Sussex Concerts

Concert Details

Title: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Performed by: Mayfield Festival Choir
Time: Sunday, 17 November 2013, at 7:30pm
Place: St Dunstan’s Church, Mayfield
Description: Mayfield Festival Choir with Primavera Chamber Ensemble conducted by Jeremy Summerly. Andrew Benians (organ), Miranda Johnson (soprano), Anna Boucher (contralto), Bene't Coldstream (tenor), Martin Johnson (Bass)

The Christmas Oratorio is not an oratorio at all. It is a set of cantatas that were written to be performed as a sequence during Christmastide of 1734. As so often with Baroque composers, self-borrowing plays a major part in Bach’s compositional process – after all, if you’ve written a good tune, why not use it again in a different context. In the case of the Christmas Oratorio, Bach borrowed from three of his secular (i.e. non-church) cantatas, and also from a now lost cantata written in honour of a member of the Saxon royal family. What is remarkable is that none of the Christmas Oratorio was performed between its Leipzig première in 1734/5 and its revival in Berlin in 1857 – a century and a quarter is a long time for a genuine masterpiece to lie unperformed.

We will be performing the cantatas for Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Day, and Epiphany, which celebrate the Birth of Jesus, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, the Naming of Jesus, and the Adoration of the Magi respectively. Bach wrote his cantatas not in Latin, but it his own native language of German. Consequently we will be performing the Christmas Oratorio in our native language, English
Tickets: £20, £18, £12, £8 (under18s half price)
Available from 5 October from
Contact: Jane Bolger

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