Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio - The Scotsman

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. The string articulation is as sharp as a tack; the trumpets punch out with lustrous exuberance; the fearsome timpani strikes are like Exocets. On top of which, the small chorus of singers - one to a part - is intimate and resplendent in equal measure. It's a reading of Bach that never hangs around. Butt lets the music flow with natural gusto, and yet finds tenderness and spiritual nuance in the more reflective arias. If anyone ever doubted the cohesive power of this oratorio, here is the proof. Once you switch it on, you won't want to put this knock-out recording off.

Scotsman
24 October 2016