J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Christmas Oratorio

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Peter Schreier
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Rundfunkchor Leipzig
Soloists:Jörg-Peter Weigle, (chorus master)
Helen Donath, (soprano I)
Andrea Ihle, (soprano II)
Marjana Lipovsek, (alto)
Peter Schreier, (tenore - Evangelist)
Eberhard Büchner, (tenore)
Robert Holl, (basso - Herodes)
Individual Works:Weihnachts-Oratorium, BWV 248
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Philips
Catalog Number:420 204-2
Year Released/Recorded:1986/87
Total Playing Time:150:28
Comments:From The New Penguin Guide to Compact Discs and Cassettes", Edward Greenfield, Robert Layton and Ivan March:
Following the success of his Dresden recording of the St.Matthew Passion, Peter Schreier contributes a fine, fresh version of the Christmas Oratorio, similarly taking on the double duties of conducting and singing the central part of the Evangelist. In that role there is no on currently quite to match him, particularly when (as here) he is his sweetest, purest voice. As in the St Matthew, the Leipzig Radio Choir, one of the most accomplished in Europe, sings freshly and responsively, and though modern instruments are used, Schreier consistently shows how he has been influenced by new ideas of authentic performance on period instruments. Though the scale is larger than in a period performance, the speeds are regularly very fast, springhtly rather than breathness, with string articulation crisp and light. None of the other soloists quite matches Schreier, but they make a strong, consistent team. The contralto, Marjana Lipovsek, for example, has a rich, warm voice which verges on sounding too fruity for Bach, yet she sings movingly in the cradle-song of Part 2. Full, bright and athmospheric recording.
Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Guilherme Furtado Filho
Date First Submitted:12/24/1995