Christian Thielemann

Christian Thielemann

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Johann Sebastian Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 – Andreas Weller, Lenneke Ruiten, Cécile van de Sant, Alberto ter Doest, Panajotis Iconomou – Cappella Amsterdam, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend (HD 1080p)














Although German composer Johann Sebastian Bach entitled his work Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), it is in fact closer to a cantata cycle than an oratorio. Composed and compiled for the Christmas season as celebrated in Leipzig in 1734 and early 1735, the six parts of the Christmas Oratorio were intended to be performed on the six major feast days over that 13-day period from December 25 through January 6: the "First Day of Christmas", the "Second Day of Christmas", the "Third Day of Christmas", the "Feast of the Circumcision", the "First Sunday of the New Year", and the "Feast of the Epiphany". Furthermore, each part of the work is designed to function as an independent musical unit; each part (except the second, which starts with a "Pastoral Symphony") begins and ends with choruses in the tonic key, and each part tells a separate part of the Christmas story.

However, Bach also clearly intended the music to be heard as a unified work: not only does the oratorio tell a single story based on Biblical texts, but it is musically organized around the key of D major. The musical content of the oratorio is, for the most part, drawn from three secular cantatas: Herkules auf dem Scheidewege, BWV 213; Tonet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, BWV 214; and Preisse dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen, BWV 215. In addition, portions of the music were drawn from the lost St. Mark Passion, and the sixth part of the oratorio was later given an independent existence as a separate cantata (BWV 248a).

So skillful is Bach's adaptation that listeners at the time would have been unlikely to be disturbed by Bach's self-plagiarism (which was a common procedure for him anyhow). In the manner of Bach's Passions, the text of the Christmas Oratorio is drawn from the Gospel interspersed with meditations on the meaning of the Gospel texts. While scholars conjecture that these meditations were written by Bach's usual collaborator, Christian Friedrich Henrici (known as Picander), some also suspect that Bach might have written or rewritten many of them himself because Picander did not include the text of the oratorio among his collected works. A joyfully celebratory work, the Christmas Oratorio is one of the peaks in Bach's compositional oeuvre.

The story is related in recitative by an Evangelist, or narrator, thus placing the work within the long-established tradition of religious drama. However, unlike earlier oratorios and unlike Bach's own settings of the Passion story, there is virtually no dramatic dialogue. The only named characters are the Angel in Part Two and Herod in Part Six. Scored for the usual four-part vocal forces, the oratorio is given is own distinctive character through the varied orchestration featured in each section. Thus, Part One, largely a joyous celebration of Christ's birth, is adorned by brilliantly festive trumpets and timpani. The following cantata stands in complete contrast, its gentle pastoral mood reflected in scoring that includes pairs of oboes d'amore and their more rustic cousin, the oboe da caccia. Bach then gives symmetry to the first three cantatas by bringing the trumpets and timpani back for Part Three, which opens with an exultant chorus before proceeding to the arrival of the shepherds at the manger. Part Four introduces a pair of horns into the orchestra; their resplendent tones dominate an opening chorus celebrating the glory of God. Part Five, for the lesser feast of the Sunday after New Year, calls for smaller orchestral forces – just a pair of oboes supporting the usual strings and continuo, perhaps as a counterpart to the second cantata. Finally the full majesty of trumpets and drums returns in Part 6, the topic of which is God's power over evil, here personified by Herod and his dealings with the three Magi.

Source: James Leonard (allmusic.com)



Έργο χορωδιακό που παράλληλα προϋποθέτει τη συμμετοχή σολίστ και ορχήστρας, γράφτηκε για τον εκκλησιαστικό εορτασμό της χριστουγεννιάτικης περιόδου του 1734 και ενσωματώνει μουσική από προγενέστερες – κοσμικές κυρίως – συνθέσεις του Μπαχ.

Το «Ορατόριο των Χριστουγέννων» αποτελεί το πρώτο ενός τρίπτυχου που συνέθεσε ο Γιόχαν Σεμπάστιαν Μπαχ προς το τέλος της καριέρας του. Πρόκειται για ένα έργο ιδιότυπο, που συντίθεται από έξι αυτοτελείς Καντάτες, οι οποίες αφηγούνται επεισόδια από την ιστορία της Γέννησης και παρουσιάστηκαν στις εκκλησίες του Αγίου Νικολάου και του Αγίου Θωμά της Λειψίας, υπό τη διεύθυνση του συνθέτη, σε έξι διαφορετικές ημέρες, από τις 25 Δεκεμβρίου του 1734 έως τις 6 Ιανουαρίου του 1735. Στη σημερινή πρακτική το έργο συνηθίζεται να παρουσιάζεται ως ενιαίο, ωστόσο στην αυθεντική του μορφή κάθε μία από τις Καντάτες παρουσιάστηκε ανεξάρτητα σε μιαν εκτενή μουσική αφήγηση που κάλυψε με έξι συναυλίες όλο το διάστημα του λουθηρανικού εορτασμού της Γέννησης, από την πρώτη ημέρα των Χριστουγέννων μέχρι τα Επιφάνια.

