Stephen Layton / Trinity College Choir, Cambridge - Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Stephen Layton / Trinity College Choir, Cambridge - Bach: Christmas Oratorio
Genre: Classical
Duration: 02:31:11
Recording Date: January 10, 2013 - January 14, 2013
Artist: Stephen Layton \ Trinity College Choir, Cambridge
Album: Bach: Christmas Oratorio
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Recording Location: Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge
Styles: Choral

Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, consists of a set of six cantatas, each with recitatives, arias, and chorales. Moreover, some of the music for this most solemn of Christian events was borrowed by Bach from his own secular compositions. Yet it is a unified work, designated by Bach himself as an oratorio, and the biblical narration of the Christmas story is worked into the usual recitative-aria structure. There aren't any melodies in the work that are really among Bach's greatest hits, but the ingenuity of the work as a whole lies in the way it's somehow greater than the sum of its parts.

That's the appeal of this version by conductor Stephen Layton, four of his favored soloists, the Choir of Trinity College, and the period-instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment: it respects the small scale of the parts but treats the whole with the weight it deserves. Credit for the balance must go to Layton, who has gotten splendid results from the youthful Cambridge choristers in a variety of common repertory works.

They enunciate clearly, hit the pitches precisely, and generally seem excited by what they're doing. The always lively Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is a perfect partner for the choir, and the soloists engage with the text and convey the feeling that they're in the ballpark of the ones who originally performed the work. There are more daring performances of the Christmas Oratorio on all fronts, but few that make such a satisfying and musical impression.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
Part 1. Chorus. Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton8:09
Part 1. Recitative. Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:13
Part 1. Recitative. Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:50
Part 1. Aria. Bereite dich, Zion, mit zärtlichen Trieben / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton5:15
Part 1. Chorale. Wie soll ich dich empfangen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:22
Part 1. Recitative. Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:22
Part 1. Chorale & Recitative. Er ist auf Erden kommen arm / Wer will die Liebe reicht erhöhn / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton3:03
Part 1. Aria. Großer Herr, o starker König / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton4:44
Part 1. Chorale. Ach mein herzliebes Jesulein / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:24
Part 2. Sinfonia / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton5:29
Part 2. Recitative. Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:34
Part 2. Chorale. Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:05
Part 2. Recitative. Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:41
Part 2. Recitative. Was Gott dem Abraham verheißen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:48
Part 2. Aria. Frohe Hirten, eilt, ach eilet / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton3:25
Part 2. Recitative. Und das habt zum Zeichen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:22
Part 2. Chorale. Schaut hin, dort liegt im finstern Stall / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:40
Part 2. Recitative. So geht denn hin, ihr Hirten, geht / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:47
Part 2. Aria. Schlafe, mein Liebster, genieße der Ruh' / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton10:46
Part 2. Recitative. Und alsobald war da bei dem Engel / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:11
Part 2. Chorus. Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton2:44
Part 2. Recitative. So recht, ihr Engel, jachzt und singet / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:24
Part 2. Chorale. Wir singen dir in deinem Heer / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:27
Part 3. Chorus. Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton2:02
Part 3. Recitative. Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:08
Part 3. Chorus. Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:45
Part 3. Recitative. Er hat sein Volk getröst' / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:43
Part 3. Chorale. Dies hat er alles uns getan / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:40
Part 3. Duet. Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton7:53
Part 3. Recitative. Und sie kamen eilend / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:06
Part 3. Aria. Schließe, mein Herze, dies selige Wunder / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton5:30
Part 3. Recitative. Ja, ja, mein Herz soll es bewahren / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:27
Part 3. Chorale. Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton1:06
Part 3. Recitative. Und die Hirten kehrten wieder um / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:19
Part 3. Chorale. Seid froh dieweil / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton0:41
Part 3. Chorus da capo. Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen / Johann Sebastian BachTrinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton2:05

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