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Bach: Christmas Oratorio by Oxford Bach Choir

04 December 2021 @ 7.30pm

Bach: Christmas Oratorio by Oxford Bach Choir

About Bach: Christmas Oratorio  by Oxford Bach Choir

On 07 December 1896, the Oxford Bach Choir gave its first-ever concert, performing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

Now, almost 125 years later to the day, you are invited to the Sheldonian to hear the Oxford Bach Choir with the period-instrument ensemble Florilegium recreate that special moment with a rare complete performance of Bach’s great cycle of six Christmastide cantatas - whose moods range widely from the exultant trumpets and drums of the opening and closing choruses to the pastoral music of the shepherds.

Conductor: Benjamin Nicholas
Orchestra: Florilegium

About the Christmas Oratorio

The Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach is performed in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 and incorporated music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a largely lost church cantata.

The Christmas Oratorio is in six parts, and each of the six cantatas has its own piece of the story and its own sound. The Christmas Oratorio is intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period, but it is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus, the second (for 26 December) the annunciation to the shepherds, the third (for 27 December) the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth (for New Year’s Day) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi (or priests), and the sixth (for Epiphany on 06 January) the adoration of the Magi.

Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas (the Christmas season) for most people in the UK.


Tickets will become available nearer the concert dates


Oxford Bach Choir
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Sheldonian Theatre
Broad Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3AZ
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01865 277299
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