Notes and Editorial Reviews
The recommending word for Philip Pickett and the New London Consort's recording of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio is balance. There is a most satisfying balance on every level of this recording-between singers, between singers and instrumentalists, and between instrumentalists. Pickett mediates between the extreme options for choral forces-one per part at one extreme and a mammoth Romantic-sized choir at the other-by placing several singers on each choral part and drawing his soloists from that choir. Listening to the chorales and chorus movements of Bach's monumental creation will reveal the wisdom of Pickett's decision.
The chorales are presented in a very unfussy manner, and the effect is much more moving than the typically
foursquare and highbrow approach to this congregational music. Pickett also racks up points with his choice of singers. The expressive declamation and liquid tenor of Paul Agnew make for a compelling Evangelist. And Michael Chance's lilting countertenor, which is entrusted with the bulk of the solo movements, does wonderful justice to the long-breathed and enchanting cradle song, "Schlafe, mein Liebster, geniesse der Ruh," which, clocking in as the longest movement, is in many ways the expressive core of the oratorio. Read less
Works on This Recording
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Catherine Bott (Soprano),
Paul Agnew (Tenor),
Andrew King (Tenor),
Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Michael George (Bass)
New London Consort
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany
Date of Recording: 04/05/1997
Venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, UK
Length: 146 Minutes 42 Secs.
Notes: Composition written: Leipzig, Germany (1734 - 1735).
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