The culmination of Hämeenlinna’s Bach 333 series
J. S. Bach
Sonja Saarikko, soprano
Teppo Lampela, alto
Hannu Lehtikangas, tenor
Juha-Pekka Mitjonen, bass
Hämeenlinna Chamber Choir
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Heikki Seppänen, conductor
Hämeenlinna congregation celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), who would have turned 333 years this year. The Bach 333 series began around Bach’s birthday in the end of March, and the nine month long series contain in total three cantata masses, three summer concerts and a series of three fall concerts, culminating in the Christmas oratorio. This musical story about the birth of Jesus is divided into six cantatas, of which the first three are performed on Tuesday 18 December. On Epiphany on 6 January 2019, the last three will be performed in Hämeenlinna.
The Christmas oratorio, completed by Christmas in 1734, is a church music masterpiece. The work was premiered in six services during the Christmas time. It is assumed, however, that Bach considered the cantatas to be parts of one whole. The three textual levels of the oratorio – the Bible story following Luke and Matthew, Lutheran chorales and free poems – combine in Bach’s rich multitude of musical forms. Bach compiled the Christmas oratorio using both his previously composed secular cantatas and new material. In Bach’s time it was not uncommon to reuse existing music, and Bach has throughout his production borrowed quite generously from his own compositions.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (no intermission)