

s and does not include an opening chorus. Part IV is written in F major
F major
F major is a musical major scale based on F, consisting of the pitches F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Its key signature has one flat . It is by far the oldest key signature with an accidental, predating the others by hundreds of years...

 (the relative key
Relative key
In music, relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures. A major and minor scale sharing the same key signature are said to be in a relative relationship...

 to D minor
D minor
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. In the harmonic minor, the C is raised to C. Its key signature has one flat ....

) and marks the furthest musical point away from the oratorio's opening key, scored for horns. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

 A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

 of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece. To reinforce this connection, between the beginning and the end of the work, Bach re-uses the chorale
Chorale
A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....

 melody of Part I's Wie soll ich dich empfangen? in the final chorus of Part VI, Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen; this choral melody is the same as of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, which Bach used five times in his St Matthew Passion.

The music represents a particularly sophisticated expression of the parody technique, by which existing music is adapted to a new purpose. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier. Most of this music was 'secular', that is written in praise of royalty or notable local figures, outside the tradition of performance within the church.

These secular cantatas which provide the basis for the Christmas Oratorio, are:
  • BWV 213 – Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen (Hercules at the Crossroads)
    • Performed on 5 September 1733 for the eleventh birthday of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony was the Prince-Elector of Saxony for less than three months in 1763...

      .
  • BWV 214 – Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
    • Performed on 8 December 1733 for the birthday of Maria Josepha
      Maria Josepha of Austria
      Maria Josepha of Austria was born an Archduchess of Austria, and from 1711 to 1713 was heiress presumptive to the Habsburg Empire...

      , Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.
  • BWV 215 – Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen
    • Performed on 5 October 1734 for the coronation of the Elector of Saxony August III
      Augustus III of Poland
      Augustus III, known as the Saxon ; ; also Prince-elector Friedrich August II was the Elector of Saxony in 1733-1763, as Frederick Augustus II , King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1734-1763.-Biography:Augustus was the only legitimate son of Augustus II the Strong, Imperial Prince-Elector...

       as King of Poland.

In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is thought to have been taken almost entirely from a now-lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The trio aria in Part V Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen? is believed to be from a similarly lost source, and the chorus from the same section Wo ist der neugeborne König is from the 1731 St Mark Passion
St Mark Passion (Bach)
The St Mark Passion , BWV 247, is a lost Passion setting by Johann Sebastian Bach, first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 23 March 1731 and again on Good Friday 1744 in a revised version...

(BWV 247).

Instrumentation


The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players. Adherents of theories specifying small numbers of performers (even to 'One Voice Per Part'
OVPP
One Voice Per Part - this musical term and neologism and its abbreviation refers to the practice of performing Baroque choral music, and Bach's works in particular, with single voices on each vocal line...

) may however choose to use numbers approaching one instrument per named part.

Part I: 3 trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

, 2 transverse flute
Western concert flute
The Western concert flute is a transverse woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player....

s, 2 oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, 2 oboes d'amore
Oboe d'amore
The oboe d'amore , less commonly oboe d'amour, is a double reed woodwind musical instrument in the oboe family. Slightly larger than the oboe, it has a less assertive and more tranquil and serene tone, and is considered the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family, between the oboe itself and the cor...

, 2 violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

, continuo group
Figured bass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...


Part II: 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia
Oboe da caccia
The oboe da caccia is a double reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family, pitched a fifth below the oboe and used primarily in the Baroque period of European classical music...

, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part III: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part IV: 2 horns
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part V: 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part VI: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo

Notes

Text


The ease with which the new text fits the existing music is one of the indications of how successful a parody the Christmas Oratorio is of its sources. Musicologist Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr was a German musicologist. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.- Professional career :...

 and others, such as Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff is a German-born musicologist, presently on the faculty of Harvard University. Born and educated in Germany, Wolff studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and the Music Academy of Freiburg, receiving a...

 have suggested that Bach's sometime collaborator Picander (the pen name of Christian Friedrich Henrici) wrote the new text, working closely with Bach to ensure a perfect fit with the re-used music. It may have even been the case that the Christmas Oratorio was already planned when Bach wrote the secular cantatas BWV 213, 214 and 215, given that the original works were written fairly close to the oratorio and the seamless way with which the new words fit the existing music.

Nevertheless, on two occasions Bach abandoned the original plan and was compelled to write new music for the Christmas Oratorio. The alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

 aria in Part III, Schließe, mein Herze was originally to have been set to the music for the aria Durch die von Eifer entflammten Waffen from BWV 215. On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh. Instead, he used the model from BWV 215 for the bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

 aria Erleucht' auch meine finstre Sinnnen in Part V. Similarly, the opening chorus to Part V, Ehre sei dir Gott! was almost certainly intended to be set to the music of the chorus Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen from BWV 213, given the close correspondence between the texts of the two pieces. The third major new piece of writing (with the notable exception of the recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s), the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work.

In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no. 7 of part I (Er ist auf Erden kommen arm) and even more ingeniously in the recitatives nos. 38 and 40 which frame the "Echo Aria" (Flößt, mein Heiland), no. 39 in part IV.

Parts and numbers


Each section combines choruses (a pastoral
Pastorale
For Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, see Symphony No. 6 Pastorale refers to something of a pastoral nature in music, whether in form or in mood....

 Sinfonia opens Part II instead of a chorus), chorales and from the soloists recitatives, ariosos and arias.

The tables below do not show a key signature or a time signature for recitatives because they are all (nominally) in the key of that part and in common time. The exceptions are No. 18 which starts in C major
C major
C major is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats/sharps.Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor....

 and then modulates
Modulation (music)
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

 to G major, and No. 27 which continues in the A major of the previous movement. In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

.

Part I


Part I: For the First Day of Christmas
No. Key
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

Time
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

First lineScoringSource
1 Chorus D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

3/8
Triple metre
Triple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 or 9 in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3/4, 3/2, and 3/8 being the most common examples...

Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings (violin I, II, viola) and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) BWV 214: Chorus, Tönet, ihr Pauken!
2 Recitative (Evangelist
Evangelist (Bach)
The Evangelist in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is the tenor part in his oratorios and Passions who narrates the exact words of the Bible, translated by Martin Luther, in recitative, namely in the works St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and the Christmas Oratorio, also in the St Mark...

, tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

)
Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit Continuo
3 Recitative (alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

)
Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam 2 oboe d'amore, continuo  
4 Aria (alto) A min
A minor
A minor is a minor scale based on A, consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The harmonic minor scale raises the G to G...

/
3/8 Bereite dich, Zion, mit zärtlichen Trieben Oboe d'amore I, violin I, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich will dich nicht hören
5 Chorale A minor Common Wie soll ich dich empfangen 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

 (1607–1676)
6 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn Continuo
7 Chorale (soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

s)
Recitative (bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

)
D major 3/4
Common
Er ist auf Erden kommen arm
Wer will die Liebe recht erhöhn
2 oboe d'amore, continuo Words (Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

): Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, 1524
8 Aria (bass) D major 2/4 Großer Herr und starker König Trumpet I, flute I, strings, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen
9 Chorale D major Common Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein! 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) Words: Martin Luther, 1535

Part II


Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
10 Sinfonia G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

12/8 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
11 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend Continuo
12 Chorale G major Common Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist was a German poet and dramatist best known for the hymns he wrote.-Life:He was born at Ottensen in Holstein on 8 March 1607; the son of the Lutheran pastor of that place, Caspar Rist...

, 1641
13 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor; Angel, soprano) Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen
Fürchtet euch nicht
Strings, continuo
14 Recitative (bass) Was Gott dem Abraham verheißen 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
15 Aria (tenor) G major 3/8 Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet Flute I, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Fromme Musen! meine Glieder
16 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor)In some performances sung by the Angel (soprano). Und das habt zum Zeichen Continuo
17 Chorale C major Common Schaut hin! dort liegt im finstern Stall 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

, 1667
18 Recitative (bass) C maj/   So geht denn hin! 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
19 Aria (alto) G maj/ 2/4 Schlafe, mein Liebster, genieße der Ruh Flute I (colla parte an octave above the alto soloist throughout), 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Schlafe, mein Liebster, und pflege der Ruh
20 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und alsobald war da bei dem Engel Continuo
21 Chorus G major Split Common (2/2) Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo
22 Recitative (bass) So recht, ihr Engel, jauchzt und singet Continuo  
23 Chorale G major 12/8 Wir singen dir in deinem Heer 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1656


Part III


Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
24 Chorus D major 3/8 Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 214: Chorus, Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern
25 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren Continuo
26 Chorus A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

3/4 Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem Flute I, II, oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo  
27 Recitative (bass) A major   Er hat sein Volk getröst't Flute I, II, continuo  
28 Chorale D major Common Dies hat er alles uns getan Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

: Martin Luther, 1524
29 Duet
Duet (music)
A duet is a musical composition for two performers. In classical music, the term is most often used for a composition for two singers or pianists; with other instruments, the word duo is also often used. A piece performed by two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as...

 (soprano, bass)
A major 3/8 Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen Oboe d'amore I, II, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich bin deine, du bist meine
30 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie kamen eilend Continuo
31 Aria (alto) D maj/ 2/4 Schließe, mein Herze, dies selige Wunder Violin solo, continuo  
32 Recitative (alto) Ja, ja! mein Herz soll es bewahren Flute I, II, continuo  
33 Chorale G major Common Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1653
34 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und die Hirten kehren wieder um Continuo
35 Chorale F
{{about|the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach|Christmas Oratorios by other composers|Christmas Oratorio (disambiguation)}}

The Christmas Oratorio ({{Lang-de|Weihnachts-Oratorium|nolink=y}}) BWV 248, is an oratorio
Oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 intended for performance in church during the Christmas season
Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day . This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which...

