A collaboration between EMSI, Early Music Vancouver and Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks

Bach: Christmas Oratorio


Saturday 20 December 8 pm. Pre-concert talk 7:10 pm Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora (at Quadra)

Stephen Stubbs, Director
Teresa Wakim, Soprano
Krisztina Szabo, Mezzo-Soprano
Zachary Finkelstein, Tenor
Sumner Thompson, Baritone
with Pacific MusicWorks

Celebrate the holiday season with some of North America’s most celebrated soloists and period instrumentalists in this festive performance of three of Bach’s six Christmas Oratorio cantatas performed as they would have been in Leipzig in 1734. The programme also includes Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BVW 1068.

The Christmas Oratorio, BVW 248, was created in Leipzig towards the end of Bach’s life. First performed between Christmas Day 1734 and Epiphany 1735, it was written in six parts, each intended for one of the major festive days of the season. December 20th’s programme will feature three of these parts: Part I, for Christmas Day; Part III, for the third day of Christmas; and Part VI, for the Feast of Epiphany.

The text of the Christmas Oratorio is drawn from the New Testament’s description of the Nativity. As in the great St. Matthew Passion, Bach included a narrator to sing the Bible’s text and used the other soloists and chorus to elaborate the story with religious devotions. Although the music was mostly adapted or copied from the composer’s earlier work, some of it secular, the resulting whole approaches and can match the Passion’s power and drama. The evening’s programme contains soaring, thrilling trumpet work, brilliant solo parts, and half a dozen majestic chorales whose moving harmonies illuminate the depth of Bach’s personal faith.

Stephen Stubbs makes his third recent appearance in the director’s role at Alix Goolden Hall. His ability to extract nuance and precision from a score will make this performance of the Christmas Oratorio one to be remembered. The cast of singers and musicians has been assembled specially for a four-city tour of this programme. The soloists are all top-tier singers with international experience in operatic title roles. Pacific MusicWorks brings a collection of North America’s best period instrumentalists. This will be a ‘must see’ event for Victoria’s early music community.

Listen on Classical KING-FM 98.1 or online,
Mon. Dec 15, 9:20 pm, Christmas Oratorio Part I
Tues. Dec 16, 9:19 pm, Christmas Oratorio Part III
Weds. Dec 17, 9:24 pm, Orchestral Suite BVW 1068
Thurs. Dec 18, 9:19 pm, Christmas Oratorio Part VI



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