Welcome to a unique & very special musical celebration of Christmas!
We can think of at least 4 reasons why today's performance could be described as unique:
1. This work, consisting of six parts will be performed for only the third time in the history of this country in its entirety with all required orchestra parts played. (The previous occasion was in 2013 also by the Pretoria Bach Choir).
2. The three glorious trumpet parts will be performed for the very first time ever in South Africa on Baroque trumpets that are very similar to the original natural trumpets used in Bach's time. Today you are not hearing modern trumpets!
3. In addition, the first “horn" part in Part 4 of the Oratorio will be performed on a "Corno da Caccia", a "hunting horn"& not a modern horn - also more similar to Bach's intended sound. (Due to only one instrument being available, the second part is played on a modern Flugelhorn.)
4. The alto soloist performing will, as in the time of Bach, not be a female alto, but a counter tenor.
UNIQUE TRUMPET SOUND & ULTIMATE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE:
Bach composed the work in 1734 for the liturgy of the six prescribed Christmas & New Year services. He gave the trumpets a very special if not unconventional role to play in this work. In those days trumpets were still mainly used to musically indicate the status & position of senior nobility such as kings and princes. In Europe, this was the time in which the pomp and splendour of the nobility were in stark contrast to the poverty of ordinary people, about half a century before the French revolution.