Marc‐Antoine Charpentier: Te Deum in D major
Johann Sebastian Bach: Glory to God in the highest
- Soprano: Michelle Buck
Alto: Saskia Klumpp
Tenor: Vernon Kirk
Bass: Dennis Chmelensky
- Berliner Oratorien-Chor
Young Voices MDG
- Concerto Brandenburg
- Conductor Thomas Hennig
The focus of the 2023 Christmas Concert is threefold and centers on the Prussian court of Frederick the Great. Hofkapellmeister Carl Heinrich Graun (1704 – 1759) composed an impressive Christmas oratorio in the 18th century. The score of his “Oratorio in Festum Nativitatis Christi” was long considered lost. It was not until 1998 that it was edited according to a source that had been forgotten in the meantime. Today, the oratorio is performed occasionally but rarely. Yet in Berlin, the regular performance of the works of Carl Heinrich Graun should be an obligation out of tradition alone, especially since reception is limited to very few repertoire pieces.
Many of the great composers of the music cultivated in Prussia were inspired by French composers. This can be explained easily from a purely historical point of view. The “Te Deum” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) in D major was a work that was often performed at the time. At present, unfortunately, it is known only for the main theme of the prelude used as the Eurovision melody. Yet the “Te Deum” contains many themes that were inspirational for subsequent composers and formed a certain style that became established as a trend in the baroque age of Europe.
The third work of the performance is the recently reconstructed cantata “Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe” (“Glory to God in the highest”) BWV 197a, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) in 1728 for Christmas Day. Here, too, the first part of the cantata was long considered lost. The opening chorus was reconstructed in 2022 from various sources that are now accessible.
The concert is supported by a grant from the Berlin Senate Department of Culture.