Christmas Oratorio facts for kids
Before Bach wrote the Christmas Oratorio, he already wrote some cantatas for the Christmas season. The oratorio was written in 1734. It was written for the Christmas season of that year. It was first performed in the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche, Leipzig.
The oratorio has 6 parts. Each part is performed for a certain day in the Christmas season. Some of the music is based from Bach's other works.
In his German-language church music, Bach uses Lutheran chorale melodies.
Part I is written for Christmas Day (December 25). The words tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The instruments used in part I are 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes (each player also plays an oboe d'amore), 2 violins, viola, and the basso continuo.
Part II is written for the second day of Christmas (December 26). The instruments used in part II are 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia, 2 violins, viola, and the basso continuo.
Part III is written for the third day of Christmas (December 27).
The instruments used in part III are the same as part I.
Part V is written for the Sunday after New Year's Day.
The instruments used in part II are 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, and the basso continuo.
Part VI is written for the holiday of Epiphany.
The instruments used in part VI are the same as part I.
Images for kids
Giotto: Angels at the Nativity (c. 1300)
Christmas Oratorio Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.