Bach’s celebrated Christmas Oratorio forges a link between birth and deliverance: the birth of Christ is not only the birth of light, of innocence; this joyful event is equally characterized by suffering. In this respect the Christmas Oratorio is akin to the St. Matthew Passion and the St. John Passion. Guilt and innocence, suffering and deliverance are present from the moment a mother holds her child in her arms.
This book on Bach’s Christmas Oratorio lends credence to Jan Willem de Vriend’s musical interpretation of the work. It comprises an interview with De Vriend himself, carried out by the musicologist Frits de Haen, a short history of how the work came into being and an article on the liturgical significance of the six cantatas by the internationally renowned musicologist Robin A. Leaver.
The book is also replete with eight full-page photos, which explore the Mother & Child theme across the globe, taken by the photographer Eddy Posthuma de Boer.
Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit
Nun wird mein liebster Brautigam
Bereite dich, Zion, mit zartlichen Trieben
Wie soll ich dich empfangen
Er ist auf Erden kommen arm,
Grosser Herr, o starker Konig
Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein
Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend auf dem Felde