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Christmas Oratorios & Concertos

Christmas Oratorios & Concertos

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The importance of Christmas inspired many composers to write music for the occasion, some designed to be performed in church services, others for concert or secular celebration. This 6 album set combines oratorios and concertos by Schütz, Telemann, Bach, Corelli, Rinck, Saint-Saëns, Herzogenberg, Clarke, Nicolai. Some of the finest artists and ensembles in the Hanssler catalog are showcased on these recordings, including Iona Brown, Joachim Held, Hannoversche Hofkapelle, Collegium vocale Siegen, Monteverdi-Orchester Munchen, Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra, and many more.

REVIEWS:

Christmas has inspired many composers to compose magnificent music, on the one hand for church services and on the other hand for festive concerts outside the church. This masterful box with 6 CDs contains oratorios and concertos by Schütz, Telemann, Bach, Corelli, Rinck, Saint-Saëns, Herzogenberg and Clarke, performed by some of the best artists and ensembles in the Hänssler catalogue, including Iona Brown, Joachim Held, Hannoversche Hofkapelle, Collegium vocale Siegen, Monteverdi-Orchester Munchen, and the Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra.

-- Stretto

As Christmas approaches, an avalanche of familiar Christmas tunes rumbles in the distance. Even in the case of large-scale Christmas compositions, the same works seem to be repeated too often, but Hänssler's six-disc box set reminds us that the repertoire is much wider.

The greatest work is Heinrich von Herzogenberg's (1842–1900) idyllic oratorio "The Birth of Christ" (1894), which spreads the event into a spectacle borrowing familiar and lesser-known Christmas carols based on the Old Testament and the Gospel of Luke. Herzogenberg, who was one of Brahms's supporters, represents full Romanticism at its tenderest, sometimes generously sweet. Schütz's "A Christmas Story" is more familiar and would work better as a period-style performance. Arnold Bruckhorst's (c. 1675–c. 1725) twenty-minute "Christmas History" is, on the other hand, a new acquaintance, as is Christian Heinrich Rinck's (1770–1846) even shorter classic Romantic Christmas Cantata. All performances are homely and competent, without causing great artistic tremors. Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio can be found in more sophisticated recordings, but why, for example, Otto Nicolai's charming Christmas Overture is never heard in concerts?

Telemann's big and handsome oratorio Heilig, heilig, Heilig ist Gott (1747) is useless to look for elsewhere. The documentation only includes lists of works and performance information.

-- Rondo Classic

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 6
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Haenssler Classic
    • UPC/Barcode: 881488220346
    • Item Number: HC22034