At cpo it has become a tradition to release freshly produced alternatives to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio during the fall season, when Christmas is just around the corner. This year we have selected three great cantatas by the Bach pupil Johann Agricola. The recovery of the music archive of the Berliner Sing-Akademie in 2001 has contributed significantly to the tracing of a clearer picture of Agricola’s oeuvre. The archive offers glimpses of his work as a composer, prior owner, and writer of numerous sources. Among Agricola’s own works, his church compositions transmitted in the archive are of special interest because some of them are documented nowhere else. After receiving instruction in composition from Johann Sebastian Bach, Agricola became a chamber musician and court composer under King Frederick II in 1751 and then the Prussian court chapel master in 1759, following Carl Heinrich Graun’s death. His compositions (mainly vocal works such as oratorios, cantatas, songs, and operas) display influence from composers such as Hasse and Graun. His settings of the first and third parts of the »Life of Jesus Trilogy« (The Shepherds at the Crib) by the leading Berlin poet Carl Wilhelm Ramler place him in the succession and tradition of Carl Heinrich Graun and Georg Philipp Telemann, whose concurrent settings of the same poet’s Der Tod Jesu from 1755 had marked the beginning of a compositional tradition extending to the end of the eighteenth century. By the way, in 1996 we produced Telemann’s setting of The Shepherds at the Crib.