WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bach: Christmas Oratorio / Chailly, Gewandhausorcheser, Dresdner Kammerchor


Release Date: 12/07/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001498902  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Martin LattkeCarolyn SampsonWiebke LehmkuhlKonstantin Wolff
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus OrchestraDresden Chamber Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Riccardo Chailly and his Dresden and Leipzig forces have created a great modern interpretation of Bach's Christmas Oratorio that realizes the truest elements of period-performance practice while employing the timbres of modern instruments and fully exploiting the refined virtuosity possessed by today's finest singers and orchestral musicians. At first, the atmosphere (this recording was made from two concert performances in Leipzig last January) and particular character of the orchestral sound reminded me of when I first heard recordings of Bach's choral works--in the pre-period-performance days of the 1960s--and the connection was immediately reassuring: this was a solid and informed and, most importantly, deeply felt performance by all Read more concerned.

But just as immediately, you notice how incredibly crisp and clean and vibrant is the playing and singing--how lively the rhythms, how robust yet nimble the brass, how fleet and fluent the strings. This is not big-orchestra, baroque-period technique from the '60s! This is the way contemporary players and singers do it--they simply perform the daylights out of the music, in the best sense of the term.

Yes, Chailly tends to like tempos just slightly more brisk (sometimes more than "slightly") than other conductors prefer (Jacobs, on one of my reference recordings, for instance), especially in the choruses, and for others this approach usually doesn't turn out so well; but the thing is, this choir and orchestra can do it, and do it well. Chailly never pushes them beyond what is musically defensible or technically doable. The opening chorus of Part 1 is properly stunning; the even more impressive chorus that begins Part 5 is a knockout, a true evocation of its text: "Let Thy glory be hymned, O God!"

Usually in works like this, there's some hitch when it comes to soloists. Not here; they are uniformly excellent. My only complaint (one I invariably lodge) involves bass Konstantin Wolff, whose voice is fine, but his "ha-ha-ha" habit in melismatic runs is not. Outstanding is tenor Wolfram Lattke, who displays amazing technique (and not a hint of "ha-ha-ha") in his runs--which he sings with incredible speed and apparent ease. Carolyn Sampson impresses (and so does her perfectly matched partner) in the so-called "echo" aria in Part 4 ("Flößt, mein Heiland"), and likewise alto Wiebke Lehmkuhl is lovely and very convincing in her "Schlafe, mein Liebster".

Chailly must be credited for his well-considered management of time and space--he shapes these six cantatas as individual works but sustains a consistent interpretive approach that works well for listening straight through (not what Bach intended--these were performed at six separate services during the Christmas season of 1734-35). The sound is first-rate, especially when considering the unique demands and exigencies of concert-performance conditions. But then, surely the immediacy and spontaneity of the concert contributed some inspirational spark or two that makes all the difference--that will keep even people like me who weren't there coming back to this recording often. Highly recommended.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Martin Lattke (Tenor), Carolyn Sampson (Soprano), Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Alto),
Konstantin Wolff (Bass)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Dresden Chamber Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 

Sound Samples

Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.1 Chorus: "Jauchzet, frohlocket"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.2 Evangelist: "Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.3 Rezitativ (Alt): "Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.4 Aria (Alto): " Bereite dich, Zion"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.5 Choral: "Wie soll ich dich empfangen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.6 Evangelist: "Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.7 Chorale: "Er ist auf Erden kommen arm", Recitativ (Bass): Wer will die Liebe recht erhöhn"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.8 Aria (Baß): "Großer Herr, o starker König"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the first Day of Christmas: No.9 Choral: "Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.10 Sinfonia
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.11 Evangelist: "Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.12 Chorale: "Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.13 Evangelist, Engel: "Und der Engel sprach zu Ihnen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.14 Rezitativ (Baß): "Was Gott dem Abraham Verheißen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.15 Aria (Tenor): "Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.16 Evangelist: "Und das habt zum Zeichen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.17 Chorale: "Schaut hin, dort liegt im finstern Stall"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.18 Rezitativ (Baß): "So geht denn hin, ihr Hirten, geht"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.19 Aria (Alto): "Schlafe, mein Liebster, geniesse der Ruh"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.20 Evangelist: "Und alsbald war da bei dem Engel"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.21 Chor: "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.22 Rezitativ (Baß): "So recht, ihr Engel, jauchzt und singet"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Two - For the second Day of Christmas: No.23 Chorale: "Wir singen dir in deinem Heer"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.24 Chor: "Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.25 Evangelist: "Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.26 Chor: "Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.27 Rezitativ (Baß): "Er hat sein Volk getröst"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.28 Choral: "Dies hat er alles uns getan"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.29 Duett (Sopran, Baß): "Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.30 Evangelist: "Und sie kamen eilend"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.31 Aria (Alt): "Schließe, mein Herze, dies selige Wunder"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.32 Recitativ (Alt): "Ja, ja, mein Herz soll es bewahren"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.33 Choral: "Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.34 Evangelist: "Und die Hirten kehrten wieder um"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.35 Choral: "Seid froh dieweil"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Three - For the third Day of Christmas: No.24 Chor (da capo): "Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.36 Chor: "Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.37 Evangelist: "Und da acht Tage um waren"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.38 Rezitativ (Baß): "Immanuel, o süßes Wort" Arioso (Chor-Sopran, Baß): "Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben"-"Komm ich will dich mit Lust umfassen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.39 Aria (Soprano, Echo-soprano): "Flösst, mein Heiland, flösst dein Namen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.40 Rezitativ (Baß): "Wohlan, dein Name soll allein" Arioso (Chor-Sopran): "Jesu mein Freud und Wonne"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.41 Aria (Tenor): "Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Four - For New Year's Day: No.42 Choral: "Jesus richte mein Beginnen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.43 Chor: "Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.44 Evangelist: "Da Jesu geboren war zu Bethlehem"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.45 Chor: "Wo ist der neugeborne König der Juden?" - Rezitativ (Alt): "Sucht ihn in meiner Brust"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.46 Choral: "Dein Glanz all Finsternis verzehrt"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.47 Aria (Bass): "Erleucht auch meine finstre Sinnen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.48 Evangelist: "Da das der König Herodes hörte"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.49 Rezitativ (Alt): "Warum wollt ihr erschrecken?"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.50 Evangelist: "Und ließ versammeln alle Hohepriester"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.51 Terzetto (Soprano, Alto, Tenor): "Ach, wann wird die Zeit erscheinen?"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.52 Rezitativ (Alt): "Mein Liebster herrschet schon"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Five - For the 1st Sunday in the New Year: No.53 Choral: "Zwar ist solche Herzensstube"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.54 Chor: "Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.55 Evangelist: "Da berief Herodes die Weisen heimlich" - Herodes: "Ziehet hin und forschet fleißig"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.56 Rezitativ (Sopran): "Du Falscher, suche nur den Herrn zu fällen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.57 Aria (Sopran): "Nur ein Wink von seinen Händen"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.58 Evangelist: "Als sie nun den König gehöret hatten"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.59 Chorale: "Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.60 Evangelist: "Und Gott befahl ihnen im Traum"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.61 Rezitativ (Tenor): "So geht! Genug, mein Schatz geht nicht von hier"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.62 Aria (Tenor): "Nun mögt ihr stolzen Feinde schrecken"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.63 Rezitativ (Sopran, Alt, Tenor, Baß): "Was will der Hölle Schrecken nun?"
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part Six - For the Feast of Epiphany: No.64 Choral: "Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen"

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In