Related Reviews
Fanfare
'One cannot listen to it without reacting to its dance-like energy and sensing the infectious joy of the Christmas season.'
more >>
Iowa Public Radio
'...it won't surprise you that it's now my own Christmas Oratorio of choice.'
more >>
Audio
4 Stars
AUDIOphile Pearls: „Entfaltet der anerkannte Bach-Dirigent Transparenz, Drive und große Textverständlichkeit. Musikalisch ist Butts federnder, tänzerischer Ansatz fraglos reizvoll.''
more >>
Image Hi-Fi
,,Der Chor und die Solisten singen ebenso lebendig wie schnörkellos. Komplettiert wird der Hörgenuss durch die Klangqualität - sondern einfach nur anrührend und mitreißend.''
more >>
The Sunday Times
'This is a beautifully crafted performance...There's an easy flow to the tempos and the glowing singing of the arias is matched by deeply impressive instrumental obbligatos.'
more >>
The Observer
Best classical Christmas releases 2016: 'Dunedin Consort's first-rate Christmas Oratorio, already released to rapturous reviews and in a class all its own.'
more >>
The Bloomington Herald
'Features Butt's stunning Dunedin Consort and a delicious-to-hear set of soloists...the cantatas are performed with welcome energy, clarity and attention to period detail.'
more >>
The Arts Desk
The Year's Best Seasonal Releases: 'The Dunedin Consort's playing is full of character...exceptionally good, and beautifully presented.'
more >>
Financial Times
4 Stars
'John Butt and his Dunedin Consort's performance gives the composer's Christmas fare a seasonal sparkle.'
more >>
NDR
CD der Woche: "Mit Pauken und Trompeten begrüßt Johann Sebastian Bach die Geburt des Christkindes. Die neue Aufnahme verbindet diesen festlichen Glanz mit tänzerischem Schwung und Präzision. Der Dirigent John Butt versprüht die Freudenfunken mit einer kleinen Orchesterbesetzung. Butt begreift das Stück als erweiterte Kammermusik, der Klang bleibt immer durchsichtig und klar. / CD of the Week: 'Johann Sebastian Bach welcomes the birth of the Christ Child with timpani and trumpets. The new recording combines this festive glow with dancing swing and precision. Butt comprehends the piece as an extended chamber music, the sound always remains transparent and clear.'
more >>
MusicWeb International
'John Butt and his team have once again opened my ears to a fresh crystal-clear interpretation of Bach...Were it not too late, this would have been one of my Recordings of the Year.'
more >>
High Res Mac
"Frohes Fest"
more >>
The New Yorker
Notable Performances and Recordings of 2016
more >>
Full House
5 Stars
'Skal der et ordentligt skud kvalitetsunderholdning til juledagene under træet, er skotske Dunedin Consorts fantastiske udgave af Bachs 'Juleoratorium' det bedste bud.' / 'For some quality holiday entertainment for under the tree, Dunedin Consort's fantastic edition of Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio' is the best bet.'
more >>
Berliner Zeitung
Die Alben zum Weihnachtsfest: „Die Klangqualität des „Christmas Oratorio" mit dem schottischen Dunedin Consort verführt mehr als zwei Stunden lang den Hörer zum genussvollen Lauschen - und das nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit." / The Albums for Christmas: 'The sound quality of the "Christmas Oratorio" with the Scottish Dunedin Consort seduces the listener for more than two hours to enjoy listening - and not just at Christmas time.'
more >>
musica Dei donum
'The playing is of the highest level. Especially the players of the brass deserve praise for their efforts.'
more >>
Limelight Magazine
The Limelight Magazine Christmas Gift Guide: Pick for Christmas morning
more >>
Audiophile Audition
5 Stars
Eight Christmas CDs for the 2016 Holidays: 'John Butt has rendered a sparkling and energetic performance of this work.'
more >>
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger
„Insgesamt ist die Produktion hochprofessionell..."
