Imprint: Michael Stenov (composer), P.O. Box 9, A-4623 Gunskirchen, Austria, email
The   opening   chorus   with   the   text   from   the   Gospel   of   St.   John   lets   you   feel   the   mystery,   the   love   and   the   glory   of   the   Holy   Trinity   before   the foundation   of   the   world   through   the   Word,   i.e.   Jesus   Christ :   EVERYTHING   was   made   through   Him,   and   the   Triune   God,   who   is   the   light,   has nothing   in   common   with   darkness.   Both   storylines   concerning   John   the   Baptist    and   Jesus   are   closely   interwoven.   Each   of   the   two   resulting   large   parts Advent   and   Christmas   consists   of   four   smaller   parts,   which   are   finished   with   known   chorales.   The   Annunciation ,   the   long   waiting   and   finally   the birth   of   first   precursor   John   and   finally   the   Saviour   and   Redeemer   Jesus   Christ   clearly   show   what   a   special   gift   of   God   an   innocent   child   in   the   world has always been, is and will remain. All   names   of   people   occurring   in   the   Christmas   story   have   a   special   meaning   in   Hebrew   (you   can   find   the   names   and   their   equivalents   in   the booklet):   Zacharias   –   the   name   expresses:   Jahweh    remembers“   –   despite   the   message   of   the   Archangel   Gabriel   unable   to   believe   that   his   and Elisabeth’s   intimate   prayers   for   a   child   are   still   heard   because   it   is   impossible   from   a   human   perspective;   Mary   (the   beloved),   however,   believes   the   in her   case   much   more   incredible   word   of   the   angel,   although   she   does   not   understand   everything   immediately.   In   her   meeting   with   Elizabeth,   the   Holy Spirit   fills   her   with   praise   of   God,   the   Magnificat .   When   Zacharias   confirms   the   name   John   -   which   means   "God   has   shown   grace"   -   in   the circumcision   of   his   son   and   thus   affirms   the   word   of   the   angel,   he   gets   back   his   ability   to   speak,   praises   God   in   the   Benedictus   full   of   the   Holy   Spirit and prophesies great things to his child. All present marvel at the grace of God and his wonderful deeds. The   real   Christmas   story   happens   in   the   second   part:   Jesus ,   after   the   fall   of   the   whole   sighing   and   in   labour   lying   creation   the   long   and   eagerly awaited   saviour   of   mankind   from   eternal   death   and   destruction,   is   born   by   the   Virgin   Mary   in   Bethlehem.   Bethlehem   is   translated   "House   of   Bread", which   already   points   to   Jesus   Christ   as   the   living   bread,   the   Eucharist .   So   the   creator   of   the   universe   (the   Word )   actually   comes   to   the   world   to   save us   sinners   as   a   person   (in   the   flesh),   hidden   and   concealed   in   a   stable,   because   God   knows   that   the   highly   placed   of   his   people   would   not   accept   him as   a   child   of   poor   people.   The   jubilant   chorus   of   angels   discloses   to   the   simple   people,   the   shepherds   that   the   Messiah,   the   Saviour,   is   born,   and   they worship   him   as   representatives   of   the   Jewish   people.   In   the   presentation   in   the   temple   the   aged   priest   Simeon   confesses   him   as   the   Messiah ,   bringing fulfilment   of   the   prophecy   that   he   will   see   the   saviour   of   the   world   before   his   death.   The   Hl.   Three   Kings   represent   the   acceptance   of   the   Messiah   by the   Gentiles,   which   already   shows   that   Jesus   was   born   not   only   for   the   salvation   of   the   Jews   but   of ALL   people.   The   chief   priests   and   Scribes   know from   the   Torah    that   the   time   of   the   appearance   of   the   Messiah   is   here   and   refer   rightly   to   Bethlehem.   Herod   immediately   sees   his   power   as   ruler threatened   and   had   have   murdered    all   the   boys   of   the   specified   age   by   the   three   kings   in   Bethlehem   so   as   to   kill   also   the   Chosen   Child,   that   -   warned by   the   angel   -   succeeds   in   fleeing   to   Egypt   with   Joseph   and   his   mother,   Mary. This   is   probably   a   bitter   foretaste   of   future   suffering   and   death   of   Jesus   himself   and   global   distress   and   persecution   of   many   professing   Christians   in   the   further   course   of   history.   In   the   last   choir   resonates   that   god's   plan   may be indeed disturbed by the adversary and mankind, but ultimately can not be prevented. With   this   oratorio ,   I   wholeheartedly   wish   you   a   deep   spiritual   and   psychological   understanding   of   the   most   important   story   of   a   child's   birth   which the world has ever experienced.     Michael Stenov
Both   PAL- DVD   and   double   CD    contain   a   booklet   (24   resp.   28   pages)   with   an   introduction   to   the   subject,   the   entire German   text   of   the   composition   and   an   epilogue   of   the   composer,   which   gives   an   insight   into   his   musical   world   of thought,   also   detailing   the   instrumentation   and   a   glossary   of   Jewish   names   along   with   their   meaning.   For   the   two- part TV interview  with Prof. Andreas Schnee and the composer about his work, see GLORIA-TV .
