Herreweghe's Bach is one of the joys of modern music making. It's hard to believe that this recording is over twenty years old: it radiates freshness, and pulsates with the joy of the dance which is the spirit of so much contemporary Bach interpretation.
There's a lot of debate around over the ideal size for Bach choral performances these days. Here we have modest forces expertly deployed, but not the single-voice-to-a-part that others favour. Which is best? It's a matter of taste. Herreweghe for me highlights clarity and beauty without ever losing emotion or the spiritual heart of a work. This is the first time I've ever listened the whole way through the Christmas Oratorio and been enthralled from beginning to end. Each of the six sections feels complete, each feels rightly part of the whole.
Orchestral and vocal soloists are flawless; the information inside the CD cover is pretty basic - but at this price I have no complaints. A superb recording of a superb performance.
At £6.01 this recording is a fantastic bargain. I had never heard this music in its entirety before but was always reminded of it every Christmas. I sampled this recording before purchasing it at a bargain price. Herreweghe is an extremly well respected conductor and he has an excellent group of performers. The performance is delightful and the recording quality excellent. This is one example of being tempted, by the price, to purchase music which I would not otherwise do, and then find that I have got one of the very best recordings of this music.
Despite its age, this is a wonderful interpretation of the Christmas Oratorio - super soloists and crisp orchestral playing. Having so little time to prepare for Christmas as I should like in Hong Kong, I listened to it on Christmas Eve. In truth, it drew me in and I was unaware of little else. Extremely good value for a double disc of such excellence.