more >>
De Standaard
5 Stars
„Een plaat die onder de kerstboom moet.” / 'A disc which needs to be placed under the Christmas tree.'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'It's exciting. It's a real authentic sound. Joanne Lunn is a standout soprano. She's precise and she's warm and she makes the Echo Aria in the Fourth Cantata work...Her colleague Matthew Brook (bass), has exactly the weight and graininess for the rollicking trumpet aria in the First Cantata. It's been well and intelligently recorded.'
more >>
AllMusic
'Butt's solution is both clever and musically solid. Further, his mostly Scottish soloists add personality to the music and are worth hearing in themselves...This is a performance in which intelligent, small decisions cohere into a persuasive larger whole.'
more >>
MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'This Christmas Oratorio is another mightily successful feather in [Butt's] cap. His small but perfectly formed team of experts, make a crack team when it comes to this music...there is a tremendous sense of excitement in this performance. A marvellous seasonal gift.'
more >>
Early Music Today
4 Stars
'The cycle gets off to a splendid start, with the opening chorus introduced by thrillingly incisive timpani and the trumpets sequentially tumbling over themselves with excitement. In the central section luminous, madrigalian textures remind us just why one-voice-per-part seems so inevitably right for this music.'
more >>
Crescendo
,,Ein richtiger Musikliebhaber wird den Advent nicht ohne eine gute Prise Weihnachtsoratorium begehen wollen. Unter den diesjährigen Neueinspielungen lohnt sich beispielsweise die des Dunedin Consorts.''
more >>
InfoDad
4 Stars
'This [recording] is transcendent, in the sense that it encapsulates the meaning of Christmas...there are ample reasons to turn again and again [to it] for enjoyment inextricably woven with enlightenment.'
more >>
Gramophone
'Common to all Butt's Bach is an irresistible brightness and freshness, a clarity that fascinates the ear with internal detail, and a glowing sound...this latest gift from the Dunedin Consort is one to go under the tree.'
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'John Butt's spruced up Christmas Oratorio has the same sense of freshness as previous releases...'
more >>
KMT
”Helt naturligt blev den nyligen släppta friskt glänsande inspelningen...strålande solistprestationer som i Juloratoriet i en ljuvlig återgivning av Juldagens.”
more >>
Vårt Land
5 Stars
KLASSIKER: «Ingen jul uten Johann Sebastian Bachs Juleoratorium».
more >>
Schreibwolff
,,erschienen zeigt es dem Hörer eine äußerst transparent musizierte Version der Bachschen Festmusik''
more >>
Early Music Review
5 Stars
'John Butt's Christmas Oratorio with the Dunedins is splendid, from the crisp and perfectly tuned opening timpani strokes onward, and I hope it will sweep all before it as this Christmas' "must-have" for all EMR readers.'
more >>
El arte de la fuga
« Si le apetece disfrutar esta música maravillosa con postulados minimalistas de primerísima calidad, ésta es su opción. No defraudará a nadie cualesquiera que sean sus gustos o manías interpretativas. »
more >>
Rondo
,,...schöner Momente beglückend ausgelassenen Musizierens...'' / 'some beautiful moments of gleefully exuberant music'
more >>
MusicWeb International
'You'll find much to admire and enjoy in this excellent performance. Cantata One gets off to a splendid start, the trio of trumpets sparkling. In Cantata Four, the instruments make a super contribution to the opening chorus and since the singing of the quartet is excellent, this movement is a highlight of the whole set. The Linn sound is excellent.'
more >>
Andrew Benson-Wilson
'With a distinguished group of period instrumentalists, and some outstanding vocal soloists, this is one of the most impressive interpretations I have heard. The singing is superb throughout...'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 'In Tune'
'Absolutely love that recording...the whole recording is absolutely glittering. There's that sense of really infectious energy that hits you on this recording from the off...Let's hear some more of what promises to be one the essential recordings of the year.'
more >>
Scotsman
5 Stars
'John Butt's Dunedin Consort does it again. This red hot interpretation of the six cantatas that make up Bach's Christmas Oratorio holds the attention from the word go. The opening chorus, Jauchzet frohlocket, hits you like a lightning bolt, Butt's infectious energy and exhilarating musicianship infusing Bach's joyous music with utterly compelling brilliance.'