. It was written for the Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 season of 1734
1734 in music
-Events:*March 29 – Louis-Gabriel Guillemain becomes first violinist at the Royal Academy in Dijon.*Foundation of the Imperial Ballet School at Saint Petersburg....

 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

s written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin
Berlin Singakademie
The Sing-Akademie zu Berlin is a musical society founded in Berlin in 1791 by Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, harpsichordist to the court of Prussia, on the model of the 18th century London Academy of Ancient Music.-Early history:...

 under Eduard Grell. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music
Parody music
Parody music, or musical parody, involves changing or recycling existing musical ideas or lyrics — or copying the peculiar style of a composer or artist, or even a general style of music. Although the result is often funny, and this is the usual intent — the term "parody" in musical terms also...

. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander
Picander
Picander was the pseudonym of Christian Friedrich Henrici , a German poet and librettist for many of Johann Sebastian Bach's Leipzig cantatas...

).

The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in 1734 and 1735 for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11) and the Easter Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
The Easter Oratorio , BWV 249, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, Kommt, eilet und laufet , first performed in Leipzig in 1725.- History :...

(BWV 249). All parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.

The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, the second (for December 26) the annunciation to the shepherds, the third (for December 27) the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth (for New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi.

Narrative structure


The structure of the story is defined to a large extent by the particular requirements of the church calendar for Christmas 1734/35. Bach abandoned his usual practice when writing church cantatas of basing the content upon the Gospel reading for that day in order to achieve a coherent narrative structure. Were he to have followed the calendar, the story would have unfolded as follows:
  1. Birth and Annunciation to the Shepherds
  2. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  3. Prologue to the Gospel of John
    Gospel of John
    The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

  4. Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Flight into Egypt
    Flight into Egypt
    The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew , in which Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi because they learn that King Herod intends to kill the infants of that area...

  6. The Coming and Adoration of the Magi

This would have resulted in the Holy Family fleeing before the Magi had arrived, which was unsuitable for an oratorio evidently planned as a coherent whole. Bach removed the content for the Third Day of Christmas (December 27), John's Gospel, and split the story of the two groups of visitors—Shepherds and Magi—into two. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story:
  1. The Birth
  2. The Annunciation to the Shepherds
  3. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  4. The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Journey of the Magi
  6. The Adoration of the Magi

The fifth part finishes with the Flight into Egypt.

That Bach saw the six parts as comprising a greater, unified whole is evident both from the surviving printed text and from the structure of the music itself. The edition has not only a title—Weihnachtsoratorium—connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. As John Butt has mentioned, this points, as in the Mass in B minor, to a unity beyond the performance constraints of the church year.

Performance


The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of 1734 and 1735. The original score also contains details of when each part was performed. It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. As can be seen below, the work was only performed in its entirety at the St. Nicholas Church.
{{Double image|right|Leipzig Nikolaikirche.jpg|150|Leipzig - Thomaskirche.jpg|180|St. Nicholas Church|St. Thomas Church}}

First performances:
  • 25 December 1734: Part I – 'early in the morning' at St. Nicholas; 'in the afternoon' at St. Thomas
  • 26 December 1734: Part II – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 27 December 1734: Part III – morning at St. Nicholas
  • 1 January 1735: Part IV – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 2 January 1735: Part V – morning at St Nicholas
  • 6 January 1735: Part VI – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas

Music


Bach expresses the unity of the whole work within the music itself, in part through his use of key signature
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

s. Parts I and III are written in the keys of D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

, part II in its subdominant
Subdominant
In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. It is so called because it is the same distance "below" the tonic as the dominant is above the tonic - in other words, the tonic is the dominant of the subdominant. It is also the note immediately...

 key G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

. Parts I and III are similarly scored for exuberant trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, while the Pastoral Part II (referring to the Shepherds) is, by contrast, scored for woodwind instrument
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

s and does not include an opening chorus. Part IV is written in F major
F major
F major is a musical major scale based on F, consisting of the pitches F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Its key signature has one flat . It is by far the oldest key signature with an accidental, predating the others by hundreds of years...

 (the relative key
Relative key
In music, relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures. A major and minor scale sharing the same key signature are said to be in a relative relationship...

 to D minor
D minor
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. In the harmonic minor, the C is raised to C. Its key signature has one flat ....

) and marks the furthest musical point away from the oratorio's opening key, scored for horns. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

 A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

 of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece. To reinforce this connection, between the beginning and the end of the work, Bach re-uses the chorale
Chorale
A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....

 melody of Part I's Wie soll ich dich empfangen? in the final chorus of Part VI, Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen; this choral melody is the same as of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, which Bach used five times in his St Matthew Passion.

The music represents a particularly sophisticated expression of the parody technique, by which existing music is adapted to a new purpose. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier. Most of this music was 'secular', that is written in praise of royalty or notable local figures, outside the tradition of performance within the church.

These secular cantatas which provide the basis for the Christmas Oratorio, are:
  • BWV 213 – Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen (Hercules at the Crossroads)
    • Performed on 5 September 1733 for the eleventh birthday of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony was the Prince-Elector of Saxony for less than three months in 1763...

      .
  • BWV 214 – Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
    • Performed on 8 December 1733 for the birthday of Maria Josepha
      Maria Josepha of Austria
      Maria Josepha of Austria was born an Archduchess of Austria, and from 1711 to 1713 was heiress presumptive to the Habsburg Empire...

      , Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.
  • BWV 215 – Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen
    • Performed on 5 October 1734 for the coronation of the Elector of Saxony August III
      Augustus III of Poland
      Augustus III, known as the Saxon ; ; also Prince-elector Friedrich August II was the Elector of Saxony in 1733-1763, as Frederick Augustus II , King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1734-1763.-Biography:Augustus was the only legitimate son of Augustus II the Strong, Imperial Prince-Elector...

       as King of Poland.

In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is thought to have been taken almost entirely from a now-lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The trio aria in Part V Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen? is believed to be from a similarly lost source, and the chorus from the same section Wo ist der neugeborne König is from the 1731 St Mark Passion
St Mark Passion (Bach)
The St Mark Passion , BWV 247, is a lost Passion setting by Johann Sebastian Bach, first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 23 March 1731 and again on Good Friday 1744 in a revised version...

(BWV 247).

Instrumentation


The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players. Adherents of theories specifying small numbers of performers (even to 'One Voice Per Part'
OVPP
One Voice Per Part - this musical term and neologism and its abbreviation refers to the practice of performing Baroque choral music, and Bach's works in particular, with single voices on each vocal line...

) may however choose to use numbers approaching one instrument per named part.

Part I: 3 trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

, 2 transverse flute
Western concert flute
The Western concert flute is a transverse woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player....

s, 2 oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, 2 oboes d'amore
Oboe d'amore
The oboe d'amore , less commonly oboe d'amour, is a double reed woodwind musical instrument in the oboe family. Slightly larger than the oboe, it has a less assertive and more tranquil and serene tone, and is considered the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family, between the oboe itself and the cor...

, 2 violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

, continuo group
Figured bass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

{{#tag:ref|The continuo part is open to interpretation in matters of scoring. Examples: for his 1973 recording, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt is an Austrian conductor, particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era and earlier. Starting out as a classical cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement...

 employed bassoon, violoncello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

, violone
Violone
The term violone can refer to several distinct large, bowed musical instruments which belong to either the viol or violin family. The violone is sometimes a fretted instrument, and may have six, five, four, or even only three strings. The violone is also not always a contrabass instrument...

 (double bass) and organ; Peter Schreier
Peter Schreier
Peter Schreier is a German tenor and conductor.-Early life:Schreier was born in Meissen, Saxony, and spent his first years in the small village of Gauernitz, near Meissen, where his father was a teacher, cantor and organist...

 (1987) used violoncello, double bass, bassoon, organ and harpsichord; René Jacobs in 1997 chose violoncello, double bass, lute, bassoon, organ and harpsichord; and Jos van Veldhoven
Jos van Veldhoven
Jos van Veldhoven is a Dutch choral conductor. He studied musicology at the Rijksuniversiteit of Utrecht, and choral and orchestral conducting at the Royal Conservatory, the Hague. He has been artistic director of De Nederlandse Bachvereniging since 1983...

 in 2003 opted for violoncello, double bass, bassoon, organ, harpsichord and theorbo
Theorbo
A theorbo is a plucked string instrument. As a name, theorbo signifies a number of long-necked lutes with second pegboxes, such as the liuto attiorbato, the French théorbe des pièces, the English theorbo, the archlute, the German baroque lute, the angélique or angelica. The etymology of the name...

.|group=I}}{{#tag:ref|The different types of oboes referred to above are mostly called for at different points in each section. However, numbers 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in Part II call for 2 oboes d'amore and 2 oboes da caccia. This scoring was intended to symbolise the shepherds who are the subject of the second part. It is a reference to the pastoral music tradition of shepherds playing shawm
Shawm
The shawm was a medieval and Renaissance musical instrument of the woodwind family made in Europe from the 12th century until the 17th century. It was developed from the oriental zurna and is the predecessor of the modern oboe. The body of the shawm was usually turned from a single piece of wood,...

