bach christmas oratorio analysis December 24, 2020 – Posted in: Uncategorized
All three of these oratorios to some degree parody earlier compositions. Parts I and III are written in the keys of D major, part II in its subdominant key G major. While they are played as a complete set today, in Bach's time, each was intended to be played on a different holy day from Christmas day until the Epiphany (January 6). The Christmas Oratorio - Part 1; UNemphasized: Soprano Alto Tenor Bass ; 1: Christians, be joyful : 2: Now it came to pass in those days 3: See now the Bridegroom : None: None: None: None 4: Prepare thyself, Zion : None: None: None: None 5: How shall I fitly meet Thee? The same melody reappears in the last movement of the oratorio (No. Download in Microsoft Word format. Oh, my deir hert, young Jesus sweit, Musicologist Alfred Dürr and others, such as Christoph Wolff 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. ]. Dass ich nimmer vergesse dein! Bach's Christmas Oratorio – which recording is best? whole period of the Christmas festivities of 1734-35, starting with Part The third major new piece of writing (with the notable exception of the recitatives), the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work. In detail: The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of 1734 and 1735. Bach composed the six-part “Christmas Oratorio” (“Weihnachts Oratorium”) in 1734 for two Leipzig churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, for which he served as music director. 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. 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. The edition has not only a title—Weihnachts-Oratorium—connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. 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, BWV 247. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story: The Flight into Egypt takes place after the end of the sixth part. In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. Prepare thy creddil in my spreit, contemporary Handel, the six parts of his Christmas Oratorio were The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours. On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh. , Martin Luther's 1539 "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her" melody appears in three chorales: twice on a text by Paul Gerhardt in Part II of the oratorio, and the first time, in the closing chorale of Part I, with the 13th stanza of Luther's hymn as text. 7 of part I ("Er ist auf Erden kommen arm") and even more ingeniously in the recitatives nos. First Sunday after Christmas (31 December): First Sunday after Christmas (30 December 1725): The chorale melody used in No. Weihnachts-Oratorium (Christmas Oratorio), BWV 248. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier. 33 of the oratorio appears to be based on, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 22:47. The structure of the story is defined to a large extent by the particular requirements of the church calendar for Christmas 1734/35. Unlike the Passion settings and the oratorios of Bach's exact contemporary Handel, the six parts of his Christmas Oratorio were performed on separate days. A well-known English version of that stanza is "Oh, my dear heart, young Jesus sweet", the first stanza of "Balulalow", as, for instance, sung by Sting:.  A new edition has been worked up by Neil Jenkins. I. Christmas and music seem to belong together. Before Bach composed his Christmas Oratorio for the 1734–35 Christmas season in Leipzig, he had already composed Christmas cantatas and other church music for all seven occasions of the Christmas season: Four of these third cycle cantatas for the Christmas season, BWV 110, 57, 151 and 16, were on a text from Georg Christian Lehms's Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer cantata libretto cycle, which had been published in 1711. The Christmas Oratorio is exceptional in that it contains a few hymn settings, or versions of hymn tunes, for which there is no known earlier source than Bach's composition:, There are very few known hymn tunes by Bach (he used Lutheran hymn tunes in the large majority of his sacred compositions, but rarely one of his own invention): apart from what can be found in the Christmas Oratorio, there appears to be one, partly inspired by a pre-existing melody, in the motet Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229 (composed before 1731–32), and at least one entirely by Bach, "Vergiss mein nicht, vergiss mein nicht", BWV 505, in Schemellis Gesangbuch (published in 1736).. The performances were divided between his two churches: Parts I, II, IV Until 1999 the only complete English version of the Christmas Oratorio was that prepared in 1874 by John Troutbeck for the music publisher Novello. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no. The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players.  In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is based on a largely lost church cantata, BWV 248a, of which at least the opening chorus is based on the lost secular cantata BWV 1160. J.S. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant A major of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece.  Ihr Häuser des Himmels, ihr scheinenden Lichter, BWV 193a, composed in 1727, is another secular cantata on a text by Picander which was, shortly after its first performance, reworked into a sacred cantata (Ihr Tore zu Zion, BWV 193). Aylesbury Choral Society, March 2004, [Note to other societies: you are welcome to use the whole or parts of "Jauchzet, Frohlocket, Auf, Preiset Die Tage", (Chorus)", "Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 - Christmas … , Like for most of his German-language church music, Bach used Lutheran hymns, and their Lutheran chorale tunes, in his Christmas Oratorio. The continuo part is open to interpretation in matters of scoring. Christmas Oratorio - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750). CHAPTER 48: BWV 248, THE CHRISTMAS ORATORIO. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The Shepherd Cantata, BWV 249a, first performed on 23 February 1725, one of Bach's secular cantatas, is an early example of such cantata. Christmas Oratorio - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750): The Christmas Oratorio was conceived as a set of six cantatas. CMW & JB Image credit: Appaloosa/Wikimedia Commons. 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