more >>
McAlister Matheson Music
'This is a fabulous recording...guaranteed to fulfil even the highest expectations!'
more >>
The Herald Scotland
'This absolutely essential recording is seventh heaven.'
more >>
Europadisc
'Above all, it's the sense of committed yet un-posturing devotion and sheer joy that makes this performance so extraordinarily successful. Beautifully recorded and presented, and fastidiously researched, it's hard to imagine the Christmas Oratorio being better served than this.'
more >>
The Guardian
5 Stars
'It's surely one of the finest accounts now available of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The choral sound is pert, sinewy, unforced; the instrumental playing is punchy, broad and charismatic.'
more >>
Classical CD Choice
'This splendid new release is virtually an exemplar of how period practice aligned with sharp and energetic performance can ensure a very familiar piece comes up fresh as paint.'
more >>
Fanfare
'The Magnificat is equally magnificent.'
more >>
Early Music Today
5 Stars
Editor's Choice: 'Rarely, very rarely, a recording comes along that because of its content and level of performance seems to be hors concours. This is just such a recording.'
more >>
Iowa Public Radio
2015 Classical Mega-Meta-List: 'It is also the joyous-Bach-Christmas CD of the year. And the performances are so special that even if you already own many recordings of the Magnificat or the Cantata you should hear it.'
more >>
The Herald Scotland
Top 10 Scottish Classical Albums of 2015: #1 spot
more >>
Europadisc
Europadisc 2015 Disc of the Year: 'In the end it was the Dunedin Consort's recording of Bach's Magnificat that gripped us most, not just for its combination of brilliant musicianship and fastidious research, but because the reconstruction as a whole proves such an involving, immersive experience for the listener.'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’
'A Bach recording that's going to make the air vibrate with joy...a splendid recording.'
more >>
The Sunday Times
'His quintet of soloists are brilliant illusionists, sounding like a crowd in Omnes generationes.'
more >>
The Arts Desk
'This disc's academic credentials are impeccable, but my reasons for loving it are purely musical; John Butt's Bach programme allows us to party as if it was, er, 1723...Essential listening.'
more >>
Sydsvenskan
'John Butt gör en finkänslig och rörlig rekonstruktion av J S Bachs magnifika vesper.'
more >>
Classical MPR
'The effect is reverent and seamless. The musicianship of the singers and the players is flawless, and it's interesting to hear the works in their historical context.'
more >>
Pizzicato
Supersonic Award: ,,Den Aufnahmetechnikern ist ein Meisterstück gelungen...Unser Tipp für die Feiertage!''
more >>
The Herald Scotland
Top 20 Classical Recordings for 2015: 'Hard to imagine a classier Christmas album.'
more >>
YLE Klassinen
'Sekä Magnificat että joulukantaatti ovat säihkyvän jouluisia teoksia, joissa trumpetit raikaavat ja patarummut jylisevät. Toki sijansa saa myös hempeä joulutunteilu.'
more >>
Iowa Public Radio
Flavorful Picks from 2015: 'Linn's recorded sound is rich, glowing, natural, and clear.'
more >>
Financial Times
5 Stars
'It is a brilliant deal: 21st-century listeners get all of Bach's glorious music associated with December 25 1723, performed with zest and imagination, without having to sit through the sermon.'
more >>
Gramophone
Editor's Choice: 'Another intriguing and excellently performed project from Butt and his Dunedin Consort: a delightful recreation of what Bach’s first Christmas in Leipzig might well have sounded like.'
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Choral & Song Choice: 'What follows is a holistically conceived, beautifully paced, exhilaratingly executed performance.'
more >>
Rondo Magazine
5 Stars
,,Unter diesen Bedingungen kann auch das bekannte Magnificat in seiner gleißend hellen Es-Dur-Fassung nur eine Freude sein – diese Erwartung bestätigt sich beim Hören: Das ist sehr, sehr wohltuend.''
more >>
MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'Top of my 2015 Christmas list: outshines just about every other recording of the Magnificat and the cantata.'
more >>
BBC Radio Scotland ‘Classics Unwrapped’
'It’s a magnificent recording…a hearty congratulations on a truly hearty disc. I really, really loved listening to that.'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’
'It’s wondrous music.'
