Bach’s Christmas Vespers 1723

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Returning to the 28th annual St John’s, Smith Square Christmas Festival, Oxford Baroque present a unique, historically informed recreation of the first performance of J.S. Bach’s festive Magnificat.

Composed for the Christmas Day Vespers of 1723 at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, it would have featured significantly as part of the liturgical music for the service. Drawing together information relating to the contemporary liturgy and knowledge we have of the other music performed there by Bach, this performance invites the listener to hear Bach’s exuberant masterpiece alongside the beuatiful chant propers and polyphony of the stile antico, in the context for which it was originally intended. The programme also features a magnificent cantata by Johann Kuhnau, Bach’s predecessor in Leipzig, formerly mistakenly attributed to Bach as Cantata 142.