Sandy Burnett’s close relationship with Bach’s music stretches back for decades; between 1997 and 2010 he directed a complete cycle of Bach’s sacred cantatas in West London. In this illustrated talk he explores how Bach brings the Christmas story alive in his Weihnachtsoratorium or Christmas Oratorio, written for Lutheran congregations in 1730s Leipzig. An overview of Bach’s life and achievement precedes a close look at this magnificent work which draws on various forms ranging from recitative, arioso, aria, chorale, and instrumental sinfonia through to full-blown choruses which are infused with the joyous spirit of the dance.
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Sandy is one of the UK’s most versatile music commentators, enjoying a career that combines broadcasting, performing and lecturing. After studying at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and working as music director for the RSC, National Theatre and in London’s West End, Sandy Burnett spent a decade as one of the core team of presenters on BBC Radio 3. Combining engaging scholarship with hands-on expertise, he devises and leads cultural holidays all over the world, is the author of the Idler Guide to Classical Music, is a highly sought after double bassist on the London jazz scene, and was appointed the Academy of Ancient Music’s Hogwood Fellow for the 2018-19 season.