Birmingham Bach Choir: Christmas Oratorio

Saturday 19 November 2022.
Lichfield Cathedral.
Celebrating 30 years with Paul Spicer.

Birmingham Bach Choir get into the seasonal spirit with a special festive gala concert of Bach’s famed Christmas Oratorio (19 Nov 2022, Lichfield Cathedral).

Declared one of the best pieces of Christmas classical music of all time by BBC Music Magazine, the work is stirring and uplifting – a genuine masterpiece from the pen of one of the greatest ever composers.

Intended for performance in church during the Christmas season, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was written in 1734, although it incorporates elements from several earlier compositions. Recounting the story of the nativity, from the birth of Jesus to The Adoration of the Magi (the Three Kings’ homage to the infant Christ), each of the six individual parts has its own focus.

The complete oratorio is several hours, so is rarely performed in full. Hence, for this concert, the choir will be concentrating on parts One (The Birth), Three (the Adoration of The Shepherds), Five (The Journey Of The Magi), and Six (The Adoration Of The Magi).

Joining Birmingham Bach Choir for the performance are baroque-style orchestra The Musical and Amicable Society with soloists soprano Sofia Larsson, countertenor James Laing, tenor Daniel Auchincloss, baritone Ashley Riches, and Evangelist, Thomas Hobbs.

The performance, at Lichfield’s historic triple-spired cathedral, is the first of the choir’s 2022-2023 season – one which which marks Conductor Paul Spicer’s 30th anniversary leading the group. Taking the position in 1992, after periods with choirs in Chester and Leicester, Paul has overseen one of the most fruitful and exciting periods in Birmingham Bach Choir’s 100 year history. His ongoing tenure has witnessed international tours, numerous major new choral commissions and premieres, and a performance for Royalty.

The choir’s longest serving Music Director, the Christmas Oratorio will be Paul’s 115th concert. In addition to conducting, Paul also selects the programme for each concert, as well as training and rehearsing the choir.

Birmingham Bach Choir President, Gisella Stuart, Rt Hon Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, said: “Paul is one of the UK’s most respected and accomplished choral conductors and composers, and an inspiring focal point for the choir, helping us maintain our position as one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs.

“This Bach masterpiece is not only a perfect seasonal treat, but the ideal choice – celebratory and spirited – to mark Paul’s 30 year tenure with the choir.”

Birmingham Bach Choir: Christmas Oratorio is at Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield, on Saturday 19 November 2022. For tickets and more information, see:


Saturday 19 November 2022
Birmingham Bach Choir: Christmas Oratorio
Lichfield Cathedral, The Close, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7LD
Tickets: £12-£32.

JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Parts 1, 3, 5 & 6.

Conductor: Paul Spicer
Orchestra: The Musical & Amicable Society
Soloists: Sofia Larsson, James Laing, Daniel Auchincloss & Ashley Riches
Evangelist: Thomas Hobbs

About Birmingham Bach Choir

As one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning over 500 years, including 20th and 21st century works.

2019 was the choir’s centenary, a year which saw the choir make a series of special appearances, including a Gala Concert in Lichfield Cathedral and a performance for Royalty.

The 2022-2023 Season marks Paul Spicer’s 30th anniversary with the choir, and will be marked with performances including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (19 Nov 2022, Lichfield Cathedral) and Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (1 Apr 2023, St. Paul’s, Birmingham).

About Paul Spicer



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