Saint-Saëns: Christmas Oratorio

Saint-Saëns: Christmas Oratorio

Work Name: Oratorio de Noël
Composer/Origin: Camille Saint-Saëns
Composed/Published/1st Appeared: 1858
Piece Style/Time Period: Christmas Oratorio/Cantata
Summery: The Oratorio de Noël, Op. 12, by Camille Saint-Saëns, also known as his Christmas Oratorio, is a cantata-like work scored for soloists, chorus, strings and harp. While an organist at La Madeleine, Saint-Saëns wrote the oratorio in less than a fortnight, completing it ten days before its premiere on Christmas 1858. The vocal score of this oratorio was prepared later by the composer and organist Eugene Gigout, a colleague of Saint-Saëns.


  1. Prélude (dans le style de Seb. Bach), for organ and strings
  2. Recitative: “Et pastores erant”, for Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone soloists, organ and strings; Chorus: “Gloria in altissimis,” for mixed chorus, organ and strings
  3. Air: “Exspectans expectavi,” for Mezzo-soprano soloist, organ and strings
  4. Air and chorus: “Domine, ego credidi,” for Tenor solo, women’s chorus, organ and strings
  5. Duet: “Benedictus,” for Soprano and Baritone soloists, organ and harp
  6. Chorus: “Quare fremuerunt gentes,” mixed chorus, organ and strings
  7. Trio: “Tecum principium,” for Soprano, Tenor, and Baritone soloists, organ and harp
  8. Quartet: “Laudate coeli,” for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Alto, and Baritone soloists, organ and strings
  9. Quintet and chorus: “Consurge, filia Sion,” for all five soloists, chorus, organ, strings, and harp
  10. Chorus: “Tollite hostias,” for mixed chorus, organ and strings

Work Example(s): 

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