Three first cantatas
Anna Grieve (Sipoo) / Leila Saari (Porvoo), soprano
Lotta Pylkäs (Sipoo) / Merle Dräger (Porvoo), alto
Akseli Ferrand, tenor
Paulus Hartikainen, bass
Christmas Oratorio Choir
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Eric-Olof Söderström, conductor
The Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachtsoratorium, BWV 248) is Johann Sebastian Bach’s work in six parts about the events of Christmas. All in all, the Christmas oratorio consists of 64 numbers, divided into six standalone cantatas. The first three cantatas, nowadays usually performed before Christmas, are focused on the essence of Christmas, the birth of our Saviour. The three later cantatas, usually performed after Christmas on Epiphany, recount the story of baby Jesus at a later point in time, including among other things the wise men and Herod.
The first performances of the first three cantatas were during church services on three consecutive days in Leipzig, starting on Christmas Day 1734. The three later cantatas were performed starting on New Years Day, the last performance being on Epiphany 1735. Some of the cantatas were performed two times the same day: in the morning in St. Thomas Church and in the afternoon in St. Nicholas Church.
The concert is arranged by the Porvoo Concert Association. The association was active from 1977 to 1982 and regularly arranged high-class concerts in the Porvoo area. In 2022, the association restarted the concert activities. The association hopes to start a tradition, where the Christmas season starts with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio being performed in Porvoo and the surrounding area on the first advent weekend.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (no intermission)