Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|J.S. Bach, Baker, Ameling|
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
It would be hard to beat this lineup of soloists and orchestra for just about any oratorio in the repertoire. And indeed, these performers are the strength of this 1976 modern-style rendition of Bach's monumental compilati... more »
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It would be hard to beat this lineup of soloists and orchestra for just about any oratorio in the repertoire. And indeed, these performers are the strength of this 1976 modern-style rendition of Bach's monumental compilation of cantatas that form the Christmas Oratorio. The trouble is with the choir, which just seems to be trying too hard to find the emotional power and physical strength to lift the weighty pages of Bach's awesome score from their earthly bonds. --David Vernier
"Just right" performance in a crowded field
Allan Brain | Houston, TX USA | 12/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bach's Christmas Oratorio is one of my favorite works, and
this recording features some of the greatest vocal soloists
of the 20th Century in Elly Ameling, Janet Baker, and Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau. So why did it take me so long to get acquainted
with this recording? Because it came out in the middle of the
"historically informed performance" rage of the mid-'70s that
has been going on for some time now and has been eclipsed in that
respect by the recordings of Gardiner and many others.
Oddly enough, most of the so-called "HIP" performances do not
use a boys choir, even though it is indisputable that Bach's
actual performances used not only boys choirs, but boys as soloists. There
are a few recordings that feature boy soloists, but none recently.
This recording features one of the best boys choirs in the world,
and only the presence of some distortion in the great opening chorus
and the lack of texts make this a 4 star rather than
5 star recording for me. Ameling, Baker and Fischer-Dieskau are
at or near their peaks, the orchestra and choir are excellent,
and Robert Tear as the Evangelist is not quite up to some of
the competition, but he is only a weak link because the others
are so outstanding.
This would be my top recommendation in a work that
deserves to be better known. Moreover, it was originally
intended to be heard over a period of time during the
Christmas season, so you can listen to it over six days,
or two days or three days or whatever and not feel that
you are missing something."
Traditional with Great Soloists
Neil A. Dellar | McLean, VA USA | 10/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, OK, this is a traditional recording and as such is perhaps a little "heavier" than one has come to expect; but these soloists are superb. Janet Baker is simply wonderful in "bereitet dich Zion" and, in fact, in all her arias. This recording was made when she was at the height of her powers. Fischer-Dieskau and Robert Tear really make the recitatives and arias meaningful. The choir is good. If you don't want a period instrument recording or want a recording where the soloists really know what they are singing about, this would be a good choice."