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November 2018

Caesar’s Coin

Sunday 4 November, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Caesar's Coin

“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar…” Two cellos conjure up an irresistible picture of coin-polishers at work, swinging and striking their hammers in Bach's Cantata 163 Nur jedem das seine.

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December 2018

Morning Star

Sunday 9 December, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Van Gogh Starry night over the Rhone

Bach's Advent Cantatas with a rousing French 'Ouverture' and divine angels hovering round the manger, hold us in breathless suspense with arresting, unexpected dissonances, and extravagant kaleidoscopic colours.

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Christmas Oratorio

Monday 24 December, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £25
Christmas Oratorio

Oxford’s most evocative seasonal event with an authentic performance of JS Bach’s much-loved telling of the Christmas story (Parts I-III). The perfect way to start your Christmas Eve!

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February 2019

OBS Friends’ Day

Sunday 3 February 2019, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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OBS Friends

We will be hosting a unique event as a thank you to our Friends with a wonderful programme created around our concert that day, Cantatas for the New Year.

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Cantatas for New Year

Sunday 3 February 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Steph Franklin

Unique among Bach’s church music, Cantata 152 for the 1st Sunday after Christmas in 1714 is scored for recorders, viola d’amore, viola da gamba, and oboe. These ‘old fashioned’ instruments, chosen for their tender qualities, create an exquisitely delicate intimacy.

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Lutheran Vespers

Sunday 24 February 2019, 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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New College Choir

A service of Lutheran Vespers featuring Bach’s Cantata 18 Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt. This dramatic cantata, written for Sexagesima Sunday, is richly scored for four violas and shows Bach’s vivid use of the latest operatic styles of the early 18th century.

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March 2019

Bach’s Leipzig Audition

Sunday 3 March 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Will Anderson, Tenor

In December 1722 Bach was keen to leave Köthen and applied for the cantorate of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Anxious to woo the reluctant Leipzigers, who were not particularly disposed to appoint him, he diplomatically presented himself as a composer on quite modest lines. At his audition on 7th February 1723 he performed Cantatas 22 and 23 which, despite slim forces of oboe and strings, contain some of the most affecting and imaginative music in the cantata repertoire.

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April 2019

St John Passion

Friday 19 April 2019, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £25
St John Passion

One of Bach’s best loved works, the St John Passion was first performed on Good Friday of 1724 in the St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig. This operatic piece is presented by an ensemble of soloists, chorus, and orchestra, ‘Daring, forceful and poetic’ – Robert Schumann.

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Easter Oratorio

Saturday 20 April 2019, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £25
Easter Oratorio

Bach’s festive scoring with trumpets and drums tells the story of the Resurrection through Simon Peter, John the Apostle, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jacobe.

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May 2019

Word of Thunder

Sunday 5 May 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Trumpet

On 2nd November 1723, Bach was in Störmthal and performed Cantata 194 to dedicate their new organ. Full of extrovert colours, Bach adapts the structure and style of an orchestral suite into cantata form.

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June 2019

Whit Sunday

Sunday 2 June 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Aimee Presswood, Soloist

Barely arrived in Leipzig, Bach probably announced himself with Cantata 59 on Whit Sunday 1723 (16 May), six days before his family joined him. Eight days later, he began his first Leipzig cantata cycle with Cantata 75.

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The Heavens are Telling

Sunday 30 June 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Sam Mitchell, Alto

Keen to impress the congregations in Leipzig, Bach’s first Cantatas in his new role set the bar extraordinarily high. Both Cantata 75 (for Whit Sunday) and Cantata 76 are written on a great scale consisting of 14 movements

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August 2019

Behold and See

Sunday 4 August 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Horn

Recycling was very much a part of the 18th century composer’s armory, and Bach’s efforts were the most inventive. Cantata 186, which started life in Weimar 1716, is presented in its later, expanded version.

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September 2019

Sanctus

Sunday 1 September 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Tom Lowen

A stirring Sanctus in C major, and three cantatas with big statements: BWV 179 preaches against hypocrisy with marvelous directness; BWV 77 illustrates the second of Jesus’ two commandments recounted in the gospel narratives; and BWV 69a enjoins us to praise the Lord and ‘do not forget what good He has done for you!’

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October 2019

Sound In My Body

Sunday 6 October 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Sound in my Body

Throughout the long summer and autumn Trinitarian period, the Lutheran lectionary’s emphasis on sin and sickness in mind and body reaches full tilt in expressions such as ‘The whole world is but a hospital’ in Cantata 25. But Bach’s music is the ‘balm of Gilead’ that heals all, above the ceaseless lament.

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November 2019

Help My Unbelief

Sunday 3 November 2019, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Tom Hammond-Davies

The cantatas Bach was writing at this time deal with the theme of Christians rejecting the material world and its temptations so as not to risk losing union with God. Cantata 162 relates to the parable of the royal wedding feast to which ‘many are called but few are chosen’.

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December 2019

Magnificat: Cantatas for Christmas

Tuesday 24 December 2019, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
+ Google Map
Free – £25
Daniel Norman, Tenor

Bach’s first Christmas in Leipzig comes with an explosion of festive music. After Advent’s ‘tempus clausum’ (closed period), Bach laid on nine major pieces for his singers and instrumentalists to master, including the Magnificat in E flat major, more commonly heard in its later D major version.

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