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Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248
Conducted by Jos van Veldhoven

V-3

J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248/1-6

Jos van Veldhoven

Choir of Nederlandse Bachvereniging / Baroque Orchestra of Nederlandse Bachvereniging

Soprano: Johannette Zomer; Alto: Annette Markert; Tenor: Gerd Türk; Bass: Peter Harvey
Harpsichord: Siebe Henstra

Channel Classics

Dec 2002

2-CD / TT: 142:31

Recorded at Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, Eindhoven, Holland.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

A new Bach Christmas Oratorio recording

Barry Murray wrote (September 28, 2003):
I have copied and pasted the following article from the latest Channel Classics News. I trust it is of interest.

In the next couple of weeks we will be having our Christmas releases presented.
CCS SA 20103

Firstly, The Netherlands Bach Society with the Christmas Oratorio of Bach. This 2 CD set is also accompanied by a 200 page booklet. Together with the Catherijn Museum of Utrecht that has let us use reproductions from their museum dealing with Christmas, we have put together a very high class production with Red Velvet box. A real quality production. Perfect present for friend or for your business. This is a SACD recording, though we are presenting a Ototal package¹. Don¹t forget you can play these cd¹s on your regular cd player even if you don¹t have a SACD player. Though not officially out, Classics Today, the internet site in America has already given this release top ratings:

If you're a pushover for elegant packaging, you might as well skip the review and just order this new Christmas Oratorio without delay. The deep red velour-covered box with gold lettering (front and back!) cries out, "Hold me, hold me!", and when you see the loving care (and expense) that went into producing the gorgeous interior fold-out CD package and book (and I do mean book), you know you've got something special in your hands. And fortunately, this is one of those occasions where beauty and artistry are reflected not only on the surface but right through to the core. This is a marvellous performance of Bach's six-cantata cycle that offers ravishing choral singing, sharply detailed orchestral playing, and (mostly) superior contributions from the four solo vocalists, all presented in state-of-the-art sound.

A collaboration between Channel Classics, the Netherlands Bach Society, and the Museum Catharijneconvent of Utrecht, this production features not only Bach's music, but also comes with a beautifully printed hard-cover book that includes not only liner notes and texts but also dozens of pages of full-colour reproductions of art from the museum--an institution established in 1979 as a "national museum for Christian art and culture." The book alone is fascinating and absorbing enough, but Jos van Veldhoven's rendition of this monumental musical masterpiece will give every fan of Bach's sacred music reason to investigate this set, which stands among the finest in the catalogue.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (September 29, 2003):
[To Barry Murray] Interesting, but if it is like I think it is, it is basically repackaging an already recorded item. The aforementioned ensemble had already recorded the work earlier (at least twice if not more often). As proof, I offer into "evidence" the recording I had of the ensemble recorded for the Erato lable under the conductorship of good ole Ton Koopman (the man behind the earlier of the two new reconstructions of the Markuspassion). I thoroughly enjoyed it and favor it over Rilling's recordings (he also uses a Harpsichord in his recording in the Continuo).

Johan van Veen wrote (September 29, 2003):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] No, you are wrong. It is a new recording by the Netherlands Bach Society, which has never recorded the Christmas Oratorio before.

I have no idea why you are mentioning Ton Koopman in this context. Koopman has nothing to do with the Netherlands Bach Society whatsoever. He even has never been a guest conductor of the ensemble (although he did use the choir a couple of times, before he started his own choir).

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 29, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen] You are partly right. To put things straight.

a. The recording of XO with Veldhoven and Nederlandse Bachvereniging is indeed a new one.
You will be able to see it in the page of New and Upcoming Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Rec/Rec-2003.htm when I update the BCW (from Oct 2, 2003).

b. Ton Koopman recorded with this choir (and Veldhoven as Chorus Master) both SMP and SJP. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-Rec4.htm

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 29, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< Koopman has nothing to do with the Netherlands Bach Society whatsoever. He even has never been a guest conductor of the ensemble (although he did use the choir a couple of times, before he started his own choir). >
Off-topic, but this weekend I picked up an interesting piece of historical trivia. The term "Yankee" was not originally an 18th century bit of slang. Rather, it was a 17th century term referring to any Dutch person; and then to Dutch-born American colonists; and then American colonists in general (whether of Dutch extraction or not). If I have received the story correctly, the original Yankey was a Dutch pirate.

So, anyway, when Koopman improvises his elaborate ornamentation, is that Yankee Doodling?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (September 30, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen] I mentioned Koopman because in the recording he was leading that particular ensemble.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (September 30, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] As you are also aware, the term Yankees comes from the corruption of a term similar to the English John Doe--" Jan Kees" (literal translation for those who do not know it, John Cheese). The same also applies to the popular name for Father Christmas in the English language (Santa Claus), which is also of Dutch extraction, coming as it does from a corruption of the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas--Sinter Klaus. So you of Dutch extraction can tell your English friends that they owe a lot of their nicknames (such as Yankees and Santa Claus) to the Dutch immigrants.

