Concert 10.12–11.12

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Join the Christmas spirit with Bach´s magical Christmas Oratorio. Our popular Christmas concerts continues - with the Symphony Orchestra, choir and soloists.

Stirring melodies, beautiful arias, captivating recitative and grand orchestral movements - Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio has everything you could ask for! The work consists of six cantatas (songs of praise), which were originally intended to be performed over the six major feast days of the Christmas period. Here we perform the three first cantatas.

During the baroque period it was believed that different keys, instruments and musical figures could evoke certain predetermined moods in their listeners. With the help of the instruments, Bach created different theatrical scenes to explain the content of the work. The joy in the first part is described through trumpets, kettle drums, flutes and oboes. The second part's shepherd's idyll is created using the traditional baroque instruments - the oboe da caccia and oboe d'amore - and in the third part, the trumpets return to describe the shepherds who hurry to adore the infant Jesus.

Bach was an imaginative composer who seems always to have followed his own ideas and visions with little regard for the conventions of the day. He was appreciated by his contemporaries, though more as an organist and organ expert than as a composer. His intimate melodies and daring harmonics were considered too complicated.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in 1734-1735 and was a great success. But just a few years later the late baroque style was abandoned and Bach's music was almost entirely forgotten. More than 100 years would pass before the piece would be performed again. Today it is one of Bach's most popular works and his intimate musical expressions inspire composers across many and varied genres.

Australian conductor Benjamin Bayl returns to ring in Christmas together with the orchestra, choir and soloists.

Conductor: Benjamin Bayl
Soloists: Susanna Levonen and others
NorrlandsOperan Choir
NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra

J S Bach: Christmas Oratorio, part 1-3