-like instruments at Christmas. Similarly, the pastoral sinfony in Handel's Messiah
Messiah (Handel)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

(1741) is known as the 'Pifa' after the Italian piffero or piffaro
Piffero
The piffero or piffaro is a double reed musical instrument with a conical bore, of the oboe family.It is used to play music in the tradition of the quattro province, an area of mountains and valleys in the north-west Italian Apennines which includes parts of the four provinces of Alessandria,...

, similar to the shawm and an ancestor of the oboe.|group=I}}
Part II: 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia
Oboe da caccia
The oboe da caccia is a double reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family, pitched a fifth below the oboe and used primarily in the Baroque period of European classical music...

, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part III: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part IV: 2 horns
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part V: 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part VI: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo

Notes

Text


The ease with which the new text fits the existing music is one of the indications of how successful a parody the Christmas Oratorio is of its sources. Musicologist Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr was a German musicologist. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.- Professional career :...

 and others, such as Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff is a German-born musicologist, presently on the faculty of Harvard University. Born and educated in Germany, Wolff studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and the Music Academy of Freiburg, receiving a...

 have suggested that Bach's sometime collaborator Picander (the pen name of Christian Friedrich Henrici) wrote the new text, working closely with Bach to ensure a perfect fit with the re-used music. It may have even been the case that the Christmas Oratorio was already planned when Bach wrote the secular cantatas BWV 213, 214 and 215, given that the original works were written fairly close to the oratorio and the seamless way with which the new words fit the existing music.

Nevertheless, on two occasions Bach abandoned the original plan and was compelled to write new music for the Christmas Oratorio. The alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

 aria in Part III, Schließe, mein Herze was originally to have been set to the music for the aria Durch die von Eifer entflammten Waffen from BWV 215. On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh. Instead, he used the model from BWV 215 for the bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

 aria Erleucht' auch meine finstre Sinnnen in Part V. Similarly, the opening chorus to Part V, Ehre sei dir Gott! was almost certainly intended to be set to the music of the chorus Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen from BWV 213, given the close correspondence between the texts of the two pieces. The third major new piece of writing (with the notable exception of the recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s), the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work.

In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no. 7 of part I (Er ist auf Erden kommen arm) and even more ingeniously in the recitatives nos. 38 and 40 which frame the "Echo Aria" (Flößt, mein Heiland), no. 39 in part IV.

Parts and numbers


Each section combines choruses (a pastoral
Pastorale
For Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, see Symphony No. 6 Pastorale refers to something of a pastoral nature in music, whether in form or in mood....

 Sinfonia opens Part II instead of a chorus), chorales and from the soloists recitatives, ariosos and arias.

The tables below do not show a key signature or a time signature for recitatives because they are all (nominally) in the key of that part and in common time. The exceptions are No. 18 which starts in C major
C major
C major is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats/sharps.Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor....

 and then modulates
Modulation (music)
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

 to G major, and No. 27 which continues in the A major of the previous movement. In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

.

Part I


Part I: For the First Day of Christmas
No. Key
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

Time
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

First lineScoringSource
1 Chorus D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

3/8
Triple metre
Triple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 or 9 in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3/4, 3/2, and 3/8 being the most common examples...

Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings (violin I, II, viola) and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) BWV 214: Chorus, Tönet, ihr Pauken!
2 Recitative (Evangelist
Evangelist (Bach)
The Evangelist in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is the tenor part in his oratorios and Passions who narrates the exact words of the Bible, translated by Martin Luther, in recitative, namely in the works St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and the Christmas Oratorio, also in the St Mark...

, tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

)
Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=1|range=-6}}
3 Recitative (alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

)
Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam 2 oboe d'amore, continuo  
4 Aria (alto) A min
A minor
A minor is a minor scale based on A, consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The harmonic minor scale raises the G to G...

/{{Nowrap|C maj
C major
C major is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats/sharps.Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor....

}}
3/8 Bereite dich, Zion, mit zärtlichen Trieben Oboe d'amore I, violin I, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich will dich nicht hören
5 Chorale A minor Common Wie soll ich dich empfangen 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

 (1607–1676)
6 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=7}}
7 Chorale (soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

s)
Recitative (bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

)
D major 3/4
Common
Er ist auf Erden kommen arm
Wer will die Liebe recht erhöhn
2 oboe d'amore, continuo Words (Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

): Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, 1524
8 Aria (bass) D major 2/4 Großer Herr und starker König Trumpet I, flute I, strings, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen
9 Chorale D major Common Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein! 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) Words: Martin Luther, 1535

Part II


Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
10 Sinfonia G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

12/8 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
11 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=8|range=-9}}
12 Chorale G major Common Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist was a German poet and dramatist best known for the hymns he wrote.-Life:He was born at Ottensen in Holstein on 8 March 1607; the son of the Lutheran pastor of that place, Caspar Rist...

, 1641
13 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor; Angel, soprano) Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen
Fürchtet euch nicht
Strings, continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=10|range=-11}}
14 Recitative (bass) Was Gott dem Abraham verheißen 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
15 Aria (tenor) G major 3/8 Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet Flute I, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Fromme Musen! meine Glieder
16 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor)In some performances sung by the Angel (soprano). Und das habt zum Zeichen Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=12}}
17 Chorale C major Common Schaut hin! dort liegt im finstern Stall 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

, 1667
18 Recitative (bass) C maj/{{Nowrap|G maj}}   So geht denn hin! 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
19 Aria (alto) G maj/{{Nowrap|E min
E minor
E minor is a minor scale based on the note E. The E natural minor scale consists of the pitches E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. The E harmonic minor scale contains the natural 7, D, rather than the flatted 7, D – to align with the major dominant chord, B7 .Its key signature has one sharp, F .Its...

}}
2/4 Schlafe, mein Liebster, genieße der Ruh Flute I (colla parte an octave above the alto soloist throughout), 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Schlafe, mein Liebster, und pflege der Ruh
20 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und alsobald war da bei dem Engel Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=13}}
21 Chorus G major Split Common (2/2) Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=14}}
22 Recitative (bass) So recht, ihr Engel, jauchzt und singet Continuo  
23 Chorale G major 12/8 Wir singen dir in deinem Heer 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1656


Part III


Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
24 Chorus D major 3/8 Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 214: Chorus, Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern
25 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=15}}
26 Chorus A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

3/4 Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem Flute I, II, oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo  
27 Recitative (bass) A major   Er hat sein Volk getröst't Flute I, II, continuo  
28 Chorale D major Common Dies hat er alles uns getan Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

: Martin Luther, 1524
29 Duet
Duet (music)
A duet is a musical composition for two performers. In classical music, the term is most often used for a composition for two singers or pianists; with other instruments, the word duo is also often used. A piece performed by two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as...

 (soprano, bass)
A major 3/8 Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen Oboe d'amore I, II, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich bin deine, du bist meine
30 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie kamen eilend Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=16|range=-19}}
31 Aria (alto) D maj/{{Nowrap|B min
B minor
B minor is a minor scale based on B, consisting of the pitches B, C, D, E, F, G, and A. The harmonic minor raises the A to A. Its key signature has two sharps .Its relative major is D major, and its parallel major is B major....

}}
2/4 Schließe, mein Herze, dies selige Wunder Violin solo, continuo  
32 Recitative (alto) Ja, ja! mein Herz soll es bewahren Flute I, II, continuo  
33 Chorale G major Common Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1653
34 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und die Hirten kehren wieder um Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=20}}
35 Chorale F
{{about|the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach|Christmas Oratorios by other composers|Christmas Oratorio (disambiguation)}}

The Christmas Oratorio ({{Lang-de|Weihnachts-Oratorium|nolink=y}}) BWV 248, is an oratorio
Oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 intended for performance in church during the Christmas season
Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day . This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which...

. It was written for the Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 season of 1734
1734 in music
-Events:*March 29 – Louis-Gabriel Guillemain becomes first violinist at the Royal Academy in Dijon.*Foundation of the Imperial Ballet School at Saint Petersburg....

 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

s written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin
Berlin Singakademie
The Sing-Akademie zu Berlin is a musical society founded in Berlin in 1791 by Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, harpsichordist to the court of Prussia, on the model of the 18th century London Academy of Ancient Music.-Early history:...

 under Eduard Grell. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music
Parody music
Parody music, or musical parody, involves changing or recycling existing musical ideas or lyrics — or copying the peculiar style of a composer or artist, or even a general style of music. Although the result is often funny, and this is the usual intent — the term "parody" in musical terms also...

. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander
Picander
Picander was the pseudonym of Christian Friedrich Henrici , a German poet and librettist for many of Johann Sebastian Bach's Leipzig cantatas...

).

The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in 1734 and 1735 for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11) and the Easter Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
The Easter Oratorio , BWV 249, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, Kommt, eilet und laufet , first performed in Leipzig in 1725.- History :...

(BWV 249). All parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.

The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, the second (for December 26) the annunciation to the shepherds, the third (for December 27) the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth (for New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi.

Narrative structure


The structure of the story is defined to a large extent by the particular requirements of the church calendar for Christmas 1734/35. Bach abandoned his usual practice when writing church cantatas of basing the content upon the Gospel reading for that day in order to achieve a coherent narrative structure. Were he to have followed the calendar, the story would have unfolded as follows:
  1. Birth and Annunciation to the Shepherds
  2. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  3. Prologue to the Gospel of John
    Gospel of John
    The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

  4. Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Flight into Egypt
    Flight into Egypt
    The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew , in which Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi because they learn that King Herod intends to kill the infants of that area...

