A change of mood from the 1st excerpt from the Christmas Oratorio which I posted last week – in this music, the Pastoral Symphony, we’re transported out into the fields with the shepherds, who will soon be visited by the Angel Gabriel. The reed instruments imitate the shepherds’ pipes – those strange looking curly instruments are oboes da caccia, a baroque instrument which has a deep timbre similar to the cor anglais, and in front of them are 2 oboes d’amore, also slightly lower in timbre to the modern oboe. I love the gentle and yet uplifting character if this music; truly a masterpiece.
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was written in 1734 when Bach was the Cantor of the Thomasschule at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. The piece was written with 6 sections, each to be performed on the major feast days during the 12 days of Christmas. This clip is the opening chorus, which would have been performed on Christmas morning. How wonderful it must have been to be in the congregation and hear this rousing, joyful music at its first playing – truly inspirational and celebrational.