For many, the Christmas Oratoriois a musical “must” during the holiday season.

In 1734, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote six cantats that together form the “Christmas Oratorio”. This is one of the most famous and played sacred works by Bach, and also the most famous Christmas oratorio.The work was composed between 1734 and 1735 and is actually a cycle of six pieces for the feasts of the Christmas season.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus, 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) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi. Only part of the music was newly composed by Bach. Several corals and arias derive from secular works that Bach had previously composed, including “Wo ist der neugeborne König”, which he used extensively in St. Matthew’s Passion.

Grete Pedersen, conductor
Ilse Eerens, soprano
Roseanne van Sandwijk, mezzo
Jeremy Ovenden, tenor
Stephan Loges, bass-baritone
Featuring the Stavanger Symphony Choir

J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, parts 1-3 (I-III)