The recording took place in the Imperial Hall at Kremsmünster on 24th of September, 2011. The 90-minute two-part work was filmed by the Upper Austrian camera crew with Franz Gangl, Anton Grabmann and Heinz Reitstätter. Editor: Michael Stenov Sound: Tonstudio Andreas Schwarzgruber. NEW: Reviews on Amazon: double-CD! To the CD-DVD-Shop! To the videos! To the music! To the pictures!
The OTHER CHRISTMAS ORATORIO  on Double-CD, PAL-VD and Blu-ray-DVD! SCORE (A4- resp. A3), Piano reduction, choral score and parts material have been published by DANIEL KUNERT - BUCH & NOTE in 2014! To the Shop!
In   addition   to   the   Orchestra   (members   of   the   Bruckner   Orchestra   Linz   and   others)   and   five   soloists   (Tanja   and   Daniela   Höfer   (PAL- DVD/CD)    resp.    Regina    Riel     and    Michaela    Diermeier    (First    Performance) ,    Martin    Kiener ,    Joachim    Roth    and    Dr.    Bert Brandstetter )   a   large   choir   participated   in   the   work,   which   sees   itself   as   a   comprehensive   Christmas   synopsis   ( CANTORES CARMELI   LINZ ).   Music   students   and   professors   mainly   from   Upper Austria   formed   the   choir.   The   composer   himself   was   also   the conductor of the recording and the first performance.
the   famous   Christmas   Oratorio   by   J.   S.   Bach.   It   shows   the   flow   of   the   Christmas   events   with   the   full German   text   of   all   four   gospels .   Michael   Stenov ,   therefore,   speaks   of   a   harmony   of   all   four Gospels.   The   first   part   (ADVENT)   of   the   oratorio   starts   with   the   spiritual   interpretation   of   John   the Evangelist and includes proclamation and birth of John the Baptist. The    second    part    (CHRISTMAS)     turns    to    the    birth    of    Christ    and    illuminates    it    including    the presentation in the temple, the visit of the Holy Magi and the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.
in   the   Imperial   Hall   of   Kremsmünster   in   autumn   2011.   The PUBLIC   PREMIERE    took   place   on   Sunday,   December   11, 2011,      at      19.30       in      the      Mühlviertler      Dom       (Parish Niederkappel). The   composer   used   biblical   texts   almost   exclusively   that   make the   Christmas   story   more   a   full   experience,   as   it   is   the   case   with
The other Christmas Oratorio from Upper Austria   The   Upper   Austrian   composer   Michael   Stenov    wrote   a   great   Christmas   Oratorio   (90'), entitled   "Das   Wort   ward   Fleisch   -   Die   Geburt   Christi”   (The   Word   became   flesh   -   The Nativity)    Op   11   which   was   recorded   (without   audience)   for   a   PAL- DVD   and   double   CD  
SCORE, piano reduction, choral score and parts material (sheet music) was launched in 2014 by: VERLAG DANIEL KUNERT - BUCH & NOTE In 1997 I was very interested in the Bible text and therefore created a synopsis  (a gospel harmony) from all four Gospels  - so at this time without any musical intention. While often reading it later I realised that the Christmas story was previously never set to music by the pure Gospel text in such detail. The first outline in choruses, arias, ensembles, recitatives and chorales seemed very promising immediately. A colourful and varied picture arose inserting the choruses and chorales at suitable places. So finally there were 70 numbers. Nine resp ten choirs (opening chorus no. 1 and the final chorus no. 70 are only differently texted), so it is six resp seven mixed choruses, one women's chorus, two men's choruses Seven chorales Thirty-two recitatives for Tenor 1 (Evangelist) Twenty-one solos (Arias), three for Soprano (Mary), three for Alto (Elisabeth), nine for Tenor 2 (angel) und six for Bass (two for Zacharias, two for Simeon, one for King Herod and one for John the Baptist in chorus no. 38) Two ensembles: the Solo Quartet in chorus no. 41 and the Men’s Trio no. 57 (Holy Three Kings) The large choirs Nos. 1, 38, 41 and 70 with the text from the prologue of John the Evangelist constitute the spiritual connection. The angel chorus no. 45 is the sonic climax. The work can be performed either as a whole without a break or in two parts (Advent and Christmas) with an intermission between Chorus no. 38 and Chorale no. 39. (90 minutes or 45 minutes each) Especially in the recitatives (accompanied by cello and organ continuo), but also in the other parts the tone and word painting was important to me, which can be easily empathised in most cases. In composing the solo pieces, it seemed vital to tune the instrumentation, timbre and keys to the characters or the text passages. The whole of the first part up to and including chorus No. 38 tells the prehistory OF the birth of Jesus; the smaller portions always culminate in a choral. (No. 1 - 10: The announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, No. 11 - 21: The announcement of the birth of Jesus, No. 22 - 28 Mary’s Visitation to Elisabeth, No. 29 - 38 The birth of John the Baptist) The first fugue subject of the opening chorus no. 1 returns into itself and therefore includes audibly "everything" (respectively the "Heart of the Father" in the final chorus no. 70). The second