Carl Heinrich Graun's Weihnachtsoratorium
Vodicka, Jason Douglas
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Though Carl Heinrich Graun (1703/4-1759) was regarded as one of the leading opera composers of his day, his reputation has not survived with changing times and tastes in music. His Weihnachtsoratorium (c. 1722) has been given new life in a scholarly performing edition published by Ortus (1998) and an elegant recording led by conductor Hermann Max. Graun’s oratorio is a work that could enhance the usual offering of Christmas works for church, school, and community choirs. Its choral movements are expertly crafted and well within the reach of most choral ensembles. The lyrical arias are full of text imagery and beautiful melodies that foreshadow Graun’s success in the opera arena. This paper serves as an introduction to the composer and to the work and includes a movement-by-movement analysis and suggestions for performance.