Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is simply one of the great Christmas Oratorio recordings, an ideal combination of soloists, chorus, orchestra, and conductor joining in what could be described as the consummate musical embodiment of the joy and miraculousness of the Christmas story. In any event, this six-part cantata cycle is a major Bach masterpiece (among many masterpieces!), and René Jacobs manages to fuse the score's multifarious elements into a unified whole that transcends any one individual effort.
Yes, the soloists are without peer among recorded Christmas Oratorios--has anyone sung the alto arias "Schlafe, mein Liebster..." or "Schließe, mein Herze..." with more
tenderness or passion or more lovely tone than Andreas Scholl? And then there's tenor Werner Güra's dazzling "Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben" and Dorothea Röschmann's (and chorus') compelling "echo" aria "Flößt, mein Heiland..." But then, there's the extraordinary RIAS-Kammerchor, which sings with heartfelt reverence and commits the appropriate energy to each chorus, delivered with crisp articulation and an enthusiasm that ideally conveys the sense of the text and the spirit of the occasion. The orchestra upholds and complements the interpretive work of the singers, adding up to an unbeatable performance of music that tends to inspire great efforts.
For this reissue of its 1997 production, Harmonia Mundi has repackaged the two CDs in a beautifully designed hardbound book, complete with an article on the history of Christmas music accompanied by gorgeous color photographs, texts, translations, musician bios, and pertinent discographical and bibliographical information. The sound is first-rate. Now offered at a special price, this classic Christmas Oratorio is an irresistible bargain, an essential part of any Bach-lover's library. Don't miss it. [10/8/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano),
Andreas Scholl (Countertenor),
Werner Güra (Baritone),
Klaus Häger (Bass)
Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,
Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany
Date of Recording: 1997
Notes: Composition written: Leipzig, Germany (1734 - 1735).
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