For our first Christmas concert after 2019, Enrico Trummer, the musical director of the Stuttgart Oratorio Choir, fell back on a tried and tested concept. Two Christmas works – one rather forgotten masterpiece and one often performed – will be heard one after the other on the evening of the third Advent in the Leonhardskirche. Let yourself be enchanted by this festive, sometimes upbeat music…
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The Christmas oratorio “The Shepherds’ Joy at the Birth of Jesus” was composed by Gottfried August Homilius, who worked as a cantor in Dresden in the 18th century and achieved quite remarkable things in the field of church music. However, he is not as well known as his colleague Johann Sebastian Bach, who worked in the same capacity in Leipzig a few decades before him. Homilius fell into oblivion in the course of time, for the vast majority of his compositions were not even printed. Many of his handwritten notes were even lost. All the more reason for the Stuttgart Oratorio Choir to perform this rarely performed, very atmospheric work with delightful sounds. As far as we know, “The Shepherds’ Joy at the Birth of Jesus” has never been heard in concert in Stuttgart.
Performed again and again since 1858
Even as a child, Camille Saint-Saëns stood out for his extraordinarily high level of talent in many subject areas. He can confidently be called a child prodigy. At the age of 11, he was celebrated as the “New Mozart”. His “Oratorio de Noël” was composed in the Advent season of 1858 and premiered the same year for Christmas. He was only 23 years old at the time. Since then, this work has been performed again and again – not only in France. He earned his living as an organist and enjoyed high recognition. Franz Liszt declared him “the best organist in the world” after hearing him play once. As a composer, however, he remained controversial for a long time. For this reason, Saint-Saëns did not have the “Carnival of the Animals” published during his lifetime, because he feared for his reputation as a composer.