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Graun: Weihnachtsoratorium / Gropper

Release Date: 10/06/2017 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 1876  
Composer:  Carl Heinrich Graun
Performer:  Georg PoplutzMarion EcksteinMonika MauchRaimund Nolte
Conductor:  Thomas Gropper
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Arpa FestanteMunich Arcis Vocalists
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A work caught the attention of musicians during the late 1990s - a Christmas Oratorio by Graun. The only known copy of it was being housed in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. But it has so far been impossible to determine either the name of the manuscript copyist or an exact dating of the work and copy. There are many indications that this is a work from the composer's phase prior to his years in Berlin. After The Death of Jesus, Thomas Gropper and his Arcis Vocalists now proudly present the second oratorio of Graun as a recorded production for OehmsClassics. Since their foundation by their chorus director Thomas Gropper in 2005, the Arcis-Vocalists have taken a firm place among the well-known semi-professional choirs of the city Read more in the high-class and diverse Munich music scene due to their sound quality and the special program design. The project choir consists of about 80 committed singers, who mostly have a sound vocal education. Depending on the work it is flexibly occupied and can count between 30 and 80 members. Read less

Works on This Recording

Christmas Oratorio by Carl Heinrich Graun
Performer:  Georg Poplutz (Tenor), Marion Eckstein (Alto), Monika Mauch (Soprano),
Raimund Nolte (Bass)
Conductor:  Thomas Gropper
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Arpa Festante,  Munich Arcis Vocalists
Period: Baroque 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Compares favorably to Bach December 13, 2017 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Carl Heinrich Graun isn't the best-known German baroque composer, but at the time he was one of the most prominent. Frederick the Great appointed Graun kapellmeister to his court in 1740. Graun was also one of the major opera composers in Berlin. His Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio) was probably written in the late 1730s. Compared to Johann Sebastian Bach's 1734 Christmas Oratorio, Graun's work seems simpler. There are less counterpoint and more straight-forward choral settings of hymn tunes. Graun also uses less Biblical text than Bach, preferring contemporary interpretations of the story. While a comparison of the two works might explain why Bach is better-known than Graun today, it's also a little unfair. Graun was writing for a different audience, and writing in his own style. Taking on its own merits, his Christmas Oratorio is an appealing work that deserves to be heard again. The solos and duets are written in a straight-forward manner, with a minimum of baroque ornamentation. The center of the work is Paul Gerhardt's 1648 Wie soll ich dich empfangen (How Shall I Leave You). This sturdy Lutheran hymn is heard at the beginning, middle, and end of the oratorio. There are some contrapuntal choral passages, but they hew to Lutheran clarity. The choral settings, to my ears, seemed closer to Handel than Bach. The soloists for this recording are first-rate. I particularly liked the warm, rounded voice of alto Marian Eckstein. The Arcis-Vocalisten München and the Barockorchester L’arpa festante have a big, full ensemble sound. This is a well-written work performed with vigor and energy. If you enjoy the large choral works of Handel, Telemann, and, yes, even Bach, you should find much to like here. I know I did." Report Abuse
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