more >>
Artistxite
,,Die Illusion funktioniert: Man fühlt sich unmittelbar in die besondere Stimmung einer festlichen Vesper hineinversetzt. Butt und sein Ensemble erweisen sich (zum wiederholten Male) als akkurate Spurensucher, die die Unmittelbarkeit des historischen Kontexts für den heutigen Hörer wieder erfahrbar machen.''
more >>
Classical CD Choice
'Quite possibly the most persuasive version of Bach's Magnificat you are likely to hear in modern times.'
more >>
PS Audio
Classical Gifts of 2015: 'Hands down, my first choice this year...'
more >>
Sinfini Music
5 Stars
Best Choral Album: 'Andrew Stewart has heard no finer disc this year than John Butt and the Dunedin Consort's new recording of Bach's Magnificat and Christmas Cantata BWV 63, filled with insight and energy.'
more >>
Andrew Everard
'standout'
more >>
Merry and Bright Blog
'an excellent record'
more >>
Early Music Review
'...what is a very good example of John Butt's marriage between arresting scholarship, enormous musicality - the tempi are so naturally right - and pragmatic skills: conceiving and bringing such a complex production to fruition is a huge task, and the whole disc is so coherently musical from the word go. Give it to all your friends for Christmas: this is contextual Bach at its very best.'
more >>
The Irish Times
4 Stars
'The scene is set for music-making that's lucid and festive, captured in sound that's both intimate and full. A spirited Christmas celebration with a difference.'
more >>
Classic FM 'Chart'
'superb'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
Disc of the Week: '...director John Butt reconstructs for us the kind of sounds you might have heard when Bach celebrated his first Christmas day vespers in Leipzig in 1723…It’s an absolute joy.'
more >>
The Scotsman
5 Stars
'...yet another astonishing triumph...the musicianship is exquisite; the emotional impact is immediate. This is world class.'
more >>
Europadisc
'Butt and his musicians combine an earthy exuberance with some beautifully sensitive and ethereal singing and playing...this is an enormously satisfying and enjoyable disc, reinforcing yet again the Dunedin Consort's enviable reputation in this repertoire.'
more >>
The Observer
5 Stars
'Another bull's-eye hit from John Butt's Dunedin Consort...brilliantly done.'
more >>
HR Audio
5 Stars
'In all respects this is one of the most enjoyable releases that I have encountered this year and cannot recommend too highly.'
more >>
MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'This is one of the most enjoyable and stimulating Bach discs to have come my way...The performance standards are uniformly excellent and the music is life-enhancing.'
more >>
McAlister Matheson Music
'Look no further for this year’s essential Christmas disc!'
more >>
AllMusic
'The music is splendidly recorded at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, and the end result is a Bach performance that is original in concept and satisfying in details.'
more >>

Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Concerto


11 December 2016
Concerto
behe

Im vergangenen Jahr haben John Butt und sein Dunedin Consort zwei weihnacht­liche Glanzlichter aus Johann Sebastian Bachs erstem. Leipziger Amtsjahr zusam­ mengebracht und gleichzeitig in den Kon­text  der  dortigen  Vesperliturgie  für den 25. Dezember 1723 gestellt: Damals wurde (anders, als im Booklet angegeben) in der Thomaskirche die schon am Morgen im Hauptgottesdienst der Nikolaikirche auf­geführte Kantate >Christen, ätzet diesen Tag< BWV 63 aus Bachs Weimarer Tagen wiederholt und höchstwahrscheinlich auch jenes Magnificat wieder musiziert, das der neue Thomaskantor wohl zum Fest Ma­riae Heimsuchung am 2. Juli desselben Jahres komponiert hatte. Es ist im Unter­schied zur heute bekannteren Spätfassung BWV 243 in Es-Dur und mit Block- statt Traversflöten notiert; Bach hat es außerdem nach alter Leipziger Tradition um vier generalbassbegleitete weihnachtliche Einla­gesätze erweitert. Die geben dem Ganzen eine  archaisch anmutende Rückbindung ins  17.  Jahrhundert, und die wird noch intensiviert durch den ebenfalls aufgenom­menen doppelchörigen Introitus >Hodie Christus natus est< von Giovanni Gabrieli aus dem Florilegium Portense, einer in Bachs Leipzig weiterhin benutzten alten Motettensam mlung. Drei Choralbearbeitungen aus Bachs Orgelbüchlein und seine Fuge über das Magnificat BWV 733 (die sein Thomaskirchenorganist Christian Gräbner an Weihnachten 1723 vermutlich allesamt nicht gespielt hat) sowie dazu passende Gemeindegesänge runden das CD-Programm ab. Wer die komplette liturgische Musik einer damaligen Leipziger Weihnachtsvesper hören möchte, findet Weiteres auf der Internetseite des Labels zum kosten­losen Download.

