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Bach: Weihnachtskantaten (Cantates de Noël) / Jezovsek, Connolly, Padmore, Kooy
Johann Sebastian Bach, Sarah Connolly, Collegium Vocale
Bach: Weihnachtskantaten (Cantates de NoŽl) / Jezovsek, Connolly, Padmore, Kooy
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1

Bach's magnificent Christmas Oratorio tends to overshadow his other Christmas music, much of which, as Philippe Herreweghe demonstrates here, is superb. Unser Mund sei voll Lachens is the biggest of the three--it's known ...  more »

      
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All Artists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Sarah Connolly, Collegium Vocale, Mark Padmore, Philippe Herreweghe, Peter Kooy
Title: Bach: Weihnachtskantaten (Cantates de NoŽl) / Jezovsek, Connolly, Padmore, Kooy
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Original Release Date: 10/22/1996
Re-Release Date: 11/12/1996
Album Type: Import
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Styles: Holiday & Wedding, Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 794881358328

Synopsis

Amazon.com
Bach's magnificent Christmas Oratorio tends to overshadow his other Christmas music, much of which, as Philippe Herreweghe demonstrates here, is superb. Unser Mund sei voll Lachens is the biggest of the three--it's known for its opening chorus, which overlays vocal parts onto the first movement of Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 4, but its arias display a wide variety of moods--and instruments, from flutes to oboe to trumpet. Moving from the sumptuous to the spare, Selig ist der Mann uses only two soloists: it's one of those allegorical dialogues in which a soprano represents the Soul of the Believer and a bass represents Jesus. It's surprisingly somber for the season, but beautiful nonetheless. Das neugeborne Kindelein is a rather cheerful work, its minor key notwithstanding. Typically for a Bach cantata, the opening chorus has the lower three voices singing dense counterpoint while the sopranos sing the titular chorale melody; less characteristically, Bach uses a similar technique in a subsequent trio, with the alto singing the chorale while soprano and tenor sing a spirited duet with a separate text. Soprano Vasiljka Jezovsek sounds a bit awkward at times--and so, oddly, does the tenor, baroque specialist Mark Padmore. On the other hand, Sarah Connolly is the rare female alto who sounds mature but not matronly, and Peter Kooy shows again why he's the best Bach bass soloist around. Herreweghe's choir and orchestra exhibit their usual glowing tone and flawless execution, but on this occasion their approach seems too subdued for the material, especially when the trumpets and drums are involved. The performances may not be absolutely ideal, but they're valuable, especially since these particular cantatas aren't widely recorded. --Matthew Westphal

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CD Reviews

Excellent
gks5q@virginia.edu | 04/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really enjoyed the three cantatas collected on this disc, especially the festive Unser Mund sei voll Lachens which looks back at the birth of Christ from the standpoint of full knowledge and appreciation of his mission. To this effect, the tenor aria (possibly the best piece in this recording) intones: "He has become man, and solely That we might be heaven's children." A different mood is struck by the next cantata, Selig is der Mann, a sorrowful solicitation of death that will reunite the forlorn soul with its savior. This cantata is written as a dialogue, a format that used to be quite popular a century before Bach. For that reason, in my mind at least, this format invoked the sense of timelessness, an undoubtedly appropriate reaction, whether or not intended. In the third cantata, Das neugeborne Kindelein I especially liked the SAT trio Ist Gott versöhnt und unser Freund, with its beautiful blend of voices, all three of which sounded peculiarly and appropriately alike in color and warmth."