On Saturday 1 February, Hereford Cathedral Choir will perform J S Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in its entirety.

Conducted by Geraint Bowen, the choir will sing alongside guest soloists, Lorena Paz Nieto, soprano, Ciara Hendrick, mezzo-soprano, Ruairi Bowen, tenor and Malachy Frame, baritone. They will be accompanied by period-instrument orchestra Marches Baroque in the atmospheric setting of the candlelit cathedral nave.

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio consists of a set of six separate cantatas - short sequences of religious texts set for solo voices or chorus, with instrumental accompaniment. The pieces were originally created to be performed across different days, beginning on Christmas Day 1734 and ending on the Feast of the Epiphany 1735. The six separate elements of the oratorio form a complete piece as the major feasts which they were created for would have been initially regarded as one integrated festival.

Director of Music at Hereford Cathedral, Geraint Bowen said: ‘It’s very exciting to be preparing the Christmas Oratorio with the cathedral choir once again, using the forces similar to those that Bach would have envisaged. It’s a wonderful piece which is more rarely performed, especially in its entirety. It combines some of Bach’s most festive and jubilant writing for choir and orchestra, complete with trumpets and kettledrums, with more intimate reflective numbers for the soloists.’

The Christmas Oratorio is supported by the William A Cadbury Charitable Trust. The concert begins at 7 pm and tickets cost £25 and £18. These are available to purchase from the Cathedral Shop (01432 374 210) and at St John’s Door on the night.