  6. The Coming and Adoration of the Magi

This would have resulted in the Holy Family fleeing before the Magi had arrived, which was unsuitable for an oratorio evidently planned as a coherent whole. Bach removed the content for the Third Day of Christmas (December 27), John's Gospel, and split the story of the two groups of visitors—Shepherds and Magi—into two. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story:
  1. The Birth
  2. The Annunciation to the Shepherds
  3. The Adoration of the Shepherds
  4. The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
  5. The Journey of the Magi
  6. The Adoration of the Magi

The fifth part finishes with the Flight into Egypt.

That Bach saw the six parts as comprising a greater, unified whole is evident both from the surviving printed text and from the structure of the music itself. The edition has not only a title—Weihnachtsoratorium—connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. As John Butt has mentioned, this points, as in the Mass in B minor, to a unity beyond the performance constraints of the church year.

Performance


The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of 1734 and 1735. The original score also contains details of when each part was performed. It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. As can be seen below, the work was only performed in its entirety at the St. Nicholas Church.
{{Double image|right|Leipzig Nikolaikirche.jpg|150|Leipzig - Thomaskirche.jpg|180|St. Nicholas Church|St. Thomas Church}}

First performances:
  • 25 December 1734: Part I – 'early in the morning' at St. Nicholas; 'in the afternoon' at St. Thomas
  • 26 December 1734: Part II – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 27 December 1734: Part III – morning at St. Nicholas
  • 1 January 1735: Part IV – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas
  • 2 January 1735: Part V – morning at St Nicholas
  • 6 January 1735: Part VI – morning at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Nicholas

Music


Bach expresses the unity of the whole work within the music itself, in part through his use of key signature
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

s. Parts I and III are written in the keys of D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

, part II in its subdominant
Subdominant
In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. It is so called because it is the same distance "below" the tonic as the dominant is above the tonic - in other words, the tonic is the dominant of the subdominant. It is also the note immediately...

 key G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

. Parts I and III are similarly scored for exuberant trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, while the Pastoral Part II (referring to the Shepherds) is, by contrast, scored for woodwind instrument
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

s and does not include an opening chorus. Part IV is written in F major
F major
F major is a musical major scale based on F, consisting of the pitches F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Its key signature has one flat . It is by far the oldest key signature with an accidental, predating the others by hundreds of years...

 (the relative key
Relative key
In music, relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures. A major and minor scale sharing the same key signature are said to be in a relative relationship...

 to D minor
D minor
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. In the harmonic minor, the C is raised to C. Its key signature has one flat ....

) and marks the furthest musical point away from the oratorio's opening key, scored for horns. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

 A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

 of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece. To reinforce this connection, between the beginning and the end of the work, Bach re-uses the chorale
Chorale
A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....

 melody of Part I's Wie soll ich dich empfangen? in the final chorus of Part VI, Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen; this choral melody is the same as of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, which Bach used five times in his St Matthew Passion.

The music represents a particularly sophisticated expression of the parody technique, by which existing music is adapted to a new purpose. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier. Most of this music was 'secular', that is written in praise of royalty or notable local figures, outside the tradition of performance within the church.

These secular cantatas which provide the basis for the Christmas Oratorio, are:
  • BWV 213 – Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen (Hercules at the Crossroads)
    • Performed on 5 September 1733 for the eleventh birthday of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
      Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony was the Prince-Elector of Saxony for less than three months in 1763...

      .
  • BWV 214 – Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
    • Performed on 8 December 1733 for the birthday of Maria Josepha
      Maria Josepha of Austria
      Maria Josepha of Austria was born an Archduchess of Austria, and from 1711 to 1713 was heiress presumptive to the Habsburg Empire...

      , Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.
  • BWV 215 – Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen
    • Performed on 5 October 1734 for the coronation of the Elector of Saxony August III
      Augustus III of Poland
      Augustus III, known as the Saxon ; ; also Prince-elector Friedrich August II was the Elector of Saxony in 1733-1763, as Frederick Augustus II , King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1734-1763.-Biography:Augustus was the only legitimate son of Augustus II the Strong, Imperial Prince-Elector...

       as King of Poland.

In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is thought to have been taken almost entirely from a now-lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The trio aria in Part V Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen? is believed to be from a similarly lost source, and the chorus from the same section Wo ist der neugeborne König is from the 1731 St Mark Passion
St Mark Passion (Bach)
The St Mark Passion , BWV 247, is a lost Passion setting by Johann Sebastian Bach, first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 23 March 1731 and again on Good Friday 1744 in a revised version...

(BWV 247).

Instrumentation


The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players. Adherents of theories specifying small numbers of performers (even to 'One Voice Per Part'
OVPP
One Voice Per Part - this musical term and neologism and its abbreviation refers to the practice of performing Baroque choral music, and Bach's works in particular, with single voices on each vocal line...

) may however choose to use numbers approaching one instrument per named part.

Part I: 3 trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

, 2 transverse flute
Western concert flute
The Western concert flute is a transverse woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player....

s, 2 oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, 2 oboes d'amore
Oboe d'amore
The oboe d'amore , less commonly oboe d'amour, is a double reed woodwind musical instrument in the oboe family. Slightly larger than the oboe, it has a less assertive and more tranquil and serene tone, and is considered the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family, between the oboe itself and the cor...

, 2 violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

, continuo group
Figured bass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

{{#tag:ref|The continuo part is open to interpretation in matters of scoring. Examples: for his 1973 recording, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt is an Austrian conductor, particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era and earlier. Starting out as a classical cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement...

 employed bassoon, violoncello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

, violone
Violone
The term violone can refer to several distinct large, bowed musical instruments which belong to either the viol or violin family. The violone is sometimes a fretted instrument, and may have six, five, four, or even only three strings. The violone is also not always a contrabass instrument...

 (double bass) and organ; Peter Schreier
Peter Schreier
Peter Schreier is a German tenor and conductor.-Early life:Schreier was born in Meissen, Saxony, and spent his first years in the small village of Gauernitz, near Meissen, where his father was a teacher, cantor and organist...

 (1987) used violoncello, double bass, bassoon, organ and harpsichord; René Jacobs in 1997 chose violoncello, double bass, lute, bassoon, organ and harpsichord; and Jos van Veldhoven
Jos van Veldhoven
Jos van Veldhoven is a Dutch choral conductor. He studied musicology at the Rijksuniversiteit of Utrecht, and choral and orchestral conducting at the Royal Conservatory, the Hague. He has been artistic director of De Nederlandse Bachvereniging since 1983...

 in 2003 opted for violoncello, double bass, bassoon, organ, harpsichord and theorbo
Theorbo
A theorbo is a plucked string instrument. As a name, theorbo signifies a number of long-necked lutes with second pegboxes, such as the liuto attiorbato, the French théorbe des pièces, the English theorbo, the archlute, the German baroque lute, the angélique or angelica. The etymology of the name...

.|group=I}}{{#tag:ref|The different types of oboes referred to above are mostly called for at different points in each section. However, numbers 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in Part II call for 2 oboes d'amore and 2 oboes da caccia. This scoring was intended to symbolise the shepherds who are the subject of the second part. It is a reference to the pastoral music tradition of shepherds playing shawm
Shawm
The shawm was a medieval and Renaissance musical instrument of the woodwind family made in Europe from the 12th century until the 17th century. It was developed from the oriental zurna and is the predecessor of the modern oboe. The body of the shawm was usually turned from a single piece of wood,...

-like instruments at Christmas. Similarly, the pastoral sinfony in Handel's Messiah
Messiah (Handel)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

(1741) is known as the 'Pifa' after the Italian piffero or piffaro
Piffero
The piffero or piffaro is a double reed musical instrument with a conical bore, of the oboe family.It is used to play music in the tradition of the quattro province, an area of mountains and valleys in the north-west Italian Apennines which includes parts of the four provinces of Alessandria,...

, similar to the shawm and an ancestor of the oboe.|group=I}}
Part II: 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia
Oboe da caccia
The oboe da caccia is a double reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family, pitched a fifth below the oboe and used primarily in the Baroque period of European classical music...

, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part III: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part IV: 2 horns
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part V: 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo
Part VI: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo

Notes

Text


The ease with which the new text fits the existing music is one of the indications of how successful a parody the Christmas Oratorio is of its sources. Musicologist Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr
Alfred Dürr was a German musicologist. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.- Professional career :...

 and others, such as Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff is a German-born musicologist, presently on the faculty of Harvard University. Born and educated in Germany, Wolff studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and the Music Academy of Freiburg, receiving a...

 have suggested that Bach's sometime collaborator Picander (the pen name of Christian Friedrich Henrici) wrote the new text, working closely with Bach to ensure a perfect fit with the re-used music. It may have even been the case that the Christmas Oratorio was already planned when Bach wrote the secular cantatas BWV 213, 214 and 215, given that the original works were written fairly close to the oratorio and the seamless way with which the new words fit the existing music.

Nevertheless, on two occasions Bach abandoned the original plan and was compelled to write new music for the Christmas Oratorio. The alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

 aria in Part III, Schließe, mein Herze was originally to have been set to the music for the aria Durch die von Eifer entflammten Waffen from BWV 215. On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh. Instead, he used the model from BWV 215 for the bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

 aria Erleucht' auch meine finstre Sinnnen in Part V. Similarly, the opening chorus to Part V, Ehre sei dir Gott! was almost certainly intended to be set to the music of the chorus Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen from BWV 213, given the close correspondence between the texts of the two pieces. The third major new piece of writing (with the notable exception of the recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s), the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work.

