On Sunday evening, December 14, at 8:00 PM, Chicago Chorale will present J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio at the Church of St. Paul and the Redeemer, 4945 South Dorchester. Choir, soloists, and orchestra will be conducted by Augustana member Bruce Tammen; choir members include Paul Erling, Adam Gibson, Nancy Goede, and Esther Menn.
Composed in 1734, the Christmas Oratorio consists of six individual cantatas, originally intended for performance on six of the twelve days of the liturgical Christmas season, which extends from Christmas Day to Epiphany. Structural evidence suggests that Bach intended the oratorio as an integrated whole, dividing naturally into two parts; the Chorale will perform Part I, which tells the story of the birth of Jesus, the proclamation to the shepherds, and the shepherds at the manger, as told in Luke 21-20. Though not often performed in Chicago, concerts of this work are as common in Europe, especially in Germany, as versions of Handel's Messiah are in this country, making the Christmas Oratorio Bach's most beloved and oft- performed work, world-wide.
The orchestra will play on period instruments -- natural trumpets, wooden flutes, stringed instruments strung with gut rather than metal -- which are softer in volume and lower in pitch than modern instruments, lending performances of baroque music an elegance, lightness, and grace often lacking in performances by modern orchestras. St. Paul's is the ideal size for such a concert, and has the sort of clear, warm acoustic that enhances the delicate, ingratiating sound of both instruments and singers.
Admission is $15, $10 for students and seniors. For advance ticket sales, send a check, made out to Chicago Chorale, to Chicago Chorale, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615. Please include your address and telephone number. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door.