Catch the Christmas Oratorio this weekend

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By Torsten Loschke

Listening to the famous Christmas Oratorio of Johann Sebastian Bach is definitely one of THE Leipzig experiences during Christmas time. In the weeks before Christmas, the Oratorio is actually performed several times in churches all over town by lay choirs as well as more professional choirs.

The most authentic way to listen to the Christmas Oratorio is, of course, in the Thomaskirche and with the Thomanerchor. These concerts are already sold out in summer, but the second-best option is coming up this weekend, also at Thomaskirche: On Friday and Saturday, the Leipziger Vocalensemble and the Lautten Compagney Berlin will perform the Christmas Oratorio of Bach there.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote the Christmas Oratorio in 1734 during his time as cantor at Thomaskirche. The piece consists of six cantatas that were at Bach’s time performed in church on Christmas Day and the subsequent holidays. The Oratorio tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, the adoration of the shepherds and of the Magi and, finally, the intrigues of King Herod that forced the Holy Family to take refuge in Egypt. Comprising of choruses, arias and recitatives and being colorfully orchestrated, the Christmas Oratorio is today probably Bach’s most prominent work.

This weekend’s performances of the Oratorio will be in experienced hands: The Leipziger Vocalensemble is a semi-professional choir which is specialized in sacred music and performs regularly at Thomaskirche, in particular the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. This year, the Vocalensemble will be joined by the Lautten Compagney Berlin for the orchestral part. Being currently one of the most famous and most exciting German baroque orchestras, the Lautten Compagney commands an unusually wide repertoire from Handel operas to cross-over projects with contemporary music by Philip Glass and others.

So, don’t miss this special opportunity for a unique cultural event during the holiday season. The Christmas Oratorio will be performed on Friday and Saturday, 4th and 5th December, 8 p.m., at Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in the city center. This way for tickets and more info…

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