Gene Hanson wrote (September 30, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< So, anyway, when Koopman improvises his elaborate ornamentation, is that Yankee Doodling? >
Har, har, Very punny, Brad.

 

Herreweghe and Netherlands Bach society mini CD reviews

Peter Bright wrote (October 3, 2003):
You might be interested in this very short review of recent Herreweghe (Christmas cantatas) and van Veldhoven (Christmas Oratorio) CDs. Actually to call it a review is pushing it, but, in any case, comments are positive, but with reservations about an apparent lack of 'drive'...

Bach: Christmas Cantatas from Leipzig; Magnificat, Collegium Vocale Gent

(Harmonia Mundi, two CDs). Also reviewed, Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Netherlands Bach Society

Andrew Clements
Friday October 3, 2003
The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk>

Bach wrote just three large-scale choral works that he called oratorios, all in the space of a couple of years in the mid 1730s. Each was identified with a different season of the church year - Christmas, Easter and Ascension. Of those works, the Christmas Oratorio is by a long way the best known, though it is a very different kind of work from the form of the biblical oratorio that Handel composed so prolifically.

For theChristmas Oratorio is not one unified work, but six cantatas, each of which is based on a biblical scene and all linked together by their nativity theme, which were designed, as at the premiere in Leipzig betweeen Christmas Day 1734 and Epiphany 1735, to be performed as part of the liturgy over the festive season.

There is no shortage of first-rate recordings of the Christmas Oratorio, but the latest one, played and sung with great urgency and stylishness by the voices and period instruments of the Netherlands Bach Society, under Jos van Veldhoven, is certainly presented differently from any other. The velvet slipcase might be a tacky mistake, but the hardback book that accompanies the discs is beautifully produced and contains a whole series of Nativity images from the Museum of the Catharine Convent in Utrecht. The idea is to create a real audiovisual experience, perusing the paintings while you listen - though my guess is that most listeners will admire the book once and after that simply play the discs.

Bach produced a whole stream of works for the Christmas feast days during his Leipzig years, but Philippe Herreweghe's set focuses on the four cantatas from 1723 and 1724 that he composed for his first two Christmasses there - "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag", "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ", "Christum wir sollen loben schon" and "Ich freue mich in dir". The Christmas Day service in 1723 was also the source of his Magnificat, but when that was first heard it was a rather different work from what is so familiar today - it was in the key of E flat rather than D major, slightly differently scored and contained several movements that were omitted from the final version. Herreweghe's accounts are typically thoughtful, not at all theatrical or dramatically driven, and that slightly laid-back approach takes the edge off the Magnificat too, though the quality of the solo and choral singing, and the careful shaping of the orchestral lines are all exemplary.

 

Veldhoven's XO and Herreweghe's new Magnificat

Pierce Drw wrote (November 6, 2003):
Has anyone picked up the new recording of the Christmas Oratorio by Veldhoven (on Channel Classics, with deluxe packaging)? If so, how does it compare with other notable recordings, such as Suzuki's?

Similarly, has anyone on the list heard the new Magnificat / Leipzig Christmas Cantatas set by Herreweghe?

John Pike wrote (November 6, 2003):
[To Pierce Drew] I have not heard either but they both get 5* in the BBC Music Magazine this month for both performance and recording (the best).

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 6, 2003):
Pierce Drew wrote:
< Similarly, has anyone on the list heard the new Magnificat / Leipzig Christmas Cantatas set by Herreweghe? >
It's not scheduled for US release until sometime next week. I look forward to hearing it; thanks for mentioning it! (Such news about new Bach releases is a GOOD reason to be subscribed to this group!)

Has anyone here heard the Hengelbrock recording of the E-flat Magnificat, coupled with some pieces by Lotti? I haven't been able to find it yet in US distribution; any leads are appreciated.

 

Veldhoven XO (plus)

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 7, 2009):
My understanding, without owning any of the recordings, is that Veldhoaven has used the OVPP approach for major works, that is, soloists with at most one ripienist for choruses. Is that true of the XO, as well as more recent projects?

Also in the BCW archives, at the subject location, from Brad:

< I picked up an interesting piece of historical trivia. The term "Yankee" was not originally an 18th century bit of slang. Rather, it was a 17th century term referring to any Dutch person; and then to Dutch-born American colonists; and then American colonists in general (whether of Dutch extraction or not). If I have received the story correctly, the original Yankey was a Dutch pirate. >
I thought Steinbrenner was a German name?

Explanation for the world, outside New England/New York, USA: George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, has *pirated* a baseball championship by spending $60 million more on salaries than the next closest team (OK, that is the Boston Red Sox). Bring on the salary cap.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 7, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I picked up an interesting piece of historical trivia. The term "Yankee" was not originally an >18th century bit of slang. Rather, it was a 17th century term referring to any Dutch person; and >then to Dutch-born American colonists; and then American colonists in general (whether of Dutch >extraction or not). If I have received the story correctly, the original Yankey was a Dutch >pirate. >
That's one possible explanation, but there are another 16 theories according to "The Straight Dope" by Cecil Adams.

 

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 - 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]

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: ýNovember 10, 2009 ý00:44:21