Κάθε μία από τις έξι Καντάτες, δηλαδή, αντιστοιχεί σε μία γιορτινή ημέρα: η Πρώτη (των Χριστουγέννων) περιγράφει τη Γέννηση του Χριστού, η Δεύτερη (για την 26η Δεκεμβρίου) την αναγγελία στους βοσκούς, η Τρίτη (για την 27η Δεκεμβρίου) τη λατρεία των βοσκών, η Τέταρτη (για την Πρωτοχρονιά) την περιτομή και τη βάπτιση του Ιησού, η Πέμπτη (για την πρώτη Κυριακή μετά την Πρωτοχρονιά) το ταξίδι των Μάγων, και, τέλος, η Έκτη (για τα Θεοφάνια) περιγράφει τη λατρεία των Μάγων.

Μετά το θάνατο του Μπαχ, το έργο ξεχάστηκε. Μόνο μετά την εκ νέου ανακάλυψη των «Κατά Ματθαίον Παθών» (1829), το «Ορατόριο των Χριστουγέννων» παρουσιάστηκε και πάλι με πρώτη εκτέλεση αυτήν του Έντουαρντ Γκρελ με την Sing-Akademie του Βερολίνου το 1857. Σήμερα, πρόκειται για το δημοφιλέστερο, ίσως, έργο της χριστουγεννιάτικης περιόδου, έχοντας γνωρίσει αναρίθμητες εκτελέσεις και ηχογραφήσεις από διάσημους μαέστρους και σύνολα.

Πηγή: Τουλάτου Ισμα Μ. (tovima.gr)


Το «Ορατόριο των Χριστουγέννων» του Γιόχαν Σεμπάστιαν Μπαχ ερμηνεύουν οι σολίστες Andreas Weller (τενόρος, στο ρόλο του Ευαγγελιστή), Lenneke Ruiten (υψίφωνος), Cécile van de Sant (μεσόφωνος), Alberto ter Doest (τενόρος), και Panajotis Iconomou (μπάσος). Μία από τις καλύτερες χορωδίες δωματίου της Ολλανδίας, την Cappella Amsterdam και το πολύ γνωστό μπαρόκ σύνολο, με μουσικά όργανα του 19ου αιώνα, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam διευθύνει ο διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένος Ολλανδός βιολονίστας και αρχιμουσικός, καθώς και ιδρυτής του παραπάνω μουσικού συνόλου, Jan Willem de Vriend. Η συναυλία δόθηκε στην Grote Kerk (Μεγάλη Εκκλησία), η οποία χρονολογείται στον δέκατο πέμπτο αιώνα, στην ολλανδική πόλη Naarden, την 21η Δεκεμβρίου του 2012.















Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (1734)

Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Cécile van de Sant, mezzo-soprano
Alberto ter Doest, tenor
Panajotis Iconomou, bass

Cappella Amsterdam
Combattimento Consort Amsterdam
Conductor: Jan Willem de Vriend

Grote Kerk Naarden, December 21, 2012

(HD 1080p)















I. Jauchzet, frohlocket! auf, preiset die Tage

For the First Day of Christmas / Για την Πρώτη Ημέρα των Χριστουγέννων

First performance: 25 December 1734, early in the morning at St. Nicholas Church, in the afternoon at St. Thomas Church.

Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 25 Δεκεμβρίου 1734, νωρίς το πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου, ενώ το απόγευμα στον ναό του Αγίου Θωμά.

Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Cécile van de Sant, altο
Panajotis Iconomou, bass

Instrumentation: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo group.




II. Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend auf dem Felde

For the Second Day of Christmas / Για τη Δεύτερη Ημέρα των Χριστουγέννων

First performance: 26 December 1734, morning at St. Thomas Church, afternoon at St. Nicholas Church.

Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 26 Δεκεμβρίου 1734, το πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Θωμά, ενώ το απόγευμα στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου.


Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Cécile van de Sant, mezzo-soprano
Alberto ter Doest, tenor
Panajotis Iconomou, bass

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia, 2 violins, viola, continuo group.




III. Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen

For the Third Day of Christmas / Για την Τρίτη Ημέρα των Χριστουγέννων

First performance: 27 December 1734, morning at St. Nicholas Church.

Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 27 Δεκεμβρίου 1734, πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου.


Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Cécile van de Sant, mezzo-soprano
Panajotis Iconomou, bass

Instrumentation: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo group.




IV. Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben

For New Year's Day – Feast of the Circumcision / Για την Πρωτοχρονιά – Εορτή της Περιτομής


First performance: 1 January 1735, morning at St Thomas Church, afternoon at St Nicholas Church.


Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 1 Ιανουαρίου 1735, πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Θωμά, απόγευμα στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου.


Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)

Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Panajotis Iconomou, bass
Alberto ter Doest, tenor

Instrumentation: 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo group.




V. Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen

For the First Sunday in the New Year / Για την πρώτη Κυριακή του νέου έτους

First performance: 2 January 1735, morning at St. Nicholas Church.

Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 2 Ιανουαρίου 1735, πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου.


Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Cécile van de Sant, mezzo-soprano
Panajotis Iconomou, bass
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Alberto ter Doest, tenor

Instrumentation: 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo group




VI. Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben

For the Feast of Epiphany / Για τον εορτασμό των Θεοφανίων

First performance: 6 January 1735, morning at St. Thomas Church, afternoon at St. Nicholas Church.

Πρώτη παρουσίαση: 6 Ιανουαρίου 1735, πρωί στον ναό του Αγίου Θωμά, απόγευμα στον ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου.


Andreas Weller, tenor (Evangelist)
Cécile van de Sant, mezzo-soprano
Panajotis Iconomou, bass
Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Alberto ter Doest, tenor

Instrumentation: 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo group.



Cappella Amsterdam

Cappella Amsterdam was established by Jan Boeke in 1970 and has, since 1990, been under the artistic leadership of Daniel Reuss. In recent years the choir has occupied a prominent position in the field of Dutch music and has also enjoyed great success in Europe and beyond. Cappella Amsterdam has thus played a vital role in the European Tenso Network of choirs.

Cappella Amsterdam is renowned for it's homogenous, refined consonance and its extraordinary versatility. The choir excels in both modern repertoires as in music by the old masters and especially embraces the works of Dutch composers.

The choir has special attention for works by Dutch composers, from Sweelinck to Andriessen and Ton de Leeuw. Cappella Amsterdam adamant about bringing Dutch musical heritage towards audiences in The Netherlands and abroad.

Not only does Cappella enjoys success with her own productions but also through collaborations with other renowned choirs, ensembles and orchestras, such as the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Asko/Schönberg.

Harmonia mundi has released several CDs by Cappella Amsterdam, which have all been received with praise. "Lux Aeterna", for instance, which included works by Görgy Ligeti and Robert Heppener, was crowned with the "Diapason d'Or de l'année 2009". The productions of Sweelinck and Frank Martin's Golgotha (released by the same label in 2010) also welcomed rave revues.The latter was nominated for a Grammy for best choral performance. Other prizes include the Dutch award Edison Klassiek 2013 for choral works by Leoš Janáček, the Choc de l'Année 2014 for Stabat Mater by Francis Poulenc and the Preis der deutchen Schallplattenkritik for Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? with choral works by Johannes Brahms.

Source: cappellaamsterdam.com

Cappella Amsterdam














Combattimento Consort Amsterdam

Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam (CCA) has developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music between 1600 and 1800. In view of the repertoire, concerts comprising small and medium-sized groups of instruments are given, but each year, the ensemble also programs oratorios and operas. The wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire has resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which are only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works has proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike.

The CCA generally performs on instruments built in the 19th century. This offers great advantages. For example, the ensemble often performs in large concert halls in relatively small instrumental groups. If the ensemble were to choose to work exclusively with original instruments, this would impose a variety of location and time limitations on the programming. After all, not only did tuning differ greatly in the various European cities, but also the instruments on hand and even the way these instruments were played. After considering all of these advantages and disadvantages as a whole, the Combattimento Consort has chosen to continue using 19th-century instruments – but under certain conditions.

Over the years the CCA has given many memorable concerts and operatic performances including George Frideric Handel's Rodelinda – a co-production with Studio's Onafhankelijk Toneel – Alcina, also by Handel, and Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, in collaboration with De Nationale Reisopera. In September 2002 the ensemble has made its debut at the Early Music Holland Festival in Utrecht, giving two performances of Rameau's opera Platée in a co-production with Onafhankelijk Toneel and the Nationale Reisopera.

Apart from numerous concerts in the Netherlands the CCA also appeared in various European countries as well as Japan, the USA and South America. In the Netherlands, the ensemble often gives performances in the larger concert halls but also in more intimate spaces and for private gatherings. In 2002 season the group performed in Germany, England and Italy. These successful tours have always been attracting attention in national and international media.

