Pierné, Gabriel – Les enfants à Bethléem. Mystère en deux Parties (Vocal score with German & French libretto)
For more information about the piece read the preface of the full score:
… Les enfants à Bethléem, a mystère en deux Parties created for soloists, children’s choir, and speaking narrator, premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in April 1907. This oratorio followed the success of Pierne’s most popular piece in his lifetime, Les croisade des enfants, another religiously themed work that was first performed in Paris in 1905. In both pieces, Pierné employs a sort of ethereal mysticism, reflecting stylistic elements commonly present in music by Debussy and Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) at the time. Gabriel Nigond (1877-1937), a regular collaborator of Pierné, created the text for Les enfants à Bethléem. The two-act oratorio, based on the Nativity, focuses on child shepherds who encounter the Magi and decide to join them in their quest to find the Christ Child. The narrator offers spoken word, but the story is mainly propelled by the children’s choir and soloists representing the Star, shepherds, Virgin Mary, a donkey, and an Ox. The modal, understated score emphasizes the text, yet also provides layers of shimmering, translucent harmonies and planing parallel chords that create a mystical atmosphere that surrounds the singers and audience.
preface of the full score / Vorwort zur Partitur > HERE