fugue subject is very flexible, therefore symbolises both lives in the opening chorus and the Holy Spirit in the final chorus. The low a cappella-passage ends in a diminished seventh chord (the darkness has not recognised the word - the „logos“, Christ). Instead of that, the angels serve him, and Father and Son are one. The two trumpets in the angel's pieces Nos. 3, 7 and 12 and the recitative no. 22 symbolise the angel's wings, as the two French horns in the angel apparitions in the dreams of Joseph (no. 23, 64 and 68). Of course, it suits best to accompany with the harp; in this case without an "earthly" bass instrument to indicate the celestial sphere. The old Zacharias is accompanied by two bassoons underlined by the double bass as a continuo instrument. The Benedictus - the canticle of Zechariah - is divided into two parts by an instrumental interlude due to the length. (Nos. 5 and 34 in A Minor) For Elisabeth I chose the Dorian key and two violas the violoncello as a bass instrument and for the first time followed by also Dorian C horale no. 10, whose second verse is a Bass-Cantus firmus. (Nos. 9, 25 and 30) For Maria, in the Magnificat two violins seemed best to support the oboe with the Gregorian Magnificat-Cantus firmus. Since Mary occupies a position between heaven and earth, I have decided for the Viola as "bass instrument" and the bass part deliberately kept in the range of the viola. (No. 16 in D minor, no. 20 in C minor and no. 27 in F major) Choral no. 21 has also got the melody in the bass in the second verse. In the chorales of the first part, the obbligato instruments are oboe (Nos. 10 and 21) and French horns (no. 28) to express the longing for the coming of the Messiah. Both Turba Choruses no. 32 in D minor and no. 36 in A Minor are accompanied only with basso continuo resp. two additional violins. The chorus no. 38 in D major with the bass solo (John the Baptist) in the middle part concludes the first part. The real Christmas story takes place in the second part, which takes about the same length as the first, although it has got fewer numbers. (No. 39 - 49 The birth of Jesus, No. 50 - 55 The Presentation in the Temple, No. 56 - 62 The visit of the Magi, No 63 - 70 The flight to Egypt) I took the well-known setting of  Michael Praetorius as opening chorale of the second part (no. 39) and extended it to instrumental parts. The very first recitative no. 40 briefly portrays the Nativity. This is followed by chorus no. 41 in D major, which interprets this salvation spiritually with the words of John the Evangelist. The solo quartet in the middle section deals with the problem of mankind who is either inclined to accept the offer of salvation or just unfortunately not. In No. 43 in G major a magnificent Seraph with six wings (with 2 trumpets, horns and  trombones) appears to the shepherds and announces the birth of the Saviour to them, followed by the Angelic Chorus No. 45 in D major, in which all groups of instruments - symbolising both the ladder to heaven and the ascending and rising of small and large angels - accompany the singing of the choir. The three-part male chorus of shepherds no. 47 in D minor with the two treble recorders (alternatively possibly with two oboes) and the bassoon forms a strong contrast in its simplicity. The Chorale No. 49 devotes itself - by the two horns somewhat reluctant - to the worship of the Divine Child in the manger. In the temple the aged Simeon (No. 51 in G minor and No. 53 in C minor) - his power of belief is symbolised by two trombones - confirms Jesus to be the Messiah. In choral No. 55, the Christmas spirit breaks through with trumpets and timpani and angels singing Hallelujah. In Trio no. 57 in D Minor I used the  Judeo-Sephardic scale whereby the Magi phonetically strut along as on ambling camels of an oriental caravan. In the end, the oboe and two bassoons play around the soloists in Arab-heterophony manner. First hesitantly and then more confident and finally triumphantly the choir of the chief priests and scribes No. 59 in A Minor - majestically accompanied by horns and trombones - confirms the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. Comparatively, the appearance of King Herod No. 61 in D major with trumpets and tympani seems superficial and hypocritical; the accompaniment ideally is accomplished by Regal (regalis = Royal) and contrabassoon. Choral No. 62 - the aforementioned setting by Praetorius - has got a new text and is an expression of reverence and adoration of the three kings. The angel's warning the Holy Family (no. 64 in C minor) is followed by the female chorus no. 66 in F minor, the shattering inconsolable lament of Jewish mothers after the murder of their children by Herod in Bethlehem. The angel's request to return to Israel (No. 68 in C major) is joined by the final and prophetical recitative No. 69. The final chorus No. 70 - musically identical with the opening chorus except the added harp, which symbolises heaven and earth having been touched by the birth of the Savior - is a future outlook in the history of salvation and ensures the substantial unity. Edt bei Lambach, February 2011      Michael Stenov
Here you can listen to 5 of the 70 parts!
Total duration of the entire work: 90 minutes
Short film 25‘