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  Channel Classics -
  CCS SA 20103 (2 discs)
  Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Netherlands Bach Society
  Bach: Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

Johannette Zomer (soprano)
Annette Markert (alto)
Gerd Turk (tenor)
Peter Harvey (bass)
Netherlands Bach Society
Jos van Veldhoven (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 7 show all

Reviews: 7 show all

Site review by Polly Nomial December 2, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

Review by tream December 12, 2004 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Bach's Christmas Oratorio is not actually a single work but a set of 6 cantatas for Christmas Day and the days following Christmas, but has moved from the realm of church music to concerted music and is now typically played in its entirety. Along with Messiah and L'Enfance du Christ it forms the base of Christmas season music (although the first two are not really just Christmas music, but have become traditional). We have a good (not great recording) of Messiah on SACD, no recording of the Berlioz (LSO Live, please favor us with a new Davis recording) and this recording of the Bach.

Up front, this is an excellent recording, for performance, sound and packaging (one of the serious advantages of LP over the XXCD format is form factor-I still own my Harnoncourt LP's of this work, and will never willingly part with it-it is such a beautiful package, complete will full score).

My previous experience with this work has been with the aforementioned Harnoncourt and the Gardiner versions. Both Gardiner and this one use a set of mixed solists and mixed chorus (ie, adult women) while Harnoncourt substitutes the Vienna Choir Boys for women. There is something touching and innocent about the use of boys in this work-the opening chorus in Cantata I, for example, or the echo duet in Cantata IV, but I can well imagine a preference for women (as I have for Messiah).

This one is extremely competitive with the Gardiner recording. There is a keen sense of the sheer beauty of Bach's scoring that comes out in the Channel Classics version-not sure if this is the recording or the playing, but it is certainly there. Van Veldhoven's rhythms are more emphatic that Gardiner's and his sense of tempo broader-not only are most tempos a bit more stately, there are substantial ritards to announce the end of each cantata.

Nonetheless, this is recommendable as a first recording or only recording of this work, and the packaging adds a great deal to the experience.

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Review by pjorgenunes April 30, 2004 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have this sacd for about two weeks and it's one of the best things I've ever heard. The sound and performance are great. And the ambience it's magnificient. Believe me, close your eyes and you will be just like in a great live performance with great accoustics.

If you like bach this is a MUST HAVE and urgent.

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Works: 1  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), BWV 248