Retrospect Ensemble - Bach Oratorios - Scotland on Sunday
Bach's Christmas Oratorio is recorded and performed far more than these two liturgical oratorios, and it's hard to see why.
There is plenty of action and passion in these two, quite different, works, as the Retrospect Ensemble's recording under founder-conductor Matthew Halls demonstrates.
The Easter Oratorio, probably first performed on Easter Sunday 1735, was Bach's first attempt at the form, drawing on Italian models.
Yet within six weeks, his Ascension Oratorio was much more firmly Lutheran. The true pleasure lies in Bach's evident mastery of two quite different styles of writing.