Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar
(‘From heaven came a throng of angels’) is a Christmas cantata which opposes three instrumental choirs (trumpets and timpani, cornets and trombones, strings) to a five-part vocal choir. All six sections of this work develop the melody of the famous Lutheran Hymn with changing techniques. By shaping verses I and VI, and II and V almost identically, Schelle achieves a symmetrical framework, at whose centre, with verses III and IV, an elated, danceable version of the chorale appears, as well as a monumental cantus firmus arrangement. Corresponding with his artistic ambitions for this piece, Schelle employs elaborate composing techniques so that, again, this work not only appears easily comprehensible, but at the same time displays great glory and naturalness.
from notes by Peter Wollny © 2001
English: Viola Scheffel