J S Bach – Cantata for New Year’s Day (Part IV, BWV 248)

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

Event details

Date Sunday, January 15th, 2023
Time 6:30 pm
Location St. Margaret's Church, Topsham


Programme notes

1. Chorus: Fallt mit Danken, Fallt mit Loben
2. Recitativo (Tenor): Und da acht Tage um Waren
3. Recitativo (Bass) con Chorale (Soprano): Immanuel, o süßes Wort!
4. Aria: Flöst, mein Heiland (Soprano)
5. Recitativo (Bass) con Chorale (Soprano): Wohlan, dein Name soll allein
6. Aria (Tenor): Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben
7. Chorale: Jesus richte mein Beginnen

The Christmas Oratorio, composed in 1734, sets the story of the birth of Jesus in six cantatas, which include devices from Italian opera, such as the recitative and aria. Talented librettists Erdmann Neumeister and Christian Friedrich Henrici (known as Picander) are the proposed authors of the text. To present the Christmas story as told in the New Testament books of Luke (Parts 1–3) and Matthew (Parts 4–6), Bach assembled and rewrote some of his existing secular music and composed new pieces. Picander assisted Bach with the libretto changes required to transform secular text into sacred. Recitatives by the Evangelist unify the parts into a cohesive story.

The Oratorio’s six parts were written to be performed over the 13 days of Christmas in the Lutheran Church calendar (December 25 to January 6). The Gospel unfolds in polyphonic wonder in movements unified by the recurring key of D. Tonight’s performance presents part IV of the Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, the Feast of the Circumcision as celebrated on New Year’s Day, and completes the Exeter Bach Choir’s journey with this work having performed parts I, II, III and VI before Christmas.

Musical Director: Jonathan Lucas Wood
Leader: Anna Cockroft
Soprano: Josie Walledge
Echo Soprano: Kathrin Skillings
Tenor: Jonathan Lucas Wood
Bass: Ben Dennes


Oboe 1: Lynn Carter
Oboe 2: Andrew Maries
Horn 1: Tracey Alder
Horn 2: Mike Ogonovsky
Violin 1: Anna Cockroft
Violin 2: Ruth James
Viola: Poppy Holton
Cello: Hilary Boxer
Double Bass: Patrick Butterly
Keyboard: Ian Curror

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