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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very fine and balanced performance plus an illuminating analysis, 24 Mar 2013
By 
Stephen Kass "stephen kass" (markdorf allemagne) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachts Oratorium) (Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks/ Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/ Peter Dijkstra) (BR Klassik: 900902) (Audio CD)
This is a very fine and balanced performance which incorporates the knowledge gained from HIP with a certain freedom of expression and beautiful sound. Some might say, also combined with a traditional approach. Excellent orchestra on period instruments and a fairly large professional choir. It is probably one of the best choir in Germany,not a specialist HIP choir but one which Djkstra has formed over the past few years. It is the pendant to the symphony orchestra of the Bavarian radio under Jansons, considred one of the best in the World. Very good soloists, especially the bass and tenor, who also sings the recitatives. Perfect and clear German pronunciation and diction from soloists and choir. A female alto with a round and pleasant voice instead of a counter. All the soloists have a natural and controlled vibrato. ornaments,
One German reviewer wrote that this recording strikes a balance between HIP and Karl Richter. I cannot hear much Richter (although I sang on his recording) but I daresay that he means that this is a well-rounded performance with no extremes, a certain emphasis on beauty of sound and quite a large but extremely clear choir.The chorales are, for example a little slower than in some recent versions and the soloists do use ornaments sparingly. Very well recorded too!
In addition the analysis of the work (on the last two CDs) is is really illuminating, even to those who already know a lot about Bach and his time. It is illustrated with eyamples from this recording. The same team did a similar analysis/introduction about the St. Matthew Passion a few years ago. Equally engrossing! I can sincerely recommend his set to all those who love Bach's wonderful music or want to get to know it. HIP Purists may find details to complain about. It is perhaps a bit "middle of the road" but I enjoyed it thoroughly although I have many other recordings, mistly HIP.
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