Free – Christmas Oratorio I – Chorale – Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein

Free – Christmas Oratorio I – Chorale – Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein




Arranged for Alto recorder solo by Robert de Bree.

As an oboist the Christmas Oratorio is one of my all-time favourite works. Amongst the many great numbers, for some reason this relatively simple final choral of the first cantata ranks highest in my appreciation. The beautiful melody of the chorale and the amazing answers by the trumpets…

It’s of course in no way possible to capture this on just one recorder; and so this seemed like a fascinating challenge to me. Experimenting with the highest range of the alto recorder to imitate the regal trumpets, I tried to find the different colours in Bach’s palet. This is therefore also a nice etude to practice your high notes in a musical, melodic situation.

— The idea of turning orchestral works into monody —

In the past there were no cds or apps. If you wanted to take your favourite music home, you had to play it yourself. A fascinating example of this are Händel’s operas, almost all of which have been published in an arrangement for solo recorder (!). Of course, a lot is lost, but recently I have started being interested in the idea of cutting away that much of the music and seeing what (if any) essence might be left? Having studied Telemann’s flute fantasias and their application to improvisation for my thesis, I apply in these arrangements the ideas for sharing counterpoint rhythmically over the beat.

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