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September 2020

Come Unto Him

Sunday 6 September, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Come Unto Him

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** From July 1724 onwards, Bach must have had access to an exceptionally talented flautist for whom, in the months that followed, he regularly composed unusually demanding music. This unknown player possessed remarkable virtuosity on an instrument that was then still a novelty, and the opening bars of Cantata 94 must have surprised the connoisseurs among the Leipzig congregation. Cantata 101, based on the Martin Moller’s chorale (1584) which he had written during a time of plague, displayed yet more of this fine flautist’s skill in the first aria.

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October 2020

When Will I Die?

Sunday 4 October, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
When Will I Die

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** Muted violins and pizzicato express fearfulness of shaky steps in Cantata 33, and a virtuoso flute counterpoint depicts shaking and torment of the soul in Cantata 99. The monumental opening chorus of BWV 78 stands out as one of Bach’s most remarkable examples of a chromatic passacaglia in passus duriusculus, used in the model for the Crucifixus of the B Minor Mass. Plucked arpeggios, bell tones, and a slow elegiac swing evoke the scene of ‘a passing funeral cortège’ (Gardiner) in the opening movement of Cantata 8, painting a picture of a ‘church-yard full of lowers in the springtime’ (Spitta).

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November 2020

Morning Star

Sunday 1 November, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Morning Star

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** An instruction to ‘Take what is yours and go away’ opens this concert of three of Bach’s most celebrated chorale-cantatas. These direct words in Cantata 114 draw from the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, and are followed directly by a second instruction not to grumble when things don’t go as planned. Cantata 96 compares Christ to the ‘Morning Star’, with the appearance of a sparkling sopranino recorder, used for the first time in his cantatas, and the famous melody by Philipp Nicolai often heard at Christmas, ‘Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern’ (How brightly shines the morning star)

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December 2020

Wedding Feast

Sunday 13 December, 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £15
Wedding Feast

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** Themes of weddings and feasts abound in Cantata 180, Bach’s choral-cantata setting of the great Eucharist hymn, ‘Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele’ (Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness). Based on the Parable of the Great Banquet, it maintains a festive feeling throughout, imagining a bride preparing for her wedding, full of charm, grace, and great delicacy.

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Christmas Oratorio Parts 1 & 3

Wednesday 23 December, 5:00 pm - 6:45 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £25 241 tickets left
Christmas Oratorio Pt 1

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** Join us for one of Oxford’s most evocative seasonal events in the magical setting of New College Chapel. J. S. Bach’s much loved telling of the Christmas story describes the Birth of Jesus, the annunciation to the shepherds, and the adoration of the shepherds in his Christmas Oratorio of 1734. Spread over two days, the Oratorio shares the stage with Bach’s Advent masterpiece Cantata 62 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, and Christmas Cantatas written in his second year at Leipzig. Such festive and brilliant music is sure to be a memorable way to celebrate Christmas this year!

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Christmas Oratorio Part 4

Thursday 24 December, 5:00 pm - 6:45 pm
New College Chapel, Holywell Street
Oxford, OX1 3BN
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Free – £25 247 tickets left
Christmas Oratorio Pt 2

***CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS Please click for more information*** Join us for one of Oxford’s most evocative seasonal events in the magical setting of New College Chapel. J. S. Bach’s much loved telling of the Christmas story describes the Birth of Jesus, the annunciation to the shepherds, and the adoration of the shepherds in his Christmas Oratorio of 1734. Spread over two days, the Oratorio shares the stage with Bach’s Advent masterpiece Cantata 62 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, and Christmas Cantatas written in his second year at Leipzig. Such festive and brilliant music is sure to be a memorable way to celebrate Christmas this year!

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