Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Hereford Cathedral by candlelight

14th January 2014

On Saturday 1 February 2014 at 7 pm in Hereford Cathedral there is a rare opportunity to hear a complete performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. This great work consists of six parts, originally intended for performance separately on the six principal feast days between Christmas and Epiphany.

The performance will be given by forces similar to those which Bach would have envisaged: the boys and men of Hereford Cathedral Choir, and the period-instrument orchestra Marches Baroque. The distinguished team of international soloists comprises Natalie Clifton-Griffith (soprano), William Towers (countertenor), Simon Wall (tenor) and Mathew Brook (bass). The performance is directed by Geraint Bowen, Hereford Cathedral’s Director of Music.

Geraint Bowen said: ‘It’s very exciting to be preparing the Christmas Oratorio with the cathedral choir once again. The choir’s annual Holy Week performances of Bach’s St John Passion and St Matthew Passion are now an established part of the musical calendar in Hereford, and this is an equally wonderful piece which is much more rarely performed, especially in its entirety. It combines some of Bach’s most festive and jubilant writing for choir and orchestra, complete with trumpets and kettledrums, with more intimate reflective numbers for the soloists. There is always a special atmosphere in the cathedral for this performance as it is given by candlelight.’