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The first version was written in 1981 collectively with Andre Fischer, a pupil at the Kantonsschule Zürcher Unterland in Bülach. It is a setting of words from an advent calendar by Max Bolliger. It is scored for baritone soloist (Christophorus), children's chorus and wind orchestra, with percussion. The work was performed twice in December 1981.
Christophorus tells the story of St. Christopher, a very strong man, who is searching for an ogre who rules the world. Each year, instead of finding the ogre, he finds a child in distress. In the eighth year, still searching, he meets Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. During the night, when Jesus is born, the child speaks to him and says he has met the ogre seven times already. Christophorus now knows what the ogre is, but is much less sure of his ability to conquer lt.
The characters of Christophorus and the children whom he meets are dressed in costume, but do not act. The Cantata is, however, illustrated by a series of slides which are shown during the whole performance.
In 1982 in Christchurch I revised Christophorus and translated the text into English. It was performed for a season before Christmas of that year, with James Dames singing the part of Christophorus. This revised version has double wind, piano, organ and three percussionists, plus the children's chorus. A recording was made.
Text by Max Bolliger