Brilliant. Absolutely, stunningly, mind-blowingly brilliant. This was the kick-off concert for the Gardiner Bach cantata pilgrimage of 2000, performed in the Herderkirche, Weimar. I have Gardiner's CD of the Weihnachtsoratorium, which I previously regarded as the best version. Not any more. This knocks spots off it. Soloists (vocal and instrumental), the EBS and of course the marvellous Monteverdis are on top form and the whole thing crackles with excitement. Gardiner clearly has a ball; no routine music-making this, this is passionate with a capital P. He also has a feeling for the dance-like rhythms in much of the piece - just listen to the Monteverdis sizzle through the skittering opening chorale of Cantata 5 and see how long you can stop your feet from tapping. I am in danger of wearing all the pits off this. If you love Bach, you MUST have this.