Christmas Oratorio with guided tours in the Gemäldegalerie


A special kind of Christmas experience: In a series of five concerts between 25 December 2016 and 6 January 2017, the Gemäldegalerie presents Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in dialogue with images from its collection and modern musical works.

The Christmas Oratorio’s six cantatas can be heard on precisely the days that Johann Sebastian Bach originally envisioned for the performances in 1734/35, between the first day of Christmas and Epiphany. Before each of the concerts, thematically linked pictures from 15th and 16th century masters will be explored during a special twenty minute guided tour. These outstanding works by Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christ, Filippo Lippi, Hugo van der Goes, Martin Schongauer, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, among others, have a particular resonance with the cantatas. Following the concerts, which will take place in the Gemäldegalerie’s central hall, visitors will have the opportunity to take a look at the Gemäldegalerie’s wider collection.

Bach’s spiritual message will also by complemented by modern musical works. Compositions by Pēteris Vasks, György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, and Francis Poulenc are each placed alongside a cantata from the Christmas Oratorio, opening up questions about the power of belief in our time.

Choir and soloists are members of Vocalconsort Berlin, with the soloists varying in each performance depending on parts. The music is performed by the Ensemble CONTINUU||M under the musical direction of David Cavelius and Nicolas Fink.

Christmas Oratorio with tours in the Gemäldegalerie

  • 5 evenings between 25 December 2016 and 6 January 2017
  • Concert begins at 20:00
  • Optional guided tours through the exhibition at 19:30, doors open 19:15
  • Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum
  • Tickets (per concert): €20 / concessions €14

Concert dates and tickets

25 December 2016:
Cantata I: "Jauchzet, frohlocket" (1734) and Pēteris Vasks: Ziles Zina (2004)

26 December 2016:
Cantata II: "Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend"(1734) and Luciano Berio: Sequenza I for flute (1958) / Sequenza VII for oboe (1969)

27 December 2005:
Cantata III: "Herrscher des Himmels" (1734) and György Ligeti: Lux aeterna (1966)
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1 January 2017:
Cantata IV: "Fallt mit Danken" (1735) and Cantata V: "Ehre sei dir Gott gesungen" (1735)
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6 January 2017:
Cantata VI: "Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben" (1735) and Francis Poulenc: Figure humanine (1943)
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