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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248
Conducted by Philippe Herreweghe

V-13

J.S. Bach: Weihnachts-Oratorium - Christmas Oratorio - Oratorio de Noël

Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248/1-6

Philippe Herreweghe

Chorus and Orchestra of Collegium Vocale Gent

Soprano: Barbara Schlick; Alto: Michael Chance; Tenor: Howard Crook; Bass: Peter Kooy

Virgin Classics / MHS

Jan 1989

2-CD / TT: 149:38

Recorded at Mindersbroederskerk, Gent, Belgium.
Buy this album at:
2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.com

Anyone have Herreweghe's Xmas Oratorio?

Kirk McElhearn wrote (October 4, 2005):
I've got this set, and it's great. The problem is that I'm trying to rip it with iTunes, and one track won't rip - there must be something wrong with the CD. It's the last track (no 36) on disc one.

Would some kind soul have this, and, if possible, be able to rip it in AAC format at 160kbps? I know I'm asking a lot...

If you can, please let me know before sending; I may get several replies, and I don't want to bother more than one person. And don't reply to the list, and, especially, don't send the file to the list!

Many thanks!

 

'Christmas Oratorio' - Collegium Vocale Gent - Dec 14

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 15, 2012):
The Collegium Vocale Gent under Philippe Herreweghe gave a superlative performance of the Christmas Oratorio in Toronto last night. They repeat the program in New York on Dec 15.

The orchestra was a mid-sized Baroque band with strings 3-3-2-2-1. The continuo group was placed in the centre. I was puzzled why the strings and the flute were placed on the left while the other winds and brass were positioned on the right. However, the placement suddenly made sense in the Pifa of Part Two with the angelic strings and flute in spatial dialogue with the pastoral winds. A lovely touch (although it left the flute orphaned in the concluding chorale when it joins the oboes). Superb oboe da caccia playing; a bit of an off-night for the first trumpet but still admirable playing.

The choir was 16 voices in 4-4-4-4. The four soloists sang with the choir standing in their places and not brought forward to the apron in Romantic fashion. I have been completely convinced by this model where soloists and choristers are equal partners and not the more traditional model of small-bore, semi-professional or even amateur voices pitted against large bel-canto soloists. This was a true favoriti-tutti arrangement. I wouldn't have been surprised if any of the choir members had suddenly launched into an aria.

Extraordinary singing from the counter-tenor, Damien Guillon. I'm often impatient with the forced sound of male altos in Bach, but Guillon has a sweet even tone through his whole range - no nasty break - and the ability to project with laser-beam clarity through the orchestra. The tenor, Thomas Hobbs, sang the coloratura of "Frohe Hirten" with breath-taking ease. I was electrified to hear him actually sing softer to balance the flute figures.

Only four soloists were used, and I have been increasingly convinced that Bach intended the evangelist/character parts to be sung by the same voice. There's a significant hermeneutic at play when the evangelist sings the account of the shepherds and then launches into an aria which addresses them, and then joins in the chorale.

I was interested in the way the secco recitatives were performed. Herreweghe always uses a cello and double bass which gives a 16' sound throughout. He also plays with the length of the secco chords depending on the affect of the recit. Sometimes they're crisp and short - almost eighths. At other times, he will sustain the notes almost to half notes to give weight and sonority. Needless to say, this interpretative freedom is only possible in an ensemble which is constantly playing together.

Herreweghe has his own unique style of conducting and directs without a stick. Faced with an ensemble of such superb musicians, he often starts a movement and then just listens, sometimes crossing his arms! At other times, he takes rigid control. For some movements, he actually beats an empty bar before the players begin: you rarely see that in first-rank conductors.

But what I enjoyed most is that he has an strategic, arching approach to the music that makes each cantata a holistic organism. Paired recitatives and arias are rhythmically linked, and there is none of the dead, foot-shuffling, tuning breaks that turn most cantata performances into a series of unrelated movements.

I was a little annoyed that the concert was billed as the "Christmas Oratorio' but arrived to find that they were only performing Parts 1,2,3 & 6. However, they delighted the audience with an unexpected encore: a dazzling performance of the opening chorus of Part 5, "Ehre Sei Dir, Gott"!

If you're in New York, get yourself to Alice Tully Hall for a real Christmas present.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (December 15, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thank you for the review Doug. This is one of the rare times I wonder if living near Toronto might be a good thing!

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 15, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< was puzzled why the strings and the flute were placed on the left while the other winds and brass were positioned on the right. >
It was a pretty typical arrangement for the baroque and classical periods, they always separated the loudest and softest instruments when possible, this was true for Mozart as well.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 15, 2012):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< It was a pretty typical arrangement for the baroque and classical periods, they always separated the loudest and softest instruments when possible, this was true for Mozart as well. >
More often I've seen the continuo group in the centre with the first and second violins respectively on left and right with the wind band behind the continuo. At Maria Plan where Mozart's Coronation Mass was performed, you can still see the little extra loggias for the winds above the main choir gallery.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 15, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling] Neal Zaslaw writes about the loud versus soft instrumentation arrangements in his commentary on Mozart's symphonies. The KV 317 was not written for, or first performed for the church at Maria Plan, but was instead written for the Easter Sunday Mass April 4, 1779 in Salzburg's cathedral.

 

Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Systematic Discussions:
Cantata 1 | Cantata 2 | Cantata 3 | Cantata 4 | Cantata 5 | Cantata 6 | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 248 - Collegium Aureum | BWV 248 - H. Christophers | BWV 248 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 248 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 248 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 248 - R. Jacobs | BWV 248 - N. McGegan | BWV 248 - R. Otto | BWV 248 - K. Richter | BWV 248 - H. Rilling | BWV 248 - P. Schreier | BWV 248 - M. Suzuki | BWV 248 - K. Thomas | BWV 248 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
A Bottomless Bucket of Bach - Christmas Oratorio [D. Satz] | BWV 248/19 “Schlafe, mein Liebster” - A Background Study with Focus on the Colla Parte Flauto Traverso Part [T. Braatz]

Philippe Herreweghe: Short Biography | La Chapelle Royale | Collegium Vocale Gent
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Individual Recordings:
Cantatas BWV 29, 119 & 120 - P. Herreweghe | Christmas Cantatas from Leipzig - P. Herreweghe | Weinen Klagen.. Cantata BWV 12, 38 & 75 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 232 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 245 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 248 - P. Herreweghe
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: ýDecember 30, 2012 ý13:50:58