L'enfance du Christ (English: The Childhood of Christ),
Opus 25, is a choral work by the French composer Hector
Berlioz, based on the story of the Holy Family's flight
into Egypt. Berlioz wrote his own words for the piece.
Most of it was composed in 1853 and 1854, but it also
incorporates an earlier work La fuite en Egypte (1850).
It was first performed at the Salle Herz, Paris on 10
December 1855, with Berlioz conducting and soloists
from the Opéra-Comique: Jourdan (Récitant), Depassio
(Hérode), the couple Meillet (Marie and Joseph) and
Bataille (Le père de famille). Berlioz described
L'enfance as a Trilogie sacrée (sacred trilogy). The
first of its three sections depicts King Herod ordering
the massacre of all newborn children in Judaea; the
second shows the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus
setting out for Egypt to avoid the slaughter, having
been warned by angels; and the final section portrays
their arrival in the Egyptian town of Sais where they
are given refuge by a family of Ishmaelites. It is
worth noting that Berlioz himself was by no means a
religious believer, though he was a great admirer of
Catholic church music. L'enfance also shows some
influence from the Biblical oratorios of Berlioz's
teacher Jean-François Lesueur.
Although originally written for Voice and Orchestra, I
created this Arrangement of the Trio from "L'enfance du
Christ" (The Childhood of Christ) Opus 25 H 130 for
Viola & Concert (Pedal) Harp.