James MacMillan -c- Hans van der Woerd

MacMillan's Christmas Oratorio


  • James MacMillan Christmas oratorio

After Bach's renowned Christmas Oratorio, is it still possible to write a Christmas Oratorio? The Scotsman James MacMillan dares to do so.

MacMillan and Bach

MacMillan actually needs no introduction. The Scotsman, Catholic and composer was a regular guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic for some years, and frequently conducts his own works during the Saturday Matinee. Yet the premiere of his Christmas Oratorio deserves extra attention. After all, it is not often that a composer dares to measure up to Bach, whose shadow you cannot easily escape. MacMillan, sometimes called 'the contemporary Bach' mainly because of his many vocal compositions, does it - partly commissioned by the Matinee - without batting an eyelid.

Gift' for choir and orchestra

In the fourteen-part Christmas Oratorio, he mixes the influence of Bach's sinfonias, chorales and arias with old English Christmas poetry by John Donne and John Milton, among others, contemporary sonorities and Scottish folk music. A beautiful highlight in the middle of the season and a dreamed-of gift from the Matinee for Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Groot Omroepkoor.

Saturday 16 January 2021
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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James MacMillan
Netherlands Radio Choir
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Mary Bevan
Christopher Maltman
Benjamin Goodson - Photo: Paolo Ferla
Benjamin Goodson
Choir conductor
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