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Nikolaus Harnoncourt|Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

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If this 2007 recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio was the only one you were to hear, you would likely be well satisfied. Nikolaus Harnoncourt knows the work from long experience, his first recording dates from 1973, and he knows not only how to balance the soloists, chorus, and orchestra but how to balance the festive, the reflective, and the demonstrative, as well. The soloists here are generally quite fine -- clarion soprano Christine Schäfer and stentorian bass Christian Gerhaher are especially effective -- the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is, as always, deep and sonorous, and Harnoncourt's hand-picked Concentus Musicus Wien performs with its standard gusto and enthusiasm. These factors in addition to the overwhelming magnificence of the work itself are more than enough to make for an enjoyable recording. But, of course, there have been many, many recordings of the Christmas Oratorio before this one, and many of them are far better than this one of Harnoncourt's. One could point to the lift and drive of John Eliot Gardiner's recording, or to the joy and devotion of Karl Richter's, or the soul and spirit of Kurt Thomas', or lightness and grace of Ton Koopman's, or the sheer vocal beauty of Peter Schreier's, and still barely have touched on all the performances that go further into the work than Harnoncourt's. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's super audio sound has tremendous impact in the loud passages but still contrives to sound flat and two-dimensional the rest of the time.
© TiVo

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Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

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Weihnachtsoratorium, BWV 248 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

1
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 1. Chorus: Jauchzet, frohlocket
00:07:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 2. Evangelista: Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit
00:01:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 3. Recitativo (Alt): Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam
00:00:47

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

4
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 4. Aria (Alt): Bereite dich, Zion
00:05:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 5. Choral: Wie soll ich dich empfangen
00:01:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

6
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 6. Evangelista: Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn
00:00:26

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

7
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 7. Choral: Er ist auf Erden kommen arm
00:03:00

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

8
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 8. Aria (Bass): Großer Herr, o starker König
00:05:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gerald Finley, Bass Vocal - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

9
Part I: For the First Day of Christmas: 9. Choral: Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein
00:01:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 10. Sinfonia
00:05:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 11. Rezitativ (Tenor): Und es waren Hirten
00:00:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 12. Choral: Brich an, du schönes Morgenlicht
00:01:14

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 13. Rezitativ (Tenor): Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen
00:00:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, Orchestra - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 14. Rezitativ (Tenor): Was Gott dem Abraham verheißen
00:00:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

15
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 15. Aria (Tenor): Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet
00:03:40

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

16
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 16. Rezitativ (Tenor): Und das habt zum Zeichen
00:00:19

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

17
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 17. Choral: Schaut hin, da liegt im finstren Stall
00:00:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

18
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 18. Rezitativ (Bass): So geht denn hin, ihr Hirten
00:00:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gerald Finley, Bass Vocal - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

19
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 19. Aria (Alt): Schlafe, mein Liebster
00:09:02

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

20
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 20. Evangelista: Und alsobald war da bei dem Engel
00:00:13

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

21
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 21. Choral: Ehre sei Gott
00:02:59

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

22
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 22. Rezitativ (Bass): So recht, ihr Engel
00:00:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gerald Finley, Bass Vocal - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

23
Part II: For the Second Day of Christmas: 23. Choral: Wir singen dir in deinem Heer
00:01:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

24
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 24. Chorus: Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen
00:01:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

25
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 25. Rezitativ (Tenor): Und da die Engel
00:00:08

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

26
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 26. Chorus: Lasset uns nun gehen
00:00:49

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

27
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 27. Rezitativ: (Bass): Er hat sein Volk getröst'
00:00:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gerald Finley, Bass Vocal - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

28
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 28. Choral: Dies hat er alles uns getan
00:00:45

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

29
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 29. Aria Duetto (Sopran, Bass): Herr, dein Mitleid
00:07:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gerald Finley, Bass Vocal - Christine Schäfer, Soprano - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

30
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 30. Evangelista: Und sie kamen eilend
00:01:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

31
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 31. Aria (Alt): Schließe, mein Herze
00:04:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

32
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 32. Rezitativ (Alt): Ja, ja, mein Herz soll es bewahren
00:00:25

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

33
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 33. Choral: Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren
00:00:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

34
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 34. Evangelista: Und die Hirten kehrten wieder um
00:00:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

35
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 35. Choral: Seid froh dieweil
00:00:54

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

36
Part III: For the Third Day of Christmas: 24. Chorus (da capo 1): Herrscher des Himmels
00:02:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

DISC 2

1
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 36. Chorus: Fallt mit Danken
00:06:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 37. Evangelista: Und da acht Tage um waren
00:00:25

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 38. Rezitativ mit Choral: Immanuel, o süßes Wort!
00:02:29

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Christine Schäfer, Soprano - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Christian Gerhaher, Bass Vocal

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

4
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 39. Aria (Sopran): Flößt, mein Heiland
00:06:00

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Christine Schäfer, Soprano - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 40. Rezitativ mit Choral: Wohlan, dein Name soll allein
00:01:28

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Christine Schäfer, Soprano - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Christian Gerhaher, Bass Vocal

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

6
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 41. Aria (Tenor): Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben
00:04:52

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

7
Part IV: Feast of Circumcision: 42. Chorale: Jesus richte mein Beginnen
00:02:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

8
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 43. Chor: Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen
00:07:29

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

9
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 44. Evangelista: Da Jesus geboren war zu Bethlehem
00:00:22

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

10
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 45. Chor: Wo ist der neugeborne König der Jüden
00:01:43

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 46. Choral: Dein Glanz all Finsternis verzehrt
00:00:56

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Arnold Schoenberg Chor, AssociatedPerformer - Martin Sauer, Producer

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 47. Aria (Bass): Erleucht auch meine finstre Sinnen
00:04:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, Orchestra - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Christian Gerhaher, Bass Vocal - Christian Friedrich Henrici, Lyricist

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 48. Evangelista: Da das der König Herodes hörte
00:00:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Werner Güra, Tenor

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Part V: For the Sunday after New Year: 49. Rezitativ (Alt): Warum wollt ihr erschrecken?
00:00:32

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor, MainArtist - Concentus Musicus Wien, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brammann, Recording Engineer - Martin Sauer, Producer - Bernarda Fink, Alto

(P) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

If this 2007 recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio was the only one you were to hear, you would likely be well satisfied. Nikolaus Harnoncourt knows the work from long experience, his first recording dates from 1973, and he knows not only how to balance the soloists, chorus, and orchestra but how to balance the festive, the reflective, and the demonstrative, as well. The soloists here are generally quite fine -- clarion soprano Christine Schäfer and stentorian bass Christian Gerhaher are especially effective -- the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is, as always, deep and sonorous, and Harnoncourt's hand-picked Concentus Musicus Wien performs with its standard gusto and enthusiasm. These factors in addition to the overwhelming magnificence of the work itself are more than enough to make for an enjoyable recording. But, of course, there have been many, many recordings of the Christmas Oratorio before this one, and many of them are far better than this one of Harnoncourt's. One could point to the lift and drive of John Eliot Gardiner's recording, or to the joy and devotion of Karl Richter's, or the soul and spirit of Kurt Thomas', or lightness and grace of Ton Koopman's, or the sheer vocal beauty of Peter Schreier's, and still barely have touched on all the performances that go further into the work than Harnoncourt's. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's super audio sound has tremendous impact in the loud passages but still contrives to sound flat and two-dimensional the rest of the time.
© TiVo

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