It is well known that Bach was a keen recycler – always borrowing old musical ideas and refashioning them for different expressive purposes. The Oster Oratorium is no exception in that its origins can be traced back to a secular cantata written in 1725 to celebrate the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxony-Weissenfels. Little over a month later the cantata was performed again, this time with an amended text and new recitatives to suit the celebration of Easter Sunday, but it was not until 1735 that the composer, having made further alterations to the work’s structure and scoring, chose to give it the revised title ‘oratorio’.
Consisting of eleven numbers, the work begins with two purely instrumental movements taken from an earlier concerto. The third, a duet that was later transformed into a chorus and which may have originally been the concluding allegro of the same concerto, is succeeded by a selection of different suite-based dance forms. Richly orchestrated and complete with trumpets and drums, this uplifting work – the first of three oratorios by Bach – is superbly performed by the Motettenchor and Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester of Pforzheim, under the direction of Rolf Schweizer.
- Booklet notes and complete sung texts
- A firm place for this powerful but somewhat neglected Oratorio in the MUSICA SACRA series.