Accompanied by the Linden Baroque Orchestra, the Brighton Chamber Choir’s recital of J. S. Bach’s famous Christmas Oratorio took place on Saturday December 5th.
The Oratorio was written for the Christmas season of 1734 and incorporates music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music.
The Oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. 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 (Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi.
This concert was the showpiece of the choir's 25th anniversary celebrations and comprised a performance of parts 1, 2, 3 and 6.
It was an extremely cultured event set in the splendid Grade 1 Listed example of high Victorian architecture that is beautiful All Saints Church.