Johann Sebastian Bach in 1746

Earpiece #8: Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Mark Gresham | 24 NOV 2020

Episode 8 of Earpiece, a new weekly series of audio and video presentations curated by EarRelevant’s publisher and principal writer Mark Gresham.

Today is Christmas Eve, so I will be short on words and lett the music for this week’s episode mstly speak for itself. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is comprised of six cantatas, one a day beginning with Christmas Day and the five days that follow. We offer below the first three of those cantatas in a live performance by Concentus Musicus Wien, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Among the various performances available on YouTube, I chose this video not for issues of pristineness or perfection but for its aspects of almost raw vitality – something we really need in this year’s relatively gloomy and surpressed holiday season.

↓ scroll down to view video.

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, parts 1 – 3
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor
Concentus Musicus Wien
Peter Schreier, tenor
Robert Holl, bass
Soloists of the Tolzer Knabenchor
Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, choirmaster
J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BVW 248 (parts 1-3)
   Part I. Jauchzet, frohlocket! Auf, preiset die Tage
Part II. Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend
Part III. Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen
Playlist Duration: 1:19:35
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