In addition to solo performances by members of the ensemble, the CCA has also worked with great performers such as Barbara Bonney, Andreas Scholl and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Hieke Meppelink, Thomas Zehetmair, Ronald Brautigam and Sabine Meyer, as well as joining forces with Collegium Vocale Gent and other groups. In addition to renowned soloists, the CCA place great importance on working with young, talented singers.

The CCA has made numerous CD recordings, the last two of which appeared on the early music label Bona Nova. Several recordings have won the highest praise of the Dutch music magazine Luister. Their CD recordings include the operas La Resurrezione by G. F. Handel and Der Stein der Weisen. The last one had its premiere in the Wielki Theatre in Lodz (Poland, 2003), and after that it toured in The Netherlands and Flanders. In 2004 the CCA toured through Central Europe and The Netherlands with Handel's opera Agrippina, the largest cultural project within the Netherlands Presidency of the European Union. In addition the CCA can be heard regularly as part of radio and television broadcasts.

The Combattimento Consort Amsterdam is sponsored by Bouwfonds. It has its own foundation of friends, which enables the ensemble to continue funding special productions.

But above all, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam is a closely-knit group of musicians (consort), who dare to take on the battle (combattimento) of voice against voice. A Baroque ensemble that takes advantage of oppositions, thereby collectively creating something beautiful, in which contrasts lead to an intensely pleasurable experience. An ensemble that bridges the gap between players and audience with its fresh musical individuality.

Source: bach-cantatas.com

Combattimento Consort Amsterdam














Jan Willem de Vriend

The Dutch conductor and violinist, Jan Willem de Vriend (b. 1963), studied the violin with Davina van Wely at the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague. During this time there, he already conducted several opera productions, such as Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and Silbersee by Kurt Weill.

After finishing his studies Jan Willem de Vriend performed all over the world in various chamber music combinations. In 1982 he established the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, an ensemble that focuses on the performance of 17th and 18th-century music. As a violinist and artistic director he has directed many remarkable concerts and opera productions in the Netherlands, and also in a number of countries across Europe, in North and South America and in Japan. With the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, he features on numerous CDs and in many recordings for radio and television, a number of which were highly acclaimed in Dutch reviews. De Vriend was guest concertmaster with Camerata Bern and Ensemble Oriol Berlin, among others.

In addition to his activities as artistic leader of the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend is much in demand as a conductor, having been invited by numerous ensembles and orchestras in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. He regularly acts as the guest conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Brabant Orchestra, Het Gelders Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orchestra and the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. He has made recordings for radio, television and CD's with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and the Brabant Orchestra. Abroad, he has conducted the RIAS Jugend Orchester and the Deutsche Kammer Philharmonie, among others.

Opera has always played an important part in Jan Willem de Vriend's activities. De Vriend's arrangements of some operas by Monteverdi have been performed under his direction in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA. He directed various co-productions (George Frideric Handel's Rodelinda and Alcina, Monteverdi's L'incoronnazione di Poppea and L'Orfeo, Purcell's King Arthur and Dido and Aeneas) with the Onafhankelijk Toneel theatre company, Huis aan de Amstel and the Nationale Reisopera. Moreover, he conducted W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with Opéra du Rhin in Strassbourg, Monteverdi's L’Orfeo at the Luzern Opera and the opera Der Stein der Weisen as directed by Eva Buchmann, and he made an extensive tour of the Netherlands with Die Fledermaus (Strauss).

During the 2003-2004 season, Jan Willem de Vriend was invited by the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Academy, Nederlands Kamerorkest, Het Gelders Orkest, Brabant Orchestra, Noord Nederlands Orchestra, Limburg Symphony Orchestra, and he conducted Jan van Vlijmen's version of Die Kunst der Fuge played by members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, recorded on CD. For the 2004-2005 season, he has accepted invitations to conduct the Swedish ensemble Musica Vitae, Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Noord Nederlands Orchestra and Brabant Orchestra. Since 2006 he is Chief Conductor of Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

Jan Willem de Vriend has given master-classes in the USA and Europe and is associated with several violin competitions as a member of the jury.

Source: bach-cantatas.com

Jan Willem de Vriend













Andreas Weller













Lenneke Ruiten













Cécile van de Sant













Alberto ter Doest













Panajotis Iconomou


























More photos


See also

Johan Sebastian Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 – Tölzer Knabenchor, Concentus Musicus Wien, Peter Schreier, Robert Holl, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (HD 1080p)

No comments:

Post a Comment