John Butt besetzt den Vokalteil seines Con­sorts wie schon in den vorausgegangenen Einspielungen von Bachs h-Moll-Messe und den Passionen nachJohannes und Mat­ thäus mit maximal zwei Singstimmen pro Chorpartie. Er lässt hier im tiefen franzö­sischen  Kammerton (a'  = 392   Hz)  musi­zieren, wodurch die ursprünglich im hohen Chorton notierte Kantate und das Es-Dur­ Magnificat etwas entspannter klingen als in mancher Vergleichseinspielung. Überhaupt präsentiert sich die Aufnahme in einem warmen, abgerundeten Klangbild, zu dem die offenbar nicht sklavisch an barocken Bautraditionen orientierte große Orgel der Greyfriarsk Kirk in Edinburgh (Peter Col­lins 1990) das ihre beiträgt.

Die Aufnahme des Weihnachtsoratoriums, die Butt vor wenigen Wochen nachge­schoben hat, verzichtet sinnvollerweise auf die liturgische Begleitmusik: Trotz seiner Verteilung auf Leipziger Gottesdienste zwischen dem ersten Weihnachtstag und Epiphanias an der Jahreswende 1734/35 geht es hier ja urn ein dramaturgisch in sich geschlossenes Werk, wie es schon der erhal­tene zeitgenössische Textdruck betont.

Butt arbeitet (jetzt im spätbarocken Stan­dard-Kammerton von 415 Hz) mit zwei wechselnden Sängerquartetten, die er nur in den mit festlichem Trompetenchor be­ setzten Teilen I, III und VI gelegentlich von einem Ripienoquartett verstärken lässt. Im Instrumentalbereich sind lediglich die beiden Violinstimmen doppelt und die Continuopartie mit Orgel, Cembalo, Vio­loncello, Violone und Fagott üppig besetzt. Das ergibt insgesamt einen entspannten, bassbetonten und doch transparenten Ensembleklang, zumal die Altpartien durchweg von Mezzosopranen gesungen werden. Nur der vierte Teil  überrascht mit einem ungewohnt strahlenden Hör­nerklang – da wird offenbar auf jegliches Stopfen verzichtet.

Alle singen und spielen nicht nur per­fekt, sondern mit großer Ausstrahlung, so dass man über die wenigen vokalen Ver­färbungen der Nicht-Muttersprachler in diesem und jenem Rezitativ getrost hin­weghören kann. Zumal bestimmte Pas­sagen in den Ensemblesätzen dank der kleinen Besetzung umso schöner nachzu­verfolgen sind, etwa die liebevoll vokal-in­strumental aufgefächerte Rhetorik in den Chören der Engel, Hirten und Weisen.

Butt ist hier für ein auf dem Schallplatten­markt wahrlich nicht unterrepräsentiertes Werk eine Referenz-Aufnahme gelungen.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Dunedin ConsortDunedin Consort
Johann Sebastian BachJohann Sebastian Bach
John ButtJohn Butt
J.S. Bach: Christmas OratorioJ.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio
J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Digital Deluxe Version)J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Digital Deluxe Version)
J.S. Bach: Magnificat & Christmas CantataJ.S. Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata
J.S. Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata (Digital Deluxe Version)J.S. Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata (Digital Deluxe Version)