Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Richter, Muchener Bach-Orchester|
Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio)
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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Benchmark Modern-Instrument Bach
Howard P. Burkett | Austin, TX USA | 08/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Music-lovers of a certain age will have grown up listening to Richter's near-definitive (for their time) traversals of the core Central-European oratorio repertoire. It is a wonderful thing to have this Weihnachtsoratorium available on CD. The solo quartet could hardly be improved upon - Gundula Janowitz (be still my beating heart) and Fritz Wunderlich alone would be worth the purchase price. The very young-sounding chorus has that distinctively cool German tone which somehow seems so "right" in this music, while sounding at the same time so enthusiastic as to almost invite singing along on the choruses (especially #54). The only quibble I have with Richter's interpretation is the abrupt tempo change on "und Friede auf Erden" in the chorus "Ehre sei Gott" in the second cantata. In short, while this recording is very much a product of its time, enshrining as it does a very mid-20th Century, mondern-instrument, largeish chorus, pre-"historical performance" vision of what Bach should sound like, it is much the best of its sort. The only way to better it would be to find one on historical instruments with specialist perfomers."
A first rate recording of a wonderful piece
Theodore Shulman | NYC | 11/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Christmas Oratorio is very unusual for a big Bach choral work, in that it is lively, accessible, and even funny in parts. The first number says it all--just try to listen to it without tapping your foot. The soprano aria "Spricht der Herr doch nur ein Wort" is as cute as ... well ... Shirley Temple, or Pamina, or Tweety-Bird. "My daddy can beat up your daddy!" And there's a trio where the Soprano and Tenor endlessly wail "when oh when will the Savior come?" and the Mezzo keeps interrupting to say "Be quiet, He's really already here!"
Each of the soloists on this recording: Fritz Wunderlich, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, and Franz Crass, left many recordings of diverse music. All were considered among the very best of their respective voice types. But I sincerely doubt any of them ever did anything more impressive or beautiful than what they do here. (Yes, I'm including Wunderlich's Schubert and Schumann lieder. And his Belmonte and Tamino.) I could go into details--the endless melismas, the exquisite diction and colors, the tender, shimmering tones, the super-intelligent musicality and phrasing--but I really don't think I can do them justice with words. You have to hear them.
When you listen to Franz Crass, remember he's a low bass, who sang roles like Sarastro and Konig Marke, and his part here is for a high lyric baritone. I mention it because you might not be able to tell--his timbre is so rich and consistant that his high notes sound like low notes. And he makes it seem easy, even a little boring, all the way through, including the impossible aria "Grosser Herr" and the impossible duet "Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen". Either he's the Buddha or he was wearing seriously tight underwear that day.
The chorus is fine, and as always Karl Richter elicits sensitive mutual support."
A Classic Bach Recording
Theodore Shulman | 11/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the 1965 recording with Karl Ritcher and the Munich Bach
Orchestra with a line up of soloists that most modern conductors can only dream of. It would be nice if DG would reissue this recording in their Originals series."