In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no. 7 of part I (Er ist auf Erden kommen arm) and even more ingeniously in the recitatives nos. 38 and 40 which frame the "Echo Aria" (Flößt, mein Heiland), no. 39 in part IV.

Parts and numbers


Each section combines choruses (a pastoral
Pastorale
For Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, see Symphony No. 6 Pastorale refers to something of a pastoral nature in music, whether in form or in mood....

 Sinfonia opens Part II instead of a chorus), chorales and from the soloists recitatives, ariosos and arias.

The tables below do not show a key signature or a time signature for recitatives because they are all (nominally) in the key of that part and in common time. The exceptions are No. 18 which starts in C major
C major
C major is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats/sharps.Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor....

 and then modulates
Modulation (music)
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

 to G major, and No. 27 which continues in the A major of the previous movement. In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

.

Part I


Part I: For the First Day of Christmas
No. Key
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

Time
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

First lineScoringSource
1 Chorus D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

3/8
Triple metre
Triple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 or 9 in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3/4, 3/2, and 3/8 being the most common examples...

Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings (violin I, II, viola) and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) BWV 214: Chorus, Tönet, ihr Pauken!
2 Recitative (Evangelist
Evangelist (Bach)
The Evangelist in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is the tenor part in his oratorios and Passions who narrates the exact words of the Bible, translated by Martin Luther, in recitative, namely in the works St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and the Christmas Oratorio, also in the St Mark...

, tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

)
Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=1|range=-6}}
3 Recitative (alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

)
Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam 2 oboe d'amore, continuo  
4 Aria (alto) A min
A minor
A minor is a minor scale based on A, consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The harmonic minor scale raises the G to G...

/{{Nowrap|C maj
C major
C major is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats/sharps.Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor....

}}
3/8 Bereite dich, Zion, mit zärtlichen Trieben Oboe d'amore I, violin I, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich will dich nicht hören
5 Chorale A minor Common Wie soll ich dich empfangen 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

 (1607–1676)
6 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=7}}
7 Chorale (soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

s)
Recitative (bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

)
D major 3/4
Common
Er ist auf Erden kommen arm
Wer will die Liebe recht erhöhn
2 oboe d'amore, continuo Words (Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

): Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, 1524
8 Aria (bass) D major 2/4 Großer Herr und starker König Trumpet I, flute I, strings, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen
9 Chorale D major Common Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein! 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings and continuo (cello, violone, organ and bassoon) Words: Martin Luther, 1535

Part II


Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
10 Sinfonia G major
G major
G major is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Its key signature has one sharp, F; in treble-clef key signatures, the sharp-symbol for F is usually placed on the first line from the top, though in some Baroque music it is placed on the first space from the bottom...

12/8 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
11 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=8|range=-9}}
12 Chorale G major Common Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist
Johann von Rist was a German poet and dramatist best known for the hymns he wrote.-Life:He was born at Ottensen in Holstein on 8 March 1607; the son of the Lutheran pastor of that place, Caspar Rist...

, 1641
13 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor; Angel, soprano) Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen
Fürchtet euch nicht
Strings, continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=10|range=-11}}
14 Recitative (bass) Was Gott dem Abraham verheißen 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
15 Aria (tenor) G major 3/8 Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet Flute I, continuo BWV 214: Aria, Fromme Musen! meine Glieder
16 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor)In some performances sung by the Angel (soprano). Und das habt zum Zeichen Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=12}}
17 Chorale C major Common Schaut hin! dort liegt im finstern Stall 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

, 1667
18 Recitative (bass) C maj/{{Nowrap|G maj}}   So geht denn hin! 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo  
19 Aria (alto) G maj/{{Nowrap|E min
E minor
E minor is a minor scale based on the note E. The E natural minor scale consists of the pitches E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. The E harmonic minor scale contains the natural 7, D, rather than the flatted 7, D – to align with the major dominant chord, B7 .Its key signature has one sharp, F .Its...

}}
2/4 Schlafe, mein Liebster, genieße der Ruh Flute I (colla parte an octave above the alto soloist throughout), 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Schlafe, mein Liebster, und pflege der Ruh
20 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und alsobald war da bei dem Engel Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=13}}
21 Chorus G major Split Common (2/2) Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=14}}
22 Recitative (bass) So recht, ihr Engel, jauchzt und singet Continuo  
23 Chorale G major 12/8 Wir singen dir in deinem Heer 2 flutes, 2 oboe d'amore, 2 oboe da caccia, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1656


Part III


Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
24 Chorus D major 3/8 Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 214: Chorus, Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern
25 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=15}}
26 Chorus A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

3/4 Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem Flute I, II, oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo  
27 Recitative (bass) A major   Er hat sein Volk getröst't Flute I, II, continuo  
28 Chorale D major Common Dies hat er alles uns getan Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Chorale
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

: Martin Luther, 1524
29 Duet
Duet (music)
A duet is a musical composition for two performers. In classical music, the term is most often used for a composition for two singers or pianists; with other instruments, the word duo is also often used. A piece performed by two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as...

 (soprano, bass)
A major 3/8 Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen Oboe d'amore I, II, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Ich bin deine, du bist meine
30 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und sie kamen eilend Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=16|range=-19}}
31 Aria (alto) D maj/{{Nowrap|B min
B minor
B minor is a minor scale based on B, consisting of the pitches B, C, D, E, F, G, and A. The harmonic minor raises the A to A. Its key signature has two sharps .Its relative major is D major, and its parallel major is B major....

}}
2/4 Schließe, mein Herze, dies selige Wunder Violin solo, continuo  
32 Recitative (alto) Ja, ja! mein Herz soll es bewahren Flute I, II, continuo  
33 Chorale G major Common Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1653
34 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und die Hirten kehren wieder um Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=20}}
35 Chorale F{{Music Common Seid froh, dieweil Flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Christoph Runge, 1653
24 Chorus da capo D major 3/8 Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, flute I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 214: Chorus, Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern

Part IV


Part IV: For New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

 (Feast of the Circumcision)
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
36 Chorus {{Nowrap|F major
F major
F major is a musical major scale based on F, consisting of the pitches F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Its key signature has one flat . It is by far the oldest key signature with an accidental, predating the others by hundreds of years...

}}
3/8 Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben Horns I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 213: Chorus, Lasst uns sorgen, lasst uns wachen
37 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und da acht Tage um waren Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=2|verse=21}}
38 Recitative (bass)
Arioso (sopr./bass)
Immanuel, o süßes Wort
{{Nowrap|Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben}}
Strings, continuo  
39 Aria (soprano & 'Echo' soprano) C major 6/8 Flößt, mein Heiland, flößt dein Namen Oboe I solo, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Treues Echo dieser Orten
40 Recitative (bass)
Arioso (soprano)
Wohlan! dein Name soll allein
Jesu, meine Freud' und Wonne
Strings, continuo  
41 Aria (tenor) D minor
D minor
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. In the harmonic minor, the C is raised to C. Its key signature has one flat ....

Common Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben Violin I, II, continuo BWV 213: Aria, Auf meinen Flügeln sollst du schweben
42 Chorale F major 3/4 Jesus richte mein Beginnen Horns I, II, oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Johann von Rist, 1642

Part V


Part V: For the First Sunday in the New YearPart V is meant to be performed on the first Sunday in the New Year, but before the feast of Epiphany on 6 January. In some years, there is no such day, e.g in 2007/2008.
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
43 Chorus A maj/{{Nowrap|F{{Music|#}} min}} 3/4 Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen Oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo  
44 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Da Jesus geboren war zu Bethlehem Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=1}}
45 Chorus
Recitative (alto)
Chorus
D major Common Wo ist der neugeborne König der Juden{{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=2}}
Sucht ihn in meiner Brust
Wir haben seinen Stern gesehen
Oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo BWV 247: St Mark Passion, Chorus,
Pfui dich, wie fein zerbrichst du den Tempel
46 Chorale A major Common Dein Glanz all' Finsternis verzehrt Oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo Words: Georg Weissel, 1642
47 Aria (bass) F{{Music|#}} minor 2/4 Erleucht' auch meine finstre Sinnen Oboe d'amore I solo, organ senza continuo BWV 215: Aria, Durch die von Eifer entflammeten Waffen
48 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Da das der König Herodes hörte Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=3}}
49 Recitative (alto) Warum wollt ihr erschrecken Strings, continuo  
50 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und ließ versammeln alle Hohenpriester Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=4|range=-6}}
51 Trio (sopr., alto, ten.) D major 2/4 Ach! wann wird die Zeit erscheinen? Violin I solo, continuo unknown
52 Recitative (alto) Mein Liebster herrschet schon Continuo  
53 Chorale A major Common Zwar ist solche Herzensstube Oboe d'amore I, II, strings, continuo Words: Johann Franck
Johann Franck
Johann Frank was a German lyric poet and hymnist.-Life:Franck was born in Guben, Margraviate of Brandenburg. After visiting the Latin school in Guben, he attended schools in Cottbus and Stettin, as well as the gymnasium in Thorn...

