It’s nothing to do with the music itself, which is as rich and humane as anything Bach ever wrote, it’s more a question of pragmatism.Six individual cantatas come together in this vast work, each with different orchestral demands. Karl Richter is a superb Bach interpret, and the singers are outstanding: Christa Ludwig as alto, Gundula Janowitz as soprano, Fritz Wunderlich as tenor and evangelist. T he exuberant opening of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – kettle drums, woodwind trills, a skittering of strings, then a glorious trumpet flourish – lifts any heart, or should. And although it offered different pleasures from the multifaceted approach of the main festival, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort’s pared-down reading of Bach ’s Christmas Oratorio was just as joyful and just as invigorating. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? © 2020 Associated Newspapers Limited. It incorporates music from earlier compositions and is in six parts, one part for each of the major feast days of the Christmas period. Nicholas Kenyon chooses his favourite recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. (I worked with the DVD.) Ursula Paludan Monberg and Martin Lawrence were superb on natural horn whose edge of difficulty always lends them a timbre of vulnerability unknown to the bully-boy certainties of modern horns. Suzuki recorded all of Bach’s sacred cantatas over 18 years with his increasingly respected Bach Collegium Japan. Christmas Oratorio, Cadogan Hall, London, review: The trumpets’ flamboyant conclusion to the work showed Bach at his most life-affirming, exuberant best How to watch Inauguration Day 2021 in the UK to see Joe Biden sworn in, Vaccine roll-out set to prioritise teachers, police and frontline workers to cut transmission, What time Joe Biden's inauguration starts, the full schedule, and how to watch from the UK, Here's when the new lockdown measures in England could end, and how they'll be reviewed, Butch lesbian opens up about 'increasing harassment' she faces when using the public toilets. Best classical music to look forward to in 2021, from The Soldier’s Tale to Bryn Terfel’s Falstaff, The mezzo Helen Charlston’s Virgin was sober in her joy – the dark beauty of her tone balanced by purity of line. But Covid has turned everything on its head, offering Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort & Players the chance to restore the work to its original form, performing it as Bach would have: one cantata on each major feast day from Christmas to Epiphany. Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription. Though few have come down to us, Bach would have known them. It was made by Deutsche Grammophon, Archiv Production. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. St Leonard’s church, Shoreditch, London It wasn’t the promised ‘Bach, … While Bach’s Passions are an Easter staple, the composer’s Christmas Oratorio has never quite found a foothold in the UK. If you like trebles in Bach—and specifically in the Christmas Oratorio—why not opt for those that Bach, a few generations back, worked with himself? From the first, Bach regarded it as an oratorio, one which was performed in six parts. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Each part is a cantata for 1 of 6 feast days within the 12 days of the Christmas season: The story begins with the birth of Jesus (for Christmas Day). Released as part of the Live From London Christmas Festival, these digital performances (recorded in the November gap between lockdowns) burst with the urgency of musicians who haven’t played in months. Thank you for visiting Gramophone and making use of our archive of more than 50,000 expert reviews, features, awards and blog articles. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Philip Pickett on AllMusic - 2000 Christmas 2020. You can feel the mood evolving from the explosive timpani and trumpets that launch Cantata I, through the rustic music of the shepherds in Cantata II, arriving at the manger and Mary’s meditation “Schliesse, mein Herze”. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. He belongs to a tradition of Bach performance that includes Gustav Leonhardt and Ton Koopman, with whom he studied. That’s the reason Karl Richter’s (second) recording remains my emotional reference to this day. Reviews. Reviews. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Bach's Christmas Oratorio – which recording is best? Accordingly, much in evidence for the final part on Saturday were the virtues of restrained drama, perfect tempi and the kind of musical good taste that stands the test of time. Share. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Every season, always the same tape–until it wore out. Masaaki Suzuki, renowned Bach specialist, conducts Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’ over two concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. In our own archives we list several first-rate choices, including sets from Harmonia Mundi (Jacobs), … Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Maasaki Suzuki conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}, Christmas Oratorio review: Showed Bach at his best, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at Cadogan Hall, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. It consists of six cantatas which between them tell the story of the Nativity, and the events of the following week or so. Readers might have their own such reference. There was a recognised tradition, in the German church, of performing multi-part oratorios. Select Your Cookie Preferences. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio has been treated very well on disc. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Harnoncourt) [DVD] [2005] at Amazon.com. Certainly, this latest production has much going for it, whether on CD, DVD, or Blu-ray. Small forces – just eight singers and a compact band – bring further focus to music that can sometimes sag or sprawl under the weight of massed choruses.The first three cantatas take us from anticipatory celebration of Christ’s birth to the blissful radiance and peace of the Nativity scene itself. Why not register today and enjoy the following great benefits: Free access to 5 subscriber-only reviews per month; Unlimited access to … Clocking in at well over three hours of music, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is rarely heard in full in the UK. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Jan Willem de Vriend, Cappella Amsterdam, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam on AllMusic - 2007 It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio isn’t really an oratorio at all, but a set of six cantatas to cover the six days from Christmas to the Epiphany, including New Year’s Day. But it was the AOE’s instrumentalists who really made the evening: Katharina Spreckelsen’s playing of the oboe is thing of wonder – worth following wherever she goes. