The Christmas Oratorio in Context

Event time: 
Friday, December 5, 2008 - 8:30am
Event description: 

Rosenfeld Hall, 109 Grove Street


Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is not only one of the greatest compositions celebrating the birth of Jesus, but it is also an integral part of Christmas as a cultural event. Preceding a performance of the Oratorio in its entirety on Dec. 6 and 7, the Institute of Sacred Music is hosting a symposium with the title The Christmas Oratorio in Context. 

In five lectures, scholars from different disciplines will place Bach’s masterwork in its wider cultural and religious context. The talks, which are geared towards a general audience, will explain the biblical and pagan origins of Christmas, and explore the reception of the feast in music and the visual arts. One of the leading questions is how not only Bach’s but our own understanding of Christmas came into being.



1:30 pm

Martin Jean & Markus Rathey

Welcome & Introductions

Session 1

Markus Rathey, chair

1:45 Adela Yarbro Collins (Yale) The Interpretation of the Birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke
2:30 Susan Roll (Saint Paul University) Christmas: Its Roots and Its Wings
3:15   Coffee Break

Session 2

Sally M. Promey, chair

3:45 Robin A. Leaver (Princeton, visiting at Yale) Christmas in Leipzig
4:30 Meredith J. Gill (University of Maryland) “Let Us See This Word That Has Come to Pass”: The Nativity in the Visual Arts
5:15 Markus Rathey (Yale) How the Angels Learned to Sing “Jingle Bells”: Christmas and Music


Performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio by Yale Camerata, 

Marguerite L. Brooks, conductor

Saturday, December 6, 2008

7 pm  Preconcert talk by Markus Rathey, Dwight Chapel

8 pm  Christmas Oratorio (Cantatas I - III), Battell Chapel

Sunday, December 7, 2008

3 pm  Preconcert talk by Markus Rathey, Joseph Slifka Center

4 pm  Christmas Oratorio (Cantatas IV - VI), Battell Chapel