, 1655


Part VI



Part VI: For the Feast of Epiphany
No. KeyTimeFirst lineScoringSource
54 Chorus D major 3/8 Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
55 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor; Herod
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

, bass)
Da berief Herodes die Weisen heimlich

Ziehet hin und forschet fleißig
Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=7|range=-8}}
56 Recitative (soprano) Du Falscher, suchet nur den Herrn zu fällen Strings, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
57 Aria (soprano) A maj/{{Nowrap|F{{Music|#}} min/}}{{Nowrap|A maj}} 3/4 Nur ein Wink von seinen Händen Oboe d'amore I, strings, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
58 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Als sie nun den König gehöret hatten Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=9|range=-11}}
59 Chorale G major Common Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier Oboe I, II, strings, continuo Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1656
60 Recitative (Evangelist, tenor) Und Gott befahl ihnen im Traum Continuo {{Sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=2|verse=12}}
61 Recitative (tenor) So geht! Genug, mein Schatz geht nicht von hier Oboe d'amore I, II, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
62 Aria (tenor) B minor 2/4 Nun mögt ihr stolzen Feinde schrecken Oboe d'amore I, II, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
63 Recitative (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) Was will der Höllen Schrecken nun Continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata)
64 Chorale D major Common Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen Trumpet I, II, III, timpani, oboe I, II, strings, continuo BWV 248a (lost church cantata); Words: Georg Werner, 1648

{{H:title|Sola Dei Gloria|S. D. Gl.}}

Recordings

  • 1955: Fritz Lehmann
    Fritz Lehmann
    Fritz Lehmann was a noted German conductor, whose career was cut short by his early death at the age of 51. His repertoire ranged from the Baroque through to contemporary works, in both the concert hall and the opera house. He was an early advocate of period performance practice. and founded the...

    , Helmut Krebs
    Helmut Krebs
    Helmut Krebs was a distinguished German tenor in opera and concert, who sang a wide range of roles from Baroque to contemporary works.-Professional career:...

     (tenor), Sieglinde Wagner
    Sieglinde Wagner
    Sieglinde Wagner was an Austrian operatic contralto, who could also sing mezzo-soprano roles....

     (alto), Heinz Rehfuss
    Heinz Rehfuss
    Heinz Julius Rehfuss was a Swiss operatic bass-baritone, who later became an American citizen. He was particularly associated with the title roles in Don Giovanni and Boris Godunov, and Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande....

     (bass), Gunthild Weber (soprano), Berliner Motettenchor, RIAS Kammerchor
    RIAS Kammerchor
    The RIAS Kammerchor is a professional chamber choir of the RIAS in Berlin, founded originally for contemporary music, with an international reputation.-History:...

    , Berlin Philharmonic, Archiv Produktion
    Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

  • 1958: Kurt Thomas
    Kurt Thomas (composer)
    Kurt Thomas was a German composer, conductor and music educator.He was born in Tönning and died in Bad Oeynhausen....

    , Josef Traxel
    Josef Traxel
    Josef Traxel was a German operatic tenor, particularly associated with Mozart roles and the German repertory....

     (tenor), Marga Höffgen (alto), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a retired German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, one of the most famous lieder performers of the post-war period and "one of the supreme vocal artists of the 20th century"...

     (baritone), Agnes Giebel
    Agnes Giebel
    Agnes Giebel is a German soprano. She was born in Heerlen, in the Netherlands, where she lived the first years of her life. She studied at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and made her first public appearance as a singer in 1947. Her career lasted until the 1990s during which she established a...

     (soprano), Thomanerchor
    Thomanerchor
    The Thomanerchor is a boys' choir in Leipzig, Germany. The choir was founded in 1212. At present, the choir consists of 92 boys from 9 to 18 years of age...

    , Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Leipzig Classics/Seraphim Records
    Seraphim Records
    Seraphim Records is the sister label of Angel Records.-History:During the 1960s through the 1980s, it was Angel's low-price label; recordings that had originally been released on the Angel label were re-released at a bargain price on the Seraphim label...

    . Recorded in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.
  • 1963: Fritz Werner
    Fritz Werner
    Fritz Werner was a German choral conductor, church music director, conductor, organist and composer...

    , Helmut Krebs
    Helmut Krebs
    Helmut Krebs was a distinguished German tenor in opera and concert, who sang a wide range of roles from Baroque to contemporary works.-Professional career:...

    , Claudia Hellmann
    Claudia Hellmann
    Claudia Hellmann is a German contralto singer in opera and concert.- Biography :Claudia Hellmann studied voice in Berlin with Erika Garski....

    , Barry McDaniel
    Barry McDaniel
    Barry McDaniel is an American operatic baritone who spent his career almost exclusively in Germany. He was also a celebrated concert singer and recitalist.- Biography and development :...

    , Agnes Giebel
    Agnes Giebel
    Agnes Giebel is a German soprano. She was born in Heerlen, in the Netherlands, where she lived the first years of her life. She studied at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and made her first public appearance as a singer in 1947. Her career lasted until the 1990s during which she established a...

    , Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn, Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra
    Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra
    Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra, full German name: Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, full English name South West German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, is an internationally known German chamber orchestra based in Pforzheim.- History :...

    , Erato
    Erato Records
    Erato Records is a record label founded in 1953 to promote French classical music. In 1992 it became part of Warner Bros. Records. In 1999 Erato launched a subsidiary Detour Records....

    .
  • 1965: Karl Richter, Fritz Wunderlich
    Fritz Wunderlich
    Friedrich "Fritz" Karl Otto Wunderlich was a German lyric tenor, famed for his singing of the Mozart repertory and Italian and German opera and lieder. He died in an accident when he was only 35...

     (tenor), Christa Ludwig
    Christa Ludwig
    Christa Ludwig is a retired German mezzo-soprano, distinguished for her performances of opera, Lieder, oratorio and other major religious works like masses and passions, and solos contained in symphonic literature...

     (alto), Franz Crass
    Franz Crass
    Franz Crass is a German bass.A native of Wipperfürth, Crass studied with Gerda Heuer in Wiesbaden and with Professor Clemens Glettenberg at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln. He won numerous competitions throughout Germany in the 1950s...

     (bass), Gundula Janowitz
    Gundula Janowitz
    Gundula Janowitz is an Austrian lyric soprano singer of operas, oratorios and concerts. She is one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century and was pre-eminent in the 1960s and 1970s.-Career:...

     (soprano), Münchener Bach-Chor
    Münchener Bach-Chor
    Münchener Bach-Chor is a mixed choir for concert and oratorio in Munich. Performances, international tours and recordings with Karl Richter and the Münchener Bach-Orchester made the choir internationally known.- Heinrich-Schütz-Kreis :...

    , Münchener Bach-Orchester, ARCHIV Produktion
    Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

  • 1967: Karl Münchinger
    Karl Münchinger
    Karl Münchinger was a German conductor of European classical music. He helped to revive the now-ubiquitous Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel, through recording it with his Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 1960...

    , Peter Pears
    Peter Pears
    Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears CBE was an English tenor who was knighted in 1978. His career was closely associated with the composer Edward Benjamin Britten....

     (tenor), Helen Watts
    Helen Watts
    Helen Watts CBE was a Welsh contralto. She was born at Wales in Milford Haven and educated at the School of S. Mary and S. Anne, Abbots Bromley and the Royal Academy of Music. She began her career with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, and was a regular broadcaster on the Welsh Home Service...

     (alto), Tom Krause
    Tom Krause
    Tom Krause is a Finnish operatic baritone particularly associated with Mozart roles.Born in Helsinki, he first studied medicine, while singing and...

     (bass), Elly Ameling
    Elly Ameling
    Elisabeth Sara "Elly" Ameling is a Dutch soprano.-Career:Ameling was born in Rotterdam. She studied with Bodi Rapp, Jo Bollekamp, Sem Dresden and Jacoba Dresden-Dhont and later French art song with Pierre Bernac...

     (soprano), Lübecker Knaben-Kantorei, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester. Decca
    Decca Records
    Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

    . Recorded in Schloss Ludwigsburg
    Ludwigsburg Palace
    Ludwigsburg Palace is a historical building in the city of Ludwigsburg , Germany. It is one of the country's largest Baroque palaces and features an enormous garden in that style....

    .
  • 1973: Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, Theo Altmeyer
    Theo Altmeyer
    Theo Altmeyer was a German classical tenor. Although he was a successful opera singer, he is chiefly remembered for his work as an oratorio soloist...

     (tenor), Andreas Stein (alto), Barry McDaniel
    Barry McDaniel
    Barry McDaniel is an American operatic baritone who spent his career almost exclusively in Germany. He was also a celebrated concert singer and recitalist.- Biography and development :...

     (baritone), Hans Buchhierl (soprano), Tölzer Knabenchor
    Tölzer Knabenchor
    The Tölzer Knabenchor is a boys' choir with roots in the Bavarian town of Bad Tölz.The choir group is still led by director and singing master Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, who founded the choir in 1956 when he was only nineteen years old. The founder was once a student of Carl Orff's and worked with him...

    , Collegium Aureum. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD77046. This recording uses a tuning where the pitch
    Pitch (music)
    Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

     of the note A
    A (musical note)
    La or A is the sixth note of the solfège. "A" is generally used as a standard for tuning. When the orchestra tunes, the oboe plays an "A" and the rest of the instruments tune to match that pitch. Every string instrument in the orchestra has an A string, from which each player can tune the rest of...

     is set to a semitone
    Semitone
    A semitone, also called a half step or a half tone, is the smallest musical interval commonly used in Western tonal music, and it is considered the most dissonant when sounded harmonically....

     below today's standard of A=440 Hz
    Hertz
    The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

    .
  • 1973: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt is an Austrian conductor, particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era and earlier. Starting out as a classical cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement...

