Marguerite L. Brooks, conductor
Derek Chester, Evangelist
Lisa Rautenberg and Olav van Hezewijk, soloists
Vocal soloists from the Yale Voxtet
James Taylor, director
Saturday, December 6, 2008
7 pm Preconcert talk by Markus Rathey, Dwight Chapel (67 High St.)
8 pm Christmas Oratorio (Cantatas 1 - 3), Battell Chapel
Sunday, December 7, 2008
3 pm Preconcert talk by Markus Rathey, Joseph Slifka Center (80 Wall St.)
4 pm Christmas Oratorio (Cantatas 4 - 6), Battell Chapel
The Yale Camerata, conducted by Marguerite L. Brooks, will offer a performance of the complete Christmas Oratorio of J.S. Bach in two concerts in December. There will be a preconcert talk by Markus Rathey before each concert. In addition, an afternoon symposium for general audiences, The Christmas Oratorio in Context, will explore Christmas in music and the visual arts, as well as its biblical and pagan origins.
Bach composed The Christmas Oratorio in the 1730s as part of a series of large scale pieces celebrating the large feasts of the liturgical year. Most of the musical material for the Christmas Oratorio was originally composed for secular cantatas, and provided with a new sacred text. It is, therefore, possible to trace Bach’s musical development and shifting emphasis to larger works in fascinating detail. The six cantatas were originally conceived to be performed sequentially on six occasions between Christmas Day and Epiphany. Audiences today are accustomed to hearing cantatas of the Christmas Oratorio performed individually and out of context; to be able to hear the work in its entirety – over two days – is an unusual and rich experience.
The concerts will take place in Battell Chapel (corner College and Elm). The first concert of cantatas 1-3 is on Saturday, December 6 at 8 pm. The preconcert talk is at 7 pm in Dwight Chapel (67 High St.). The second concert of cantatas 4-6 is on Sunday, December 7 at 4 pm. The preconcert talk is at 3 pm at the Slifka Center (80 Wall St.). Instrumental soloists will include Olav van Hezewijk and Lisa Rautenberg. Derek Chester, an alumnus of the Yale program in early music, oratorio, and chamber ensemble, will sing the role of the Evangelist; other soloists will be drawn from the Yale Voxtet, directed by James Taylor. The concerts will include, in the Camerata’s annual tradition, the Dona nobis pacem from the Mass in B-Minor, and the Willcocks arrangement of Goss’s See, amid the Winter’s Snow, with the Camerata joined by the audience.
The symposium will take place on Friday, December 5 from 1:30 – 6 pm in Rosenfeld Hall, 109 Grove St.
The symposium, the concerts and the talks are all free and open to the public; no tickets are required. More information is available at 203/432-5062.