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Christmas Oratorio sight-reading

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Snufkin, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Snufkin


    Dec 26, 2013
    Oh, hi!

    Apparently, I'm sightreading BWV 248(aka. The Christmas Oratorio) saturday(for funsies, no public performance). Seeing as it's still nice to be(kind of) prepared - is there anything in the bass part one ought to be aware of or check out beforehand?

    For those wondering, the intention is to go through the whole thing - all six cantatas.
  2. Dbass926


    Jun 20, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA

    You can most likely get the continuo part from IMSLP and look over it there. You may not even have to print it out, but you'll know what you're in for. I've never met a Bach part I didn't prefer to spend _some_ time on...
  3. Snufkin


    Dec 26, 2013
    I have the part - the question was more whether there's something specific I should figure out. Having skimmed the part, the answer so far seems to be "everything"
  4. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    just be aware that although there is a bass part for each number/section, the bass does not always play. For example ther is a flute solo mvt with cello pizz acc. some condutors want the bass some do´nt.
    Most of the time the bass is playing exactly as the cello but there are a few where you will sit out depending on the singers and the conductor.
    Otherwise it is pretty straight forward.

    I play this piece EVERY year in its entirety.

    Have fun and good luck.
  5. Have a very good sleep beforehand, take your vitamins, have a pocketful of energy food, clean your glasses well, sit to play, etc....

    Seriously though, even the excerpt numbers that I played recently became a test of physical endurance because I often played constantly for two pages before going back (Da Capo al Fine). Are you the only bass player? Ask the conductor about not playing when one cello is sufficient to accompany the female (and male?) soloists in recitatives or in arias where they enter after the Tutti orchestra introductions. Depending on your edition you might see Vcl. above the stave then later +D.B. + Bsn (bassoon).

    Good luck, enjoy and all the best for 2014!!

  6. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    Seems to be the right answer.