    , Kurt Equiluz
    Kurt Equiluz
    Kurt Equiluz is an Austrian classical tenor in opera and concert, known for recording works of Johann Sebastian Bach with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Helmuth Rilling, a member of the Vienna State Opera as a tenor buffo from 1957 until 1983.- Professional career :Kurt Equiluz was an alto soloist of...

     (tenor), Paul Esswood
    Paul Esswood
    Paul Esswood is an English countertenor. He is best known for his singing in Bach cantatas and the operas of Handel and Monteverdi. Along with his countrymen Alfred Deller and James Bowman, he led the revival of countertenor singing in modern times.Esswood was born in West Bridgford, England. He...

     (countertenor), Siegmund Nimsgern
    Siegmund Nimsgern
    Siegmund Nimsgern is a German bass-baritone, born in Sankt Wendel, Saarland, Germany.After leaving school in 1960 he studied singing and musical education at the Hochschule für Musik Saar with Sibylle Fuchs, Jakob Stämpfli and Paul Lohmann.He made his debut at the Saarländisches Staatstheater in...

     (bass), Wiener Sängerknaben
    Vienna Boys' Choir
    The Vienna Boys' Choir is a choir of trebles and altos based in Vienna. It is one of the best known boys' choirs in the world. The boys are selected mainly from Austria, but also from many other countries....

    , Concentus Musicus Wien
    Concentus Musicus Wien
    Concentus Musicus Wien is a baroque music ensemble founded by Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt in 1953. It generated the now well-established movement in performance and recordings to play early music on period instruments....

    . Teldec
    Teldec
    The Teldec is a German record label in Hamburg, Germany. Today the label is a property of Warner Music Group.-History:...

     – Das Alte Werk 9031-77610-2
  • 1974: Martin Flämig
    Martin Flämig
    Martin Flämig was a German church musician, cantor of the Dresdner Kreuzchor from 1971 to 1991.- Biography :...

    , Peter Schreier
    Peter Schreier
    Peter Schreier is a German tenor and conductor.-Early life:Schreier was born in Meissen, Saxony, and spent his first years in the small village of Gauernitz, near Meissen, where his father was a teacher, cantor and organist...

     (tenor), Annelies Burmeister (alto), Arleen Augér
    Arleen Auger
    Joyce Arleen Auger was an American soprano singer, admired for her coloratura voice and interpretations of works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Monteverdi, Gluck, and Mozart.-Biography:...

     (soprano), Theo Adam
    Theo Adam
    Theo Adam is a distinguished German classical bass-baritone who had an active international career in operas, concerts, and recitals from the 1940s through the 1990s. He particularly excelled in portraying roles from the operas of Richard Wagner...

     (bass), Dresdner Kreuzchor
    Dresdner Kreuzchor
    The Dresdner Kreuzchor is the boys' choir of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden. It has a seven century history. Today the choir has about 150 members from the age of 9-19 from Dresden and the surrounding region. Most of the boys live in a boarding school. The Choir Boys are also called "Kruzianer". The...

    , Dresden Philharmonic. Berlin Classics BER 183892
  • 1987: John Eliot Gardiner
    John Eliot Gardiner
    Sir John Eliot Gardiner CBE FKC is an English conductor. He founded the Monteverdi Choir , the English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique...

    , Anthony Rolfe Johnson
    Anthony Rolfe Johnson
    Anthony Rolfe Johnson, CBE was an English operatic tenor.-Life and career:Born in Tackley in Oxfordshire, Rolfe Johnson studied with Ellis Keeler and Vera Rosza at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He first appeared in opera in the chorus and in small roles at the Glyndebourne Festival...

     (tenor, Evangelist), Anne Sofie von Otter (alto), Olaf Bär
    Olaf Bär
    Olaf Bär is a German operatic baritone.- Life :Bär received his musical training in his home city of Dresden, studying at the city's Hochschule für Musik. His career has concentrated on lieder and on the lyric baritone roles of the operatic repertoire...

     (bass), Hans Peter Blochwitz (tenor), Nancy Argenta
    Nancy Argenta
    Nancy Maureen Argenta is a Canadian soprano singer, best known for performing music from the pre-classical era. She has won international acclaim, and is considered by many as the leading Handel soprano of her time.She was born in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada...

     (soprano), Monteverdi Choir
    Monteverdi Choir
    The Monteverdi Choir was founded in 1964 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner for a performance of the Monteverdi Vespers in King's College Chapel, Cambridge. A specialist Baroque ensemble, the Choir has become famous for its stylistic conviction and extensive repertoire, encompassing music from the early...

    , English Baroque Soloists
    English Baroque Soloists
    The English Baroque Soloists is a chamber orchestra playing on period instruments, formed in 1978 by English conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Its repertoire comprises music from the early Baroque period to the Classical period...

    . Archiv Produktion
    Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

     4232322
  • 1989: Philippe Herreweghe
    Philippe Herreweghe
    Philippe Herreweghe is a Flemish conductor.In his school years at the University of Ghent, Herreweghe combined studies in medical science and psychiatry with a musical education at the Ghent Conservatory, where Marcel Gazelle, Yehudi Menuhin's accompanist, was his piano teacher...

    , Howard Crook
    Howard Crook
    Howard Crook is an American lyric tenor who has lived and worked in the Netherlands and France since the early 1980s.He was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, and educated at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio and then University of Illinois, where he received a master's degree in music,...

     (tenor), Michael Chance
    Michael Chance
    Michael Chance CBE is an English countertenor.Chance was born in Penn, Buckinghamshire, into a musical family. After growing up as a chorister he attended Eton College, Berkshire, and later King's College, Cambridge...

     (alto), Peter Kooy (bass), Barbara Schlick
    Barbara Schlick
    Barbara Schlick is a German soprano who is particularly admired for interpretations of the concert literature of the baroque era.-Career:...

     (soprano), Collegium Vocale Gent. Virgin Classics Veritas
    Virgin Veritas
    Virgin Veritas is an imprint of Virgin Records's classical label Virgin Classics dedicated to early music and historically informed performance....

     90781 or 0777 7595302 2
  • 1993: Harry Christophers
    Harry Christophers
    Harry Christophers is an English conductor. He attended the King's School, Canterbury and was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral under choirmaster Allan Wicks and played clarinet in the school orchestra alongside Andrew Marriner...

    , Michael George (bass), Lynda Russell (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (contralto), Mark Padmore
    Mark Padmore
    Mark Padmore is a British tenor appearing in concerts, recitals, and opera.Born in London 8 March 1961, and raised in Canterbury, Kent in England. Padmore studied clarinet and piano prior to his gaining a choral scholarship to King's College, Cambridge...

     (tenor), Libby Crabtree (soprano Angel, Echo), The Sixteen
    The Sixteen
    The Sixteen are a choir and period instrument orchestra; founded by Harry Christophers in 1979.The group's special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th century...

    . Collins Classics
    Collins Classics
    Collins Classics was a record label which specialised in classical music. It was founded in 1989.Artists who recorded for the label included Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the Duke Quartet, choral group the Sixteen, Harry Christophers and Joanna MacGregor....

  • 1996: Ton Koopman
    Ton Koopman
    Ton Koopman is a conductor, organist and harpsichordist.Koopman had a "classical education" and then studied the organ , harpsichord and musicology in Amsterdam...

    , Christoph Prégardien
    Christoph Prégardien
    Christoph Prégardien is a German lyric tenor whose career is closely associated with the roles in Mozart operas, as well as performances of Lieder, oratorio roles, and Baroque music...

     (tenor), Elisabeth von Magnus
    Elisabeth von Magnus
    Elisabeth von Magnus is an Austrian classical mezzo-soprano.- Family :...

     (alto), Lisa Larsson
    Lisa Larsson
    - Biography :Larsson studied in Basel and since 1993 appeared in the Internationales Opernstudio of the Zurich Opera House under conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Christoph von Dohnányi....

     (soprano), Klaus Mertens
    Klaus Mertens
    Klaus Mertens is a German bass and bass-baritone singer who is known especially for his interpretation of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.-Professional career:Klaus Mertens took singing lessons while attending school...

     (bass), Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
    Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
    The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir is a Dutch early-music group based in Amsterdam.The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir was created in two stages by the conductor, organist and harpsichordist Ton Koopman. He founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 1979 and the Amsterdam Baroque Choir in...

    . Erato Records
    Erato Records
    Erato Records is a record label founded in 1953 to promote French classical music. In 1992 it became part of Warner Bros. Records. In 1999 Erato launched a subsidiary Detour Records....

     0630-14635-2
  • 1997: Philip Pickett
    Philip Pickett
    Philip Pickett is an English musician, recorder player and director of early music ensembles, notably The New London Consort.- Student days :...

    , New London Consort; Paul Agnew
    Paul Agnew
    Paul Agnew is a Scottish operatic tenor.Agnew read music as a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford. He became associated with the Consort of Musicke, the Tallis Scholars, the Sixteen and the Gothic Voices, before embarking on a solo career in the early 1990s.Closely associated with William...

     (tenor, Evangelist), Michael Chance
    Michael Chance
    Michael Chance CBE is an English countertenor.Chance was born in Penn, Buckinghamshire, into a musical family. After growing up as a chorister he attended Eton College, Berkshire, and later King's College, Cambridge...

