Saturday 11 November 2017

7.30 pm
Trinity Methodist Church
Cottingham Road, Hull HU5 2EJ
(at the corner of Newland Avenue)

Concert 1 image

A nativity installation seen at the Christmas market in Erfurt, Thuringia, in 2014. Photo: Mike Kirby

Bach

Christmas Oratorio

parts 1, 2, 3 and 6

It has been our custom to give regular performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. This celebrated piece, written for Christmas 1734‑35, is not one work but a series of cantatas written for each of the six most important days of Christmas, starting on Christmas Eve and ending at Epiphany. Bach had previously treated each of his Christmas cantatas as separate items, but in the Christmas Oratorio he linked the works together by a narration of the whole Christmas story.

This year we are not, as we have done in the past, performing all six cantatas but only the first three, written for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day, and the last, written for the Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night. These four cantatas are typical of the whole work, presenting the joy, the glory and the mystery of Christmas with arias of great tenderness, and brilliance, and equally varied choruses. The orchestral writing is remarkably colourful, and there are quite wonderful solos for strings, wind and brass.