The third part of Bach's Christmas Oratorio begins with a brilliant chorus, recycled from an earlier secular cantata, with trumpets and drums. The Evangelist tells of the shepherds making their way to Bethlehem. A rather lengthy contemplative section with the chorale "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ," and a duet for bass, soprano, and two oboes d'amore follows. The Evangelist continues telling of the shepherds finding Mary, Joseph, and the child. the alto then sings an aria with violin describing Mary's innermost feelings. After two more chorales, the chorus that opened the section is repeated.

©Craig Smith

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