    , Michael George (bass), Andrew King (tenor), Catherine Bott
    Catherine Bott
    Catherine Bott is a British soprano and a baroque specialist.Following her studies at The King's High School For Girls, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with Arthur Reckless, she began her career as a member of the English baroque-jazz crossover group, The Swingle Singers...

     (soprano); plus 7 other soloists making up the chorus. Decca 458 838
  • 1997: René Jacobs, Werner Güra
    Werner Güra
    Werner Güra is a German classical tenor in opera, concert and Lied, also an academic teacher in Zurich.- Professional career :...

     (tenor), Andreas Scholl
    Andreas Scholl
    Andreas Scholl is a German countertenor, a male classical singer in the alto vocal range. He is noted as a specialist in Baroque music.-Childhood:...

     (alto), Klaus Häger (bass), Dorothea Röschmann
    Dorothea Röschmann
    Dorothea Röschmann is a German opera soprano from Flensburg.-Education and early life:Röschmann studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, under Barbara Schlick at the Akademie für Alte Musik in Bremen, and subsequently in Los Angeles, New York, Tel Aviv, and under Vera Rózsa in London...

     (soprano), RIAS Kammerchor
    RIAS Kammerchor
    The RIAS Kammerchor is a professional chamber choir of the RIAS in Berlin, founded originally for contemporary music, with an international reputation.-History:...

    , Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
    Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
    Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is a German chamber orchestra founded in East Berlin in 1982...

    . Harmonia Mundi
    Harmonia Mundi
    Harmonia Mundi is an independent music record label founded in 1958 by Bernard Coutaz in Arles . The Latin phrase means "world harmony"....

    , 2901630.31
  • 1999: John Eliot Gardiner, Christoph Genz
    Christoph Genz
    - Biography :Christoph Genz was a member of the Thomanerchor. He studied at the King’s College, Cambridge where he was a member of the King’s College Choir. He studied voice with Hans-Joachim Beyer at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater „Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy“ Leipzig and with Elisabeth...

     (tenor), Bernarda Fink (alto), Dietrich Henschel (bass), Claron McFadden
    Claron McFadden
    Claron McFadden is an American soprano. McFadden studied voice at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, finishing her degree in 1984....

     (soprano), Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists. Arthaus Musik
    Naxos Records
    Naxos Records is a record label specializing in classical music. Through a number of imprints, Naxos also releases genres including Chinese music, jazz, world music, and early rock & roll. The company was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a German-born resident of Hong Kong.Naxos is the largest...

     TDK DVD-BACHHO. This recording is used in the film Juloratoriet (1996) (English title: Christmas Oratorio).
  • 2000: Helmuth Rilling
    Helmuth Rilling
    Helmuth Rilling is an internationally known German choral conductor, founder of the Gächinger Kantorei , the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart , the Oregon Bach Festival , the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and other Bach Academies worldwide, and the "Festival Ensemble Stuttgart"...

    , James Taylor
    James Taylor (tenor)
    James Taylor is an American tenor, known for singing the Evangelist in works of Johann Sebastian Bach.- Biography :James Taylor grew up in Houston. He studied singing with Arden Hopkin at the Texas Christian University...

     (Evangelist), Sibylla Rubens
    Sibylla Rubens
    - Biography :Sibylla Rubens studied voice at the Staatliche Musikhochschule in Trossingen and at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt and in master classes with Edith Mathis....

     (soprano), Ingeborg Danz
    Ingeborg Danz
    Ingeborg Danz is a German mezzo-soprano and alto concert singer.- Biography :Ingeborg Danz studied school music at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and voice with Heiner Eckels...

     (alto), Marcus Ullmann
    Marcus Ullmann
    - Professional career :Marcus Ullmann received his first musical training as a choir boy in the Dresdner Kreuzchor. He studied at the Dresden Music Academy and graduated with honours in Lieder, Choral Work and Opera...

     (tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass), Gächinger Kantorei
    Gächinger Kantorei
    Gächinger Kantorei is an internationally known German mixed choir, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1954 in Gächingen and still conducted by him. A "Kantorei" is a choir of high standard dedicated mostly, but not exclusively, to sacred music. The ensemble operates in Stuttgart now and is therefore...

    , Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
    Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
    Bach-Collegium Stuttgart is an internationally known German instrumental ensemble, founded by Helmuth Rilling in 1965 to accompany the Gächinger Kantorei in choral music with orchestra...

    , Hänssler Classic
  • 2003: Jos van Veldhoven
    Jos van Veldhoven
    Jos van Veldhoven is a Dutch choral conductor. He studied musicology at the Rijksuniversiteit of Utrecht, and choral and orchestral conducting at the Royal Conservatory, the Hague. He has been artistic director of De Nederlandse Bachvereniging since 1983...

    , Gerd Türk
    Gerd Türk
    - Biography :Gerd Türk received his first musical training as a choir boy at the cathedral of Limburg. He studied in Frankfurt and then at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Richard Levitt and René Jacobs, continuing in master classes with Ernst Haefliger and Kurt Equiluz.In the field of...

     (tenor), Annette Markert
    Annette Markert
    Annette Markert is a German classical mezzo-soprano and alto.- Biography :Annette Markert studied voice at the Leipzig School of Music and was engaged at the Halle Opera House in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt from 1983 to 1990, then at the opera house in Leipzig.Since 1996 she has worked as a free-lance...

     (alto), Peter Harvey (bass), Johannette Zomer
    Johannette Zomer
    - Biography :Johannette Zomer studied voice at the Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam in Amsterdam with Charles van Tassel and received her Performance Diploma in 1997....

     (soprano), De Nederlandse Bachvereniging. Channel Classics Records CCS SA 20103
  • 2007: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Werner Güra
    Werner Güra
    Werner Güra is a German classical tenor in opera, concert and Lied, also an academic teacher in Zurich.- Professional career :...

     (tenor), Bernarda Fink
    Bernarda Fink
    Bernarda Fink Inzko is an Argentinian mezzo-soprano. Born in Buenos Aires to Slovene parents, Bernarda Fink studied at the "Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón" in Buenos Aires. She won First Prize at the Nuevas Voces Líricas competition in 1985 and moved to Europe...

     (mezzo-soprano
    Mezzo-soprano
    A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

    ), Gerald Finley
    Gerald Finley
    -Career:He was born in Montreal and received his musical education in St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Ottawa, the University of Ottawa, King's College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music in London, England...

     (baritone
    Baritone
    Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

    ), Christian Gerhaher
    Christian Gerhaher
    Christian Gerhaher is a German baritone and bass singer in opera, concert and notably Lied.- Biography :Christian Gerhaher studied with Paul Kuen and Raimund Grumbach at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, and Lied with Friedemann Berger, already together with his accompanist for decades...

     (baritone), Christine Schäfer
    Christine Schäfer
    Christine Schäfer is a German soprano. She studied from 1984 until 1991 at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where her teachers were Ingrid Figur, Aribert Reimann and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. She also took masterclasses with Arleen Augér and Sena Jurinac.After finishing her studies in 1992,...

     (soprano), Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Musicus Wien
    Concentus Musicus Wien
    Concentus Musicus Wien is a baroque music ensemble founded by Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt in 1953. It generated the now well-established movement in performance and recordings to play early music on period instruments....

    . Recorded at the Wiener Musikverein; Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 8869 711225 2
  • 2008: Ralf Otto, Ruth Ziesak
    Ruth Ziesak
    - Biography :Ruth Ziesak studied voice at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts with Elsa Cavelti and Christoph Prégardien. She has been a member of the Municipal Theatre Heidelberg since 1988 and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in 1990....

     (soprano), Monica Groop
    Monica Groop
    Monica Groop is a Finnish operatic mezzo-soprano. After graduating from the Sibelius Academy, she joined the Finnish National Opera in 1986 where she remains a member...

     (alto), Christoph Prégardien
    Christoph Prégardien
    Christoph Prégardien is a German lyric tenor whose career is closely associated with the roles in Mozart operas, as well as performances of Lieder, oratorio roles, and Baroque music...

     (tenor), Klaus Mertens
    Klaus Mertens
    Klaus Mertens is a German bass and bass-baritone singer who is known especially for his interpretation of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.-Professional career:Klaus Mertens took singing lessons while attending school...

     (bass), Vokalensemble Frankfurt, Concerto Köln. Delta Music
  • 2009: Georg Christoph Biller
    Georg Christoph Biller
    Georg Christoph Biller is a German choral conductor, conducting the Thomanerchor since 1992 as the sixteenth Thomaskantor since Johann Sebastian Bach...

    , Paul Bernewitz and Friedrich Praetorius (Boy soprano), Ingeborg Danz
    Ingeborg Danz
    Ingeborg Danz is a German mezzo-soprano and alto concert singer.- Biography :Ingeborg Danz studied school music at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and voice with Heiner Eckels...

     (alto), Martin Petzold and Christoph Genz
    Christoph Genz
    - Biography :Christoph Genz was a member of the Thomanerchor. He studied at the King’s College, Cambridge where he was a member of the King’s College Choir. He studied voice with Hans-Joachim Beyer at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater „Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy“ Leipzig and with Elisabeth...

     (tenor), Panajotis Iconomou (bass), Thomanerchor Leipzig
    Thomanerchor
    The Thomanerchor is a boys' choir in Leipzig, Germany. The choir was founded in 1212. At present, the choir consists of 92 boys from 9 to 18 years of age...

    , Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Rondeau Production

External links