Through the Bach+ Cantata Vespers, engage with some of J.S. Bach’s Leipzig cantatas, considered by many to be among the crowning achievements of a learned musician who was deeply committed to his faith. This “mini cantata cycle,” presented over the course of the season, includes several that are presented in the conjunction with worship services at St. Anne’s, much in the same way that Bach’s Leipzig congregation would have experienced them.

A major focus of this season's Cantata Vespers is Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, dating from 1734-35,  which celebrates the liturgical seasons associated with the Nativity (Advent, Christmas and Epiphany).  Unlike the Passions or other Leipzig cantatas, the  Christmas Oratorio describes not simply a single event or a particular aspect of Christian life (e.g,. joy, gratitude, penitence) but instead the  complex theology  of the Incarnation and Manifestation of Christ.  While each of the six sections takes the form of a cantata, the entire work makes use of dramatic devices similar to those in the famous passions, including a re-telling of the Gospel narrative (sung by an evangelist), meditations and commentaries (arias) on the events, and reflective prayer (the chorales).

In keeping with the spirit of the work, Bach+ is presenting selections from each of the cantatas across the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. 

November 5, 2017, 6:15 p.m. (immediately following the 5:30 service)
“Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” - BWV 80“

December 14, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
Christmas Oratorio” - BWV 248 (Part 1)

December 24, 2017, 10:30 p.m. (prelude to the 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service)
“Christmas Oratorio” - BWV 248 (Part 2)

January 7, 2018, 5:30 p.m. (during the evening service for the Feast of the Epiphany)
“Christmas Oratorio” - BWV 248 (Selections from Parts 3-5)

February 1, 2018, 6:15 p.m. (Eve of the Feast of the Presentation)
“Christmas Oratorio” - BWV 248 (Part 6)