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My Daily Bach

Episode 20: Christmas Oratorio with Leipzig Radio Choir

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Today is the final My Daily Bach episode during our Backstock celebration. Thank you so much for coming to listen to this series. We will be taking a break from the podcast to investigate whether we an expand it to include more composers. If you would like to give us feedback on My Daily Bach or give us ideas for how to improve our music podcast, post a comment below. All downloads will remain on the site, courtesy of Universal Music Classics, until December 15th.

Today's free download features a movement of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, performed by the Leipzig Radio Choir and Staatskapelle Dresden.

Christmas Oratorio BWV 248: Jauchzet Frolocket!
Johann Sebastian Bach
Leipzig Radio Choir; Staatskapelle Dresden
Peter Schreier, conductor
Available at

If you think of an oratorio as an unstaged, concert-length work that tells a story with music for individual characters and ensembles, that’s exactly right. But Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a little bit different. It’s actually a sequence of six church cantatas, each to be performed on a different day of the Christmas holidays. Bach did some smart recycling when he wrote this work. The opening chorus comes from a secular cantata he’d written earlier, for the birthday celebration of the Queen of Poland, so the celebratory sound in the music is just right. The original text describes the drums and trumpets and strings that sound forth in the music. The Christmas version let the instruments speak for themselves. The words urge people to, “Shout, exult, rise up and glorify the day,” and infectious waves of rejoicing roll on and on through this music. Here’s that opening chorus, from the Staatskapelle Dresden and Leipzig Radio Choir, conducted by Peter Schreier.

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