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Bach: Weihnachts-Oratorium (Christmas Oratorio) / Jacobs, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Johann Sebastian Bach, René Jacobs, Dorothea Röschmann
Bach: Weihnachts-Oratorium (Christmas Oratorio) / Jacobs, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (33) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (32) - Disc #2


      
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A fine performance
hcf | 01/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even though Christmas Oratorio is about 70% recycled, I really like it. In the process of creating this work, Bach freely borrowed from three previously written cantatas (BWV 213-215), but his genius succeeded in transforming these discrete secular works into an interlinked whole, quite suitable for religious content. Despite the adaptation, the music fits so well that those who didn't know of its genesis would have never guessed. For example, under Bach's magic wand, the same music that had served the allegorical figure Sensuality in BWV 213 became the newborn Christ's lullaby "Schlafe, mein Liebster!" Even though Bach reused many of the arias, he newly composed most of the chorales and recitatives, as well as the Pastoral Symphony which opens Part II. Christmas Oratorio has little in common with other oratorios of the time: it is actually a series of self-contained cantatas, linked together mainly by the Evangelist. The narrative feature makes Christmas Oratorio similar to a "historia" or a "passion." The role of the narrator is very important (although small). I'm not sure Gura is entirely at home in this role, but Jacobs likes him, and I don't much mind. If I could put together my own Christmas Oratorio, I would pick the tenor from the Christophers (Padmore), the alto from here (well, Scholl, obviously), the bass from the Herreweghe (Kooy), and the soprano... hmm... turns out I don't really have a soprano preference. Dorothea Roschmann will do. All in all, this is a very strong release."
Beautiful Bach Christmas Music
hcf | 12/27/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my favorite of the baroque-instruments versions. The vocal soloists are excellent, especially the tenor with the evangelist parts. The baroque instruments are good to hear; the oboes in particular sound more wonderful than their modern counterparts. The choral singing is superb. Jacobs favors some pretty fast tempos, and the whole work is very lively and Christmassy. Excellent recorded sound."
A marvelous Christmas present
J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 10/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rene Jacobs and the excellent Akademie fur Alte Musik, Berlin give us a joyful, very musical Christmas Oratorio. The soloists are remarkable, with the ravishing soprano Dorothea Roschmann, singing the most exquisite "echo" aria in the Fourth Cantata. Countertenor Andreas Scholl is equally good. The sound and presentation are in Harmonia Mundi's usual high standards. This is a much better recording than the also recent Philipp Pickett in DECCA."