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The Complete Christmas Celebration


Release Date: 11/09/2010 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001493002   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachGeorge Frideric HandelPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyTraditional,   ... 
Performer:  Hans-Peter BlochwitzOlaf BärAnne Sofie von OtterAnthony Rolfe Johnson,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot GardinerChristopher HogwoodValery GergievGeorg Ratzinger,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque SoloistsMonteverdi ChoirAcademy of Ancient Music,   ... 
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here's the complete Christmas box set you've been waiting for.

This 7-CD budget price box includes the complete Christmas Oratorio, the complete Messiah and the complete Nutcracker ballet in top-notch performances that have been hugely popular over the years. Plus single discs of Christmas songs and carols from Germany and England to round off the package.

Praise for some of the performances in this set:

Handel's Messiah

This is the Messiah that started it all, the first period instrument performance recorded with a choir of men and boys. It introduced music lovers the world over to Christopher Hogwood, Emma Kirkby, and a whole host of performers who have since become ubiquitous as the
Read more "English Early Music Mafia," appearing as they do under zillions of different ensemble names on a variety of labels. Hogwood's performance still holds its own, however, as one of the finest and freshest available. A first-rate effort.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
The dream, the child-like wonder of The Nutcracker, remains irrepressible. But it’s not a work that plays itself. Slacken the pulse for a moment, take your eye off entries, fail to believe in its fantasy world, and it can only too easily fall apart. Gergiev and his Kirov company need no reminding of the fact. Resisting contrived understatement, free of coyness or condescension, this is one of the most compellingly dramatised, rhythmically uplifting, charismatically charmed versions of recent years, its bold, grand, savage, sweeping, three-dimensionally involving attack underlining a wealth of refined nuances and charged emotions. Detail is phenomenal, the ensemble glowingly realised, the Act II divertissement thrillingly contrasted and physically exhilarating. Colouring, projection, riotous textural overspill (from 77:42, for instance), climax, novelty (a wonderfully flighted Stravinsky Firebird foreshadowed at 15:50) are everything. Continuity within and between numbers likewise; tempo too (at 81 minutes, this is a brisk reading). Compared with the vintage handling of the old ballet masters (Ansermet, Dorati, Mravinsky), the classic-cut transatlantic dash and elegance of analogue Previn, or the varyingly intense Russian competition of Ashkenazy, Ermler, Fedoseyev, Rozhdestvensky, Svetlanov and Temirkanov, Gergiev’s urgently pressing passion may seem hard and unyielding, but it’s an approach that brings its own rewards, theatrically and structurally. And his musicality is infectious. If you like your Nutcracker fairies all-Russian, wide-screen and super-lit, if you want an up-front orchestral encounter, then this has to be a clear first recommendation. Recorded in the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus last August, the sound balance is grippingly demonstration-class. You almost feel on stage. Terrific.
-- Ates Orga, BBC Music Magazine

Bach's Christmas Oratorio
"Olaf Bar makes a wily Herod, with declamation full of subtle innuendo; and he gives a fine account of the bass arias throughout. Nancy Argenta and Anne Sofie von Otter have a fresh, lively approach to the music and their performances are articulate and well focused. The tenor Hans Peter Blochwitz is also impressive. Choral singing is almost invariably a strong feature of Gardiner's performances and that is markedly the case here. The opening chorus of Part 1 is crisp, incisive and declamatory yet not over-emphatic. The Monteverdi Choir are characteristically alert and warm-blooded and I particularly enjoyed their singing of the chorales. The orchestral and obbligato playing reaches a very high standard with oboes and flute deserving of special mention; the arioso-chorale ''Er ist auf Erden kommen arm'' (Part 1), ''Schlafe, mein Liebster'' (Part 2) and the tenor aria ''Frohe Hirten'' (Part 2) are just three of many such examples. The two-violin partnership in the tenor aria ''Ich will nur dir Ehren leben'' (Part 4) is also notably successful. I enjoyed too the frequent occasions on which Gardiner allows us to hear the continuo line when the figures call for a degree of highlighting."
-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [12/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor), Olaf Bär (Baritone), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano),
Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), Nancy Argenta (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Messiah, HWV 56 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Carolyn Watkinson (Alto), Paul Elliott (Tenor), Emma Kirkby (Soprano),
David Thomas (Bass), Judith Nelson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford Christ Church Cathedral Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741; London, England 
3.
Nutcracker, Op. 71 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
4.
O du fröhliche by Traditional
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Written: Germany 
5.
Symphoniae sacrae, Book 2: Benedictus es, Dominus by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Venice, Italy 
6.
Hodie Christus natus est by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
7.
O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild by Samuel Scheidt
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1650; Halle, Germany 
8.
Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
9.
O Freude über Freud' by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
10.
Übers Gebirg Maria geht by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
11.
Heilige Nacht, Nacht der unendlichen Liebe by Johann Friedrich Reichardt
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: Germany 
12.
Quem pastores laudavere by Carl Loewe
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
13.
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her by Traditional
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
14.
Wie schön singt uns der Engel Schar by Cornelius Freundt
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Germany 
15.
Still, o Himmel by Gottfried Rüdiger
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
16.
Es blühen die Maien by Gottfried Rüdiger
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
17.
Verbum caro factum est by Hans Leo Hassler
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
18.
Freu' dich, Erd' und Sternenzelt by Carl Thiel
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
19.
O schlafe, schlafe, göttlicher Knabe by Anonymous
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
20.
Auf dem Berge da geht der Wind by Anonymous
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
21.
Adeste fideles by Carl Thiel
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
22.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
23.
Once in Royal David's City by Henry John Gauntlett
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
24.
Once in Royal David's City by Henry John Gauntlett
Performer:  Robin Barter (), David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: English 
25.
Up! good Christian folk, and listen, for chorus & orchestra by George Ratcliffe Woodward
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
26.
On Christmas Night by Ledger, Philip, Sir
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ), Cambridge King's College Choir ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: English 
27.
Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: English 
28.
English Hymnal: O little town of Bethlehem by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ), Cambridge King's College Choir ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
29.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
30.
In the bleak midwinter by Harold Drake
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ), John Bowen ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
31.
The first nowell by Traditional
Performer:  Cambridge King's College Choir (), John Bowen (), David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Written: England 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
32.
Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
33.
Away in a manger by William James Kirkpatrick
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
34.
Seven Joys of Mary (English) by Traditional
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ), Graham Green ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
35.
The infant King (Basque) by Traditional
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
36.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen by Traditional
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
37.
The holly and the ivy by Henry Walford Davies
Performer:  Jonathan Lamb (), Simon Haynes (), Christopher Hughes (),
David Briggs (Organ), Roland Robertson ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
38.
I Saw Three Ships, carol by Traditional
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ), John Bowen ()
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1666; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
39.
Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Performer:  David Briggs (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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