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. The Christmas Oratorio consists of six parts which starts with the story of Christ’s birth, and then follows the biblical narrative through the adoration of the shepherds and the Magi. Thank you for visiting Gramophone and making use of our archive of more than 50,000 expert reviews, features, awards and blog articles. While they are played as a complete set today, in Bach's time, each was intended to be played on a different holy day from Christmas day until the Epiphany (January 6). Released ahead of the 2016 holiday season, this recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, entered a field where there was plenty of competition, but the performance by Scotland's historically oriented Dunedin Consort have a great deal to recommend them. Concert review - fine and inspiring: As part of the Christmas Festival at St John's Smith Square, the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conductor Stephen Layton, performed parts one, two, three and six of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, with soloists Katherine Watson, Iestyn Davies, James Gilchrist and Neal Davies. Albrecht Dürer's 'Paumgartner Altarpiece', now in Munich's Alte Pinakotek. Bach composed the six-part “Christmas Oratorio” (“Weihnachts Oratorium”) in 1734 for two Leipzig churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, for which he served as music director. Just when you can scarcely move for Messiahs, two Christmas Oratorios came along at once on Saturday night. Japanese conductor Maasaki Suzuki joined the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (AOE) and split the cantatas over two evenings. Bach: Christmas Oratorio CD review – sinewy, charismatic seasonal celebration Dunedin Consort/Butt (Linn) Mary Bevan … standout newcomer with the Dunedin Consort. I have listened to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio from childhood on. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? There are several very fine period-performance recordings of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in the catalog, including the two reference versions listed above, and this one, from 2002 and originally released on Arts Music, while not a top choice, has much to recommend it. It was just one of many highlights: the rough grain and earth tones of the oboes da caccia that open the second cantata; the filigree virtuosity of tenor Jeremy Budd and the solo flute in “Frohe Hirten” catching the haste of the shepherds; the sudden appearance of the angel chorus.Streaming to 31 January (voces8.foundation). Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Like Bach, Suzuki is an Evangelical Protestant – he has cited conveying “God’s message” through Bach’s work as a key objective. Towards the end of J. S. Bach 's career, around 1734 and 1735, the great man composed three large-scale choral works for major feasts - the Christmas Oratorio, the Ascension Oratorio and the Easter Oratorio. We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. An introduction to the Christmas Oratorio [26:00] Bach revisited – Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Saxony and Thuringia [26:00] EUROARTS DVD 2045098 [2 DVDs: 198:00] When I saw this release advertised I hoped it was a new performance by Gardiner of Christmas Oratorio. This is the best recording of Bach's Christmas Oratory - Weihnachtsoratorium - I know. Bach (1685-1750) created his Christmas Oratorio during 1734 for performance in church over the ensuing Christmas period. Bach wrote his Christmas Oratorio for performance in church during the Christmas season of 1734. And the trumpets’ flamboyant conclusion to the work showed Bach at his most life-affirming, exuberant best. Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - right piece, wrong place Chorus and orchestra are the brightest baubles on Bach’s seasonal tree. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Live, review: bursts with the urgency of musicians who haven’t played in months Small forces – just eight singers and a compact band – … … But while Richter is still my feel-good choice (with that innate sense of musicality and Fritz Wunderlich’s Evangelist! There are numerous good recordings of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio to choose from, but this new one from Stuttgart has special things going for it. Approved third parties … Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Why not register today and enjoy the following great benefits: Free access to 5 subscriber-only reviews per month; Unlimited access to news, features, blogs, awards and artist content; Weekly email newsletter But the difference between the 'Christmas Oratorio' and the Passions is not just structural. February 2008. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. It celebrates not only Christmas but also New Year and Epiphany. by Peter Quantrill Monday, 18 December 2017. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. For one thing, conductor John Butt seems to understand the dynamic of this somewhat troublesome work better than most other … Bach’s celebrated Christmas Oratorio is here brought to life in a thrilling Hybrid SACD set which also includes a book that gives a fascinating incite into the background of this great masterpiece. Bach wrote his Christmas Oratorio for performance in church during the Christmas season of 1734. Jan Willem de Vriend oversees a joyful account of Bach's festive music with light-footed responses to dance rhythms…. Select Your Cookie Preferences. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Bach: Christmas Oratorio at Amazon.com. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Nicholas Kenyon recommends recordings of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 All rights reserved. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Bach: Christmas Oratorio at Amazon.com. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. J.S. Then there’s the escape to Egypt to avoid Herod’s massacre of the innocents. Jeremy Budd’s light tenor made an ideal evangelist though a little underpowered in the arias, while Anna Dennis shone throughout, especially in Flößt, mein Heiland, the “echo” aria, shared between soprano and oboe. The Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest - lasting nearly three hours - … The Christmas Oratorio, or Weihnachts-Oratorium, is actually a set of six sacred cantatas, each depicting a different scene from Christ's birth. Christmas Oratorio review – Bach from memory engaged, the voices impressed. Approved third parties … Faced with the questions of which sections to perform and which to omit, which period instruments are essential and which can be fudged, ensembles tend to throw up their hands and just perform Messiah again instead.Normally the solution of breaking the work down into its constituent parts – swapping a three-hour epic for six half-hour miniatures – isn’t a practical option. With his increasingly respected Bach Collegium Japan to our Community Guidelines in full here tradition! Discuss real-world solutions, and more this latest production has much going it! Which between them tell the story of the innocents, always the same tape–until it wore out Christmas... 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