a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme, performed without the use of costumes, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.Continuing the posts about the best music for this Christmas Season, I will talk now about the famous Oratorios…
My favorite and which I highly recommend, is, of course, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Of course his famous St. Matthew’s Passion and St John Passion are the most famous and most listened Oratorios of Johann Sebastian Bach BUT, the Christmas Oratorio is also a masterpiece of Baroque music and it is also performed widely on Christmas time. Here is my favorite recording of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, With Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting, the Concentus Musicus Wien, Peter Schreier – Tenor, Robert Holl – Bass
Soloists of the Tolzer Knabenchor
Chorusmaster: Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden
Fisrt Part: Cantatas No 1 – 3
And here is Part two…
Another beautiful Christmas Oratorio that I recommend is Oratorio de Noêl, Opus 12 by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Of course, I can not forget Vivaldi’s “Gloria” in D major RV 589, here is one of my favorite performances, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner:
Another beautiful Oratorio, recommend for both Christmas and also Easter time is Haydn’s mastepiece, “The Creation”, (Die Schöpfung ) in this marvelous peformance we have:
Gabriel / Eva — Lucia Popp
Uriel — Francisco Araiza
Raphael — Samuel Ramey
Adam — Olaf Bär
Alto — Iris Vermillion
Conductor – Riccardo Muti
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
And the Jewel of the crown of all Oratorios, “Handel’s The Messiah” which is essential to perform in this time of the year, even though that Handel composed this Oratorio originally for Easter but this masterpiece of history of music can be performed very well in both Christmas and Easter.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!! Enjoy this magnificent Oratorios which are, in my opinion, treasures of humanity!