Two Views on Baby Christ: The Story of the Nativity Told by H. Schütz and J. S. Bach. Essay II. «Wie soll ich dich empfangen?»


This paper is the last of two essays on the interpretation of the Gospel Nativity story by great German baroque composers. J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is presented as the composer’s integral declaration on Christ and Christian faith. The unity of the cycle is determined not only by the continuity of the biblical narration (and musical connections between separate parts of the oratorio) but also by the specific approach to its interpretation: the text and music of the pieces that sound as answers to the Evangelist’s recitative often refer to “parallel passages” of the Holy Scripture, i.e. to the broad biblical context. The relationship between Christmas Oratorio and the images and messages of two great Bach’s Passions is emphasized, particularly concerning the first part of the oratorio, in which the spiritual topics of Advent are reflected upon. To be continued and completed in the next issue.