4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A mixed Christmas blessing.,
This review is from: Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Audio CD)
A mixed Christmas blessing. Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" is nowadays more likely to be heard and appreciated on record than in live performances. It was never intended for performance in one sitting. It comprises six cantatas, suitable for performing separately during the so-called twelve days of Christmas. The nearest I have come to hearing it performed was on one occasion when three of the six cantatas were done at one early December evening concert.
Veteran Hungarian conductor Geza Oberfrank leads and inspires his Hungarian forces here, highlighting the joyous and celebratory character of the music rather than ensuring an atmosphere of reverence and adoration. A large and generally alert choir is used. What robs the set of a fifth star is the poor recording quality that sometimes marred Naxos issues from the 1990s. The sound lacks richness. Most seriously affected are the soloists, all of whom - especially the bass - sound hoarse. A further consideration counts against this set: it occupies three CDs. Naxos's regular annotator, Keith Anderson, provides the music notes, texts are provided in German only, and the duration is 148 minutes.